Windows Mobile is in a difficult position. The mobile operating system is losing ground on a daily basis to more complete and appealing operating systems, such as the iPhone OS and Android.
And until it’s relieved by Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system, it’s entirely possible that Microsoft will be starting at a lower position in the market than it is right now. It’s not good for the software giant. And it could cost it a significant amount of cash if it doesn’t find a way to make Windows Phone 7 Series devices a major competitor in the marketplace.
But there’s one issue standing in the operating system’s way: Microsoft’s decision to focus on the consumer market. It’s understandable to some extent why Microsoft would engage in such a strategy. The iPhone is enjoying unbridled success and Android, which is also targeted at consumers, is selling well. Why wouldn’t Microsoft capitalize on that market?
But before Microsoft gets caught up in the consumer space, it needs to remember the enterprise. The corporate world is still Microsoft’s domain. It’s also the place where RIM’s BlackBerry operating system is raking in the cash for the mobile company. To simply forget about the enterprise makes little sense.
Microsoft needs the support of the enterprise to take on Apple and Google.
1. The iPhone cornered the consumer market
As much as Microsoft wants to take down the iPhone, it will be extremely difficult for the company to do so. Apple’s smartphone has effectively cornered the consumer market and the chances of a Windows Phone 7 Series device changing that anytime soon are slim. If Microsoft really wants to start chipping away at the iPhone’s lead, it needs to work with the enterprise. Apple is already too entrenched in the consumer space.
2. This is the last chance
Windows Mobile has been a nightmare for Microsoft over these past few years. The company can’t risk a similar strategy with Windows Phone 7 Series. Microsoft’s upcoming mobile OS might be its last chance to turn things around. After seeing its mobile market share plummet at the hands of Apple and Google, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Series is the software giant’s chance at regaining its position in the market. That will only come with the enterprise’s help.
3. There’s money to be made
Let’s not forget that the enterprise is still an extremely lucrative customer segment. And as RIM has shown over the past few years, there is significant money to be made if it’s targeted in the right way. At this point, Microsoft can’t ignore the enterprise simply because Apple is making boatloads of cash in the consumer market. You can make money in the enterprise, Microsoft. You just need to focus some energy on it.
4. RIM is a competitor too
It seems that Microsoft doesn’t view RIM as a real competitor. That needs to stop. If Microsoft wants Windows Phone 7 Series to be a real success in the marketplace, it needs to ensure that it’s targeting all the competitors in the space and not handpicking which companies it wants to compete with. RIM might not get the kind of attention Apple and Google get, but it’s a real competitor. And it’s gunning for Microsoft. If the software giant doesn’t realize that, it will be in trouble.
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5. It acquaints people with the OS
The enterprise is a great way to get users acquainted with the new operating system. If companies adopt the OS, employees will have no choice but to use it. If they like what they see, they might use a Windows Phone 7 Series device for personal use or recommend it to others. If Microsoft wants to get the word out about its OS, the enterprise is the place to do it.
6. Apple isn’t targeting the enterprise
Apple is the main player in the mobile market and it’s not targeting the enterprise. Microsoft can capitalize on that. Although Apple has added some enterprise-friendly features to its iPhone over the past couple years, it’s still a decidedly consumer product. Apple has little desire to compete directly with RIM and so, it’s leaving the lucrative enterprise market up for grabs. Microsoft can work toward infiltrating that space while Apple isn’t looking.
7. Google isn’t targeting the enterprise
Like Apple, Google has done little to appeal to the enterprise. The company’s vendor partners have consistently developed products that target the consumer market and attempt to steal market share away from Apple. Even Google’s Android updates fail to adequately appeal to enterprise desire. If Google doesn’t want to target the enterprise, Microsoft can.
8. It goes beyond phones
The importance of the enterprise to Windows Phone 7 Series’ success goes well beyond mobile phones. Google has done a fantastic job integrating advertising with Android, giving it the foothold it needs to control a portion of the burgeoning mobile-advertising market. Microsoft knows it. And it understands that unless it can gain significant market share, it will be Google, not Microsoft, that will generate the lion’s share of advertising revenue.
9. The enterprise is Microsoft’s Trojan horse
The enterprise couldn’t be more important to Microsoft’s bottom line. As all of its competitors (except for RIM) have their attention in another market, Microsoft can focus its time in the enterprise. By infiltrating that space, Windows Phone 7 Series devices will likely become somewhat popular in the enterprise market. At that point, Microsoft could shift its attention to consumers and enjoy a more well-rounded business strategy. Hey, it worked for Windows.
10. It can only grow so much without it
Windows Phone 7 Series won’t be able to grow nearly as much as Microsoft would like without some help from the enterprise. As popular as the iPhone is, its growth could be much greater if Apple spent more time focusing on the corporate world. The consumer market is lucrative and it’s certainly big. But if Windows Phone 7 Series solidifies its position as a dominant player in the mobile space, it will be due to the enterprise.
Yes, the enterprise really is that important.