Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

Summary:The mobile space moves at a tremendous pace, and using a cycle for products in the desktop segment for those in the mobile sector, as Microsoft is known to do, is a fatal error.

My take on Microsoft's situation with Windows Phone 7 touched a nerve with readers, some who think I'm being too harsh on the folks in Redmond. Many feel it's too early in the product cycle of Windows Phone 7 to be sounding an alarm, but I don't believe thats the case. The mobile space moves at a hectic pace, and using a cycle for products in the desktop segment for those in the mobile sector, as Microsoft is known to do, is a fatal error.

Colleague Ed Bott has a great insight into what Microsoft needs to do to get Windows Phone 7 on track, and is worth a read. He feels Microsoft needs to get things happening with Windows Phone 7, and sooner rather than later. I agree with Ed that this must happen, and starting right now.

Microsoft has a habit of using a product development cycle like that of Windows or Office, where a version of the platform will last for years. This cycle simply won't work in the fast-paced mobile sector. A pace of a few years to get a new product launched properly is too slow. Think about it, Google's Android platform didn't exist two years ago, now it is hitting 300,000 phones a day. Things happen fast, and competitors must match that development speed or fall further behind over time.

The same is happening in the "new" tablet sector. Apple's iPad is only a year old and owns the tablet segment having sold millions. Android tablets are poised to make a move on the iPad; Samsung has already sold over a million Galaxy Tabs. The mobile space doesn't stand still, and Microsoft cannot use a two-year plan to get Windows for ARM going for the tablet segment. It's a tough game, but Microsoft is the company that is big enough and filled with enough talent to make a good run in mobile. It just better get started right now.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Windows


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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