Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

Summary: Microsoft has reportedly sold 2 million Windows Phone 7 licenses, but the actual sell-through---consumers who actually purchase these smartphones---remains a mystery. Now NPD Group puts Windows Phone 7 market share at 2 percent of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter.

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Microsoft has reportedly sold 2 million Windows Phone 7 licenses, but the actual sell-through---consumers who actually purchase these smartphones---remains a mystery. Now NPD Group puts Windows Phone 7 market share at 2 percent of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter.

Clearly, Windows Phone 7 didn't light up sales dramatically. AT&T gave Windows Phone 7 a passing mention on its earnings conference call, but highlighted Research in Motion sales as strong. NPD reports that Windows Phone 7 devices debuted with 2 percent market share tied with Palm's WebOS. Microsoft's Windows Mobile market share fell 3 points to 4 percent. If you assume that Windows Phone 7 eclipses Windows Mobile, Microsoft will wind up with about 6 percent smartphone share in the next few quarters.

There are a few caveats with the Windows Phone 7 data that keep me---not to mention Microsoft honchos in Redmond---from hitting the panic button. First, the mobile OS landed in the middle of the fourth quarter. NPD's Ross Rubin noted that Windows Phone 7 landed in the middle of an Apple iOS-Android war. Simply put, Microsoft needs to build on its launch, add features and get partners to develop better hardware designs.

Microsoft officials have said Windows Phone 7 is a marathon not a sprint. But no matter how much Microsoft spins it, the company couldn't garner more share despite buy-one-get-one promotions at AT&T and T-Mobile. Microsoft needs some dramatic moves if it's going to stand out in a smartphone dominated by Android (53 percent of the smartphone market) and Apple and RIM (19 percent share each per NPD). NPD's bottom line: "Windows Phone 7 also entered the market with lower share than either Android or webOS at their debuts."

Nevertheless, ZDNet is beginning to wonder if Microsoft will be able to goose Windows Phone 7 adoption. Ed Bott asks whether Windows Phone 7 will get its grand opening and Matthew Miller wonders whether the OS will garner much usage.

So what can Microsoft do to give Windows Phone 7 more juice? Here are five suggestions:

Call Nokia and buy some market share. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop hinted last week that the phone maker is going to look into other operating systems. Most observers took those hints to mean that Nokia will go with Android devices in the U.S. The odds are good that Nokia will look at Android. Microsoft has to get into the mix at Nokia. In fact, Microsoft should pay heavily to get Nokia to use its operating system overseas. Nokia needs diversification and Microsoft needs distribution. Microsoft will have to pay to play.

Get better hardware. Let's face it---Microsoft partners aren't inspiring a lot of gadget lust with the Windows Phone 7 hardware designs. The software giant needs to dangle more carrots to get cutting edge designs. Windows Phone 7 is a fine operating system, but hardware is a big part of the smartphone buying decision.

Launch a Windows Phone 7 tablet already. Microsoft has built an app ecosystem fairly quickly and many of those Xbox games would look good on a larger screen. Add it up and Windows Phone 7 has the interface, Office hooks and characteristics to work well on a tablet. Instead, Microsoft keeps pitching Windows 7 tablets. Give Windows Phone 7 away. It's hard to compete with Android, which is free. Microsoft should just give Windows Phone 7 to carriers to level the playing field. If Microsoft really wants to be bold it should open source Windows Phone 7. Hell may freeze over if Windows Phone 7 went open source, but it's hard to think of a bolder move for Microsoft.

Focus on feature phones. How many smartphone operating systems do we need? Microsoft could grab more share by focusing on feature phones---the largest part of the phone market. This focus on feature phones could also be ramped in emerging markets such as India, Brazil and China.

Will Windows Phone 7 conquer the smartphone world? Probably not. But with a few breaks Microsoft could get some respectable share, say 10 percent or so.

Related:

Topics: Android, Google, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Windows

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137 comments
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  • It's too late for CPR. The patient is already dead

    Windows Phone 7 has been dead for some time now. No point trying resuscitation. It's gone.
    Vbitrate
    • Yes, most of the suggestions are for MS to buy their way in, rather than

      innovate. iPhone and Android are generating all of the excitement because they have been innovating their arses off for the past years, while MS sat on their arses not listening to customers.

      Get this, MS is still publicly saying that full Windows is their tablet strategy.
      DonnieBoy
      • Ironic that WP7 is the innovative mobile OS then

        @DonnieBoy
        Sorry, but WP7 is the most innovative OS design. If you actually used it you would know that.

        Android and iOS are retreads of PalmOS and WinMo.
        dazzlingd
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @dazzlingd : yeah right. And Microsoft created multitouch with Windows 3.11. Please get real. iOS created a whole category of phones light years smarter than Palm, easier to use than Windows Mobile and all in a slimmer more attractive shell than either one.

        Later came Android, which started looking like BlackBerry but rapidly morphed into something <i>iIsh</i>, but with the power of Linux.

        Today, Microsoft tries to regain ground in something they have always sucked big time, and that is, being the first ones on the block with something. Metro is way too innovative to be sustainable at Microsoft just as Surface was and let's not forget, Courier.

        The extremely long delay that WP 7.01 is taking doesn't speak very well of the remaining team at WP. It seems to me that, this baby is Internet Explorer 6 all over again.
        cosuna
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @DonnieBoy

        Essentially WP7's success is measured by the hysteria of the trolls. If you use one, you'll love it, unless you are really married to a crowded desktop UI filled with static icons. A phone OS created by a real software development company is always going to be better than one designed by marketing and advertising companies. But don't believe me, try one. Even the trolls can't find anything to say except for whining about the aesthetics of live tiles (yes I know it's a shock, that they update)

        I really don't care about sales - 2 million is fine. I currently have the best phone on the market, supported by the company that makes my OS and the majority of my software and it integrates seamlessly with business and play.

        If others refuse to see the advantages, it's their loss. Facts are always troublesome for ideologues.
        tonymcs@...
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @DonnieBoy Funny comment. Windows Phone 7 makes the iPhones I have had look like they were dead a century ago. Windows Phone 7 is significantly more innovative than iOS, which is still a computer OS, with apps and all kinds of silliness.

        Oh, and I can safely read my Amazon-purchased books on my Windows Phone 7, who knows what I can read on my iPhone next time Steve Jobs gets the idea that he'll ban something. Like Sony eBooks or Amazon Kindle.
        terjeb@...
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @tonymcs

        "A phone OS created by a real software development company is always going to be better than one designed by marketing and advertising companies."

        Well wouldn't a phone and the phone OS created by a real hardware and software development company be even better based on this line of thinking?

        "Facts are always troublesome for ideologues." Kind of like what you just did with that comment above. Implying that Apple is a marketing company and Google is an advertising company.

        WP7 is a nice first start for MS in this market. It just needs time to mature a little and get to the same spot as iOS and Android.
        yoshipod
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @DonnieBoy
        Actually, I think the operating system UI is attractive and slick, and I like the Xbox and Zune integration....but I agree that gaining any market traction will be difficult, maybe impossible for the platform, and may not be commercially successful.

        I guess we'll see. A tie up with Nokia would help, but those cats in Finland have the Symbian anchor tied around their necks in a suicide embrace, and some new Linux tablet OS, Meego, with no hint they're letting go. (In the long run, Nokia is doomed if they keep on that path.)
        Theseus
    • WP7 is not dead, it's on life support

      @zndac ... and Microsoft can keep it there forever. They can flush 20 billion down the toilet on this thing, just to be able to say 'me too', and that money will come out of the hide of the shareholders, not that they give a damn about the shareholders. If they did, they'd fire half the company tomorrow and only do what makes money.
      HollywoodDog
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @HollywoodDog

        Yep, ethics, quality and pursuit of excellence are nothing to only doing what makes money. One GFC obviously isn't enough for you.
        tonymcs@...
      • And you should know about life support

        HollywoodDog, your posts have been on it for so long most people here don't really take what you say seriously.
        You're a shill, a troll, or maybe even both, but worth listening to...

        Not really, but thanks for playing! :)
        John Zern
      • Don't listen to me...

        @HollywoodDog ... listen to a stock chart comparing MSFT to AAPL since 1/1/2000. Also read annual reports, quarterly earnings and 10Q's.
        HollywoodDog
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @tonymcs
        "Yep, ethics, quality and pursuit of excellence are nothing to only doing what makes money. One GFC obviously isn't enough for you.

        tonymcs@??
        Dude you me a new keyboard, I had a mouthful of coke when I read that. How could anyone use terms like ethics, quality and pursuit of excellence, in relation to Microsoft? Microsoft has been proven to be ethically challenged, quality ignorant, and the sponsor of the race to the bottom. :D
        Rick_K
    • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

      @zndac

      Troll
      JABBER_WOLF
    • WP7 is doing fine, but MS could improve sales

      @zndac,

      WMPoweruser.com reports from time to time, when prospective customers go to stores (T-Mobile in particular - e.g. see <a href=http://wmpoweruser.com/microsoft-vs-sales-rep/>here</a>), they are encouraged to buy Android phones instead of WP7 devices. MS could address this situation by driving customers in TV and other old media ads, to favor getting their handsets on the web, rather than in physical stores. Also WP7 old (and new) media ads, should strike at the heart of why WP7 devices are better than the competition. I believe MS should probably also invest in infomercials, that show off the devices extensively, and make the case why WP7 devices are better than the competition.
      P. Douglas
      • Re: MS should probably also invest in infomercials

        @P. Douglas

        The question is, should they get 'Vince', the guy known for the Slap Chop, Shamwow, and beating up hookers to pitch it? Or maybe Ron Popeil, known for hair-in-a-can and the Showtime Rotisserie cooker? The pickin's are slim, now that Billy Mays is no longer with us...

        Joey
        voyager529
      • Those pitchmen are interesting...

        @P. Douglas ... Microsoft is a company that doesn't like interesting. It likes bland nature shots and zoomed out photos of generic looking people jumping. This was a company afraid to advertise on Seth McFarlaines half-hour live show because the jokes scared them. You think they're going to talk to Vince from Sham-Wow?
        HollywoodDog
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @P. Douglas
        For the most part I agree. I think their commercials don't show off the features as well as they should. I'd like to see them show off one comparing the WP7 camera quick button next to and iPhone and Android phone while they're loading their camera. An infomercial might be a bit much though.
        Darkninja962
      • RE: Microsoft needs to jump start Windows Phone 7; Here are five suggestions

        @P. Douglas
        Nice try, but you are going to use a Fanboy website as a reference? I thin the blog author has a valid point, many of the Zunephones are not well made devices (the hardware is junk). For people like me, junk hardware is always a show stopper. I have played with a few Zunephones, and to be honest I do not like the UI, but then again I absolutely hate the ?ribbon? interface in Office 2007 too.
        Rick_K
    • I love the smell of troll in the morning

      N/T
      Michael Alan Goff