RIM and Microsoft in 2012: Obvious advantage goes to Microsoft

RIM and Microsoft in 2012: Obvious advantage goes to Microsoft

Summary: While Apple and Google enjoy success at the top, RIM and Microsoft are left trying to define their place in the smartphone world. IMHO, Microsoft has the advantage.


Once again, my fellow ZDNet blogger James Kendrick throws me a softball that I can't help but taking a whack at. James posted an article today stating that RIM has the advantage over Microsoft in the smartphone space and I just had to offer my opposing opinion on the matter. James focused on some inaccurate smartphone market share figures and a discussion on development changes in Windows Phone 8, but I think we need to look at Windows Phone 7's growth, not including the old Windows Mobile figures, the entire Microsoft/Windows Phone ecosystem, development opportunities, and mindshare of both platforms.

Windows Phone 7 growth continues

Windows Phone 7 obviously launched with 0% market share in October 2010 and the latest figures for Windows Phone show about a 2% market share. Yes, this is a small figure when compared to iOS and Android, shoot even when compared to RIM currently at about 7%, but if you look at the data the platform has showed slow growth since launch. With Nokia getting much more aggressive with marketing and carriers finally paying attention to Windows Phone, I think we will see this continue to grow.

There is some very encouraging news from outside the U.S. where Windows Phone has been better adopted, including seeing German growth double to 6% in the latest quarter, growth in Europe increase fivefold over the last year, and 7% market share in Norway where Windows Phone is now the 3rd platform.

Windows Mobile is obviously going down since Microsoft hasn't actively been selling those devices since mid-2010, but many market share statistics still include it when talking about Microsoft's mobile platform.

However, looking at RIM we see the opposite trend from what we see for Windows Phone. RIM had nearly 16% of the market at the end of 2010, but then fell down to 8.8% by the end of 2011 and analysts predict continued declines to 5%. How can this be an advantage to RIM?

Microsoft ecosystem

RIM has BBM and their BES, but has a weak consumer ecosystem when you look at media, gaming, and other functions while Microsoft has the Zune music and video service, Xbox Live gaming, Skydrive integration, native Office capability and so much more. I understand the enterprise is important, but as Apple has shown you also need to capture the consumer to succeed and Microsoft has the better chance here due to their vast resources and ecosystem.

3rd party apps and development opportunities

James covered the development changes that are coming with Windows Phone 8, but I disagree that it will be similar to BB 10 or even what Microsoft went through with Windows Mobile. Windows Phone 8 devices will be able to run existing Windows Phone 7 legacy apps. Microsoft has done a very good job of providing the tools and assistance needed to support developers and will continue through the WP8 transition. The move to a variation of WinRT for Windows Phone 8 means that developers will have the opportunity to create apps for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets. This seems like a much more attractive option to me than developing for a brand new RIM operating system. Given the wild success of the RIM PlayBook (obvious sarcasm here) and QNX-based OS (it is a slick OS), I am not sure what drives developers to RIM.

Also, if you look at the Windows Phone Marketplace you will find over 80,000 apps that easily beat out the capability and design of what you see in RIM's current lineup. Where is the attraction in developing for RIM?

What platform is attracting consumers?

A couple years back I saw family and friends picking up BlackBerry smartphones because they offered a nice messaging and data option right from the point of purchase. However, I now see people picking up Windows Phone due to the "flash" of the OS, games, and the power of the applications while I have not seen anyone I know buying a new BlackBerry smartphone. The only people I now know with a BlackBerry carry one because work issued it to them, but they also then have an iPhone or another phone for their own usage.

Microsoft still has a long ways to go to advertise and get the word out about Windows Phone, but I am sticking by my advice that you have to try it to "get it" and people I know that have tried it love it. Four of the five people in my own home are now using Windows Phone and NONE were forced to by me.

I will be defending my position that Nokia has the better turnaround position compared to RIM in next week's ZDNet Great Debate so stay tuned for that.

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Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, BlackBerry, Security, Software

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  • Typo error

    I think you meant Windows Mobile not Windows phone

    "Windows Phone is obviously going down since Microsoft hasn???t actively been selling those devices since mid-2010, but many market share statistics still include it when talking about Microsoft???s mobile platform."
    • Typo error

      Yes, I noticed that typo error too.
  • WP7 is showing incredible marketshare growth rates

    WP7 marketshare is growing about 100% per year. Fantastic growth. Spectacular growth. In fact, WP7 is growing its marketshare at a rate far greater than iOS or Android.

    Now, before anyone says "Yes Todd, but 100% growth in marketshare is much easier when you have very little to begin with. In order for iOS to get 100% growth in marketshare, they would need to go from their current 50% marketshare to 100% marketshare, something that is pretty much impossible."

    To which I would reply: Aha, now you see why everyone laughs at the Apple fanbois when they trot out OS X marketshare growth statistics.
    • 100% growth of 0 is still 0 (figure of speach)

      Mirosoft is delivering the slow painfull coup de grace to Nokia. the Lumira would have been Nokia's Beast Android phone. It's would have solld way more units hands down. It's would have been a hail mary pass for a TD. unfortunately the QB (windows phone) is not very good, and got sacked bad and will need to retire.

      Though I do aggree that RIM does have an edge over Nokia. It's so close to that edge it will fall anytime to it's doom before MS slowly does in Nokia.

      To spell it out. It's not a race to see who wins, but die first. In that race no one will die faster than RIM.
      • Spelling it out

        If you are going to spell it out, please use correct spelling (and grammar!) You must have a spell checker, or at the very least, a dictionary. No matter how valid your comments may be, when there are so many errors, it is hard to take you seriously!
        Painful, Lumia, Agree, etc.
  • It depends...

    It depends on which consumers loathe more, Microsoft as a brand or RIM as a outdated technology. It's a hard sell. (cell?) I would say the contempt of Microsoft is the same or more of a liability than the Blackberry feature limitations.
    • Since they don't loathe MS as a brand

      (as you quite obviously do) there is no "contempt" except for maybe in you're mind.
      Funny How MS always makes the list of most admired, or top tech brands, so the contempt you keep talking about really doesn't exist to the vast majority of people.

      Good try, though.
      William Farrel
    • based on 5 year old Blackberry

      That is RIM's core issue - people have no concept that while it looks similar to the Blackberry they used in 2006 things have improved. I can't fault anyone for thinking RIM now and BB10 are the same as a old Curve.

      They need better messaging / marketing. So to a degree Microsoft and RIM have the same issue.
  • I think we get your angle here

    Everyone should get rid of their current phones and buy a WP 7 phone, only to pay the ETF in six months, so they can buy a WP 8 phone... While we're at it should we also get on our knees and pray to Microsoft, like you obviously do?
    Jumpin Jack Flash
    • Awwwww.......

      Did mommy forget to feed you breakfast this morning and you are all cranky? Poor guy! Well anyway this article is a response to the article by his colleague that says RIM has the advantage and obviously you don't like it. He makes very valid points and I don't see anywhere where he is telling everyone to go buy a Windows Phone. Yes its his favorite platform, but I don't ever see him bashing others that much at all as he works with all the phones out there. You are just pissed off that he like WP7 and you can't stand that it is an awesome platform that threatens your idea of what a nice mobile platform is!
      • Good platform, poor control

        I like the interface on my focus better than any other phone I've used until the keyboard starting disappearing when I type. The fact they created a fix but the carriers aren't releasing it infuriates me. I thought Microsoft was going to control their updates through Zune the way Apple does with iTunes. When they gave up version control they gave me up as a customer.
      • It's aHype piece

        Meant to say 'Microsoft is the greatest ever". WP 7 is not better than anything. It's just a rehash of Zune, mixed with Kin. But since it's a Microsoft product, it's magically better than everything else...

        Edit: I noticed Miller has over looked the dislay "issues" with the Lumia 900...
        Also of note: The truth must hurt really bad as Now I'm being flagged for not spreading the Microsoft gospel...
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • And He's Actually Tried Them

        The big selling point for Matt is that he writes on mobile technology he has actually tried himself.
      • JJF's just mad

        WebSiteManager. Everything he's ever said is being thrown back in his face by people who actually know what they're talking about, and in direct contridiction to what he claimed.

        You can't walk around with the amount of egg on your face that Jumpin Jack Flash has without it starting to rot and stink.
        William Farrel
      • I agree, but Verizon is doing great with the HTC Trophy.....

        I am using a Trophy and I have had the update fix for about a month now and I agree not sure why Sprint and AT&T are slow to get on board. I think Verizon is the best carrier as far as update support goes and I am very happy with the Trophy as its basically flawless and rarely did I get the keyboard dissappear issue from the start, but now its never a problem since its been updated. I just don't think Microsoft has the kind of power over the carriers like Apple does to force them to do it. When you negotiate contracts and you want your products out there you have to let some things go and I suspect that was one of them, unfortunantly. Maybe someday that will change and I hope the Lumia 900 will do that for At&t.
      • Whats your point dude?

        @Jumpin Jack Flash
        I love my Zune HD and was a big reason I was looking forward to Windows Phone. And funny most that see it and try it like it alot and is why the Lumia 900 is selling well. Yeah there have been some issues as with every major smartphone released on the market today. Nokia is tackling the issues head on and not shoving them under the rug, so what is your point there? I rather see a company like Nokia, which is not perfect, take care of issues when they arise instead of ignoring and telling you to do something different with the device cause we won't fix it for you. Thats the kind of service you get from a company that their customers think is perfect and the company itself thinks its perfect and they just take full advantage of that fact and leave you high and dry!
      • OhTheHumanity

        "Yeah there have been some issues as with every major smartphone released on the market today."
        Yet there has bee a coverup of every incident relating to WP 7 since day One. There have been "Antenna-gate" issues, "Location-gate" issues, the Lumia 900 has had two or three issues since launch, in fact on poor sod is on his 6th phone, since launch. Yet that is being spun as demand for this crap phone.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Yeah, ok man......

        @Jumpin Jack Flash......You are obviously threatened by WP7 and WP8 and it shows very well with your scratching for some major issues. I have been using the HTC Trohpy for a year now and the phone is damn near flawless. No reboots, no lock ups, no app crashes, it just works every single time I need it to and doesn't skip a beat. Thats not the experience me and my girlfriend experienced from the iPhone and Android devices we both came from. My HTC Incredible was very solid, but even then I still got "force close" here and there and the Samsung Galaxy my girl switched to from the iPhone(which was so slow it wasn't usable but to make calls and needed rebooting about twice a day, all after an upgrade that caused it) would "force close" about 5 times a day. Nothing is perfect and we have been through the mix, so I think we have plenty of experience to comment on what works well and what doesn't. iPhone is great until you get deep into the upgrades and it starts slowing to a crawl, and Android is spotty depending on the manufacturer and the version of Android they cook up for it.
      • @Jumpin Jack Flash

        At this point, I would say that Microsoft is benefitting from being the little guy in the race. Everyone knows the iPhone, so telling about their flaws brings in hits. Fans of one side will come out, and so will detractors. The same is said of Android.

        I had an HTC Titan before I had to return it. I loved the OS, the phone left me wanting. It was after about the sixth different person I had called that asked me if I was 'in a tunnel', that I gave it back. It was a good experiment, but it had to end because I needed a phone that could make calls.

        But I think that Nokia can change this, if they really put their all into Windows Phones like they seem to be.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • No, my real issue is...

        "You are obviously threatened by WP7 and WP8 and it shows very well with your scratching for some major issues."
        The hypocrisy going on here. Apple gets flamed for an "issue" while the Microsoft Fanboys (Like Matt Miller) cover up their favorite platform's shortcomings. If WP 7 was truly that much better, I'd call out Apple to Step up their game. The HTC HD 7 had Antenna-gate issues, and HTC said the end uders were holding it wrong, Yet not one Peep from Miller, except for him to repeatedly say I Love Windows, and Microsoft. Microsoft was (and probably still is) actively tracking end users, without consent. There was a Lawsuit over it, and it was supposedly fixed by the "Man-goo" update. If Steve Jobs was right about "Antenna-gate", and it seems he was. ZDNet should print an apology. But we all know that's never going to happen, because Microsoft would never allow it to be printed. Instea we get hundreds of lame fluff pieces on WP 7 "The OS from Heaven". which turns out to be utter cap.
        Jumpin Jack Flash