Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

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.

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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: Operating Systems, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Windows

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45 comments
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  • Microsoft needs to emulate open source agile community development

    If they don't, they will lose.
    And they won't. So, they continue to fall behind and live on their laurels. That won't do for much longer as *everything* is changing around them at a frenetic pace.

    So long Microsoft. Bye bye. Tah tahh.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • Agile usually means quick HACK

      @Dietrich Sorry dude, but agile usually means spaghetti code generated by rushing out a hack.

      Very few developers actually have the ability to DESIGN on the fly. Even very experience people fail miserably at developing good, quality, maintainable and expandable products while trying to be "agile".
      wackoae
      • RE: Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

        @wackoae

        Do yourself a favour and Wikipedia agile development. "On-the-fly" is not a characteristic of agile development.
        andrewjg
      • Never had to deal with "agile" products??

        @andrewjg NT
        wackoae
    • Well, open source was important for Android, but, it was also necessary to

      to have a well know "cool" brand, and unlimited money to pay Google developers to crank out versions of Android at internet speed.

      I still can not wait to see what ChromeOS will finally be. The native client technology is going to catch people by surprise.
      DonnieBoy
      • Unfortuneately, Google is not that "cool" company

        @DonnieBoy
        Nor is Android considered a "cool" product by anyone I know.

        ChromeOS, will catch no one by surprise. I find the silence deafening in reference to ChromeOS.

        Not something that happens to a "cool" brand.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

        @DonnieBoy

        You can try ChromeOS now.
        Just install Ubuntu or any flavor of linux and browse with Chrome.
        live.tiles
  • Exactly, Microsoft is STILL reacting way too slowly, and needs to focus on

    a viable tablet and phone OS for next month, NOT in two years. The idea of using a lumbering, bloated, inappropriate desktop OS moving on a slow development cycle, as a strategy to compete with Android and iPad tablets is nothing short of insane.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

      @DonnieBoy

      Bloated? HARDLY, DonnieBoy. If Microsoft left out ALL the drivers that they include with Windows 7 dating back YEARS, the Windows directory would be MAYBE 8GB's in size. Not exactly what I call bloated, once you take that massive amount of drivers into account.
      Lerianis10
      • Wow, absolutely brilliant!! I suppose next year, all of the carriers will

        release full Windows 7 phones?? How are the sales going for those super slimmed down Windows 7 tablets going these days??
        DonnieBoy
      • Not exactly Windows 7, but

        Intel is talking about putting the next iteration of Windows, hoping it has a better name than Windows 8, on a phone. It seems as though, if that happens, this will be the proof that Microsoft can be agile.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

        @Lerianis10 Taking three years and two versions of your OS to slim down and scale is not agile! It's reactionary. Agility in the phone market is measured in updates over days and months not OS versions over years and decades. MS techs can probably keep up, but MS marketing is so exploitative of consumers it won't let them.
        Socratesfoot
      • Taking a desktop OS and putting it on a Phone

        Yell me which other company has their desktop OS on a phone. I'll wait.

        And no, I don't mean a desktop OS "that has been neutered".
        Michael Alan Goff
  • James: I think you will also see the desktop development cycles speed up.

    Google is about to introduce internet speed development cycles to desktop / notebook OSes with ChromeOS, at the same time that MS announces a TWO YEAR plan to bring Windows to Arm.

    The native client technology to run C/C++ applications in a tab on ChromeOS is going to catch everybody by surprise.
    DonnieBoy
    • c/c

      @DonnieBoy

      Sure, bring memory hog and hacker with that.
      FADS_z
      • Native client is really pretty cool code. It will give us intermediate code

        like Java, scan go illegal system calls, etc. It will be one of the safest ways to run compact, fast, C/C++ code.
        DonnieBoy
  • RE: Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

    Microsoft needs to A. create a UI that isn't BORING. B. Not emulate Apple in this lockdown, do what WE say attitude. C. Give us something other then a " ME TOO! " platform.
    They need stop morphing something they copied from others and start really innovating as they claim to do.
    But unfortunately until they shake up their upper management like a 9.0 earthquake ... this will not and can not happen. Balmer needs to take his golden parachute and jump ... new blood is needed or they will only have the WindowsOS platform and Office ... and even then they will become more and more irrelevant as tablets, shared (cloud) computing and mobile become the norm. When my 69 year old mother asks me to buy her a T-Mobile G2 for Christmas and knows nothing really of smartphones ... that is a telling sign.

    Also, Android has been around since October 22, 2008 ... math my friend ... it is what makes the universe tick. ;)
    benaaa12
    • Gravity...

      @ben@... is what makes the universe tick, my friend
      think about it
      Dum0nt
      • There is no gravity

        @5olo

        The earth sucks ;-)
        Economister
    • RE: Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

      @ben@...

      Microsoft copied who?
      Android looks like the iOS UI.
      Windows Phone 7 UI does not look like iPhone or anyone elses UI for that matter.
      Heck even RIM's Playbook looks like WebOS.
      jmiller1978