Microsoft: Desktop Product Cycle is Too Long for Mobile Products

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.