Windows phone will, no doubt, have cool integration with exchange, sharepoint, and office web apps. I've seen the demos. Really, it's great stuff. but it's too little, too late. Our friends over at ZDNet Asia suggest that "Microsoft [is] 'more than capable' of competing with iPhone, Androids". I beg to differ.
The article quoted an analyst who was skeptical but really missed the point:
"All of the ingredients are present but Windows Phone 7's success depends on whether Microsoft can bring these together in a stable, high performance package," the analyst said.
Nonsense -- It all depends on whether anyone gives a crap if their phone runs Windows and is super happy playing nice with a Microsoft ecosystem. Not many people know or care that iPhones run a stripped down version of the Mac OS and very few realze that they are running Linux when they buy android. It's the phone, features, apps, and network all coming together that grabs users.
Now that iPhone and Android are finding serious success in the enterprise, largely forced by worker demand, Windows Phone may barely reach relevance. Windows might remain the dominant OS on the desktop in the enterprise and office 2010 may continue to rock out loud. Sharepoint might even give a great platform for collaboration. But if RIM has taught us anything with their struggles, it's that the phone is now far more integral to everything we do, rather than just being a communication or messaging platform. It's an anytime, anywhere extension of our digital lives, all of which happens on the Net, negating the need for one more corporate phone
Will XBox integration make it important? Maybe, but that's generally a pretty limited demographic. iPhone reaches a vastly broader demographic than XBox Live. Android (though to a lesser extent than iOS) transcends demographics because of great features in the OS and awesome phones from the OEMs that have gotten behind Android.
Windows Phone will neither have the tight, seamless experience ensured by Apple's similarly tight, seamless ecosystem, nor will it have the customizability and flexibility of Android. Sure, it will have the Windows brand behind it, but that doesn't mean what it used to. People are far more wedded to their phones than their PCs, leaving Windows Phone out in the cold.
Perhaps more importantly, while Windows Phone could make some real inroads in the enterprise, where Sharepoint integration already looks quite compelling, especially for highly mobile workers, Redmond is trying to be everything to everyone. Xbox Live integration is not a selling point in the enterprise and serious gamers would rather be on a console rather than trying to rank up achievements on their phones. Besides, the games for iOS and Android are very good. Where does that leave Windows phone? A highly capable mobile OS with entrenched, passionate users of other equally (if not more) capable phones.
Go ahead, ask an iPhone user if they'd give up their iPhone for a Windows Phone. I dare you. Android users won't be willing to give up their mobile OS or hardware either, although a surprisingly large number would jump ship to an iPhone if it didn't live on AT&T's network.
Seriously, Microsoft...if you want to do consumer, let's have a new XBox (not just a thinner one with wannabe Wii accessories). If you want do do enterprise, keep cranking out the great desktop and server software (with Office 2010, Windows 7, Sharepoint 2010, Server 2008, and Exchange 2010, I can say that with a completely straight face). Mobile belongs to Apple and Google.