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Monday, October 11, 2010

Big day for Microsoft,Microsoft Mobile: Impressive and Unique

It’s a big day for Microsoft. The company had to step up and show the world that that innovation is still alive at Microsoft. The company was compelled to show it has both the talent and the fortitude to extend its dominant desktop and .NET platform and services effectively, cleanly and seamlessly to consumers and enterprise mobile. I have to admit I was skeptical, but my initial impressions are positive about what I’ve seen so far.
In an earlier post I discussed some of the more critical items I think Microsoft needed to address today. Let’s take a look how the company did.
  1. A blistering cool user interface that gets people talking.  Score 8 out of 10. The Interface seems very fast (we have no hands-on experience yet)  thanks in part to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1Ghz processor coupled with the multi-thread application environments in its new and unique application hub architecture. My one itch remains the square box icons that seem so 1980’s. I think Microsoft should worry less about mimicking Apple’s rounded icon look and just go ahead and use it.
  2. Socially seamless consumer experience.  Score 10/10. Twitter, Facebook, location, mapping, it’s all there – bravo. I think consumers will find this integration to make their mobile experience simple, intuitive and easy. Almost a no-brainer.
  3. Mobile Cloud solution for small business – Score 5/10. Sure, Microsoft Office is extended quite nicely into Windows Mobile 7, but I think the company really missed an opportunity to package up a suite of applications that speaks directly to the small business market. It will be interesting to see what routes Microsoft takes to create vertical applications and IT management tool packages for some of its major verticals including, but not limited to, Financial Services, Retail and Healthcare.
  4. Tools that allow IT to more easily embrace the consumerization of IT. Score 2 out of 10. Microsoft did virtually nothing to up its ante here. The OneNote find phone, wipe phone is a welcome addition for consumers, but I think the company missed an opportunity to launch with some enterprise business differentiation. Much of the launch feels, to me, a bit too consumer focused.
  5. A large application warehouse that has great developer incentives. Score 5 out 10. Microsoft didn’t hurt or help itself here. Most developers tell me it’s far easier to develop in the .NET environments, but with all the momentum on other platforms, the question remains how many developer converts we will see.
Overall, Microsoft scored a 6 out of a possible 10 against the items that I believe are critical to get its mobile share out of the dumpster. The carrier and handset manufacturer’s partners are strong. Content partners like Electronic Arts, a good first step. But all of these were table stakes, not differentiators.
Microsoft accomplished a major feat. It is back, it is innovating and it is very serious about becoming a contender in mobile.

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