“Just a few years ago, Microsoft looked like a real contender in the mobile-phone market. Its Windows Mobile operating system ran about a quarter of all smartphones as recently as 2004, and it was gaining ground on leaders like Nokia,” Cliff Edwards and Olga Kharif report for BusinessWeek. “Then Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion left the software giant in the dust.”
MacDailyNews Take: That RIM, with its antiquated BlackBerry OS, hopelessly outclassed by Apple’s iPhone OS, left Microsoft in the dust, shows how bad the situation is for lumbering Redmond.
Edwards and Kharif continue, “On Feb. 15, at a wireless industry conference in Barcelona, Microsoft will unveil its latest effort to get back into the game. The renamed Windows Phone operating system will ‘move the bar forward, not in an evolutionary way,’ promises Robert J. Bach, president of the company’s entertainment and devices division.”
MacDailyNews Take: Forgive us for not believing Microsoft when they promise anything, but especially when they vow to “move the bar forward.” We’ve heard it often, but never seen it, so confidence is low.
Edwards and Kharif continue, “Microsoft’s new software is much improved and has the advantage of easily handling word processing and spreadsheets sent from PCs. It will also be more integrated with the company’s Xbox game machine and Zune music player, so users can share music and videos among Microsoft devices. But that won’t solve another challenge the company faces in attracting customers. Independent software developers who create new applications for mobile phones have mostly ignored Microsoft and focused instead on the iPhone and Google-backed Android phones. Developers have cooked up more than 140,000 apps for the iPhone, available through Apple’s iTunes. There are about 800 available in Microsoft’s online mobile store, though the company estimates 20,000 applications will run on its mobile operating system.”
“Some industry analysts say the Redmond (Wash.)-based company should dramatically change course. It could opt to brand its own phone, like Google did, or strike a strategic partnership with a power player like Nokia. Several think it should make a major acquisition. “The logical thing for them to do would be to buy someone,” says Richard Doherty, co-founder of consultancy Envisioneering,” Edwards and Kharif report. “The most affordable choice would be Palm.”
MacDailyNews Take: Palm’s plan all along, as we’ve always said.
Edwards and Kharif continue, “But Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said he’s not interested, sources within the company say. ‘[Palm’s] brand equity isn’t what it once was,’ says one Microsoft executive who works on mobile initiatives.”
MacDailyNews Take: The hits just keep on coming! May Steve Ballmer remain Microsoft’s CEO for as long as it takes!
Edwards and Kharif continue, “Richard Doherty, co-founder of consultancy Envisioneering, says another possible target is Waterloo (Ont.)-based RIM… [But] the Microsoft source, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, says the company is not currently considering a RIM acquisition and is focused on its own internal efforts.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The day Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, Microsoft didn’t know what hit them and, from the sound of it, they still haven’t figured it out. As they dither, time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.