Microsoft's Mobile Strategy

Windows Mobile might be coming to an end but Microsoft is not done with mobile. Mobile has become too important of a market for Microsoft to ignore.

Windows Mobile was a disaster. Not from bad software and hardware but from poor management and development. Microsoft never seemed to get great developer support for the platform, and the lack of hardware hurt. It was a great example of a good product, lots of capital, and terrible management.

Now Microsoft is doing what Google did 10 years ago to the iPhone. Develop their software for the most popular platform as a way to get people to switch. When the iPhone came out it was amazing. When Android followed it couldn’t compete. The iPhone was just a premium device.

So what did Google do?

They continued to work on Android and improve it, but they also released everything for the iPhone as well. Didn’t like Safari? Use Chrome. Don’t like Apple Mail? Use Gmail. Need to search? Use the Google App. The list goes on and on… Maps, Blogger, Adwords, Calendar, Drive. What ever feature or service that Google had to offer, they made sure it was available as an app or an integration with the iPhone.

Move forward a few years. Android becomes a more stable platform with a huge developer base and hardware is greatly improved. Loyal iPhone users are now looking at Android and saying they already use all their Google Services on their iPhone, wouldn’t it be better on an Android.

I’ve heard this a lot recently with people who have switched from iPhones. The hardware is just as premium, or even better in some cases. And many people are already using Google Apps and Google services for everything on their iPhone. What’s the difference?

This is Microsoft today. They don’t have the hardware or platform to compete with iOS or Android head on. So they are releasing everything they can for the platforms. Outlook, Word, Excel, Edge, Bing, Skype, Cortana are all available on the platforms. Microsoft even has a pretty great launcher for Android if you want to go full Microsoft on an Android phone.

In a few years, when Microsoft inevitable re-enters mobile hardware (Surface Phone maybe?), they will have a pretty compelling reason for people to switch. They can continue to build up the mobile use of their services even without controlling the platform right now.

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