Do I Have Hope for Windows Mobile?

I ask this question for myself. I'm sure that there's plenty of hope for Windows Mobile as a platform. It will likely be around for a long time. I'm not a tech blogger who foresees some kind of technocratic future where one platform will win and everybody will use it. I don't think one size will ever fit all. Perhaps the pie charts will shift from time to time indicating that one platform will have more market share than others. Maybe new platforms will rise and fall, but I see Windows Mobile, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Symbian being around for a long time.

Jason Dunn recently went to Mobius. He includes some discussion about Windows Mobile in his write up. Good news seems to be that the Windows Mobile team is finally starting to see power users as a significant percentage of their market share. According to Jason's account, whenever a "power user" gave the Windows Mobile team advice or put in a feature request, their reaction was "Oh, he's a power user. That can't be what 'normal users' want." The feature was then discarded. I don't know many "normal users" who would put up with the frustration of Windows Mobile. Just about everybody I know (there are a couple of exceptions) who uses Windows Mobile knows what a pain in the ass it is, but sticks with the platform anyway because it is hackable and there are plenty of 3rd party applications available. For the most part, without the customizability and extensive developer network, Windows Moblie really isn't worth the frustration.

Jason included this paragraph in his write up:

"So what does Microsoft want to see happen in this market? They want
Windows Mobile to be the most-demanded mobile platform – they want
consumers to walk into a carrier store and ask for a Windows Mobile
phone. This is the same thing they've wanted for years though, and it's
a tough goal to reach because Microsoft does so little direct the
marketing of Windows Mobile. When Samsung or Motorola advertise their
phones, the fact that it has Windows Mobile is typically downplayed.
The hardware makers focus on selling their hardware, and the software
is an afterthought. What Microsoft needs to do is make their software
so great, so wow-inducing, that the hardware makers want to promote it
because they see it as an asset."

This is probably a result of Microsoft's strategy: make the operating system with a few utilities, then leave it to somebody else to build the hardware and leave it yet to somebody else to write software for it. Unfortunately, the hardware maker is trying to sell hardware and could care less about the operating system.

I've said before that I think the biggest problem with Windows Mobile is that there are so many hands in the pot and nobody wants to take responsibility for anything.

I would love to see Microsoft make software so "wow inducing" that hardware vendors see it as an asset.


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