Back in 2007 Mary Jo Folie wrote a book called ‘Microsoft 2.0′ about how Microsoft would develop after Bill Gates. It?s taken a while for any really big changes to affect Microsoft which is why I think the real 2.0 version is only now about to emerge. Forbes recently announced that there are now more Windows phones being sold in China than iPhones. It?s not quite the coup it might seem since it?s mainly to do with Apple not supporting SCDMA, one of the standards for phones there.
However despite how the world seems today the mobile world is subject to change at short notice. Microsoft does look set to come back big in mobile, especially for tablets and here is why I think so.
Windows RT – Can in make a big splash?
Many of the world?s ODM and OEM manufacturers are attracted to Android for its ability to give them a mobile O/S for free. However even though the Android OS does not cost anything it does not come with a support program. For tablets many of the apps are really focused on smartphones and have been ported rather than designed. In addition there are also still variations between versions of Android and it is sometimes customized by each of the manufacturers.
Enter Microsoft. Although they charge for the O/S I have heard ODM manufacturers say to me that it?s starting to look like value for money. First of all Microsoft has something called WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs, pronounced ?wikkle?). Somehow despite the many thousands of different components used in PC?s Microsoft managed to come up with a system that tested them and approved them to work with their O/S. This approval became invaluable to manufacturers as it gave them the security of knowing that WHQL approved components would work. Presuming that Microsoft will offer WHQL for Windows RT this is a very attractive prospect for those building smartphones and tablets.
Secondly BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) may be popular amongst users but it is not welcomed by IT departments. Buying and using your own smartphone or tablet for work saves corporations money but causes them support headaches and security issues. Microsoft?s commitment to offer network and corporate security to mobile platforms is going to be huge for them. If your boss offers you a free tablet as part of your employment (with Windows) versus you buying your own and asking to have it supported ? which will you take?
Lastly Microsoft Office with touch screen, see this demo with Office Casual, will complete the ?three points of preference? for Windows RT based mobile devices. Whilst the video for Office Casual isn?t compelling to me I see no reason why it cannot be developed and improved upon. Having a seamless Office experience across my phone, tablet and PC is attractive, obviously. Outlook also makes managing multiple email addresses easy, another attraction.
If all this is correct then who will be the big winner with Microsoft mobile? Well given their closeness amongst executives and trusted position with Fortune 500 corporations and their history and position in mobile the company in pole position seems to me to be Nokia. All being well we face a future with strong, healthy competition in the mobile world and that?s a good thing for everyone.
About the Author
Roy Taylor is a veteran executive in the tech industry. Roy was one of key executives at NVIDIA, creating and leading divisions in the company which drove the company to its leadership status. The start of NVIDIA in EMEA region, developer relations, The Way Its Meant To Be Played program, Telecom Relations (first Tegra design wins) were all driven by a charming Englishman who discovered his second youth in both sides of California. Currently serves as Executive Vice President and General Manager of MasterImage 3D and his vision is to bring glassless 3D to our hands in the forms of tablets and smartphones. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Techhollyood and via his new Twitter account.