Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Somewhere between Heaven and Hell. Will Windows Phone ever escape Purgatory?

Windows Phone 7*: It's good, but not quite good enough to truly excite the market. Between-ness is not the best place to be right now.

ALLTHINGSD STORY on new Windows Phone boss>>

Microsoft's smartphone market share: how low can it go? How much longer can limbo last?

Purgatory is defined in some religions as being an "intermediate state" between the final paradise and the burning pains of hell. I have a feeling this is where you can find the Windows Phone project team at the moment.

Windows Phone is a certainly a solid mobile operating system. I do like it a lot. But its only major flaw is a zinger: almost zero market share. Literally. It's market share of the smartphone business is less than 1% and possibly less than half a percent. The truth is, few people really know where WP7* stands as Microsoft isn't talking in much detail about real-world unit numbers, and that's rarely a good sign.

So, the signal now is that Microsoft has put in a new head of the Windows Phone unit, replacing Andy Lees with Terry Myerson, a VP-level engineer within the phone group. Such changing of the guards tends to indicate that all is not well.

Microsoft's mobile global platform market share including both Windows Mobile and Windows Phone devices is now below 2%, down from around 14% it reached in 2008.

Windows Phone 7 and Mango and tango and zango and wango and whatever don't seem to be doing much to change the trajectory for MS: yesterday NPD reported that Android and iOS now have more than 80% of the U.S. smartphone market. This must be hell for Microsoft as it's no newcomer to market: it's a veteran whose been around in smartphones longer than Google and Apple combined.

Judgement day for Windows Phone is soon upon us: any year now we'll now if it will be heaven or hell for Microsoft's mobile team. Best of luck. I think you'll make it.

Is this the Windows Phone team?
A depiction of purgatory by Venezuelan painter Cristóbal Rojas.

(Image copied from Wikipedia)

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