Will Windows Phone survive?
I suppose that's too simple a question. How about this - will Windows Phone 7 survive long-term? Will it compete toe-to-toe with iOS, Android and RIM? Will it overtake any of these and even dominate? If it has mediocre success how will Microsoft react? Do we even need Windows Phone 7?
I am genuinely interested in your responses, so be sure to comment either on the site or on Facebook.
Obviously I am going to be slightly biased, not because I owe anything to Microsoft but rather because I am already of a fan of the platform. But I am going to answer each of my questions below.
Will Windows Phone survive long term?
There is no doubt that Microsoft understands the importance of the mobile space. When they decided to completely reboot their mobile OS they did it with relative alacrity and with a singular focus. While it may feel like there was an eternity between Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone 7 there really was not. The point being that Microsoft feels motivated to make Windows Phone a success and is willing to throw resources at it, to that end. The only caveat here is Microsoft's definition of "success" for Windows Phone, or rather the disparity between their definition and ours.
Will it compete toe-to-toe with iOS, Android and RIM?
This is another question that depends on definition. By "compete" are we talking about technical capabilities or market share?
Technically, some would argue that Windows Phone does already compete with the leading platforms. I would agree to an extent but it depends on how you would intend to use the platform. I covered this off in my article from a couple weeks back. But considering what Windows Phone is today and what it will be in a 6 months or a year can make all the difference. The platform does very well today and Microsoft has already stated their plans to continually update (read: add features) to Windows Phone.
If we are talking about market share, perhaps it will be a heavy weight contender. I'll leave the rest of my answer for the next question.
Will it overtake any of these and even dominate?
Not right away. Again, given Microsoft's resources and desire for world dominance (I didn't say that out loud, did I?) there is no doubt they will certainly try to be a contender but I have no idea if they will succeed. All three mentioned are strong players with their own advantages. Windows Phone as it is today won't make much of a dent but if Microsoft were to continually update the OS based on user feedback it could become the best offering out there.
If it has mediocre success how will Microsoft react?
I don't think Microsoft will be be satisfied with a modicum of success. They have sunk enough money and corporate image into the OS that they will make it work. Don't believe me? Look at the history and current success of Windows, not to mention their ubiquitous server offering.
Do we even need Windows Phone?
You'll probably all have the most fun with this question. My own thinking is "SURE"! It can’t hurt to have another mobile platform to keep competition on its toes. I'm sure Apple and RIM would be more than happy to carve up the consumer market between them but that would most certainly lead to less innovation.
I suppose that's a more general need than specific to Windows Phone. Do we need Windows Phone in the market? Well, with its slick and fast UI, excellent email support and interesting music and gaming integration there are certainly going to be many people that do.
So, what do you think? Will Windows Phone survive, short or long term?
(I should point out that this article was written on a Windows Phone, specifically, my LG Quantum using the slide out keyboard.)