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Microsoft’s Detailed Plan to Rule the Mobile World with Nokia, RIM, and Skype

11 May 20119 comments Android, inneractive, iPhone, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Industry, Nokia

If anyone can make a comeback in the mobile industry, it’s the software giant, Microsoft. That is all very nice in theory, but the question remains, can the world’s largest software company ever come back from the Windows Mobile operating system and leave a real mark on this space? The answer, we believe, is yes, and Microsoft is making all the right moves.

Let’s rewind a few years back. Microsoft has a complete monopoly on various industries such as computer’s operating systems (Windows), word processing software (Office), and many more. However, when it comes to mobile, Microsoft, despite its nice size Windows Mobile community, has pretty much always been the underdog. In addition, even before iOS and Android, Windows Mobile was a mess.

However, Microsoft did not give up and despite the challenges in completely revamping an operating system, especially with the corporate culture of such a huge corporation, they did it, and did it well. The new Windows Phone 7 (they can work a little on the name) is by all standards a fresh and attractive mobile operating system.

Without going into too many details, if you have played around with a Windows Phone 7, you were most likely impressed by the tile UI and the ability to access almost all your information on the home screen. Of course, the fact that Microsoft partnered with leading hardware manufacturers who created superior devices for the new Microsoft OS helps as well. OK, so Windows Phone 7 is the foundation Microsoft will build its strategy upon, and if the company plays its cards right, the strategy will lead to mobile dominance…

Moving along, a nice OS is a great thing and definitely something needed in today’s mobile arena, but what about distribution and hardware? Well, Microsoft has done the impossible, and if I had told you a few years back that Nokia phones would come with a version of a Windows OS, you probably, no scratch that, definitely would have laughed at me. But Microsoft pulled it off and Nokia will be offering all its high end smartphone devices with the new Windows Phone 7 OS. How is that for distribution? With this move, Microsoft killed two birds with one Finnish stone. The new OS will not only be installed on millions of devices worldwide, but it will also gain the expertise in hardware manufacturing that Nokia is so famous for. Nice play, Microsoft!

If you ask me, the new Windows Phone 7 OS combined with the strengths of Nokia would have been enough to bring Microsoft to the major leagues, but the company did not stop there.

What came next was a surprise to all. Last week’s BlackBerry World event was full of surprises but when the Microsoft CEO all of a sudden appeared on the RIM stage, the Twitter stream went nuts. What was he doing there? Was Microsoft about to expand its portfolio and buy RIM? Not so fast. Ballmer was there to announce that all BlackBerry devices would from here on in, come with Bing Search and Maps as the default providers. Talk about Microsoft spreading its wings.

So now we have a new and impressive OS, a partnership with the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer as well as a new and exciting joined initiative with the company behind the wildly popular BlackBerry brand.

Sounds like a lot of hardware to me, what about apps and software? I mean, let’s be honest here, no one cares about hardware anymore, otherwise we would be using Motorola RAZRs and not 4 inch devices with almost no design element. The name of the game today is software, apps, and more apps.

Well putting aside the tremendous efforts Microsoft is making with its developer community, Microsoft apparently took a look at the mobile software landscape and realized that the future is VOIP. Voice over IP technology is something people have been talking about for years, but today, it has pretty much become a reality. If someone were so inclined, they would literally never have to pay for a phone call again.

Take an iPhone user for example. If you have an iPhone and want to call you friend for free, just open Viber. Your friend doesn’t have Viber? Do they have Facebook? Then use the Vonage iPhone app. No Facebook? Try NetTalk to call for free in the US. Not in the US? Use Skype. Well someone over at Microsoft apparently figured out that Skype, with its 600 million active users and $860m revenue is an entity the company wants and needs.

So, yesterday morning, the company announced it will be acquiring the VOIP industry leader for a staggering $8.5 billion dollars, which is apparently more than double what any of the other potential buyers were offering.

Now the Web is full of speculations about what Microsoft intends to do with Skype, but based on the company’s previous moves, it seems very obvious to me, that this was just another humongous move to dominate the mobile space. If Microsoft integrates Skype into its own large line of products, including Windows Phone 7, it will not only compete with iOS’ Facetime and Android’s new Google Talk video functionality, it will blow them out of the water.

If I am reading this correctly and if Microsoft makes the right moves, there is no doubt that the predictions of the new OS taking off will come true in no time. However, there is something that must be emphasized. At last week’s AppsMania event, the Motorola representative said something that made a huge impression on the crowd. While Motorola might be a huge corporate entity, the new Mobile department is as he called it a “new small startup company”.

In today’s super competitive mobile market, there is no room for dragging feet and corporate culture. Microsoft has to move and move fast if they want to fulfill their mobile ambitions and reach their goals. Microsoft has not been known for fast pace decisions in the past, but judging them based on the past few months, they have figured out how this game is played.

Just to throw one more thing in there, I wonder if Microsoft’s investment in Facebook will play any part of this plan, what do you think?

At inneractive, we are betting on Microsoft and the new Windows Phone 7 OS, and that is why we released our new SDK for the platform, which is state of the art and can be integrated into any Windows Phone 7 app is less than one minute. Don’t believe me? Watch the video here!

If you are a developer who makes apps for other platforms, you might want to consider porting them over to the new Microsoft platform. You will not be one app of 300,000 like on iOS and Android! You will be getting in early and be able to leave your mark on a new and fresh platform that all signs indicate will be exploding over the next few years.

Sign up for inneractive here, won’t take you more than 30 seconds.

What are your impressions of Microsoft and its newly found aggressive mobile strategies? Are they on their way to huge success or will they disappoint in the long run?

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
In addition, to sign up with inneractive and start monetizing your free apps now, click here.

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Comments

  1. ania May 11, 2011

    "I mean, let’s be honest here, no one cares about hardware anymore, otherwise we would be using Motorola RAZRs and not 4 inch devices with almost no design element."

    Seriously? First off, design != hardware. Secondly, OF COURSE we care about hardware, hence the spec porn each time a new Nexus/iPhone comes out (and actually, hence the 4" screens :P). And finally, design != flashy 80s scifi wannabe. I'd say design is just as important as ever, if not more, because of Apple's influence on the market.

  2. hilzfuld May 11, 2011

    Ania, as much as I respect your opinion on mobile matters, and you know I do, I have to disagree here. Hardware is less and less significant nowadays. I do not hear anyone talking about processors and screen resolutions besides geeks like me and you. What most consumers talk about when buying a mobile device is how many apps the accompanying app store has… I think apps are becoming more and more mainstream and hardware less and less relevant. Thanks for reading and commenting though. :)

  3. Mark Jonson May 11, 2011

    I think there are merits to both of your arguments. I've never gone into an AT&T or Verizon store and overheard the customers asking about screen resolution, supported Bluetooth profiles, dual-core processors, or other hardware specs of phones, in 2004 or in 2011. The only mobile phone hardware specs that ever truly matter to mainstream consumers in the past decade were the camera and a color screen, both of which any phone on the market would have (sans a few camera-free models for companies with strict camera policies).

    Design, on the other hand has always mattered. That's why the iPhone was appealing to so many consumers before the App Store was launched. It's why the Motorola RAZR was so popular, despite having almost identical hardware (RAZR added a color external screen) to the more traditional Motorola "Triplet" series (V300, V400, V600). And it's even what made the Motorola V60 and StarTAC so appealing in their days.

    All that being considered, it is apps and ecosystems that are driving the smartphone market, which is quickly overtaking feature phones to the point that there won't be a real feature phone market in the US, Canada, and Western Europe in a few more years. It has arguably happened already. But as far as specs go, consumers have never cared about anything below the surface. They care if it takes pictures, but not at what resolution. They cared if it had polyphonic or MP3 ringtone support, but didn't have the know-how or patience to make their own ringtones rather than pay $2.49 for a 30 second clip of a song that can be bought for 99 cents on Amazon.com, iTunes, or Zune. Mainstream electronics consumers are interesting, in that they think they know what they want, but for those of us who are more experienced it becomes easy to see that they really don't. Regardless of that fact, the majority of today's smartphone purchases in the US aren't being made by tech geeks anymore. Consumers don't care that Android is open-source just as much as they didn't care that Windows Mobile ROMs were as plentiful before iOS and Android came on the scene. Most mainstream mobile phone users buy whatever the carriers will sell them, with bloatware and locked-down ROMs; and they deal with it. Just as Apple provided freedom from the carrier-controlled update cycle in 2007, if Microsoft can make their platform the premier media smartphone, they will have the smartphone market in the bag. I'd say they are already beating Android in that realm with the Zune Pass and Netflix already here today. They're beating Apple on MobileMe with their free Windows Live Devices service. If Microsoft can compete with FaceTime and get the OS on par with Android and iOS as far as background tasking and APIs go, this will happen.

  4. Mark May 11, 2011

    first off I really respect your opinion. You have one of the first blogs that I have seen that actually voices an opinion not only copy pastes stuff from the giants.

    Regarding this I have to disagree and I can explain why. Yes Windows Phone 7 has a very very nice UI. BUT that is where it stops. If you look at functionality you can get more out of an old Nokia E71 than the new win7 phones. So even if they buy up the world they will not be a player just like they are not one now. Not until they put out an OS that actually works because that is what people buy. When I picked up my first Mac the first reaction I had was "wow it just works…" – that was coming from windows XP. I had the same experience with the iPhone and with my Android (and yes the UI of the win7 phone is much nicer than the Android UI (I still have hope in Android 3) but you just can not use them. So buying Skype is huge and yes they are trying, The deal with Nokia is also huge but once people really get the feel of Win7 Phone get ready for a lot of second hands on ebay… If Microsoft makes an OS that is both nice and just works then with the hardware from Nokia and the extra's like Skype then they could become the powerhouse they should be in the mobile market.

  5. popo May 15, 2011

    Microsoft will eventually destroy themselves in the mobile arena by pushing every brand they have at the consumer, and thinking more about leverage than about what the consumer wants.

    Today's mobile consumers have options. (And to be clear: The vast majority are currently choosing *not* to go with Microsoft). Microsoft seems patently unaware that the "Windows" brand does not signify positive things with mobile consumers. Nor do "Word" or "Explorer", "Windows Media Player", etc. These things are seen as slow, bloated, memory intensive, and riddled with security holes.

    If Microsoft wants to win in the mobile Arena, they need fight a one-front war: Just push the platform. Period. Stop pretending it's 1997 and trying to leverage the platform to push every other product under the Microsoft umbrella.

  6. Carlos May 17, 2011

    Whoever wrote this article must work for MicroSoft. MicroSoft in the mobile arena is DEAD in the water and I seriously doubt that buying Skype will change that. I have seen people rebooting their windows phone because it locked just like the windows PC frequently do. Android and IOS are kicking butts. As far as Nokia goes, their stock went down the very same day they announced windows on their mobiles and their stocks have not recovered.

    • hilzfuld May 17, 2011

      Thanks for the comment Carlos, but I do not work for MSFT, I work for a much cooler company, inneractive, but thanks for reading… :)

    • APrasad June 7, 2011

      @carlos.. your opinion is very well respected but.. phew.. what gave you the tiniest idea that microsoft is dead in the mobile platform..?? android and ios kick butt??

      the windows market place is the fasting filling marketplace.. in fact faster than what android or ios ever was.. the OS is a highly polished one with a marvellous UI.. and moreover a very secured OS unlike Android.. Android is and always been a great OS.. but a very unstable and less secure one.. and iOS.. lack of functions.. lack of freedom..

      @hilzfuld.. a very nice article.. one of the few articles that see the giant opportunity of MS,Nokia dominating the mobile market.. unlike the major android-obsessed world.. keep it up :)

  7. Guy Borgford September 6, 2011

    Personally I think Windows Mobile should go straight for the enterprise jugular and focus on business users. Make phones efficient offices on the go and integrate seamlessly with Office docs, Adobe and others and allow users to toggle between office and personal mode. RIM is dying and there's going to be a huge hole in enterprise.

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