Reading about all the smartphone news these days, I cannot help to come to conclusion that ultimately it’s coming down to three major players Apple, Microsoft and Google. I mean it’s not that hard to see, is it? And I am not talking about the hardware. No sir. I am talking about the more lucarative software side of things : the OS, third party applications, media, cloud etc. Why Microsoft? You might be thinking. Read along to find out why I think so.
Let’s begin with the big daddy of all, the Apple. It is indeed in a very safe position right now. What with 68% tablet market share ,cool profit margins on its hardware, healthy iPhone sale and awesome app system. It’s going to be here for long time.Period. Get over with it. But Apple’s ecosystem is tightly integrated with its hardware. So unless Apple allows third party access to its ecosystem,there will always be room for other players. I mean not everybody is going to buy Apple products suddenly. Also, Apple products are expensive which gives chance to other players to get in the not-so-niche markets. RIM is somewhat in the same situation. Software tightly coupled with hardware. Except that people are not buying into Blackberry promise.
I guess Google understood that long before I did (I suppose that’s why they are Google). Giving the hardware manufacturers a free OS that can compete with Apple’s iOS, painting Google over it and generating revenue from it not only by way of Ads but also from Apps & Media, is ingenious. That seemed to have paid off well. Andriod is doing well. It is second only to iOS Infact it is doing better than iOS. Couple that with low cost and variety of Andriod phones and tablets and I think Google should be pretty happy with itself. I am no expert but I think Nokia missed a big opertunity with Symbian there. Can you imagine if Symbian OS would have been modified quickly and efficiently enough for touch based devices and rolled out to handset manufactureres. Most of them already used Symbian the switch could have been smoother I suppose. Nokia could have been where Google is today with Android. Anyway.
Coming to the point of why Microsoft then? First and foremost I personally admire what they have done with the Metro UI changes. Second, all the services that an mobile ecosystem needs are already there from Microsoft. They just need to take these and integrate it into a platform in a seamless way. Take email for example. We always had hotmail and now the new Outook.com. There is skydrive, Xbox Live for media & games and office online for documents. Third, number of PC user’s are much more than of any other users. Yes, I know, the recent Mac sales are much more than PC’s but average Joe still has a PC and is conversant with using it. So if all his devices start talking to each other over the air, seamlessly and he doesn’t have to pay a fortune for it, wouldn’t that be cool?Fourth, Microsoft has a large developer community. If the user base increases, the number of apps will surely increase. Fifth, enterprises all over the world use Windows and Microsoft solutions. It’s inevitable that they will start offering these on mobile platforms one way or another.
As you would have guessed I am really hopefull that Microsoft platform picks up. Surface looked awesome and turned out what I predicted it to be. Apple started it all, still leads it but comes at a premium price. Google took the idea and opened it to the mass market. Now I think its Microsoft’s turn to make use of it’s strong user base and create a very unique offering. I, for one, am with them.