Microsoft showed off its new Windows Phone 7 devices this week. There are a lot of questions about how Microsoft will perform in the smartphone space, though they're clearly up to the challenge. Microsoft's success in this space also has big implications for the company's performance in the search market, which means search marketers should keep an eye on this.
Do you think Windows Phone 7 will be a hit with consumers? Share your thoughts.
If Windows Phone 7 doesn't work, Microsoft likely just try again (although some think this one is do or die). The Kin didn't work, but that doesn't mean Windows Phone 7 can't. The company ended Kin abruptly for a reason.
Microsoft has some catching up to do in this space. There's no doubt about that. Consumers have been buying up smartphones faster than ever, and established players like Blackberry, iPhone, and Android seem to be at the center of most users' attention.
Brian Chen at Wired has an interesting take. He says Windows Phone 7 will make Android look chaotic. "Microsoft may be late to the game with a consumer-savvy phone OS, but Windows Phone 7 is aiming to do right a lot of what Google is doing wrong," he says.
Microsoft requires manufacturers to include specific hardware elements (like specific buttons) to use Windows Phone 7. "The effort to control quality and consistency may be just what Microsoft needs to regain some ground in the phone battle," says Chen.
I'm not sure I agree with this take, but it's a theory. Of course, Google's "wrongdoing" is netting them a growing number of Android sales.
Here are a couple questions for you: Do consumers respect the Windows brand enough to make the move on their phones? Was Microsoft smart to use Windows Phone 7 as the name? A lot of people continue to buy Windows PCs based on familiarity. These same people aren't necessarily familiar with Windows on their phones. Granted, it's not the same experience, but from a brand perspective, it will be interesting to see how the decision pays off.
If the Windows Phone 7 initiative is successful and the OS gains significant adoption, it could mean big things for Bing. The inclusion of a Bing search hard key alone could dramatically increase the amount of Bing searches that are conducted. That's just one reason Microsoft really needs this to work.
Microsoft is coming from behind in the smartphone space, and they have some catching up to do, but the company has shown that its capable of penetrating markets where there is little room for new competitors. They've shown this with Bing. Bing is far from having Google's share of the search market, but there's no question it has become a significant competitor (much more than any other Microsoft search engine had). Google CEO Eric Schmidt even called it the company's main competitor.
The smartphone market is spread around more than the search market. There's no just one dominant player. There's no reason why Microsoft can't be a legitimate competitor. It may take a nice-sized marketing budget and some strategic partnerships, but that is nothing new for Microsoft. See Bing's history.
Do you think Microsoft can compete in the smartphone market? How big is Windows Phone 7 for Bing? Tell us what you think.