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What Microsoft Must Do To Save Its Mobile Business

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the take-two-cyanide-pills-and-call-me-in-the-morning dept.

Microsoft 250

GMGruman writes "Microsoft has tossed out its mobile management team (without admitting to doing so), but is that enough to make Microsoft matter in mobile? InfoWorld's Galen Gruman argues that a lot more is needed than a management change if Microsoft hopes to have a future in the emerging mobile world. In his blog, he lays out a tough five-point prescription for Microsoft to get back in the game. For starters, Microsoft has to get out of its well-established cultural mindset that it's OK to ship crap that it might fix later on."

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Just give up. (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375294)

I think maybe the best answer here is to just surrender. "Mobile? It's not our thing. We wanted it to be our thing - we tried. But we're not good at it." While they're at it maybe they should get out of search and online ads too.

I'm symbolset and the lack of Windows Phone 7 was my idea.

Re:Just give up. (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375352)

Nope.

The answer is to find a Phone giant (Nokia) and take the best of both worlds and make an OS that utterly kicks arse.

Nokia hardware rocks. Nokia's software as of late (S60) is buggy to hell and back. If they both got together they could make it big. Nokia making their superior phone hardware, Microsoft ditching the joke that is their mobile OS and starting over with a REAL os that has potential (and design it so carriers cant cripple it) they could give the other two a real run for their money.

S60 has potential if it was fixed up with a os company behind it.. WM7-Whatever it is has no chance at all. It's a mess.

Re:Just give up. (5, Insightful)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375468)

Nokia can do that for themselves, they don't need Microsoft. They've probably also seen what happens to companies that try to partner with Redmond.

Re:Just give up. (2, Interesting)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375522)

I have an E71, and to me it looks like MS have already been playing with it. Especially when you consider what a lean and clean OS Symbian's ancestor (EPOC) was by comparison.

Symbian is not the problem (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375636)

It't the S60 user interface which NOKIA puts on top of Symbian. UIQ which was used by Sony and Motorola as user interface was a lot better. But that water under the bridge and the next generation Symbian will have Qt as user interface.

Re:Symbian is not the problem (3, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375828)

"the next generation Symbian will have Qt as user interface."

Qt isn't a user interface, it's a UI toolkit. The interface is almost completely orthogonal to this. Almost - you need a toolkit that can easily support the UI you want to build. But Qt, or GTK, or the Windows or OSX toolkits are all made for producing windowing user interfaces. Which is the cause of much of the trouble for Microsofts phone and PDA business, which doomed previous Linux-based mobile devices and which pushed Apple and Google to start from scratch with new systems specifically for mobile devices rather than trying to adapt existing stuff.

A heavily customized Qt - as in, forget source compatibility with desktop apps - may possibly work for a tablet-sized device. Qt for mobiles is likely dead from the start. If Nokia does make a serious go of it, it will have little but the name in common with the desktop toolkit.

Re:Symbian is not the problem (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376018)

Given that the E71 has a keyboard and a pointing device, anything that works on a desktop ought to work (sort of) on it. The controls might be the wrong size and difficult to hit with the cursor, but it's not like it's an entirely different thing like multitouch would be.

But the problems with the E71 interface are at a higher level; it isn't the widgets and stuff, it's how they (and the apps themselves) are arranged and organized. Nothing is where you expect it to be. Common options are often three layers down etc.

Re:Symbian is not the problem (1)

jerryluc (1536513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376048)

You're of course right about the UI vs. UI toolkit thing.
But AFAIK Symbian^3 uses Qt as UI toolkit, and the new Nokia N8 will use Symbian^3. Isn't that a "serious go of it"? If the name is the only thing it has in common with the desktop toolkit, I'm not the right person to answer.

Re:Just give up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375544)

The answer is called Maemo - the next generation Nokia OS based on debian Linux.
I've a Nokia N900 and the most recent update (3 days ago) seems to have solved all the issues I had noticed in the past.

Re:Just give up. (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375614)

Yep, Maemo, recently wed to Intels Moblin to form MeeGo. And while their OS seems solid enough, I am somewhat doubtful about their "kick arse hardware". To me it seems that HTC brings out ten WANTWANTWANT phones for every mildly interesting Nokia phone. Only the N900 runs Maemo and that phone is going to be two years old soon!

It seems both Nokia and Microsoft are fat cats who are mostly famous for long gone achievements, Android and WebOS look a lot more interesting at the moment.

Where can I try a Nokia N900? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376030)

I've a Nokia N900

I looked for a store in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I could try a Nokia N900 before buying one. Neither T-Mobile, Best Buy, nor RadioShack had one. I guess the closest thing for a U.S. geek is a Motorola Droid on Verizon Wireless or any of several HTC phones on T-Mobile.

Re:Just give up. (5, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375592)

Nope.

The answer is to find a Phone giant (Nokia) and take the best of both worlds and make an OS that utterly kicks arse.

Nokia hardware rocks.

No argument. That would be a sound approach, but for one thing. Microsoft has no experience in making an OS that utterly kicks ass (as we Yanks spell it), especially from scratch, and certainly not on a schedule that would be required to stay competitive in the mobile business, where "innovation" is real and ongoing. I know this sounds like stock /. MS bashing, but it's not meant to be. Microsoft's culture and business model is a poor fit for the wireless industry.

To late NOKIA already moves to Qt (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375602)

The next generation NOKIAs will be Linux+Qt and Symbian+Qt. Why would Nokia need Microsoft with Qt in there pocket?

Martin

PS: Symbain+S60E5 was just a stop gap, never meant to last. And yes that is cheaty.

Re:Just give up. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375616)

Windows CE isn't a joke. The joke is that anyone could use IE7 as a primary browser (on a smartphone no less.)

Windows Mobile will absolutely fail unless IE9 magically jumps into the ballpark of the modern browsers, and also magically works on mobile (why aren't they developing for WinCE and desktop simultaneously?)

The browser is the make-or-break feature, and since Microsoft has forbade native development on WinMo, I can't see them matching it. The mobile web is built for Webkit. They need to include Webkit.

Re:Just give up. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376292)

IE9 is behind, but honestly? I don't think that MS *has* to fail on this. They just need to polish the shit out of everything a whole lot more than they have currently. If they can deliver an experience near-seamless as apple's, they'd have a point for contention here. Basically, they need to actually compete more.

IE9 is still in preview mode, and at best it's "current" with things as they exist today. Given that it's going to be released sometime down the road, it's not expected for it to be up to date when it becomes an RC/officially released. Everyone else basically said that to add hardware acceleration hooks is a non issue - aka firefox, webkit browsers. Which will then run significantly faster than IE still.

Re:Just give up. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376350)

It's clear that they are going about it in completely the wrong manner though. WinMo 7 should have IE9 running on it. Currently, it has a weird IE6-7 hybrid POS. That's completely worthless, since the browser is the backbone of the system.

Re:Just give up. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376392)

I don't know. Honestly? When I read your comment of "Winmo7 should have IE9 on it" I get an immediate reaction from my common sense saying "WHHHYYYYY????" assuming that's a horrible idea.

Maybe it's the fact that it's not even *out* yet. When it's out? Sure. It should be using current software though, aka full IE8 capability.

It'll still be way behind unless they left a way to add further HTML5/other web standards compliance once released. Very simply put, make it pass the ACID3 test.

With All The InfoWorld Astroturf Articles Here... (0, Troll)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375652)

...does any money change hands? Does slashdot make a coupla bucks, at least? I hope so. If not, can Galen at least arrange for snydeq to take Rob Malda out for dinner and a show every now and then?

Re:Just give up. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375658)

Why would you want them to ruin Nokia, too? They already beat MS at mobile game, and Symbian should get decently...cute after moving to Qt UI.

Re:Just give up. (2, Interesting)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375670)

Nokia did a "me-tooo!!" online software store. It couldn't engage developers and it flopped.

Android started it smart with the summer code-challenges almost a year before the first phones came to the general market and have now the power to offer phonevendors the ease of NOT having to design an OS or upgrade/modify what they have for each phone model they release.

Microsoft still looked like they buttkicked PalmOS and went into a comfy zone "no competition. We know it sucks balls, but hey, what are your alternatives, management boy? Here, have a free magnetic stylus, so you can sync exchange."

Android has put Microsoft to shame with their pants on their knees in a "developer developers!" conference, touchscreening it to youtube and twitter while the WM6 guys are, well.. sortof trying to find the right program files folder and waiting a bit to open their browser...

Microsoft will have to "pull another IE" to get "sortof back in the game". The same way they are now throwing in everything to be ready for HTML5 and are a bit neglecting canvas.

They thought their honeycomb design on WM6 would be sufficient to give Android surprice buttseks, but they've been surprice-somethingelse'd [ideachampions.com] themselves right now while they thought they had full game [moonbattery.com]

Re:Just give up. (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375686)

Problem is, Microsoft is probably better at hardware than software as well. I guess if you are talking about comparative advantage, then yeah, Microsoft probably should do the software if Nokia is their partner. Frankly, it doesn't sound like a very good match to me.

Re:Just give up. (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375814)

I don't think that will happen.

1-Symbian isn't that bad, It well liked all over the world, it just didn't capture the american market, but functionally, it is quite solid.

2-Nokia is just about to release S^3, and seeing their official video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rER1fnBrJg [youtube.com] ), and reading a few reviews, I think they are going to make quite a come back (whether it will be a case of "too little, too late" is yet to be seen). And S^4 following soon after, I think they have got that scene covered.

Also, they have Maemo/Meego as their high-end OS, which is reckoned as kick-ass by all and sundry.

3-Nokia is fully committed to going open source, especially since it open sourced Symbian and Qt and what not. And well...Microsoft and open source don't seem to go all that well, especially if we were to believe /. posters :D

4-Nokia just partnered with Yahoo, so it will be difficult to edge in using Windows-live.

I am not saying that Nokia and Microsoft can't partner up, I think they just did something together on the E-series (something regarding the email client or something), but working together to replace Windows7 and Symbian, and creating a "Win-bian" from scratch? Not likely. They have thrown too much R&D on either project too long to abandon it now.

(E&OE)

Re:Just give up. (1)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376036)

Nokia has Meego [meego.com] , a fusion of the Debian-based mobile OS Maemo (Nokia) and the instant-on OS Moblin (Intel). It's quite new, and I haven't seen any devices with it yet, but it certainly looks promising. That said, Nokia is not dumping Symbian, but it is dumping the old interface that is s60, to be replaced with Symbian^4 (Whatever that means) which has a nice redesigned interface. A step in the right direction in any case.

Re:Just give up. (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376052)

The reason apple works is because there is exactly 1 phone model. Developers know what to target, and are able to ensure their app will work properly. The reason Windows never worked in the mobile industry is because of such a large variety of phones available. Phones with different screen sizes and resolutions. Phones with differently available keys. Some phones have touch, some have accelerometers. Different processor and memory specs. Every phone is different. As long as there is this much variation in the hardware, it will never take off. Desktop is different, because you can depend on everyone having a monitor with a certain minimal resolution, keyboard with 104 keys, and mouse with 2 buttons. That gives you a good base line platform. They should do the same with phones. Define a screen size the phones must use. Define that all phones can have a keyboard, or use an onscreen one, and ensure that all phones must have a certain processor and memory spec, or they don't get to run new new Windows Phone OS. Make the phones more similar, so that developers have something easier to target, and they will come.

Re:Just give up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32376128)

Nah, go with what works. Create a cross-compiler for .Net that will compile to Dalvik for Android. Then they're in a better position if Apple runs into legal trouble with the iPhone cross-compile issue. Another advantage is getting .Net to more platforms.

Re:Just give up. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376364)

Many mobile phone manufacturers seems to avoid Windows Mobile these days.

And I suspect that there are several reasons for that. Microsoft tries to control the manufacturers but are providing a platform that is insufficient and that lacks functionality.

Windows Mobile has for too long been like a car where there are features missing that aren't obvious. Somewhat like you have low beam on the headlights but no high beam because a wire is missing. And that's the obvious flaw. They have also forgotten a few welds in the chassis and the paint can't stand sunshine.

Or maybe not (0)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375440)

I think the answer is to focus the Windows Phone as a serious mobile computing device for business. A lot of supermarkets for example use Windows Mobile for their handheld stocktaking computers. I'm pretty sure the Apple Shop uses them too. They certainly don't use iPhones to bill your credit card for purchases anyway. In that regard, Windows Mobile 7 is a step in the wrong direction, because the custom built corporate mobile app isn't compatible with the idea of a centralised app store run by which ever Steve is in charge of the company in question.

Re:Or maybe not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375518)

Actually the apple stores use ipod touches to run your card when you make a purchase in the store.

Re:Or maybe not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375526)

Business and industrial devices are going to continue on Windows Mobile 6.5.x. Motorola as guarantee at least 5 more years to me personally

Re:Or maybe not (4, Informative)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375558)

They certainly don't use iPhones to bill your credit card for purchases anyway

Yes, yes they do. When I went there to purchase my iPad, the entire sale was done via an iPhone. They have little printers underneath the tables that print out your receipt too.

Re:Or maybe not (2, Informative)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375570)

I'm pretty sure the Apple Shop uses them too. They certainly don't use iPhones to bill your credit card for purchases anyway.

They started out with Windows CE devices, which were horribly unreliable, requiring rebooting throughout the day. Now they use iPhones. No, really, an iPhone-based app, with an attachment that's like a slightly thick protective case with a card-reader on the back.

In that regard, Windows Mobile 7 is a step in the wrong direction, because the custom built corporate mobile app isn't compatible with the idea of a centralised app store run by which ever Steve is in charge of the company in question.

The app store has nothing at all to do with custom-built corporate apps. There's a totally different distribution method for that, under the control of the company doing the deployment. (My understanding is that at this point it needs refinement, that it's too much work for IT, but still, it's possible for a company to develop and deploy whatever apps they want without any involvement in the app store.)

Re:Or maybe not (2, Interesting)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375892)

The app store has nothing at all to do with custom-built corporate apps. There's a totally different distribution method for that, under the control of the company doing the deployment. (My understanding is that at this point it needs refinement, that it's too much work for IT, but still, it's possible for a company to develop and deploy whatever apps they want without any involvement in the app store.)

If I read correctly, you have to have more than 500 employees before Apple will allow you to do that and it's quite simply not the way the industry works, at least not in my country.
What actually happens around here is that you have a lot of small shops which actually develop the app with, say, a dozen or so employees. Margins are fairly thin and there's a lot of competition so you'll probably never have a 500-employee mobile data outfit. The core product is then sold on to a number of larger firms and most of the deployments are less than 500 units each.

Much as I dislike Windows Mobile, it and CE are still the best platform for doing this kind of thing, with full native development and no dicking around with approval unless you need to do kernel-level access. Though the firm I work for is starting to branch out into Android as well. While I'd love to develop for the iPhone, it doesn't look like we're going to be allowed to.

Re:Or maybe not (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375790)

Microsoft is making a mistake by having all app downloads go through their app store. Instead, they should not just keep the XNA or Silverlight stuff, but allow for legacy apps.

This way, a business with a specific Windows Mobile app that they use, which could be a point of sales program, or a special client will still work, but they get the benefit of the state of the art hardware.

Another closed phone architecture is not going to help Microsoft at all, as Windows Phone 7 needs a critical mass of apps, and it will be hard prying people from Objective-C or Java to write onto MS's platform without some solid reason to be on this platform.

The word is "office" (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375496)

The reason microsoft succeeded was because they wrote a great application called Word. In it's time it was truly great compared to the competition (word perfect for example). Other than being comprehensive and less clunky than open office it's not such a remarkable product anymore. But if you are bussiness or Govt you have to have a copy of it. It's the standard and you always get some document that the emulators don't open correctly, so you have to use it no matter what processor you prefer.

Windows I think rode on the coat-tails of this. Windows mac was a superior product up through version 5 but it was not fully compatible with the Windows version. As a result, windows OS became the preferred operating system for providing compatibility of word documents. This choice was cemented by the fact that windows ran on cheaper computers. But I think it was Word that was pulling the buggy, not the OS.

Ironically, Word 6 made the Mac and PC versions more interoperable by removing the advanced features from the mac product. But by then the product offered an integrated environment on the PC with outlook and server systems. So it still was better to use the PC than the Mac version for business.

If you were starting over today, the huge standardization on word probably would not happen.

This is the boat MS is in now with mobile computing. Word is behind the curve on being a first rate mobile product. If they don't get something better out there people may start to standardize on something else once the reasons become compelling enough.

I think that microsoft is fully capable of producing a first class mobile computing set of tools. Why they haven't is mysterious to me.

Re:The word is "office" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375680)

You are totally right about Office being the lynchpin that MS needs to leverage to get itself back in the mobile marketplace. The iPhone flat out sucks for corporate entities because of the lack of support for Office editing.

Also, the post says "For starters, Microsoft has to get out of its well-established cultural mindset that it's OK to ship crap that it might fix later on." But that is clearly not been the case with the new gorilla of iPhone. Every iteration they make up for the most egregious absences from the last iteration, with nary a complaint from its users. The difference is actually that WinMo has alsways tried to be everything for everyone, instead of doing less things much better. There is still basic functionality in WinMo from the CE days that is lacking in iPhone0S, yet it has always been too complex for the average consumer

Re:The word is "office" (-1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376218)

No one said anything about missing features. You just threw that in so you could bash Apple.

Re:The word is "office" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375726)

Do your research. Microsoft did NOT write Word, they acquired it.

Re:The word is "office" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375902)

They didn't write DOS either (they bought CPM). does this matter?

Re:The word is "office" (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376356)

Actually, they bought QDOS which was a CP/M clone.

Re:Just give up. (5, Interesting)

areusche (1297613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375524)

I'm trying not to sound condescending here, but are you kidding me? Have you ever used a Windows Mobile phone before?

I've been using Windows Mobile since the 2003se days and it has been light years ahead of whatever competitor was pumping out. Things like multitasking, a somewhat open platform for development, and an interface that makes sense.

The only downside has been the long time insistance from manufactures to only use 64mb of ram. Nowadays that number is up to 256mb.

HTC has a number of drool worthy phones that spec wise pound the iphone to dust and anything that Palm can come up with.

And finally Microsoft leaves its homebrew ROM kitchen development alone. Sites like PPCGeeks.com and xda-developers are two that come to mind.

It's sad that people disregard Windows Mobile. It is nothing like the desktop crap. And seriously what major software or hardware manufacture doesn't pump out crap and fix it later? At least Windows Mobile works out of the box.

Disclaimer: My first PDA was a Sony Clie. I loved Palm and used it for many years, but it's time to use a real device and software.

Re:Just give up. (4, Interesting)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375634)

Windows Mobile is alright if you're into pen based computing. The iPhone/Android devices are touch based devices though, different paradigms apply.

Note: I've been using Windows Mobile since it was called PocketPC back in 2000. Yes, I still have an original iPaq, sleeves and all.

First smartphone was a Windows Mobile device, next one was an iPhone, currently using a Palm Pre, and next month I'm about to purchase an HTV EVO 4G(Android device).

Re:Just give up. (1)

swabeui (1291044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375832)

Have you used a current WinMo device?. I've never used the stylus once with my HTC Touch Pro 2. While I'll admit that HTC does add their own UI enhancements to help that along, but that is true of most new devices now.

It really depends on what your priorities are. Mine are getting my email, calendar, tasks and contacts without compromise. The 8 or so iPhone users constantly struggle with connectivity issues just to get email unless it's 8pm at night for some reason. Blackberry has a bit better track-record unless they have another nationwide blackout.

From what I have seed of the Droid, the email situation is not much better there. We only have one person here with one so time will tell.

Re:Just give up. (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375968)

he 8 or so iPhone users constantly struggle with connectivity issues just to get email unless it's 8pm at night for some reason.

That's most likely due to ATTs network. Although when I had my iPhone I never had a problem getting emails on it.

Email, Calender, Tasks, Contacts, and most importantly Calculator all seem to work just fine on the iPad/iPhone for me.

Re:Just give up. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376376)

The 8 or so iPhone users constantly struggle with connectivity issues just to get email unless it's 8pm at night for some reason.

I've only heard of connectivity problems from american iPhone users who are using AT&T, it's most likely a network problem.

Re:Just give up. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375696)

Using UI quite a bit in the style of desktops, quite similar to desktop Win at least and basically requiring a stylus for optimal operation was "an interface that makes sense"?
And not the only OS with multitasking back then...

Re:Just give up. (5, Insightful)

randomaxe (673239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375782)

That's funny, because every Windows Mobile phone I've ever used has had me on the verge of throwing it against a wall more times than is acceptable for any gadget that isn't still in beta testing. I've had them mysteriously lose settings, crash repeatedly, and lock up -- sometimes right in the middle of a phone call.

There may be WinMo phones that "spec wise pound the iphone to dust", but impressive hardware is nothing if the software on top of it drives users into fits of rage. There may be a lot of things that a WinMo phone can do that my iPhone can't, but one of them happens to be "piss me off on a daily basis." And I'm just fine with that.

Re:Just give up. (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376220)

every Windows Mobile phone I've ever used has had me on the verge of throwing it against a wall

And I thought I was the only one that wanted to do that - and with any Windows CE based PDA device I tried to use. Talk about a real POS.

Re:Just give up. (1)

ekgringo (693136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375816)

I used Palm and compatibles (Sony and Handspring) for years as well. A few years ago I was looking to replace my aging Palm and played around with a Windows Mobile phone that a coworker was selling. The hardware was nice, but the OS sucked major ass; I think it was Windows Mobile 2003. When Windows XP was at it's height, Windows Mobile 2003 was approximately at the level of Windows 3.1. The control panel was broken into 3 separate control panels for some unknown reason and you would have to search all 3 to find the settings you were looking for. If that weren't bad enough, some seemingly-related settings were split between 2 of the control panels. The experience left me with such a bad impression, I will never go back.

Re:Just give up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375896)

I've been using Windows Mobile since 2006, (5.0, 6.0 and 6.1, all on phones from HTC) and I think it's a miserable piece of shit on a good day. On a bad day I would have liked to take a belt sander to the genitals of the developers responsible for such a hideous abortion. When I finally got an iPhone about a year ago it was like night and day in terms of usability. I've had the opportunity to play with a WM 6.5 phone (another HTC) belonging to a coworker, and it's even worse than its predecessors because they obviously tried to make it look iPhone-like but it's the same old shit underneath. 6.5 is a placeholder product, just so the Nothing But Microsoft people have something to buy before WM 7 devices ship.

As for the specs and features argument-- you're a geek, so you give a shit about those things. Geeks are far, far outnumbered in the world by people who just want something that works well, is easy to use, and does what they need.

And Microsoft leaves the homebrew ROM crowd alone because in a market that they don't dominate, they'd rather have people using Microsoft stuff illegally than paying for a competitor's product-- then once they become the defacto standard, they start turning the thumbscrews.

Re:Just give up. (3, Insightful)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375964)

I dislike "proof by anecdote" at least as much as the next guy, but I do not know one solitary person with a Windows Mobile device. On the other hand, I know at least a dozen with either IPhone OS or Android. Personally, I don't care if MS manages to make it in the consolidated computing (my new term for mobile) market, as long as they ship a browser with CSS3/HTML5 support and then transparently - to the user - keep it up to date.

I see the future in hardware/OS-transparent computing, in other words, don't ever ask if I want to upgrade to the latest version of the browser - that is too much info. Apple had it right from the beginning - ship a box with a keyboard and don't require the customer to figure out the hardware. And with the current generation of hand held devices one need not think about browser, file systems, etc., to have a rich experience. That is the future where literally everyone operates a hand held computer every day for even the most common tasks, and in that world people need not worry about anything but how to turn it on.

Re:Just give up. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376164)

I have. The OS was terrible. It was like using Windows 3.1 on a tiny screen. Configuration settings everywhere, nothing centralised, nothing simple to configure, complexity abounding, stupid interface.

The Psion 5 got it right for the 'mini-netbook' style devices. PalmOS got it right for the PDA style devices.

And I'm hardly surprised that new phones beat year old phones in terms of specifications. Sheesh.

Well, that is a well kept secret (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376290)

Gosh, Windows Mobile is the dogs bollocks? Pity that nobody is going to find out because absolutely nobody buys WM phones. Check the sale statistics. EVERYONE does better. Even linux has a larger share (especially if you realize Android is based on it).

So either you are wrong or everyone else is. Somehow I think you are.

Really, if you go and defend a badly selling product, come up with counters as to why it sells so badly other then the defence "I bought it, so it must be great because else I must have been a real idiot for buying it".

Re:Just give up. (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375986)

That's not really a viewpoint that a company should take. "Microsoft" is a nebulous entity. To say "we" aren't good at anything from a corporate is stupid, and ties a company too tightly to it's current staff.

If the company's current staff isn't doing well in a market that they wish to be a player in, then you replace them. There's no reason to assume that merely having the Microsoft logo embroidered on their company shirts is going to make a talented group of people perform worse than if Google or Apple's logos were on those shirts.

I just think that whatever group that goes in, needs to understand - WINDOWS does not translate well to a mobile device. The world doesn't need a Mobile Windows OS. What they need to do is develop a completely new Microsoft mobile OS from the ground up, with mobile in mind.

And for goodness sakes, get some good UI people on board. Their latest attempts - those damned "Kin" phones, look like the UI people were playing around while designing it and thought: "I wonder just how much we can fuck with this and get away with it?" My 2 year old niece has Leap Frog toys with better UI's than those phones.

Re:Just give up. (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376002)

Having owned a Zune HD, I was one of the first people to experience the "Windows Phone 7" platform. From a UI standpoint, it is a very intuitive, well thought out experience. Zune HD runs on the Tegra SOaC, and was an extremely capable device from a hardware standpoint. Battery life was excellent, and the games I played were graphically impressive -- more so than anything I've seen on the Android platform running on my Nexus One which I sold the Zune to purchase. The device was also extremely stable.

From a strategic standpoint, I thought it was smart of Microsoft to deploy the new WinMo kernel and UI concept on a device that isn't quite as important or business critical as a phone. What most people don't understand, is that because of this, WinMo 7 is more mature than you might think.

The point I'm trying to make here, is that Windows Phone 7 most certainly will not be crap. MS is definitely late to the game here, but they will be a contender, and ultimately everyone will benefit from it.

Re:Just give up. (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376172)

Exactly. Why do they need this "space." (I hate that word...) They go after things because they covet them. We haven't heard much out of them and they kicked out Windows 7 which by all points seems to be a decent OS. It seems the quieter they are, the more they focus on their core, the better their products. It's an Android/iPhone world. Does anyone besides Microsoft WANT a MS phone? No. Well, maybe some tech writers for fodder I don't know. The truth is we have choice now without Microsoft. Why can't they do what they do best? A pair of pliers will mostly not make a good substitute for a socket wrench.

no try harder (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376194)

spend more money and fail bigger
PUHLEASE

Bullshit (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375300)

For starters, Microsoft has to get out of its well-established cultural mindset that it's OK to ship crap that it might fix later on."

That is pure bullshit. It works for literally everyone else, including Apple. Or is all the stuff in iPhone OS 4.0 that Steve said wasn't included because it would make the iPhone suck not sufficient evidence for you? How about all the functionality in Android 2.1 that seems mandatory? This story is (-1, Troll).

Re:Bullshit (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375386)

Your "essential" features != Broken Crap.

Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375498)

I think your Apple example is counter to your point. They new it would make it suck, so they didn't ship it. The article is asking for any software that ships to be well-designed and to leave it off otherwise.

Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

Uksi (68751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375504)

Bullshit back on you. False comparison. Lacking features != a crappy product. It just means a product that does less. First iPhone OS version didn't have exchange integration or copy/paste, but what was there worked well and was designed to work well. In fact, until Apple was convinced that it could do copy/paste well, it didn't release that feature. That's just not biting off more than you can chew.

There's a gulf of difference between shipping something that's limited in functionality to something that is crappy. Have you ever used the PocketPC PDAs back in the day? I've used a Palm OS-based Handspring and a PocketPC Dell Axim, and let me tell you, the Handspring, with its limited feature set and a slow CPU, did the core PDA things (calendar, todo) a lot better than the Axim. The Axim felt slow (despite a several times faster CPU) and it was harder to work with the calendar (more taps to do things, weird options I didn't need). I hated using it and wrote off PocketPC after that (which is why I never bought a Treo with Windows). That's what "shipping crap" means.

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375642)

Bullshit back on you. False comparison. Lacking features != a crappy product. It just means a product that does less.

Not multitasking == crappy, and even Steve knows it. But you can make excuses for hypocritical backpedaling all day if you like. I already know you're an iFanboy.

First iPhone OS version didn't have exchange integration or copy/paste, but what was there worked well and was designed to work well. In fact, until Apple was convinced that it could do copy/paste well, it didn't release that feature. That's just not biting off more than you can chew.

Comparing Exchange integration and C&P is extremely disingenuous. Copy & Paste has been with us even longer than the GUI. Not implementing it is stupid, especially when the meaningful competition universally has it.

Have you ever used the PocketPC PDAs back in the day? I've used a Palm OS-based Handspring and a PocketPC Dell Axim, and let me tell you, the Handspring, with its limited feature set and a slow CPU, did the core PDA things (calendar, todo) a lot better than the Axim.

Having owned a Palm Pro w/2MB upgrade and a Visor Deluxe, as well as an iPaq H2215 (putting aside my GRiDPad 1910 and 2390) I think you're full of shit. Waiting for the Palm devices was an exercise in frustration. The user interfaces were primitive beyond belief. Even as a supernerd I found it more convenient to just write notes on paper, even while I was carrying my Visor. Both WinCE and PalmOS are lame, to about equal degrees, though in different ways.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32376308)

Lack of multi-tasking was for a good reason in a mobile device. Never mind that app switching with state persistence is a form of multitasking.

iPhone now has exchange, cut and paste, multitasking (well, next month). It has lots of other features, which have been added in a sensible, manageable and logical manner over the past three years. They don't disturb the usability of the device.

Windows Phone 7 has exchange, and some multitasking.

PalmOS devices did what they were meant to do very well. The interfaces were ideal for the hardware they included. I know that Palm misfired after a while and got massively stuck with the switch to ARM, but their platform was ideal for the decade from the mid 90s.

Windows Pocket PC and Windows Mobile were nasty, broken pieces of software. 2005 made things a bit better - a crash wouldn't lose all of your settings for example - but it's still a pile of cludges and poorly thought out interfaces built on a crumbling base.

The only valid point you have is that pen and paper are hard to beat.

Re:Bullshit (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375746)

why we don't hear people using such style of defense for some of the so called "feature phone" platforms?... (no, not the version castrated / never brought to you / uglyfied by US carriers)

Re:Bullshit (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376304)

I've used a Palm OS-based Handspring and a PocketPC Dell Axim, and let me tell you, the Handspring, with its limited feature set and a slow CPU, did the core PDA things (calendar, todo) a lot better than the Axim. The Axim felt slow (despite a several times faster CPU) and it was harder to work with the calendar (more taps to do things, weird options I didn't need).

The Axim was Windows Mobile 5, which was slow as molasses. They did some major architectural change from PocketPC 2003, and it totally killed I/O performance. I have this weird feeling it was to do with the way they used flash instead of DRAM for the filesystem. PocketPC 2003 was fast, but if you pulled the battery, everything went down the drain.
WM6 and later versions of WM5 got it back to some semblance of performance. Still not as good as 2003, but far more usable than the original WM5 release and it didn't lose everything when the battery ran out.

Re:Bullshit (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375996)

Depends on your definition of "crap". Your definition is that the iPhone didn't have some features you wanted or you thought was important. "Crap" to the me is the shoddy, unstable software that Windows Mobile still is at version 6. I have a WM phone from work. I got it around the iPhone release. It crashes all the time for no reason. That's crap software.

Ship now, fix later? (0, Flamebait)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375346)

It's never been ok to ship crap and fix it later. During the period that MS was doing so, its competition was shipping crapper products, releasing slower, and selling for more money. By any reasonable definition, they were the only game in town. Windows and Office had time to mature into the powerhouses they became.

Re:Ship now, fix later? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375502)

its competition was shipping crapper products, releasing slower, and selling for more money

Is *nix included in this list?

Re:Ship now, fix later? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376234)

Microsoft always shipped crap and they still do. Sometimes they pretend to fix it later, but they never really do,

But if they can't ship crap.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375398)

What will they have to ship?

The problem is a political one, not technical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375426)

The problem is a political one, not technical: Most Phone manufacturers don't thrust microsoft.
If you look at the past, every company that has made a partnership with microsoft has suffered
the consequences and were crushed by the big software giant.
Someday Microsoft might just decide to start manufacturing (sub-contracting) their own microsoft
smartphones and all the companies relying on a microsoft mobile OS will be doomed.

Re:The problem is a political one, not technical (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376318)

The problem is a political one, not technical: Most Phone manufacturers don't thrust microsoft.

That's not true. Lots of phone manufacturers have released Windows Mobile based phones. The problem for Microsoft is that Windows Mobile is basically a legacy platform - the OS can directly trace its roots back to Windows CE / Pocket PC and the APIs reflect that. It's a ten year old OS and it's just too crusty and old school to keep up with the likes of iPhone or Android.

Hence the reason that MS have basically bisected Windows Mobile - the old UI is getting ditched and the new UI will be reimplemented from scratch with Silverlight & XNA. This should make it easier to write attractive modern apps & games and provide a platform for others to do so too. Unfortunately it also means version 7 misses functionality which was there in 6.5, particularly business functionality. Eventually they'll catch up but I wonder if it will be too late.

A second issue from a mobile phone manufacturer's point of view is what's in it for them to carry on with Windows Mobile? MS would have to make a pretty bloody compelling case for a manufacturer to use their OS instead of Android for example. At the very least that probably means giving manufacturers a cut of any advertising / store fees.

They need to find a marketplace for themselves. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375428)

I can't help but feel Microsoft has been wedged out of the mobile market by competitors that are specialized at doing everything better then they do.

Wanna be a cool kid with a pretty phone?
Apple has you covered.

Need something uber business savvy but easy enough for a monkey in a suit to use?
Get a blackberry

Want a phone that doesn't hold you down?
Get an Android phone

Want a phone that runs on POS hardware and can barely handle anything?
Oh crap, umm...no.

What they do have, however, is excellent proprietary stuff like ActiveSync that's integrated into all these other cell phones. If I was them, I would focus on developing technology like that. Let the mobile market work for you, not the other way around.

The Kin is an interesting attempt to wrangle the teenybopper market but I think they've already fallen to the iphone.

Re:They need to find a marketplace for themselves. (4, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376426)

Since most businesses run Microsoft servers, and use Exchange for email, it should be easy for a Microsoft phone to rule the business space. A phone with built-in versions of Word/Excel/PowerPoint, and of course Outlook, would be easy to market. Put specialized phone management capabilities in their server-side tools to make the IT department happy (right now, IT usually detests supporting iPhones).

One huge disadvantage of a Windows phone today - the OS cannot be upgraded. Apple and Android come out with new versions every few months, with shiny new features, and people download and enjoy them. Since Microsoft doesn't sell Windows Mobile to consumers (it sells to phone manufacturers) when Microsoft releases new version of the OS, you are usually out of luck.

Re:They need to find a marketplace for themselves. (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376436)

The technology isn't all that interesting though, at the end of the day, it's all just software. All of those nifty technical innovations that they may have on a low level can be replicated or even improved upon by competitors given sufficient time, and it is in their interest to get Microsoft (as well as anyone else playing at that level) out of the stack if practical.

However Microsoft does have a tremendous amount of engineering talent, seasoned business leaders, and top notch marketing and research departments. There is no resource advantage that the other firms hold over them, they just have not made the best strategic decisions as of late. Microsoft is attempting to go through the process of reinventing itself in a few different ways, but for any large corporation this is a slow, painful, and quite possibly even terminal procedure. It doesn't help that they are being pulled in a bunch of different directions by innovative competitors in just about all of the markets that they play in.

My only point is that they need to weather this wave of change if they hope to be competitive in this space, and this type of corporate change is anything but simple. There are many potentially good strategies that they are well equipped to explore, but getting everything realigned properly to even make a serious attempt is an extremely difficult thing for a large organization to do.

Oh Oh Oh I know this one! (2, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375452)

Invest in Apple?

Re:Oh Oh Oh I know this one! (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375772)

Or at least stop trying to crowbar Windows in a mobile platform? If I were Ballmer I think I would have bought Palm.

I'm Scared (1)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375464)

NOT!!! Jee wiz. Microsoft finally failing? Time to bring out my specialized Ubuntu Mobile phone and telling everyone about it, mabye getting contracts similar to Apple's Iphone but without the sales exclusivity.

MS makes money from almost every smartphone sold (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375512)

it's called ActiveSync. Apple and Google both license it. Google even licenses it for Google Docs sync over the internet and have extended it. Microsoft doesn't need to pour money into R&D and market a phone since they probably make more money by taking a cut of every iphone, ipod touch, ipod and most Android phones sold.

as far as shipping crap, Apple and Google do the same thing. Only reason Apple shipped the iPad during the slowest shopping time of the year is to work out the bugs before the next holiday season and get market share before everyone else. my iphone hasn't been completely stable until 3.1.3. there are reports of Droid phones rebooting for no reason. The Nexus One had all kinds of problems. It took HP 2-3 years of firmware and driver updates to make their Proliant G5 servers stop rebooting due to a bug in the iLO firmware. OS X 10.6 hasn't been out a year and it's almost on service pack 4 where all the updates are larger than the OS that shipped last year. everyone ships crap these days.

the big mistake that Microsoft seems to be making is they have given up the low end of computing. Smartphones and tablets. historically every time a new competitor takes over a market is by getting the low end first and then using that to attack the high end of the market. MS did this with Windows. it was crap compared to other OS's but cleaned house because it was easy to use and deploy. now with Windows Server 2008 R2 Microsoft is finally shipping a server OS with features that UNIX had in the 1990's. SQL Server is the same way. not as good as Oracle of DB2, but good enough at the right price for a lot of customers.

Re:MS makes money from almost every smartphone sol (2, Informative)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375678)

ActiveSync is used to synchronize with the PC, when synchronizing with a server it's called Exchange... and Google has that for the e-mail, agenda and contacts. The best part of it: It has PUSH functionality and it works great with my WinMo phone. It generally just takes 3 to 5 seconds to see a change in Google Calendar appear on my mobile's screen. Since it's widely used in companies the Exchange server model is one of the few Microsoft products that works (fairly) rock solid...

Re:MS makes money from almost every smartphone sol (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375768)

> SQL Server is the same way. not as good as Oracle of DB2, but good enough at the right price for a lot of customers.

This idea depends on a whole host of false assumptions that are certainly not true now and may never have been.

It depends on the idea that Microsoft is always cheap and Oracle is always expensive. Neither is
necessarily true and probably have never been. A lot of this depends on ignorance of the actual
products and how they are priced and dependent on taking naieve observations from Microsoft's
non-entrprise products and applying them to their RDBMS.

Microsoft is really only cheap for the consumer buying some bundle from an OEM like Dell.

Re:MS makes money from almost every smartphone sol (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375784)

Don't forget Symbian, with almost half of smartphone sales and also licensing quite a bit of MS tech. But I guess MS would be prefer to have a bit more...leverage.

Re:MS makes money from almost every smartphone sol (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376422)

nly reason Apple shipped the iPad during the slowest shopping time of the year is to work out the bugs before the next holiday season and get market share before everyone else.

There's also the possibility that they've got some other big product release coming up before the end of the year and didn't want their products competing for attention.

MS as system integrator (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375596)

The traditional MS model is to supply a limited set of software and depend on third parties to integrate and expand the selection to meet customers needs. While this has many advantages when customizing a general purpose computing device to serve a specific purpose, it does not work well when dealing with highly available and reliable embedded devices. We see this when HP abandons MS Windows 7 for tablets and when MS becomes a system integrator to deliver a video game console. MS did not deliver a set of tools to create a console, they create the console.

What is clear is the mobile phone industry does not support the concept of a closed software base on which hardware is hacked to make it work. Two of the major mobile phone OS, Symbian and WebOS were derived from code that was developed to support an integrated PDA device, and is now open so it can be customized to a device. iPhone OS of course is completely open to Apple who can do as they wish to create an completely integrated product.

If Google can gain real traction with Android then there might be a little hope for MS. Even though Android has the advantage of being open to manufacturers, it has the same disadvantage of being at least partly controlled by a company that does not count the end user as the primary customer. Both Google and MS are tried to jumpt start the market for it's products by creating a reference device(the nexus one and kin) but it is not clear that either attempt will work. In the Android case it might become so fragmented that Apps are not going to be compatible across the devices. For MS, there is frankly little reason for a manufacturer to use the mobile product. Such a phone would either directly compete with Blackberry or Android, with little differentiation, and, unlike xBox, the manufacturer will have little incentive to sell the phones for a loss.

Re:MS as system integrator (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375840)

> The traditional MS model is to supply a limited set of software and depend on third parties to integrate and expand the selection to meet customers needs.

Compared to what you get on a mobile device, what MS provides is actually pretty comprehensive.

Mobile vendors have taken something as simple as printing and turned it into an optional extra that has to be cobbled onto the system with bad hacks.

This notion that Apple caters to the user any more than Microsoft or Google is just self-serving mythology.

Re:MS as system integrator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375864)

The Kin isn't a reference model for anything.

The base is optimised for the wrong goal (1)

NtwoO (517588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375650)

My views are only from the perspective of owning a WM phone, but the things that I noticed in my own phone (Motorola MPX220) and the HTC WM phone of my dad is that WM is just too much like a desktop OS. This brings round problems like start-up times in excess of a minute and no alarms when the phone is turned off. It must've been an option to start a development from scratch at the time (and it might even be a development from scratch), but the WM OS behaves too much like a desktop OS to ever be successful in embedded applications. Hacking this around will always lag behind the competitors. Starting from scratch could fix it for them, since they usually manage to heave a huge bucket of money into the marketing machine and haul the product through the ditch. They'll be out of the game for a couple of years then.

How about some QA? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375674)

How the hell did they ship a phone OS which answers phone calls in your pocket? Touch-screens are not a hard concept, MSFT.

Re:How about some QA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32375876)

...yes, actually, they are. Touch screens are had to develop and perfect.
One of the iPhone's best attributes is that it has a wonderfully accurate, usable touchscreen.

Re:How about some QA? (1)

landswipe (1708518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376062)

Not only that, they didn't have the tenacity to turn the touchscreen off during a call with a 2cent light sensor. I used to love guessing which application will launch during a call with my.

Applications (1)

Message (303377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375684)

I think the problem is applications. Every bussines pushed out an iPhone app. Every business is pushing out an Android app. But where are the comparable Windows Mobile apps? If you want the platform to be successful, get bussines to push their services to it.

Metro UI (1)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375834)

I think Windows Phone 7 OS UI (or lack of it) is really nice. There isn't much UI to it. It is very basic and minimalistic. When they introduced in March, I did not like it that much. Now playing with the emulator, I think it is very good and stable to work with. I agree with the article on removing the name Windows from it. This is not Windows OS

But...he's a writer... (1)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 4 years ago | (#32375936)

Seriously, what does he know about running large software corporations? Read his LinkedIn profile. He's a writer, not a manager of large product division in a huge company.

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/galen-gruman/0/37/599 [linkedin.com]

Microsoft and Intel both stink at "consumer goods" (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376066)

Microsoft and Intel seem to be similar in that neither company is any good at making "consumer-grade" products.

OK, I admit, Microsoft's keyboards, mice, and Xbox are fairly consumer friendly, but that's about it.

Intel did take a crack at the consumer market for a while with USB microscopes and that stupid Intel Reader device. The verdict from those experiments was, nice try - stick with making chips and software development tools and others will build products using your stuff.

I see Microsoft slowly evolving into that - developing software and services that others use to build end-user products, similar to Intel.

-ted

Drop the Windows philosophy (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376166)

The problem with Windows Mobile is that MS has tried to leverage the Windows philosophy to mobile when it wasn't appropriate. They purposely made the OS be more Windows like even though the codebase has no relation to the Windows NT codebase. Yet at the same time it was sufficiently different from Windows desktop to frustrate users. While touch is available to WM phones, they didn't design the OS to use a different UI instead relying on the desktop UI with a few tweaks. In that aspect they just switched a mouse for a stylus and called it done.

They got away with it for a while because there wasn't much competition for them because they were really the only game in town for corporate users. Then RIM came along. But they weren't worried. But MS didn't think about for consumers as much.

Apple didn't bother to compete with MS in the corporate smart phone arena; they were making a consumer smart phone which was an under-served area. Apple when designing a smart phone realized that a consumer has different needs than a corporate user. They designed the UI and OS to be different.

Also in terms of hardware, MS has followed the same philosophy. They just make the software and other companies use it on their hardware. Problem for MS is some of their hardware partners put out crap. While Windows Mobile isn't the most stable OS out there, some of their partners exacerbate problems with their shoddy hardware. Apple doesn't have this problem because they control the whole stack. I'm not saying that MS should do that but they should do a better job of working with their partners to make sure Windows 7 isn't sabotaged by the hardware.

Re:Drop the Windows philosophy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32376348)

I think some of the comments in the article may not make that much sense for Windows Phone 7.
MS Dictates what the hardware requirements are for Windows Phone 7 (Hardware Requirements [wikipedia.org] ). As he puts it in the article, it is either with keyboard or without keyboard (Frankly, it can only one or the other). There are minimum specs on memory and screen resolution.
There can be no changes to UI. He needs to check the current specs of the Windows Phone 7 before he writes up this article. No OEM can change the UI. That was before 7 version.

Five minutes with HTC made me want to murder (2, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376258)

Slow, unresponsive, shittastic. An utter embarrassment. A wank-stain on the face of technology. Windows Mobile products make the users want to kill themselves as opposed to iPhones which only make the people who build them suicidal; in use the iPhone is actually quite enjoyable.

Replacing it With Silverlight (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376270)

Microsoft is quietly getting rid of its old mobile business because it's replacing it with Silverlight. Windows 7 has a mobile edition that will evolve into whatever supports Silverlight. Which means that Microsoft's mobile business will use the same developer base as its desktop and server .Net business. And with things like MonoTouch, its mobile business will include the iPhone, just as Microsoft has always been one of the biggest developers for Mac desktops.

Silverlight puts .Net everywhere. The rest of Microsoft's mobile and desktop business is defined by that overall strategy.

Lawsuits and Monopoly (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376284)

Seriously, is that not the way that msft has conquered every market in the last ten years, or more?

Msft is very clever in leveraging it's monopoly in one technology, to almost force you to buy other msft technologies. For example, outlook will not really work right without exchange. You can not view certain websites without having the right version of msie, which in turn requires you to have to have the right version of windows.

Over the five years, or so, it seems that msft is more of a litigation company than anything else.

Msft has always made products that are mediocre at best. But, msft can get people to buy those products anyway by leveraging their monopoly, bribing officials, controlling much of the media, astro-turfing, and so on.

Msft does not need a good product to win, just a good team of lawyers, a good PR firm, some well placed political contributions, and some to leverage their monopoly in other products.

What Miscrosoft Must Do To Save (3, Funny)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376286)

What Microsoft must do to save their mobile buisiness: Simple, in Microsoft Fasion, Download the Android ASOP Standard Source. Recomplie with every reference to Android replaced by Windows 8 Mobile. When anyone complains just wait until they sue. The judgement will be much less than the profit. rinse, Repeat. Ohh wait that was Win 3.x err Win95.. err Sorry Win2k ohh wait no Excel, oh nm must have been defrag.. oh dang I must have meant Internet Explorer... well, you get the idea...

They should embrace Android (1)

astrashe (7452) | more than 4 years ago | (#32376338)

It seems to me that Microsoft ought to try to follow IBM's path. They should accept the world that they live in -- a world with multiple vendors, and open standards -- and be the guys who own lots of really key assets, and who are really good at making things work well together.

First, they should accept Android and build a stack on top of that OS, rather than trying to push their own system. They have to be hard nosed enough to accept reality, and the reality is that a second rate locked down proprietary phone OS ain't going to win.

They should produce a value added stack that sits on top of android and that's targeted really squarely at corporate customers -- it should include sync and access to office docs, active directory integration, an incredible exchange client, etc. Pretty much everyone with a good job would buy that, because almost everyone lives in a microsoft universe at work. There should be apps that let you control your SQL server from your phone, that let you monitor servers, etc.

All of this stuff should be extensible and scriptable by anyone who wants to write code. They should be all about open scripting and glue between components.

On the consumer side it will be harder and more competitive, but they should probably be pushing a tight desktop integration stack there as well. They need to tie the desktop and the phone together using the cloud as glue. You should get your songs, your photos, your docs, your apps. You should be able to pull up your desktop via RDP and do anything you want, and there should be separate phone friendly GUIs to do the most useful things.

Almost none of the really awesome stuff we'll be able to do with these phones has been built yet. Microsoft is in an incredibly good position to build out huge chunks of it, because they're the guys who know the most about so much of what we want to reach back and talk to. They still own the legacy world, and that's a huge, huge advantage.

But it's like they're thining in 1993 terms, and they need to control the OS, and they're going to fight that pointless battle that they can't win anyway. They have to accept the new world -- an open platform that everyone shares -- and they have to leverage all of their assets to thrive in it.

I never would have thought I'd be in this place. I love linux. I want computers to be open. And now I really want Microsoft to stand up and push back against the closed Apple iPad model. I want them to come out really hard, and push something more open, and I want them to run ads explaining why Apple's way is a bad idea. And instead they just seem to be floundering.

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