It's no secret that Windows Mobile has hit a rough patch as the iPhone and Android-based smartphones have take center stage. Recent statistics from AdMob shows that Windows Mobile market share of Web surfing was way down during the past 12 months--more than 70 percent year over year.
Any number of people postulate that Windows Mobile will be dead, some say as soon as 2011, unless Microsoft figures out a way to not only make the operating system better but to convince users that they should care.
On the New York Times Bits blog, Steve Lohr wrote earlier Thursday on analyst Mark Anderson's comments suggesting that Microsoft abandon their consumer efforts entirely--that the company has lost the battle for consumers:
Except for gaming, it is 'game over' for Microsoft in the consumer market. It's time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.
I'm not a huge fan of Windows Mobile, but Microsoft certainly can't give up on smartphones and really has no alternative but to make a big move in the mobile operating system space. And Windows Mobile is not nearly as bad as many people think--if you don't believe me, check out these results from mobile blog jkOntheRun.
I recently toyed with Windows Mobile phones at both Verizon and AT&T stores and I could absolutely see the appeal of the common desktop functional paradigm if I were a Windows user. But consumers are fickle and don't want to add an OS decision into their buying process. They just want the phone and its applications to work and be easy to use.
There remains a huge opportunity for Microsoft to take its dominant position and make Windows Mobile truly great, even if it means walking away from the status quo. And while that's not typically the Microsoft way, the company has shown with Bing that it can make those kinds of decisions (as well as less-positive choices.)
There are two very simple moves Microsoft could make that would not only shake up the whole market, but also build a path for the future: