Microsoft sees its chance in Googlephone
When partners defect, we'll pounce
Microsoft has once again questioned Google's mobile strategy, insisting that Mountain View will have trouble attracting - and keeping - OS partners now that the company is selling its very own Googlephone.
Speaking with Bloomberg this past week, Redmond mobile boss Robbie Bach predicted that Google's decision to serve as both OS provider and handset seller will end up providing an opening for Microsoft.
"Doing both in the way they are trying to do both is actually very, very difficult,” Bach said. “Google’s announcement sends a signal where they’re going to place their commitment. That will create some opportunities for us and we’ll pursue them."
On Tuesday, Google began selling the long-rumored Nexus One from its own web storefront under its own brand name. Clearly, two Google partners believe wholeheartedly in the undertaking: HTC and T-Mobile, who have partnered with the web giant since the earliest days its Android operating system. HTC manufactured the device, and though the GSM phone can be purchased unlocked, Google also gives you the option of purchasing in tandem with T-Mobile wireless service.
But Google's other partnerships are a bit more complicated.
According to report from GigaOm, Verizon and Motorola are "particularly miffed" at the arrival of the Googlephone, after spending $100m to promote their Android-based Droid handset. But both - along with Vodafone - have agreed to join Google's online store in the near future.
Nonetheless, Bach says that some partners could decide to leave Android in the wake of Google's move, fearing that the company will give priority to its own product. And that's where Microsoft intends to leap in. Though there have long been rumors of a Microsoftphone, Redmond says it has no intention of offering one, insisting it will focus on supporting other phone makers and carriers with its Windows Mobile OS.
"Over time you have to decide whether your approach is with the partners or more like an Apple approach that is more about Apple," he said. "Google’s is an interesting step. We’ll see how people react."
He has a point - though we question whether Microsoft has what it takes to nab Google's leftovers. Unlike Android, Windows Mobile costs money. And it's rubbish. ®
Windows Mobile is rubbish?
Was that last sentence deliberate bait, opinion, or plain arrogance?
Personally I've found Windows Mobile does all the things I want of it better than any other phone I've tried. It certainly doesn't do everything well, but then neither do the alternatives.
I want to make calls, send & receive SMS, sync with Exchange, and use TomTom. All 4 Windows Mobile phones I've had over the years have done that very well.
Anyone trust the MS crystal ball?
Given how badly MS predicted the iphone uptake I'm not going to listen to MS mobile predictions any more.
Microsoft has an even worse record of treachery
As the media player manufacturers who were suckered by PlaysForSure can attest when Microsoft ditched them for its go-alone Zune.
Microsoft is an aimless loser
The #1 phone OS is still Symbian. Developed by Nokia, which also makes handsets.
If Microsoft doesn't want its own handset, then why did it buy Danger Inc, a year or so ago? Danger's expertise was mainly in hardware. Pity Microsoft let it rot, in fact, turned it into one of the biggest fiascos, when Microsoft accidentally deleted the personal data of 1 million phone owners, and kept no back-up.
Yes, Microsoft bought the expertise to make its own handset. It's Microsoft's 'Plan B', when all the phone OEMs have deserted the debilitated Windows Mobile platform, it can make its own Microsoft Phone without upsetting anyone.
Microsoft's Windows Mobile is a complete train wreck, and one of the biggest debacles in computing history (eliminating Microsoft's place in the next era of computing... mobile).
being rubbish and costing money does matter
If Apple was doing what Google is trying it might be different.
But, offering an Android phone is not an exclusive deal at all. It is not exclusive with the operators. And it is not exclusive with Google. Google is just another channel.
And while it is easy to understand why some operators might be a bit miffed about Google, there are many versions of the Android phone to be worried about. Google's phone is just one of them.
Even switching to Microsoft means nothing. Any operator still has to complete with all of the other Android phones plus the one from Google. Plus Microsoft insists upon being paid money. Android does not.
Certainly all of the operators that have looked at the Android software knew from the start that they were not going to be looking at anything close to an exclusive deal.