Currently Apple and Google are crushing competition, even heavy weights like Nokia are being over run. The natural question is ‘Does Windows Phone 7 still have a chance?’ The answer depends on what expectations Microsoft has for its phone OS. If they want WP7 to be a default like Windows OS, I would say its unrealistic. Currently the Smart Phone market is still taking off, the market is still in its infancy so technically MS still has a very good chance of capturing good share of the market.
iPhone & Android are main stream now. In a feature to feature comparison Windows Phone 7 stands no where close to them. Be it the maturity of the platform or the number of application available for the platform. There is no way you can fight a 800 pound gorilla in its own game, Microsoft should play differently. The best route for Microsoft to take is attack the Niche markets. Just like RIM is synonymous with enterprise messaging & corporate mobile email, Windows Phone 7 should be synonymous to at least to a couple of segments.
Microsoft needs to pick 2 areas-
Enterprises are just getting started to developing applications for mobile devices. Work with enterprise heavy weights like Oracle, SAP to port their applications to WP7.
MS should play to their strengths, which has always been the enterprise. Attack weaker players like RIM instead of going head on with Apple. To start with, by using WP7 Enterprises can cut costs on Blackberry Enterprise Licencing since Windows Phones has direct exchange server integration as opposed to Blackberry.
Microsoft with its extensive partner and industry relations should convince that they are going offer deepest integration of its enterprise products for its mobile devices. Make Windows Phone 7 sing sweet music with Microsoft’s enterprise offerings
a. Microsoft Dynamics
b. Microsoft Office
c. Micorsoft System Center
d. Microsoft Lync Server
c. Micrsoft Sharepoint
Explore the possibility of offering remote administration, tighter encryption, active directory support etc. for Windows Phone 7. This would ensure faster enterprise adoption, since none of the competitors are technically no way near to offering this.
Target the gaming market. Microsoft’s phone 7 should be the kind of device which every gamer should be looking for. Make Windows Phone 7, the ultimate gaming device for both casual and serious gamers.
Microsoft’s ace of cards is XBox ecosystem, which none of the competetors enjoy nor can they replicate easily. Remember XboX community is a string 40 million, with Kinect this number is bound to increase greatly. Even if MS succeeds in getting half of them on board in next 12 months they can stay in peace.
- Co-promote WP7 with Xbox+Kinect bundle.
- Offer free Xbox Live Gold for 6 months for those who buy Windows Phone 7
- Generate fan boy envy amongst PS3 folks by porting XboX 360 exclusives like Halo to WP7. Fanboy flames sometimes help drive sales.
- Device a strategy to lure developers to get their games ported from iOS & Android to WP7.
Back in August Microsoft spoke of how WP7 and Xbox 360 will integrate , which is a great thing. But MS is doing so little about advertizing the same.
Other Areas of Focus-
- Incentivise developers by offering 90% of application revenue for the first 20,000 applications for the next 12 months year.This would ensure a good number of developers to quickly start bulding apps for WP7.
- Do whatever it takes get the developer community get excited about the platform.
- Invest & Operate heavily in neacent smart phone markets like Asia & South America to improve adoption. This is very essential as it will allow MS to easily grow with the market (where as every where else they have a tought task of getting loyal users of iOS and Android to switch.)
- MS should also get their Live ID integration right, i.e Consumer Cloud (SkyDrive). Get some sort of Kin Studio to work on WP7.
- MS should do its best to partner with Nokia, this would ensure cross-patent licencing between the giants. Will ensure WP7 get a lust-worthy hardware.
MS should Market WP7 capabilties with great detail. In one line MS focus should be of delivering and driving the message that ‘WP7 does the best integration in the market’
P.S: The above is my answer to a question in Quora