This is the fourth of five part series profiling Microsoft Windows Mobile 7.0. In the earlier posts, i had discussed hardware, software perspectives, developer perspective and platform shortcomings around the WinMo7. This post discusses the importance of Windows Mobile 7.0 for effective launch of the Microsoft Online services. WInMo 7.0 is not just a revenue machine for Microsoft, it also is enabler for other online services for Microsoft.
WinMo 7.0′s integration with Microsoft web-services will determine the successs of Microsoft efforts to bridge the distance between its current state and its future in Mobile/Smartphone computing. Mobile is central to the Microsoft’s transformation into a services business. And WinMo 7.0 is key to Microsoft’s Mobile phone aspirations.
Services is central to the Windows Phone 7 strategy, given the need to provide a rounded offering and the opportunity to substantially extend the reach of such services. Windows Phone and Microsoft services are now intrinsically linked. The success of the platform relies on consumer appetite for Microsoft services, and those services are reliant on Microsoft extending its reach beyond the PC. Windows Phone 7 will be expected to help boost the profitability of the online services division. The success of the platform relies on consumer appetite for Microsoft services, and those services are reliant on Microsoft extending its reach beyond the PC. Windows Phone 7 will be expected to help boost the profitability of the online services division.
The platform’s service offering contains:
• Xbox Live (for updating avatars, posting high scores and communicating with other players)
• MSN/Windows Live Hotmail
• Outlook e-mail synchronisation
• Zune music service (for buying tracks and unlimited streaming through Zune Pass)
• Bing search and maps
• Integration with Office Web applications
• Tellme voice search
• Cloud-based synchronisation (no details were given, but we expect this to be a form
of the company’s SkyDrive service)
• Facebook integration for the People Hub
• Marketplace software store
While the list reads long, it has some very important “misses” which translate into shortcomings. This includes lack of Netflix or a movie download stream and lack of e-book store, Twitter, Skype and Flickr. Microsoft also has some work to do with promoting the Zune which is not recognized as much outside of US.
Fortunately for Microsoft, the strongest service element in Windows Phone 7 is also the one that is of most strategic importance. Bing search is tightly integrated into the platform and closely tailored to the specifics of mobile search. Results are filtered according to locality (derived from Wi-Fi, cell proximity or GPS) and enable direct calling or messaging.
Bing is typical of the service continuity and value that Microsoft is seeking to deliver across multiple platforms. Moreover, the broader business will hope that the richer, contextual experience on Windows Phone 7 will help drive wider usage. The challenge facing Microsoft is Google’s head start and plans to fully integrate search across a wide range of devices. Competing with Google’s growing coverage of consumer electronics must be a daunting prospect for Microsoft and, unlike Android and Chrome OS, Windows Phone 7 will remain limited to high-tier mobile phones.