I think Microsoft has blown away Apple and Google with their Windows Phone 7 Series announcement last week at the WCM. By introducing this new Phone platform an integral strategy is showing that can compete both with iPod, iPhone and iPad as well as the Android stuff.
To be clear, I came up with this view by myself, it has in no way been confirmed by Microsoft and I have no additional information that was not already available. So this is just me and my analysis.
To make my point, I will draw you a table of comparison between Apple and Microsoft, from the mobile perspective:
|Store||AppStore & iTunes||Zune Marketplace|
|Game/Media Console||Apple TV||Xbox|
|Online||MobileMe||– Office Live
– Xbox Live
– Windows Live Sync
– Live Mesh
– BPOS (with Exchange, SharePoint, Instant Messaging, Presence & Live Meeting)
I did not add a column for Android, because that would include a lot of yet unannounced stuff.
Lets examine the table. With the announcement of the new Phone OS and the inclusion of the Zune interface they not only created a better Phone (yes, it will do a necessary form of multitasking), they also included a web store for media content and applications that also includes a full client for the laptops and desktops.
Because it is based on the Zune interface, the media player Zune instantly makes sense in the family of products.
But what I predict is that they will make sure that the ‘Pad’ will also become part of the family. Remember Steve Ballmer on stage with the HP Slate at CES 2010? The device was shown but no definite availability has been announced. I bet HP was informed about the new Windows Phone 7 Series and the strategy behind it. I expect that HP is now working with Microsoft to make this slate run with a Zune interface also; this would allow the Windows Slate to also connect into the Zune Marketplace and run the same media and apps as the Phone and the Zune media player.
By the way – Microsoft already opened the Zune Marketplace for Xbox…
All of the Microsoft devices will behave as good online citizens and at least have Wi-Fi (Zune player) and support 3 or 4G connections out of the box.
Finally, because each of these devices (including the PC’s but excluding the Zune Player) is running on the same platform, application development can all be done using one development framework and tooling set (it is clearly no coincidence that it is called ‘7’).
Now imagine the platform Microsoft is creating for apps, subscription based media and online gaming; just to name a few. All working together, all synced and enhancing the experience when more members of the family are purchased by the user.
For example, because of the included multitasking the phone will be able to run the Live Messenger client (or Office Communicator), thus making it possible to receive IM’s while running other apps. I suspect the phone will also be able to run VoIP applications. This could then connect into a multitude of live services for productivity, collaboration and social networking.
Microsoft obviously has had a hard look at the competition and have reset their original gameplan. I am impressed with the outcome.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.