Microsoft should do with Mobile what Google did with productivity


Recently Paul wrote a post about how it is embarrassing for Microsoft to keep failing at mobile and they should give up. Personally I don’t think they should give up.

Currently Microsoft has nothing to lose when it comes to mobile. No market share means more flexibility to do whatever they want. In the same way Google uses profit from search to fund all their other projects, Microsoft should use their profits from Azure, Windows, and Office to fund their mobile experiments.

Mobile is like web search, it’ll be around forever. The same reasons Microsoft held on to Bing are why they should hold on to mobile. Hopefully with Windows on ARM Microsoft can differentiate themselves and offer a compelling mobile strategy.

We’ll see what the future holds. What do you think?

Comments (10)

10 responses to “Microsoft should do with Mobile what Google did with productivity”

  1. Vuppe

    I think Microsoft needs a mobile presence in order to succeed in the consumer market. Whether that's through a version of Windows Mobile or through a customized version of Android with better Cortana integration and compelling hardware. Their recent foray into reselling the Galaxy S8, Arrow Launcher and Cortana for Android lead to the idea they're interested in the second at the very least.

    And, hey, look at Bing. It's profitable these days with something like 30% search market share. If Microsoft could achieve half of that with some sort of mobile offering, they'd be well positioned for the future.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Vuppe:

      Microsoft's share of the search market is only where it is because of Windows 10 having it baked in, especially now with Win10S. Corporate decisions like this always have ulterior motives. Give something away for free that forces use of our services, and watch market share climb. Win10S is a classic example of this. If it was user choice, Bing would be at the same share level as Win Mobile. It's very obvious MS don't want the user to have a choice, but they risk being hauled before the courts again if they're not very careful.

  2. Nonmoi

    From business stands point, nothing to loss is the worse condition you want to be in when try to disrupt an industry.

    The problem with Microsoft in mobile is that the company is so established, there is no indication that this time will be different, that is it;s more likely to go the way other MS mobile efforts was going - large thunder, no rain, quite abandonment.

    I personally have nothing against a reboot. But in order for it to success, it need to different, like Nadella put his job on the line different. (e.g. He announced to the public that if the mobile effort failed to achieve 5% adoption rate world wide and double digit growth 3 years from now (what WP was when he took over), he will resign and payback all bonuses during the 3 years.)

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Nonmoi:

      Gotta say, if Nadella stay's true to his word, he'd better start packing and getting the cheque book out then, because the only way is down for Win Mobile based on Q1 stats.

    • TheJoeFin

      In reply to Nonmoi:

      5 years ago it would have been unthinkable that businesses would switch to a productivity suite built by Google... but here we are Gsuite is chipping away at Microsoft's business.

      Any mobile strategy from Microsoft needs to be focused, different, and deliver on a core set of goals. Windows Mobile is a sloppy 'me-too' product with no killer features to differentiate it from iOS and Android.

      Windows on ARM could enable MS to make Continuum what people expect, Windows desktop apps when docked, phone apps when undocked. Throw in pen support, the Surface branding and quality, I think MS would have a unique product that could not be easily copied by iOS and Android.

      • skane2600

        In reply to TheJoeFin:

        It's more like "not Continuum when undocked and Continuum when docked". Continuum isn't really about mobile at all, it's a tethered technology taking the place of the traditional PC tower, requiring the same peripherals, but so far, more limited capability.

  3. Tony Barrett

    Microsoft have hammered away at Mobile for years, and failed every time. They may have the cash, but they've spent billions on failed attempts at breaking into the duopoly Apple/Android have, that's excluding the billions they wasted on the Nokia acquisition (and I think they treated Nokia appallingly in the process!)

    Do you think MS shareholders will be happy with them spending whatever they want on side projects like mobile, in the vague hope they stumble onto something that actually appeals to people? I don't hold out much hope. It's a very expensive business *trying* to do what they're doing, and eventually something may click, or they'll actually throw in the towel - and I'd say the towel is winning at the moment.

  4. evox81

    Just like someone comparing the Microsoft in the mobile market to KIA in the car market the other day, you're comparing two things that are very different. When people buy Office, or choose Google productivity apps, that's all they're getting. They are standalone products. There's no "app store" for productivity software (I know there is an Office app store) that users depend on to use the software in today's world.

    On the other hand, when people buy a phone they're buying in an ecosystem. Microsoft has very little in the way of an ecosystem today. Rebooting their mobile OS for the 4th time will not change that.

    • TheJoeFin

      In reply to evox81:

      When it comes to productivity tools you have to consider the ecosystem of compatibility. If Google Docs couldn't open Word docs then it would have never gotten used.

      An ecosystem of apps is similar to saying features. Android and iOS are super fully featured with 1st and 3rd party apps. Windows Mobile does not have a full feature set when it comes to 1st or 3rd party apps. If Microsoft can make a mobile device that people use in addition to their Phones then they can focus on a few killer features and use it as an experiment for understanding consumers better.

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