Microsoft is set to launch Windows Phone 7 today. And by launch, I mean start talking about it openly – you’re not getting a Windows phone today.
Features and how it compares to Android and iPhone for the most part don’t matter as far as I’m concerned. People will still buy it, I have friends that still use Windows Mobile for some reason.
What really matters (for Microsoft, for the rest of us in the IT business) is the shelf life: How long will Microsoft stick with a failure?
Right now, Microsoft has received a cold shoulder from many developers, even with (supposedly) a lot of money being thrown down by Microsoft to bring the most popular applications to it. It’s biggest evangelists are questioning it in public. Competitor’s fans offer it praise. So many questions for a phone that isn’t in any consumer hands yet.
It took Apple 3.5 years to get to where they are. Android, about two. Neither platform is perfect but collectively they are crushing the Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc.
Microsoft may as well demo a fantastic phone tomorrow. Hey, there is a first time for everything! But the reality remains that most people will not develop for it. We certainly won’t be touching Windows Mobile for a long time. Why? There needs to be a demand for it. Right now, demand is elsewhere. That is where development happens. Microsoft can get into it by establishing and sticking with a mobile strategy for years. So far, that has not been the case.
People tolerate imperfection. I own a Porsche 911 4S convertible. It’s not a perfect car. It’s ridiculously overpriced, it has the shock absorption of a brick and all the comfort and spaciousness of a discount airline seat. Yet, I’ve always wanted one and I absolutely love driving it. In part due to too many 80’s movies, in part because “I’ve always wanted a 911.” – Nobody out there has ever said “I’ve always wanted a Honda CR-Z”. Ever. Why? Because it got introduced this year. Perfectionism and commitment are built over time. Porsche has gone from an economic initiative of the Nazi government (Hitler funded Porsche’s “car for everybody” in late 1930’s) and for over half the century Porsche has manufactured the 911.
Same with the likes of Corvette and Mustang.
Constant pursuit of perfection.
Microsoft’s mobile track record suggests anything but that – and the same guy that brought you the success of Windows Mobile all the way up to the Kin debacle (Andrew Lees) is in charge of Windows Mobile reporting directly to Balmer. Here is to hoping they have learned something.