And then there's Android. Android, quite simply, is a juggernaut. It account for almost 80% of smartphone market share and shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, Android manufacturers have stepped up their game as of late, and new high-profile devices from Motorola, Samsung, HTC, LG and others are all coming down the pipeline.
If Microsoft is to succeed long-term in the smartphone space, it has to do five things in my opinion.
- First, it must rehabilitate its image on the desktop and in tablets-hopefully Windows 8.1 helps that situation. People need to see Microsoft in a more positive light.
- Second, Microsoft needs to attract more developers to produce Windows Phone apps. Too many high-profile apps are missing from the Windows Phone marker.
- Third, Microsoft must incentivize smartphone manufacturers to actually adopt Windows Phone. As nice as Nokia's devices are, Microsoft simply needs more partners and other attractive devices in the marketplace.
- Fourth, Microsoft must somehow push every major wireless operator to carry Windows Phone. Windows Phone should at least be an option for anybody shopping for a smartphone.
- And finally, perhaps most importantly, Microsoft has to figure out a way to educate the wireless operators' salespeople on Windows Phone. Walk into virtually any AT&T store (or electronics store that sells smartphones) and talk to the salespeople about Windows Phone. There will rarely be any excitement for the platform. It may be time for Microsoft to spend some big money and setup Windows Phone stores within-a-store, staffed with Windows Phone experts, to woo consumers to the platform.
One thing is for certain - despite the relatively good news, Microsoft's got to do something major if it wants to succeed in the smartphone space. The current plan just ain't cutting it.
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