Posted by Jussi Autere:

The verdict is still open, whether Windows Phone will become a success story or not. But the reasons why it will fail, if it fails, are already visible. Unfortunately, the reasons are the very familiar ones for all the large, mature organizations pursuing innovation.

A week ago, I was in seminar organized by the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs Association to present Microsoft-Nokia ecosystem. In the presentation of the concept of the ecosystem, there was striking but at the same time expected phenomenon. The figure presenting different players in the ecosystem obviously had all the important players like carriers and application developers presented. It obviously presented the view of the important parts of the ecosystem by its sponsors.

There was still one player vital for the ecosystem that was not presented in the figure. This, obviously not so important player, was—the customer.

The fact that the understanding of customer needs is not in the driver’s seat for the builders of Windows Phone and Microsoft-Nokia ecosystem is already producing consequences.

One example is the data protection policy of the operating system. The different applications have direct access only to data that is produced the application itself. If the application wants to access data belonging to other applications, it has to ask the user explicit permission, always. This will mean that the user becomes a rubber stamp giving Oks, if someone does not develop an illegal bypass for that.

Another example is the certification principles of software developers. As its common practice has been, Microsoft is building different certification processes for its partners to increase their sunken investment, and mental barriers of exit for developers. The applications will be checked and accepted by Microsoft or Nokia before they can be published.

What is currently lacking in the mobile world is a way for smaller companies to present their services and products. The teenaged nephew of a small business owner should be able to produce it and publish it immediately. The planned certification and acceptance processes do not address this need.

If Microsoft and Nokia want to improve the success probability of Windows Phone, they should put their focus on the area that is always the key source of innovations and growth: understanding customer needs better.