Posted by Jussi Autere: A year ago I wrote on this blog (http://www.gearshiftgroup.com/why-windows-phone-will-fail/) about the reasons why Windows Phone will have problems in gaining popularity. As parts of the initial difficulties have been won, it is time to tell why Windows Phone has possibilities to win.
There are currently two visible trends in the use of ICT. The one that is approaching its highpoint is so popular that is has been given own acronym, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). The second that is still emerging has multiple names depending on the background of the person speaking about it. It is the need to provide consistent user experience on a service independently on the device that the user has.
The consistent user experience covers both inside the corporate services like shared calendars or CRM systems, but more importantly also the services that a company provides to its customers. For instance, a company selling books wants its appearance to be the same across the platforms, and book buyers to be able to change a device while they are in the process of selecting a book.
BYOD has been driven by cool Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Highly paid executives and professionals have used them for working, even though they had been given corporate standard tools. The corporate IT departments have decided that it is better, from security and minimizing wasted working time standpoints, to support the BYOD devices instead of suffering the problems caused by smuggled-in devices.
But the very reasons that have made Apple the winner in the BYOD trend are going to be sources of problems for it in the consistent user experience trend. Even though the user interfaces in Apple devices resemble each other, and the user can share data across the devices all by him/herself with the help of iCloud, from a service provider view each of the Apple devices is a separate empire. The user has to download a service provider’s app separately to each device and the service provider has to cope with different rules of providing apps on different platforms. If the service provider chooses to use a Web browser instead, Apple environments do not offer any specific advantages for him.
Microsoft has approached the challenge differently. It aims to provide a consistent user interface across the platforms for basic services. Corporates can then build their own user experience by using HTML5, which works also on Apple and Android phones.
During recent years, while Apple has been conquering the end-user mindshare, Microsoft has quietly won an increasing position in the plumbing department. For instance, telecommunications operators have taken Microsoft technologies like LYNC as part of their offering. Thus, when the corporate IT guys want to improve the security and management over the BYOD devices that the users have selected, they tend to lean on Microsoft approaches.
Even though right now Microsoft appears to be a good guy using standards based solutions like HTML5, the history has shown that they know how to build a hidden agenda to gain long term competitive advantage. We will start to see it only in a couple of years.
To put money where my mouth is, I have purchased Nokia shares this fall.