Monday, February 15, 2010

Windows Phone 7: how its competing with iPhone



My 2 cents on the Windows Phone 7 launch. The blogosphere was stormed with a torrential amount of media about the announcement of Windows Phone 7 earlier today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It seemed that Microsoft has applied its "fast follow" strategy (one that they are brilliant at) quiet well again. Windows Phone 7 is definitely night and day as a comparison of WP 7 to previous WinMo versions. Microsoft took a ton of notes out of the iPhone playbook for the renaissance of their mobile strategy.

The main take away of how Windows Phone 7 is different from iPhone OS (Android & PalmOS) is a subtle but important User Experience BET. It is effectively underscored in the video teaser that they showed on stage. In short microsoft accuses iPhone and its ilk of being focussed on the App experience vs the phone or life on the go experience as a whole. Watch this video to see Microsoft marketing get a good one in on its Cupertino competitors.

Here is the key difference between WP7 and iPhone. iPhone really is all about the apps, its a giant homescreen for you to put app icons. WP7 is kind of the same except they are grouping the apps into 7 or so categories. Think of them as folders for your life. Redmond marketing calls them "Hubs". So a folder for People, a folder for Music, a folder for Games, a folder for Apps, etc. Within a nice thick layer of Bing powered search smothered on top.

In summary, it became clear to me that there is a "new" kind of Microsoft rising internally. The Zune group, the Xbox group, now the Windows Phone 7 group, the Bing group they all seem much more modern and young then the bread and butter Windows and Office groups. Windows Phone 7 is the convergence of these groups in what is an ambitious bet to get the mainstream mobile consumer to integrate all of these brands into the most personal device in their life. If this works microsoft is going to make tens and tens of billions.

The business strategy here is more of a direct competitor on Android. Microsoft really came into its own element by parading an impressive list of launch partners for windows phone 7. From tier 1 global OEMs to Tier 1 global carriers Microsoft is clearly trying to bring WP7 and all of its underlying brands to the mainstream mobile consumer all over the world. This is a big move for Redmond and as much as i dont like saying it, they are doing a fairly good job so far.