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While thinking about the hoopla that's sure to accompany the long-awaited release of the Verizon iPhone later this week, one question kept popping into my head: Is Microsoft missing out on the mobile computing movement? The company that popularized the graphical user interface, thus making personal computers accessible to the masses, has yet to deliver a truly successful mobile product. Its latest effort, the Windows Phone 7 operating system, was well received by industry analysts, and early sales numbers haven't been horrible -- but they're not impressive enough.
Microsoft has a decent product but it needs a better salesman. No that does not mean a Steve Jobs. But they do need to fight this stigma that their Mobile OS sucks. Just as Vista took some unfair criticism think Windows Mobile also has some of that. But I think also when I watch TV I see Android and I see Apple commercials. Where is Microsoft?
Actually, iOS is not a completely new operating system built from the ground up. It runs a modified version of OS X. Check the wikipedia link and you will see when the iPhone was first released, Apple literature stated it ran OS X. It has been rebranded and is built to run on iPhone hardware, but underneath the hood it is still all built on the Darwin foundation.
Windows phone 7 is a good product but is not getting market share. Why? Marketing. Microsoft insists on using "Windows" as their brand. It is the most successful brand in history, so they think consumers desire it. Wrong! Windows sold because it was effectively a MONOPOLY related to a device everyone wanted and needed - PC's It was PC's that sold Windows, not the Microsoft Windows brand. Ask most people their general impression of Windows as an operating system. Big, Complex, Full of features they can't operate. Slow. Prone to viruses. They have a 20 year collection of horror stories about system crashes, security issues and lost data. The brand is perceived as old and and its reputation is negative. Old, Stodgy and complex is how people see windows. They want new, exciting, and simple. Microsoft would do itself a huge favor by creating a separate division for phones which didn't use the Microsoft or Windows name.