Windows Mobile: "Unloved, Unappreciated, and Unlikely to Encourage Any Devotion"
No wonder Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is so dismayed by the company’s Windows Mobile division: Most Windows Mobile users aren’t even aware their phones run it. In fact, according to the CFI Group, WinMo has such poor brand recognition that it was forced to group it in the “Other” category in its Smartphone Satisfaction Survey.
“Throughout this report we have focused on the main ‘branded’ smartphones like iPhone, Android, Pre, BlackBerry, and Treo,” the market researcher explained. “And yet there are many more smartphones in use today, manufactured by the likes of LG, Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia, running either the Windows Mobile or Symbian operating system. What’s going on with these smartphones? For one thing, many users can’t identify their operating system. While Android users know they have a phone on the Android platform, most Windows Mobile or Symbian users have no idea what operating system is running their phone.”
That’s bad news for Microsoft (MSFT) and Nokia (NOK) because not only do these “other” smart phones tend to perform the most poorly in customer satisfaction, most of their owners would like to abandon them for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry or the Palm (PALM) Pre.
“The ‘generic’ smartphone is unloved, unappreciated, and unlikely to encourage any devotion among its users,” CFI concludes. “Its main role appears to be as a stepping stone to a ‘branded’ smartphone….Our data indicates there is little future for the ‘generic’ smartphone. Or, to be exact, the first generation of ‘generic’ smartphones. The iPhone has clearly raised the bar, but given the performance of the initial versions of the Pre and Android, the gap is narrowing. It’s clear from our data that the Android and Pre are worthy competitors to the iPhone, and more recent versions of the BlackBerry pose a bigger threat.”