Analyst: Windows Phone 7 Needs to Win Over Smartphone Makers as Well as Buyers
There’s another turf war brewing in the mobile space, and this one isn’t over consumers–it’s over the top smartphone manufacturers.
Consider this: In 2009, HTC, Samsung and LG accounted for 67 percent of Windows Mobile shipments. In the third quarter of 2010, those same companies accounted for 44 percent of Android handset shipments. Motorola and Sony Ericsson, also longtime Windows Mobile licensees, accounted for an additional 30 percent.
With Android commanding that kind of OEM attention, Microsoft is going to have to work harder than ever to rewrite the weak mobile story it’s written for itself over the past few years.
“To ensure Window Phone 7’s success, Microsoft must sign up virtually all of the name brand smartphone vendors who deserted Windows Mobile for Android when Microsoft failed to modernize the operating system for three years,” says Needham analyst Charlie Wolf. “Microsoft has signed up three of them and has two to go. Google would argue that it has the upper hand in this tussle because it licenses Android for free while Microsoft charges a licensing fee (albeit a small one compared to its PC licensing fees). But Microsoft simply has more at stake.”
And it knows it. Which is why it’s putting so many marketing dollars into Windows Phone 7.
Says Wolf, “We suspect the company will devote a material portion of [its marketing budget] to buy the support of the leading smartphone manufacturers.”