Microsoft Admits Mobile Missteps, but Fights on
Microsoft doesn't have a business model problem in the mobile market, but its phones are skewed toward business users at the expense of consumers and are not as modern as they need to be, company officials said at CES.
Fri, January 08, 2010
Network World — Microsoft doesn't have a business model problem in the mobile market, but its phones are skewed toward business users at the expense of consumers and are not as modern as they need to be, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's (MSFT) entertainment and devices division, told financial analysts Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Those realities will present Microsoft with some specific challenges in the mobile area, he said, where Apple (AAPL) and Google are setting a new pace. But in established Microsoft fashion, Bach is unbowed and optimistic despite the company's weak mobile showing to date.
He says the three-pronged assault that will fuel Microsoft is the new Windows Mobile 7 operating system, changes in marketing that will have Microsoft closer to the front lines, and most important, Microsoft's online services strategy around three screens and a cloud.
"We are very focused and confident in the work we are doing right now," he said, referring to Windows Mobile 7. "While I don't think if you looked across the past two years of what we have brought to market that we have executed as well as we would have liked, but I am quite optimistic with the new team we have, I am quite optimistic with the new work we are doing… and I feel comfortable we are going to be in the right place."
Microsoft is up against the poorly received Windows Mobile 6.5 it released last year, and the expectations of Windows Mobile 7, which it plans to highlight next month at the Mobile World Congress and in March at its annual Mix Conference. Shipment is expected this year.
That operating system is what Microsoft will yield to fight the dominance of Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry and the hype around the recently unveiled Google Nexus One and the entire line of Android-based and open source Linux devices.
Bach told financial analysts to have high expectations for Windows Mobile 7.
"I have had the pleasure of seeing [Windows Mobile 7], looking at it and playing with it. I am certainly confident that we are going to see it as something that is differentiated and sets the bar forward, not in an evolutionary way from where we are today, but something that looks, feels and acts and performs completely different."
Bach, however, did not back up that endorsement with any details.