Once the leader in the Smartphone operating system developers, Microsoft has currently a penetration lower than 5% in the smartphone market towards the end of 2011, currently ruled by Android. Android now has a third of the global market share (33%). RIM’s share has plummeted to 29%. Apple is barely holding at 25% and Palm, which is barely worth mentioning anymore, fell another point to 2.8%.
Microsoft is targeting to gain considerable market-share upto 10% for the time being and slowly regain its otherwise lost competitive advantage. By collaborating with HTC (Radar), Samsung and Nokia, Microsoft is targeting a mass market where it can reach out to its potential customers.
A question that may worry many technocrat is that with all the added GUI that microsoft has pumped into the Mango phones (Windows 7 and Windows 7.5), how will the added power consumption be handled by the high end processors added to these really smart phones (1 GHz processors are the norm now). Smartphone users are often plagued by the battery support that forces them to recharge their phones every alternate day or even everyday, if one talks for 4-5 hours. While, due to this very specific need, smartphones from Blackberry (RIM) and Nokia Symbian Smartphones are still in the market, its time to realize that business users of smartphone often value these hard performance factors over GUI improvements.
Another major area of focus is connectivity, especially over web. Most of these smartphone sucker out while being connected over 3G. If you are online, in most phones, if not all, you are likely to need to recharge your phone everyday, and effectively after a year, your battery starts showing signs of stress. I personally sometimes miss those days when I could charge my mobile once a week and that would satisfy all the phone-calls I needed to make. While I thrive on the web, it has its costs too.
With other features in the mobile market going for a rat race (like cameras, internal memory, etc), a major decision point in the purchasing behavior may be these factors. Also another decision factor may be the accessibility to services and distribution channels, something which Microsoft is targeting in a very focused manner by collaborating with Nokia, which has one of the most extensive servicing and distribution channels.
While in the days of cloud computing, what everyone else is using is also adding drastically to the experience of using a smartphone, it is necessary to understand that jumping into the smartphone bandwagon should be a decision taken more judiciously for every user, based on a smart analysis of one’s actual needs.
It remains to be seen who will win this fight for market-share in the operating systems market. It indeed is getting intensely competitive. Will Microsoft be able to turn over its bad times with this Windows 7 series? Only time will say. What do you think?