Microsoft's New Phone Strategy -- Be More Like Apple?!
Never have I seen a thousand pound gorilla play such defense:
Apple: In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1. But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience. Today, we’re changing the way we work with hardware vendors to ensure that we can provide complete experiences with absolutely no compromises. We’ll do the same with phones—providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences.
Seriously, Microsoft? Seriously? You pretty much invented the software industry and helped commoditize the PC business to an extent that Windows runs on an amount of servers, desktops, laptops, and -- yes -- even handsets, so vast it blots out the stars, and you're re-focusing your business model on being more like Apple?
Now, I love Apple. My server, desktop, laptop, and handset were all designed in Cupertino, and their market share may one day approach 10%... but that's the thing. 10%. (Not counting iPod here because, try as it might, Zune isn't even really in that business).
You're the gourmet restaurant on one side of the street or you're the dozens of McDonalds on the other. Try to build your fine+fast eatery in the middle and... you get rammed by the oncoming bus (or Gordon Ramsey, whichever gets there first).
Instead of obsessing over Apple (and Google), how about spending some time on Microsoft. Your branding is a mess (8 word product names with inconsistent and seemingly random uses of Windows and LIVE! may work for puzzle games, but not consumer interest), your SKU's are terminally skewed, and you're increasingly at cross-purposes between partner platforms and in-house "whole widget" approaches. Heck, you're making Yahoo! seem focused right now.
Head on over to WMExperts for more complete coverage and analysis. And to find out if Dieter somehow works ZOMG! Zune Phone... er... zPhone... er... xPhone... er... Phone for Windows LIVE! into the post...