Microsoft is at a critical juncture.

With the announcement of the ZunePhone 7-Series (BMW?  No, MS!), Microsoft has finally taken a hard look at the mobile phone market, drawn from it’s hugely successful Zune and Xbox Live platforms, and created a mobile OS that could put Microsoft right back in the mobile phone game as a leading competitor.

I personally think this thing will be a hit if they can clean up a few elements here and there, make some UI adjustments, and also ensure that manufacturers don’t bungle the hardware too badly (why doesn’t MS just make the hardware themselves??  The Zune is a fantastic piece of hardware – oh well).

There is only one thing that is a major drawback.  One element that could sink this entire endeavor, and Microsoft seems to be trivializing it.  And that problem is?:  OS X support.

Look at how strong the social networking features are on the ZunePhone (7 Series, Windows Mobile 7, blah whatever).  It’s clearly aimed at users who are very social-aware, and want their phone to match their needs.  Look how how tightly integrated the Windows Phone 7 Series is with Xbox Live, and the Zune marketplace.  Who uses these features and wants them in a phone?  That’s right… young people.  The high school crowd, the college crowd.  But not only these groups of course…  the 7 Series appeals to anybody who is tech savvy enough to understand the value these platforms add to a phone – which is a lot.

What computing platform is gaining marketshare daily with not only the younger crowd, but also the techno-inclined?  It’s the Mac.  Microsoft is alienating what could potentially be its biggest demographic by not including support for the Mac platform. Why they’ve held a grudge for this long is annoying at best, especially with how successful the Zune has been in recent years.  But to continue to ignore Apple’s userbase at this point is not only annoying, it will be detrimental to the sales and adoption rate for their new phone.

Microsoft, please stop being silly.  Port the Zune software over to the Mac.  Let us use our Zunes and our new Windows 7 phones on OS X.  Please?!

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6 thoughts on “Microsoft is at a critical juncture.

    1. Comparatively speaking, it’s the best alternative to an iPod by a mile… Being the #2 competitor is always successful, even if marketshare isn’t there yet. Just look at the Mac platform as a comparison when talking about marketshare.

    1. You have to keep things in context when it comes to success. Profitability is not the only measure of it (even though the Xbox division has been making an actual profit since 2008).

      Microsoft set its sights on the console gaming space, and initially failed, only to refine their model and come back to be #1 in the current generation.

      With Zune they aren’t as committed, but still have made it to #2, beating out Creative and the like.

      I would call those two endeavors hugely successful. With (what is so far) the wild success of Windows 7, and the refinement of the Zune brand with Zune HD, coupled with the tight integration of Windows Live, Microsoft is positioning itself to be a real competitor, and the only viable alternative to the Apple juggernaut, when considering depth of services and broad-scale integration.

      And as far as being “evil”… well, Apple is the new Microsoft in that department. Just ask any iPhone developer.

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