Apparently, someone is paying attention.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how it’s a RIM BlackBerry and Apple iPhone country. Within a day or so I received an email from a PR woman representing Enterprise Mobile, a company formed in partnership with Microsoft to handle enterprise sales of Windows Mobile. I proclaimed Windows Mobile an also ran here in the States. They thought otherwise.
So here’s the U.S. market share from Q4 of 2007 provided by Canalys:
– RIM BlackBerry: 41%
– iPhone: 28%
– Windows Mobile: 21%
– All Others: 10%
(As an aside, I chose fourth quarter instead of 2007 annual numbers since iPhone wasn’t released until Q3. This way the numbers would be comparable.)
So the question I asked Mort Rosenthal, CEO of Enterprise Mobile, is after 11 years of developing a mobile operating system and being outpaced in half a year by iPhone, why can Microsoft succeed now? I wanted to know: was there a change in emphasis at Microsoft? Was the Windows Mobile OS becoming more important? Were RIM and Apple making big mistakes that, in his eyes, was going to change the market?
His responses: First, he discounts Apple in the enterprise as it is a consumer device that doesn’t have the level of security and IT support (beyond Exchange with OS 2.0) required.
Second, his conversations with IT professionals is that RIM does one thing really well — it does email. Windows Mobile is more strategic, meaning it does a wealth of things really well for the actual workers in the field.
Okay, those are good answers. I believe the first, not so much the second.
So I asked why, if Microsoft considers Windows Mobile so strategic, would it in essence outsource its enterprise sales, even one with a respected leader like Enterprise Mobile? Mort’s response: the deals are too small to interest Microsoft’s enterprise sales teams. Microsoft doesn’t want those deals to get lost in the shuffle.
While Mort had some good points and led me to believe that (maybe) this fight for the enterprise isn’t as over as I think, I didn’t exactly see Microsoft catching up to RIM any time soon either. After all, if the deals are so small that Microsoft sales team can’t focus on them, then how strategic can the business actually be? Based on my estimates, Windows Mobile accounted for a whopping 1.5% of Microsoft’s entire revenue!
I’ve believed for a long time that Microsoft developed a mobile OS as a place holder. When the market took off, Microsoft thought they would use their overall market position to steal sales. But while Microsoft was turning out relatively minor changes from Pocket PC 2000 through Windows Mobile 6, RIM jumped ahead of them. Way ahead.
Add to this threats in almost every aspect of Microsoft’s business and I’m having a hard time buying that Windows Mobile is going to be the winner — enterprise or otherwise. I just don’t see how the company focuses on 1.5% of their revenue when at least 70% of their revenue and MS’ computer dominance is being attacked by the likes of Apple, Google, Adobe, Nintendo, and Yahoo!, all at the same time.
Besides, I’ve talked to BlackBerry enterprise users, too. And all I ever hear is, “You can have my BlackBerry when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”