It is 1:30am and I can’t sleep, and I have had a thought in my head for a long time now that I wanted to type out and see where it goes…
Windows Mobile was Microsoft’s vision of taking the Desktop PC O/S, and putting it in the Small Form Factor (SFF)/phone. It even had a Registry, the Start Menu, and Solitaire. And as such, Microsoft sold the product like a Desktop PC O/S: write the code, then pass onto to hardware manufacturers to build on to their phones.
Microsoft made a pretty ugly-looking O/S, that the hardware manufacturers tried to customise and pretty-up, to try and make it appealing. Like Desktop PCs, they bundled in 3rd party software, customised the Registry, designed an overlaying GUI, installed hardware drivers, etc. Pretty much everything Dell would do, when they design and build Desktop PCs.
The problem with this, was that it fragmented the O/S. No two phones were ever similiar, which meant that any updates to the O/S by Microsoft, would then need to be passed to the hardware manufacturers and then they would decide if it was worth testing and releasing. More often than not, updates were rare. I think it was only HTC that were relatively regular at distributing updates.
This is where phones and Desktop PCs differ: in a world where phones are sold seasonally, and new models come and go, no hardware manufacturer is going to waste time and money allocating resources to update the O/S of a phone that is now 6-12 months old; especially when they have a newer model being released shortly and most network carrier contracts are 12 months.
Isn’t Google going down the same road? I often read articles noting the fragmentation in the Android ecosystem, with a rather of manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung, and HTC pumping out iPhone lookalikes on a daily basis. I am surprised no one seems to have put two and two together yet.
Both RIM and Apple have got it right here, by controlling both the O/S AND the hardware. This means that they aren’t reliant on any 3rd parties that could cause major issues with their devices or prevent updates. I think this is also why Microsoft have (finally) decided to partner up with Nokia, as it allows both companies to get in a room together and design a perfect phone to fit the O/S, and refine a perfect O/S to fit the phone – over Microsoft just shipping out a code base to the hardware manufacturers, and saying “here you go guys, it’s all yours”.
This is also a point I struggle to understand why no one picked up – I didn’t read one article about why Microsoft and Nokia teaming up is such a good idea. They pretty much compliment each other perfectly.
- Microsoft has proven time and time again, it just can’t do hardware seriously – Xbox 360 and Zune are good examples
- Microsoft does know software, and although not a revolutionary company, it does know how to come out guns blazing when under the kosh from competition
- Nokia just has not made Symbian competitive enough in today’s market. It does still have large O/S market share, but that will dwindle very quickly
- Nokia makes top notch hardware with top notch designs
Essentially, we have a great software company that just can’t do hardware and a great hardware company that is failing in software.
Hello?! How is that not good for all parties?
Anyone who takes a regular interest in smartphones, will be well aware of the issues that Microsoft are having with pushing out its first major update to Windows Phone 7.
I subscribe to Daily WinInfo, and Paul Thurrott pretty much keeps me up to date on what is happening.
To quickly summarise what is going on here, Microsoft have a new update for Windows Phone 7 and have been kinda hinting that the network carriers are blocking the update from going out to all the users.
That last fourteen words is what gets me confused. What have the carriers got to do with the update? So what if they block it. Why can’t the update be pushed out via Windows Updates or Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC)? Plug your phone in to a PC with a USB cable, run an EXE and flash your phone like the good old days with Windows Mobile.
UPDATE: While writing my latest post, I just realised that isn’t the above scenario pretty much what Apple does, by using iTunes to distribute iOS updates to iPhones, iPads, and iPods? They don’t seem to have issues with network carriers. I do like you, Microsoft, but I am not sticking up for you this time – yes be all Computing 2.0 and distribute your phone updates “over the air”, but have a plan B and resurect WMDC!
I am slightly naive to the whole mobile phone update deployment world, so the above paragraph may be technically impossible or ludicrous to someone in the know, but I just don’t understand the issue here.
To deviate slightly, when the iPhone first appeared on the market, the ONE thing it had managed to do was take back the control from the network carrier and start calling the shots. I think Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony had pretty much been under the kosh from the network carriers pre-Apple – and I think they just didn’t have the arrogance to give tell them to “shut up and sit down”.
So with this new shift of power back to the hardware manufacturers, why is Microsoft getting such a hard deal from the network carriers? This update has reportedly been finished from quite a few months, so the excuse of testing doesn’t really cut it. From a business point of view, surely, the carriers need the update to go out ASAP so that it improves the product and sells more, thus increasing each carriers user base and/or renewing of contracts…
…unless there is some dirty, underhand work going on here. Perhaps either Apple, Google, and/or RIM have had a quiet word to these network carriers and asked them to “take their time” testing the new NoDo update, thus causing more Microsoft dismay. IDC did release a report today, saying that the Nokia/Microsoft relationship will push Windows Phone to the second major player by 2015, behind Google Android. However, to do organise this on a global scale with all the carriers does make the idea slightly ridiculous, but I love a good conspiracy!
A persistently tormenting person, force, or passion: The demon of drug addiction;
One who is extremely zealous, skillful, or diligent: Worked away like a demon;