Microsoft Making a Late Move in Mobile

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) thinks it finally has a winning software platform for the mobile market. On Oct. 11, new phones featuring the new Windows Phone 7 will be announced with partners likely including HTC, Samsung, and LG.

The event might not have quite the luster of an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) product announcement, but I'm nonetheless intrigued. This could be a corner turned by Microsoft or another abysmal failure like the Microsoft Kin, which was mothballed after only two months in the market. After previewing the operating system on Microsoft's demo, here are my initial thoughts:

Pros:

  • It looks relatively easy to read, update and share Microsoft Office files like a PowerPoint slide. One step up on Apple.
  • Xbox Live on your phone, while still in the early stages, this has a lot of potential to separate Microsoft from the smartphone pack.
  • Integrating social media with Facebook and Windows Live at least has potential.

Cons:

  • Seems overly ... Microsoft. The demo focused on the ways you can use Office, Bing, and Xbox Live, but what about the hundreds of thousands of apps that make the iPhone and Android phones so popular?
  • This software is about three years too late.

We'll know more when phones and possibly other devices are announced next week. In the previews, Microsoft seems to be doing a better job integrating current software with newly announced cloud-based apps.

All of these announcements would have been game changers four years ago, but with Apple's iPhone and Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android already out in front, Microsoft has a long way to catch up. Microsoft's does have a decent share of the mobile market (despite the total rapidly bleeding down in recent years) and may be able to convince corporate buyers and Windows users this is just as good as an iPhone or Android phone.

I like what I've seen so far from Windows Phone 7, but I'm hesitant to think it can really take share from more established iPhone, Android and RIM phones. Is this Microsoft turning over a new leaf or a desperate attempt by an aging tech giant? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium is addicted to his iPhone 4 and does not have a position in any company mentioned here. Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2010, at 4:48 PM, AngelTread wrote:

    Microsoft wasn't late to phones. Microsoft was late to multitouch devices.

    After iPhone's release in January 2007, it has taken Microsoft almost 4 years to counter it with a multitouch device. It is an incredible length of time, and serves as an indicator of Microsoft's ineptness at mobile and portable devices.

    Windows Phone 7 actually stands no chance in today's market. It is not finished. It is riddled with shortcomings (eg no C&P, no tethering to a laptop, no multitasking for 3rd party apps).

    But Microsoft is releasing the Windows Phone 7 in a half-baked state, because it is afraid to delay it any longer. Microsoft is stuck between a rock and a hard place, a position from which it cannot win.

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