Two of the most influential research firms following consumer technology products, Gartner, Inc., and IDC, observed a sharp increase in market share for Microsoft’s Windows Phone O/S in Q3 2013. In a Press Release dated November 14, 2013, from Barcelona Spain, Gartner also noted Nokia’s move to the number 8 position worldwide, for mobile phone handset manufacturers over the same time period. Both of these observations are strong positives for Microsoft.
If Microsoft’s effort to enter the mobile handset business, in a big way. by acquiring Nokia’s mobile and smart phone manufacturing business proves to be successful, then the pain of diminishing returns from “legacy” on premises products (principally the Office suite of desktop automation tools), may be largely assuaged. Especially if, at the same time, the Windows Phone O/S continues to magnetize serious interest from the same high end consumer market propping up iPhone and comparable Android smart phones.
With a comparatively painless transition off of “shrink wrap” software sales, Microsoft® should be positioned to increase its market development efforts for its “Professional Cloud” products — Office 365 and Windows Azure. As I’ve written earlier in this blog, I think Amazon AWS is vulnerable to the kind of serious competition represented by Microsoft as a contender for leadership in the elastic Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market. This market promises to grow enormously over the next several years, especially if security concerns can be successfully mitigated.
Of course it’s not all likely to be rosy. There is, of course, the issue of who will take over as CEO of Microsoft. But if the company can manage to successfully evolve into a business with similar profitability, albeit from a new mix of hardware and software products, then the next few months should be packed with a lot of interesting developments for anyone following Microsoft. Certainly Apple, Google and the rest of the contenders in this market will be certain to add a lot of flavor, as well.
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