So, according to many reports, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is beginning to lag in sales already, and it’s doubtful the company will sustain the thing if it continues to fall behind the leaders.
I haven’t even seen one of these phones, but people who have seen one tell me that it’s actually a very nice device. The problem it seems to have is that it’s the odd man out in a two man race. It’s number three, or maybe four, or maybe five.
To fix this, Microsoft should bite the bullet and embrace Linux and should even take the Android OS, which is Open Source, and simply use it with various modifications.
Microsoft, like many other big commercial software companies, is scared to death of Open Source just because of the possibility that one of the many Open Source licenses will thrust everything the company does into the open source stew pot. They think that suddenly, because of some error in distribution or usage, Word, for example, could become Open Source. Microsoft is scared to death this will happen.
At least, that’s what I assume because there is no other rationale for the refusal to use Open Source to benefit the company. After all, Microsoft is notorious for lifting ideas and designs from other vendors and putting them in its products. The company loses lawsuits over this practice. But here we have a huge cache of wide open products and source code and Microsoft stays away like a bear confronted by a skunk.
You’d think Microsoft would have completely raided and exploited the Open Source scene by now, but no.
I’m actually shocked that more MSFT shareholders haven’t made a fuss about this. Why spend all that R&D and marketing money to develop and sell Phone 7 when people are buying Androids phones at an alarming rate.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer made this observation: “A month ago, Microsoft said 1.5 million Windows Phones had shipped in the first six weeks—from the Oct. 21 Europe-Asia launch until around Dec. 2. That means from then until the end of December, just about 500,000 more Windows Phones were shipped.”
And as Preston Gralla from Computerworld points out, this is shipped to stores, not people. Compare this to the 300,000 Android phones activated daily!
The fact is Microsoft is zigging when it should be zagging. It needs to open a new division that has nothing to do with the rest of the company, so Open Source code can’t come into contact with its commercial code. Here it can evolve an Open Source and Linux policy with products for sale and support services. The company needs to get back to an even footing with Google in the phone and, soon, the pad business. It may not catch up with Apple insofar as innovation is concerned, but it can’t afford to languish and constantly be humiliated by seemingly pointless and dead-end rollouts.
It will be a huge embarrassment for the company to pull the plug on Windows Phone 7, but that’s the direction this is headed. I’m sure there have been a lot of meetings about this with a lot of shouting and bogus excuses for yet another failure. Plus, all of this is right on the heels of a ridiculous flop called the Microsoft Kin phone.
Microsoft should swallow its pride and look at Linux and Android. That decision can’t be any more humiliating that what it has already been doing. In fact, it may be seen as a stroke of genius.