Windows Phone to take BlackBerry?
Windows Phone has been called as BlackBerry's last nail in its coffin, by Ovum analyst Nick Dillon. Due to the reportedly increased levels of security and platform integration, Dillon expects Microsoft to succeed in the business and enterprise market, where RIM has held much of the space.
While we remain unaware of exactly what to expect in the next version of Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has given the green light on pre-orders to be made available for both partner hardware and software copies of Windows 8. Ovum forecasts Microsoft's mobile platform will increase its marketshare from under five per-cent in the UK to 13 per-cent within five years.
This jump in market share is believed to be when Windows Phone takes BlackBerry in force and leaves it behind in a gust of smoke. Of course, we should remember previous predictions by analysts for Windows Phone to surpass Android by 2013. While the year has yet to come around, and we've yet to see what impact (if any) Windows 8 will make, it's becoming increasingly likely we'll continue to see a slow growth for the platform.
Dillon went into explain how the integration between products will help Microsoft take Windows Phone higher:
"With the greater links to its Xbox and PC platforms they really will be hoping the stars have aligned this time and people can see how they can all work together. However, the problem is people are used to Android and iOS and this looks very different. Retail sales also require staff to be trained and really understand the benefits of Windows Phone, and this is a lot of hard work."
Consumers have witnessed the power behind staff who simply have no idea about an entire eco-system. We've had numerous reports of retailer and / or carrier staff simply not understanding features and functionality of Windows Phone, who then recommend Android and iOS hardware instead. Dillon continued:
"This [product integration], along with the security upgrade is one of the reasons businesses could be the key market for Windows Phone. Done properly with the right marketing, Windows could be a BlackBerry killer in enterprise."
Business and enterprise is certainly an angle Microsoft can attack from, and we'd expect the company to do so with its Office software being refreshed and updated, which is fully supported by Windows Phone (and Windows 8).
CCS Insight analyst Geo Blaber agrees with Dillon that business may well be the way forward for Windows Phone, due to Microsoft being a familiar brand in enterprise and small business network. Should the company utilises its reputation within the market, it could easily show off PC and smartphone integration as a seamless experience.
Blaber goes onto note that Microsoft has a battle with consumers, and how the platform isn't as tried and tested as the competition:
"Microsoft will experience the same problem they had last year. It receives good reviews from people who have actually tried it, but because it looks so different to other platforms people are now familiar with, it’s difficult to get people on board. They really need the carriers to support them in a bigger and more sustained way."
Which has always been the case, and has been the main issue in gaining early adopters when Windows Phone 7 was launched back in 2010. Operators are to play an important role in how effective Windows Phone 8 will be in taking share in both consumer and business markets. We've seen positive signs so far with many carriers taking a number of handsets (O2 UK alone has taken on the HTC 8S, 8X and Samsung ATIV S).
"Last time we had the fireworks and big push at launch but then the interest seemed to fade when the demand from the public didn’t follow. The operators do want a third option but it’s catch 22 for them, it’s a big gamble to go big on an operating system which is unproven and may not have the demand there in the first place."
This is the major concern. While there's a desire for a third platform, is there enough demand for such a force to be ranked as a viable third to Android and Apple's iOS? Only time will tell, and we believe Windows Phone has the best chance if BlackBerry 10 fails to take off. Should that happen, then we can only hope momentum continues to increase.