No doubt lots of people are clamoring at the notion that "Windows Mobile is dead" (evidently this crew has moved on from mocking Palm) and what with Motorola on WM hiatus, Palm parting ways, the eternal delay of WM7 and the perhaps too-little-to-late Windows Mobile 6.5, it is easy to see why.
On the other hand there is the stark reality: Microsoft has a lot of licensees (14 to be exact), including most recently LG, which is committed to a reported 50 devices in the next few years. HTC has lots of hits with its Touch series and their increase in market power is unrelenting.
To back this up, iSuppli, which performs market analysis, came out with a report stating that though Microsoft is down right now, it is poised for a strong comeback. It is predicting "a 15.3 percent share of the global market in 2013, second only to the Symbian operating system, which will control 47.6 percent." Basically they're going to bounce from No. 2 to No. 3 this year and back to second-place by 2012.
Expanding on this, Tina Teng, a senior analyst at iSuppli, goes on to correctly note
“To win in today’s environment, a company needs not only an operating system but also device support, an application store, a broad portfolio of applications and support from the developer community. While Windows Mobile is losing some share to competitors in 2009, most of the alternatives cannot match Microsoft’s complete suite of offerings.”
This isn't too hard to fathom either with Ballmer revamping the Windows Mobile team and making it the second top priority for the company. Heck, look at all the Live services (Bing, Mesh, MyPhone), tech previews (Recite, Deepfish), Marketplace, the Chassis-1 specifications, the Orion project, TellMe, gesture navigation, non-touch gestures/Side Sight, Silverlight, free automagic-ness and Windows Mobile 7 looks to be a monster OS with very advanced technology. Now combine all of that with 14 hardware manufacturers, market presence, integration with Windows 7, Xbox and that Zune HD thing. Ka-ching.
Microsoft has all the pieces, now it just has to merge them all into a unified and compelling OS. One year from now we thing will be very interesting times.