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Why Microsoft May Lose Mobile Market to Google



It’s interesting to read Microsoft’s Bill Gates rip into the notion that Google can become a successful competitor in the mobile space.

Gates told the Times it was unlikely that Google would be able to make inroads into Microsoft’s share of the market for mobile phone software.

“How many products, of all the Google products that have been introduced, how many of them are profit-making products?” the Times quoted Gates as saying.

“They’ve introduced about 30 different products; they have one profit-making product. So you’re now making a prediction without ever seeing the software that they’re going to have the world’s best phone and it’s going to be free?” the paper quoted him as saying.

Those are all very fair observations about Google, but could it be Microsoft’s arrogance that helps Google challenge them? Take a look at this statement from Gates…

“The phone is becoming way more software intensive,” Gates told the Times. “And to be able to say that there’s some challenge for us in the phone market when its becoming software-intensive, I don’t see that.”

But wait! Aren’t we likely to see cell phones become more web focused? Why would we want to run lots of software on a cell phone, when bandwidth could allow us to simply access it as a web solution? That’s exactly where Google is challenging MSFT on the regular web. Doesn’t the iPhone give us a blueprint for phones that use web-based content, instead of software?

Maybe Gates is referring to software as a web application, or maybe he’s still hung-up on the notion that consumers will always download and install software.

  • templar

    “Why would we want to run lots of software on a cell phone, when bandwidth could allow us to simply access it as a web solution?”

    Answer:
    1. Because the battery technology has not reached a point where this scenario is viable.

    2. The term “web solution” somewhat implies that it can only use features that are “lowest common denominator” because it has to be platform-independent. Unlike PC, features in phones vary greatly from one phone to another.

  • http://adminfoo.net Bryan

    For web-based phones to work, we’re going to need phone data plans that are 1) much faster (on the AT&T network, iPhone’s web performance reviews range from ‘dissapointing’ to ‘nearly unusable’) and 2) much cheaper.

    Gates is right. Creating a lot of hoopla over the gPhone, *sight unseen*, is premature.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    I agree that we shouldn’t get worked up over Google, but we shouldn’t overlook that technology will advance and a web solution will likely be more practical. Remember, just a couple years ago we didn’t have web apps.

  • rob

    “just a couple of years ago we didn’t have web apps”…

    i seem to remember a prediction around 1995 that everyone in the world would have high speed ubiquitous internet access by the year 2000…i’m still waiting for it.

    in the meantime, i run my software locally and offer empathy to the web apps users i meet on airplanes.

    there is a happy middle ground that microsoft seems to be leading in the industry. it is that of software + services that will enable the next 10 years of innovation. ozzie uses apple as a prime example of connecting a device that runs offline (iPod) to a computer that has software (iTunes) that connects to an online iTunes service that supports a massive database of songs/video that you can purchase for download and playback on your computer and portable device.

    how difficult is the leap from this model to that of the entire computing paradigm? in this light, running purely web apps sounds downright silly.

  • http://blog.lmjabreu.com luis abreu

    “Answer:
    1. Because the battery technology has not reached a point where this scenario is viable.”

    Actually it has, not on all cellphones, but I recently set up a HTC P3600 to use MS Push Mail, the phone is connected all day checking for emails. It needs to be charged at the end of the day but this is an extreme situation, you wouldn’t be connected full time to use the web app.

    “i seem to remember a prediction around 1995 that everyone in the world would have high speed ubiquitous internet access by the year 2000…i’m still waiting for it.”

    I’m not, Vodafone Portugal provides this for a very low cost, we have 3G coverage on 90% of the country and hsdpa(up to 7.6mbit) on the major cities.

  • http://www.mstipsandtricks.com/ Gurijala

    Quite interesting.

  • http://www.hackerswisdom.com HackersWisdom

    I believe, we can do a bit of inference by comparing the search engine approaches of msn and google. One is only a part of a web page with full news and pictures, the other one is as simple as possible, which implies its first aim is searching. Yet combining this capability with advertising industry is to me what makes Google so powerful. I guess they plan to transport this mechanism into the cellphone industry. Thus they may be able to have more influence than expected by Mr. Gates.