Tag Archives: innovation

The Top Five Problems of Microsoft’s Windows Phone

In recent days, Microsoft has been in the news quite a bit. One might almost believe that a new found energy and innovative spirit are soon to make their way into the Windows landscape. Long-time CEO Steve Balmer has announced is impending resignation and Microsoft has announced it’s acquisition of Nokia’s Phone Division. This news comes trailing stories of the failure that the Windows Phone series has been. I’d like to take a moment to discuss what I see has the top five problems with the Windows Phone series that the new Microsoft CEO, in conjunction with Nokia’s talent, will have to tackle.

1. A Light App Store

Microsoft’s app store just simply doesn’t compete with that of iOS and Android. Microsoft has the same problem that Blackberry is facing. Developers just aren’t porting their applications over to the Windows Phone. We know that in the smartphone market applications are everything. A phone can live or die based on the apps library it has. Developers go where the demand is; therefore, they just don’t see a sufficient return from the Windows app store. Until the demand rises, Microsoft will have to create incentives for developers to want to port their apps over to the Windows phone.

2. A Lack of Variety in Handsets

There just simply isn’t that great of a variety of handsets in the Windows Phone ecosystem. In fact, Microsoft has acquired the largest manufacturer of Windows Phones, Nokia. We know that one of the things consumers like about Android is the variety of phones available. There are so many great choices out there, from the HTC to the Samsung Galaxy series. There is one hope for Microsoft though. We know that while there might only be one phone in the iOS ecosystem, the iPhone, that fact has not dimished from Apple’s success. Consumers value the connection between the hardware and software that Apple offers. If Microsoft can mimick and build on this, then it might be able to breathe life into the Windows Phone series.

3. The Cool Factor and the Luxury Factor

Apple’s iPhone has always exemplified the luxury factor. It’s meant to be a high-class, elegant device and it succeeds. The design of the iPhone 5 is simply captivating. It’s sleek, industrial, and modern. The Samsung Galaxy series has taken on the cool factor. Samsung has effectively managed to position their phones as the phones of the younger generation. They’re the phones on the cutting edge. Windows Phone does not come with a strong aesthetic too it. it is a sort of undefined product. Who buys the Windows Phone? Microsoft has to answer this question if they want to garner success.

4. Marketing

Microsoft simply hasn’t marked their phones all that well. The result is that I and many see it as a budget-conscious, smartphone. It’s the prepaid smartphone of choice for T-Mobile. This lowers the value of the brand and pushes consumers away. Microsoft has to market these devices better and bring consumers into the store.

5. Late to the Party

As always, Microsoft has been late too to tackle the smartphone market. Their response to the iPhone and Android wasn’t that quick and their choice of utilizing the formerly called “metronome” interface may have been ill-advised. sure it is innovative, but it simply gives off too much of foreign vibe. Further given the lack of a fondness for Windows RT, it would be unlikely that consumers would grow a desire for it on their phone. It’s always a wonder because Microsoft was in the smartphone business long before Apple or Google. Microsoft’s best chance is to be as innovative as possible in order to offer consumers featurez not found in iOS or Android.

The Problem with Conventional Thinking

One of the things that is really difficult to do is to innovate. Innovation is hard to achieve whereas maintaining the status quo or imitation is easy, but, of course, it’s never as good as the original. This is one of the reasons we respect visionaries, such as Steve Jobs. He was great at innovating and pushing the bounds. In my opinion, one of the abilities he had was the ability to overcome conventional thinking.

Conventional thinking involves meeting a problem with an already well established body of rules and procedures and this in it of itself isn’t necessarily bad. We use it as a foundation and that foundation is key as a starting point, but if a person is incapable of breaking free from conventional thinking than progress ceases. What makes it difficult to escape conventional thinking is the dilemma of pure creation. It’s difficult to imagine something that is completely detached from the reality we know. You can feel this yourself. Imagine someone asked you to break away from everything you know and write a science fiction novel about a world completely distinct from our own. Think about how difficult it would be to embrace pure creation without some influence from Earth and humanity. It would be really difficult. The takeaway is that the problem of conventional thinking is one of a stifling of innovation and progression. It is important to use conventional thinking as a base, but to be sure to build on it.

It’s my belief that a lot of companies that fail, fail because they have strict corporate cultures that emphasize convention over progression. This hinders progression which stifles innovation and leads other companies to gain an edge and eventually cannibalize the market. A great example of this can be seen in the smartphone market. RIM for many years was a market leader in the smartphone market with the Blackberry phone, but in a matter of a year or two their market share dwindled because of the Android and iPhone smartphones. Management at RIM clearly just didn’t respond to changes in the market and I believe that an inability to challenge conventional thinking was one of the causes. Conventional thinking is useful, but it’s also a problem to be cognizant of and one that can be overcome.

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