Windows Phone 7 has been touted by Microsoft as a viable smartphone alternative to the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry for business thanks largely to the devices’ integration with Outlook and SharePoint.
According to the Microsoft Australia's director of mobile communications business, Sheau-Lan Reed, IT managers would be wooed over by the new mobile operating system.
"The [Microsoft] Exchange experience is seamless [because] it’s best of class in terms of how it integrates,” she claimed. “Outlook is one of the leading email clients being used by enterprise, and what we’ve done is have the same layout as on your screen as on your computer.”
Reed said Windows Phone 7 devices, which currently include HTC’s 7 Mozart and 7 Trophy, LG’s Optimus 7 and 7 Q and Samsung’s Omnia 7, will play an integral part in the continual move toward to the consumerisation of IT.
“You want a phone that’s great for your personal and professional life, and that’s what’s driving the move towards the consummation of IT,” she said. “From the business side, [people need to ask] what is the business productivity that I need and also, is it a great user experience?.”
Microsoft Australia’s managing director, Tracey Fellows, said while the phone may be an appealing option for IT managers, the device would initially come up against stiff competition.
“We are something of a challenger in the smart phone market,” she said. “We’re not going to earmark what we want our market share to be, but with 50 per cent of the market not moving to smartphones... we have hopes of reaching [this audience].”
Ovum’s principal analyst, Tony Cripps, said if the phone’s takeup was unsuccessful, Microsoft may cease to operate in the smartphone market.
“If it fails to claw back market share lost to iPhone and Android, then Windows Phone 7 may well mark the point at which Microsoft turns its back on smartphones forever,” he said in a statement.
“Targeting its mobile resources at creating compelling services and attracting advertising may prove a better option than beginning again with another mobile operating system, in that instance.”
Research firm Gartner has also highlighted the challenges to Microsoft in breaking into the smartphone market, recently predicting that the Windows Phone 7 operating system will account for just 5.2 per cent of the overall mobile market by 2011, falling to only 3.9 per cent by 2014.