Microsoft’s recent purchase of Nokia’s handset division has left many people focused on what that might mean in terms of a new CEO for the software giant. While some are writing off the technological significance of Microsoft’s new endeavor, and what it might mean to the mobility market, I believe that Microsoft now has a huge opportunity to raise the mobility bar, and others should be paying attention. Whether or not they are speaking publicly about it, they likely are.
In a previous article, I wrote about how current trends in mobility will compel IT teams to shift from a technology delivery mindset to an experience delivery focus. Consumers now demand compelling, engaging, context-aware apps that catch them in the moment; offering services when they most need them, and offering products when they are most likely to buy them. The article discussed multichannel application delivery as one of the key technical trends that help companies to satisfy these demands. (NetFlix is a great example of a multichannel app that provides a seamless, continuous experience on laptops, deskops, mobile devices and even game consoles.)
Microsoft was one of the first to deliver a multichannel operating system experience. And it leverages the most ubiquitous desktop OS on the planet. Now, add to that the mobility experience and skills of Stephen Elop and the 32,000 members of the Nokia team and they have the potential to make some magic happen. Microsoft has a tremendous opportunity here, and they have the talent to make it happen. But it doesn’t stop there.
The Nokia team has recently done something exciting with their hardware. In that same “chief experience officer” article, I stated that we are no longer dealing with mobile phones, rather we are dealing with highly functional mobile computing devices – that can also make a telephone call. (Though why would you ever use one for that?) But why would we stop at mobile general-purpose computers? Sure, they are useful, and they certainly are exactly what many of us need. But why wouldn’t we start thinking about expanding our view of the primary function of the mobile device?
For example, if you are a photographer I would bet you use your smartphone to take a lot of photos? Sure, everyone takes photos with their smartphone. Though if you are a photo enthusiast would it not make more sense to have a mobile, lightweight, fully functional camera – that can also access social media, and process email, and make calls, and so on…. That is, as opposed to a phone that can take “OK” photos? That is what Nokia recently provided with the release of their 41 megapixel Lumia “phones.”
So, Microsoft now has a multichannel OS, and they have already delivered a new function-first handset. I would say that’s a pretty good start.
Microsoft has every chance to succeed, and perhaps to do something very exciting in the mobility market. The threat of this alone should cause their competitors to take notice. Hopefully this will raise the bar for everyone. I cannot wait to see what happens next.