One-time Google Glass enthusiast Robert Scoble is always an entertaining read, although he’s not exactly someone whom tech companies should take advice from. After all, Scoble was once so enthusiastic about Google Glass that he compared it to the Apple II and similarly said it would revolutionize the way we do computing. Needless to say, that hasn’t turned out to be the case, as even Scoble admitted earlier this year that Glass in its current incarnation is “doomed.”
It’s from this perspective that we should read Scoble’s recent comments in an interview with GeekWire where he says that Microsoft ought to just dump all its ambitions at building a competitive mobile platform and concentrate on making apps and services for Android phones.
“That train has sailed,” Scoble told Geekwire. “The real answer is, give up Windows Phone, go Android, and embrace and extend like you did with the Internet.”
Elaborating a bit more, Scoble said that there was just no developer enthusiasm around Windows Phone and that Microsoft had no credible way to generate such enthusiasm given how much of a head start Apple and Android have.
“Windows Phone? I don’t know how you get developers excited by that,” he said. “I don’t understand how you get influencers excited by that. We have decided our phones; we’re not going to switch just because Microsoft says to switch.”
Although Windows Phone has certainly failed to take off, there’s little chance that the company flat-out dumps it unless it plans on getting out of the computing platform business all together. Rightly or wrongly, Microsoft is investing considerable resources integrating Windows Phone with traditional Windows so that the two platforms eventually become interchangeable.
The company knows it has no shot at remaining a longterm player in the computing platform world unless it can gain more traction in the mobile world. Simply dumping Windows Phone would be a massive concession of defeat in this crucial market, akin to if Apple had just decided to give up making Macs and concentrate solely on making iPods in the early part of last decade. The chances of Microsoft doing that are about as likely as the chances that consumers around the world will want to shell out $1,500 for a dorky-looking headset that gets them tossed out of bars and movie theaters.