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Microsoft’s mobile failure stems from a lack of understanding of the iPhone’s success

Published Jul 25th, 2014 9:45AM EDT
Windows Phone Vs iPhone

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After being among the first few companies to bring smartphones to the masses with Windows Mobile, Microsoft has repeatedly failed to return to its former glory in recent years. There are a number of reasons for these repeated failures in the smartphone and tablet markets, but the broadest and most important may be the simple fact that Microsoft appears to have absolutely no idea what users want. The company has focused on unique, differentiated experiences without worrying about making them truly compelling, and it repeatedly harps on the same selling points that almost no one seems to care about.

Now, a recent post may have gotten to the root of Microsoft’s problem: The company still has no idea what made the iPhone such a massive success.

In a post on Apple news site iMore, Yoni Heisler poses that hypothesis. And it’s an astute one, supported most recently by new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s public memo and a subsequent interview.

Here’s a quote from Nadella:

You’re defining the market as “It’s already done, Apple and Google have won, because they won the consumer side.” And I’m going to question that. I’m going to say “No, any thinking consumer should consider Microsoft because guess what, you’re not just a consumer. You’re also going to go to work, you’re also going to be productive and we can do a better job for you in there.” And that’s what I want to appeal to.

As Heisler points out, Microsoft repeatedly goes back to productivity as a key selling point for Windows Phones and Windows RT tablets. Microsoft became the giant it is today on the back of the Windows platform and its productivity suite, so it’s not exactly surprising that the company would continue to beat the same old drum.

The problem, of course, is that no one cares.

Apple knew that, and the iPhone’s success stems from the seemingly simple concept of giving smartphone users what they want… not what a company wants them to want.

There are plenty of great productivity solutions for smartphones, and not a single one of them has ever been a selling point for the mass market. It’s simply not a priority. It may never be. The sooner Microsoft realizes that the smartphone market is driven by consumers and not by executives and IT managers, the sooner it can begin to focus on compelling new functionality that might actually sell phones.

Heisler’s post is an interesting one, and you can read it by following the link below in the source section.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.