In September, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer spent a week traipsing across Europe and parts of the U.S. schmoozing 17 of the world’s largest handset makers and wireless carriers. It was Ballmer’s longest trip ever aimed at drumming up support for Windows Mobile, the company’s software for cell phones. The trip may not have been long enough.
In recent months, Microsoft’s (MSFT) mobile strategy has hit a rough patch. In the third quarter, iPhone maker Apple (AAPL) shipped more smartphones than all 56 device makers that make Windows Mobile phones combined, according to research firm Canalys. As a result, Windows Mobile slid from its position as the world’s second-most popular mobile operating system a year ago to the No. 4 spot, behind Nokia’s (NOK) Symbian, Apple’s OS X, and Research In Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry.
From Paul Thurrot’s SuperSite for Windows:
As I noted previously, I did meet with Windows Mobile this week. They”™re good people, smart people, and they seem to understand the issues. They also seem to value the business market more than the consumer market, but that might only be because that”™s what they pretty much offer at this point. I will be writing more formally about Windows Mobile by the end of the year, but I wanted to at least mention one thing I found vaguely alarming. When asked about the success of the iPhone and how that impacts Windows Mobile, I was told that the iPhone “validated”? Microsoft”™s approach. That”™s some weird combination of revisionism, wishful thinking and, perhaps, delusion.
From John Gruber’s Daring Fireball:
It could well be that this “the iPhone validates our approach”? thing is just bullshit doublespeak ”” that the Windows Mobile team knows full well just how bad a position they”™re in at this point but they can”™t bring themselves, or are not permitted to, admit it publicly.
But if that”™s truly the mindset of those leading Microsoft”™s Windows Mobile team, that”™s delusion, and they”™re pretty much dead. Microsoft”™s response to the original Macintosh, Windows 1.0, appeared by the end of 1985. Their response to the iPhone is nowhere to be seen.
And, of course, the always insightful Steve Ballmer from last year.Â