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« 3GS, the first complete smartphone by Apple, its about time | Main | Welcoming Talouselama readers / Tervetuloa.. »

June 09, 2009


David Doherty

A crazy finn giving lessons to another US technology company that thinks mobile isn't worth bothering with... what's new?

...Probably SMS if you're in Redmond! ha ha


Great piece; and you - in a lot of respects - speak of my fustrations in the US mobile market as a person who wants to do more with mobile. If one cannot get the big ships to move (mindshare), then the really big (and way too numerous little ones), cannot do what comes naturally.

Tomi Ahonen

Hi David and Antoine

Thank you. Ha-ha, yeah, David, its another rant from the crazy Finn and again the target is another US player who "doesn't understand mobile"... Sounds like we've heard this record before, eh?

Yet, RIM has gotten every shaper and now are the fastest-growing mobile phone (and smartphone) maker in the world, at this rate they can well overtake Motorola within a year.

Apple is focusing ever more sharply to the mobile space. The iPhone 3GS is now a very complete smartphone and the Apps Store etc are major innovations too.

Google seems to be doing everything right for an internet giant wanting a slice of the mobile pie. Specific to Microsoft's smartphone (operating system) strategy, Google does all right, where MS does all wrong, ha-ha. We do have good successes too, coming from America. One would hope that MS would get onboard.

Antoine, thanks (and thanks for Twitter RT too). Yeah, ha-ha, frustrations? About US mobile market? Yes, soooo oooo oooooo true.

I do like to look for the silver linings, and I am very heppy that the US market is turning (although slowly) ie with SMS text messaging use, especially the Obama campaign last year, the very warm reception of the iPhone series the last two years and now a far more receptive US market to mobile. Its a long haul yes, but from my perspective here across the ocean in Hong Kong, the picture seems to be getting a bit brighter.

Oh, the story has a discussion going on at Channel 9 / Microsoft forum; and the Finnish weekly newsmagazine Talouselama picked up the story with a link here, so we are receiving a lot of Finnish visitors to the Communities Dominate blog today (terveisia Talouselamanan lukijoille.. vilkaiskaa muitakin artikkeleita taalla CDB blogilla..)

Thanks both for writing!

Tomi :-)

Daniel Demmel

Well said, no wonder no one gets excited about Windows Mobile announcements :)

And I wonder what will happen if all the other smartphone OSs or 3rd party apps on them implement stuff like Exchange Server, there won`t be any reason left for choosing the clunky, desktop minded WM!

Henry Sinn

Another fantastic article Tomi.
I have been wondering for some time now: How long before the "personal computer" is permanently in ones pocket?
By the time 'we' have a decent input and output mechanism for the phone [separate keyboard and bigger screen/resolution] I think it will arguably be goodbye forever to anything on the desk for most computing operations.

With google and their on-line apps [Google apps - accessible on a phone] or the likes of Open office org along with a now widely accepted free operating system such as Ubuntu - Microsoft? Windows? Office? What for?
Nothing has fundamentally changed in the world of the PC in the last decade except the capacity to check your spelling faster.
When it really comes down to it, why would anyone want a new one?
Really? What does it fundamentally do that the old one didn't?

Phones on the other hand are evolving. Every new phone [model] can do things previous ones couldn't.... And yes - faster.

Applications for phones is clearly the way forward. Media to the phone that is WANTED.. I rest your case. Too few are listening or seeing.

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Daniel and Henry

Thank you for the comments and very kind sentiments. I'll respond to both individually.

Daniel, very true. It seems to me, that with Windows Mobile, Microsoft was at that time (early this decade) struggling with a very cumbersome and bloated OS that it then tried to port to phones, coming with tons of unnecessary baggage. Much of that was also the comprehensive misunderstanding of the smartphone market which is far greater than the PDA-style cellphone market, which perhaps the original Windows Mobile was built to address. I'm going to blog soon about the big USA vs Rest-of-World differences specific to smartphones. Many lessons there about why RIM is suddenly the big success after years of slow going and why Moto in decline and why NOK wasn't able to crack USA in the past

(but now, don't call it a comeback, I just love this video for N97, they could become the must-have "bling" phone of the season with the hiphop crowd and that could do wonders for the NOK brand in the USA... but thats anotha' story eh..)

Henry - thanks. We totally agree. I do take the view that the days of the PC are nowhere near over, but the use cases for an expensive full-keyboard large screen briefcase-style PC have been explored and found. That sector of the IT industry is nearing its saturation. The expansion is almost only in the Developing World to meet pent-up demand or shifts from desktops to laptops. But the total penetration of PCs in the Industrialized World are nearing their peak and in some coutries have turned into decline (Japan leading the way).

The smartphone, like you say, can discover new cool tricks almost every day. So the opportunity for high-end phones initially, and very soon the mass market thereafter, is enormous for mobile and continue to grow.

There is a funny anecdote from Japan. You ask a Japanese, would they like to do email on a PC, they will look at you funny, I didn't know you can do email also on a PC.. Because they already do it on their phones. And then they ask you the follow up - why would I want to.. Why indeed. If everyone had something similar to a Blackberry (email) then who would ever want a laptop to haul around for SMS or email or IM or Twitter or facebook updates etc...

Thank you both for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Nice one Tomi, data ready at your finger tips as ever. These tales are always so similar - the Emperor has no clothes!!

Chris Bannink

Perhaps your warning is comming too late Tomi. Also Gartner (Predicts 2009: Mobile and Wireless Continue to Mature 5-12-08) thinks Windows Mobile's way is downhill, unless they make radical changes: "Microsoft's Windows Mobile technology, ecosystem, business model, user experience and hardware platforms are uncompetitive in their current form and will not achieve a top-three smartphone platform share by 2012…Microsoft will be driven to make radical changes to its Windows Mobile technology and business model by 2012 to address these issues”.

JT Klepp


another awesome article. Could not help but laugh :)

I will give MS this though: I happen to think WM6.1 is pretty good and can't wait for 7. Having tried Palm OS and Symbian for years, WM still rocks. My WM phone is faster than any BlackBerry I've seen, and I laugh of all the Apple enthusiast who get so excited that Skype was finally released (which I have had on my WM phone for 2 years) and that the iPhone is coming out with video (which I have had for 8 years on my other smartphones).

So maybe the CEO does not get it, but I am pretty happy with their dev guys so far.

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Tim, Chris and JT

Thank you for the kind words. Quick comments to each individually

Tim - yeah, really, I'm now 49 years old, and when I was younger - and have obviuously always been a big fan of history (goes back to my high school history teacher Rene Brinker) - I kept hearing those stories that history repeats itself (ha-ha and historians repeat themselves) and I thought, how dumb can business management be, if they keep repeating errors from history, and was sure that in "my generation" of business management among my MBA classmates in the 1980s, we would know "enough" of the madness not to repeat it. But no, here we go again, ha-ha..

Chris - I hear you and yes, it might be too late, but I don't really think so. Microsoft is a giant. If they took a serious strategic managemnet decision to pursue market success in mobile, and made that decision now, mid June, they'd be back in the hunt by autumn and rolling out some surprises by Christmas and be competitive by next year. No way too late (yet) but they need to make a dramatic course-correction soon. Else they'll be the luxury Zeppelin makers looking at the "puny" airplanes - oh, those little things? No class, no room, no space, no pleasure in travel. Who would want to be cramped in a tube for half a day to travel across an ocean. No, this is the way, Zeppelins, and cross the ocean in luxury and style ha-ha..

JT - YOu make a really important point. The richness we get from strong rival operating systems in smartphones (or PCs for that matter) is better for the consumer. Some innovation will come from every camp, and it gives also the eco-system a chance to experiment with ideas. Try it on one platform, not too expensive to fail, but if it works, there is an incentive to try it. Windows Mobile has been giving us a lot of innovations and it would be a big shame to see them diminish to the point of being irrelevant..

Thank you all for writing.

PS - there is the update story now comparing smartphons US vs world, its another long one, sorry, but it has a lot of thought in it.. :-)

Tomi :-)

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