Microsoft’s smartphone-focused mobile efforts failed, but it’s not done in mobile. Here are three areas where Microsoft is pursuing a mobile presence.
Microsoft’s smartphone efforts failed, but its still pursuing three distinct mobile strategies. Smartphones and mobile, though used synonymously are not the same. Simply put, all smartphones are mobile devices, but not all mobile devices are smartphones. The evolution of the smartphone model including the slate-shaped hardware, app-based ecosystem, carrier-dominated communication, financial and distribution infrastructure and entrenched consumer and developer base lead many to believe this particular manifestation of mobile is immutable and enduring.
The reality, however, is that technology and the social, economic and cultural structures in which it’s intertwined are ever-changing while core things we do with it remain unchanged. For example, communication, entertainment, and simplifying tasks are central to technologies from the telegraph, CD Player and banking that were replaced first by telephones, MP3 players and ATMs and then (to some extent) by smartphones and apps. The technology changed but what we do with it in its evolving forms has not. Technology is the medium, not the focus, by which tasks are accomplished.
Consequently, Microsoft is pursuing three, non-smartphone, areas it hopes will support its mobile presence in the communication-computing space where collaboration, entertainment and getting things done is the focus. Cross-platform apps are the current approach, foldable mobile devices are its post-smartphone investment, and mixed reality is its long-term vision.