I'm really not a blind "Microsoft fan boy" and therefore I sometimes wonder how
Microsoft works? The biggest software manufacture has everything in place to
offer successful and integrated services: a Desktop OS (aka Windows XP/Vista), a
mobile device OS (aka Windows Mobile) and a couple of web service (aka MSN
and/or Windows Live).
Now, a newcomer in the GSM world comes around the corner (aka Apple with its
iPhone) with its (much anticipated and maybe over-hyped) iPhone and says the
"mysterious" 12th button of the menu will be Google's YouTube Mobile. And now?
The whole blogsphere is writing and ranting about this, hardly awaiting the
iPhone launch next week.
Sure, Microsoft has a serious problem with Google which is far more than a
search engine today. It's bigger in search engine business, making more money
from Google AdSense, offers web based services which competes with Microsoft's
Office product range, has the widely used mapping tool, etc. etc but instead of
competing with Google in areas Microsoft has way more influence, the software
giant stays silent in the corner. Too silent if you ask me.
Have you ever tried to stream a video from MSN's new Soapbox video service which
is Microsoft's answer to YouTube? No? Well - it looks like this:
And it's loading the menu, the player and the videos forever without a single
result. Not to mention that the page above isn't (Windows Mobile) mobile device
And YouTube? Well, end of last week YouTube Mobile went online for everybody and
YouTube offers a nicely formatted xHTML site for WAP 2.0 compatible devices,
including Windows Mobile smartphones. And if you have one of the latest Windows
Mobile devices from HTC you can even stream YouTube Mobile videos because these
devices supports 3GPP's MPEG4 video streams.
And here (again) I wonder why Microsoft isn't offering a deeper level of
cross-platform compatibility for its own products. On the other hand, Microsoft
is proud to offer a new (mobile device compatible) version of MSN Mobile. Hell -
even the::unwired is mobile device optimized - that's nothing special anymore,
thanks to databases and I'm currently working on a solution to provide Windows
Mobile users the same videos on its mobile device I'm currently offering via the
Desktop version of the::unwired only (should go online soon). This means, as a
the::unwired reader you get the same services on your mobile device as you get
it on your Desktop but Microsoft isn't able to offer this level of integrated
services? That's definitely pretty frustrating and I wonder how Microsoft can
close the gap to Google, especially after Google teamed up with Apple.
Wait until next Friday night and you will see hundreds of "reviews" about what
you can do with your Apple iPhone. Sure, these reviews will most likely not
talking about what you cannot do but it's only fair enough. In my reviews I'm
also only highlighting that you can easily get E-Mail push (thanks to Exchange)
but never highlighted so far that you cannot access MSN Soapbox from your
Windows Mobile device. So why should a "Apple fan boy" highlight that the iPhone
is incompatible with Exchange servers?
As great as all Microsoft's Office and business integration is - Microsoft
definitely has to understand that you are also selling mobile phones and devices
through emotions. HTC's TouchFlo isn't business related in any kind but the HTC
Touch clearly addresses the consumer. That's good, finally the hardware becomes
attractive for consumers as well but if the underlying services are not consumer
friendly, related and focused, it's becoming boring pretty soon. And no - the
Windows Live Mobile service with search, instant messaging and photo upload to
Windows Live Spaces isn't enough (even if it's a good start). The consumer (and
on weekends - also business users are consumers) expects far more from today's
smartphones and a deeper service integration - especially if the smartphone
comes from the same source as the Desktop (OS) and web services the customer
Cheers ~ Arne