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BLOG: Big businesses say Microsoft will fail in mobile

Preston Gralla | Sept. 30, 2013
Only 26 percent of the companies surveyed were interested in developing for Windows Phone, and 25 percent for Windows-based tablets.

Microsoft's most loyal backers — big enterprises — don't hold out much hope for the success of Windows Phone and Windows tablets. A recent survey found that 60% of IT staff, CTOs, and others believe that Microsoft's mobile efforts will ultimately fail.

Appcelerator, a platform-tool company, polled 840 IT directors, CEOs, development directors, CTOs and others about their plans for mobile, and the news was all bad for Microsoft. One part of the survey asked them how interested their companies would be in developing consumer and enterprise apps for the major mobile platform. Some 80% said they would be interested in developing apps for Apple smartphones and tablets, with 71% saying they would be interested in developing for Android smartphones. Fifty-nine percent said they would be interested in developing for Android tablets. The Android smartphone numbers and tablet numbers were up 7% from a simililar survey done in the previous quarter. The iOS number was unchanged.

Then comes Windows smartphones and tablets. The survey found that only 26% were interested in developing for Windows Phone, and 25% for Windows-based tablets. Those numbers have been falling. In the previous quarter, 29% said they would be interested in developing for Windows Phone, and 30% for Windows tablets.

And then the news gets worse. Computerworld reports:

To add insult to injury more than 60% thought that Windows 8 would ultimately fail as a mobile platform.

Nolan Wright, co-founder and CTO at Appcelerator says that this is a result of how poorly Windows mobile devices have done in the market, although he says there is some hope for Microsoft:

"That is probably a reflection of market demand. I think Windows hasn't done too well in the market, and the interest for developing apps is following that. It will be interesting to see what happens with Nokia."

"... From what we hear there is a genuine interest in the enterprise for Microsoft to have viable products. So it certainly still has an opportunity."

All this underscores how important it is for the next CEO of Microsoft to get mobile right. Windows Phone and Windows tablets are down, but not necessarily out. Wright is correct in saying that Microsoft still has an opportunity in mobile. And that opportunity is clearly greatest in the enterprise where Microsoft is strongest, rather than among consumers. But given the way that consumers increasingly drive enterprise buys, things get more difficult for Microsoft with each passing month.


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