Gartner Declares Premature Victory for Microsoft Smartphone
By Eric Lin, Mon Nov 10 20:30:00 GMT 2003

Thanks to the increasing integration between Exchange and Microsoft's mobile OSes, Gartner VP Nick Jones declared that Microsoft would eventually win in the smartphone space.


It is true that with every release of the Smartphone, and with every release of Exchange, the integration between the two products is tighter and better. Mr. Jones says that also claims that Microsoft doesn't have a good corporate smartphone yet, but they will by the end of 2004, in this article on VNUnet. But it is a big leap to go from having a good corporate solution to being the "winner" in the smartphone space.

Unlike computers, mobile phones' lifespan as corporate devices ended much quicker. The largest growth sector in the West for mobiles is now people under 25 and over 60; and surely not all subscribers between 25 and 60 use Exchange. Mobile phones, even smartphones, are consumer devices, and a corporate win doesn't not equal a technology win in the consumer space.

Even Microsoft claims that the sweet spot price for Smartphones is around USD 100, surely not a price meant for the corporate space. The price of the Motorola MPx200, has already fallen to USD 129 (with rebates) after only a month on the shelves. Motorola and Microsoft would be fools if they weren't after some of Symbian's consumer market share with a device and a price like this. However tight integration with Exchange and "standardizing" on WinCE.net and Microsoft applications are most likely not the factors that opens the punters' wallets.

Today Verizon finally launched the Samsung i600 for USD 399 (with rebates). Verizon is clearly marketing and pricing this as an enterprise device. The Samsung was the first Smartphone 2002 announced, and the last to be released. We would doubt the success of this device except that it is the only CDMA Smartphone available, so it can still dominate the market even if it is based on an older OS version and lacks modern features like Bluetooth or a camera.

Verizon and ATT are taking two different approaches here, maybe the results of these two help us learn whether Mr. Jones' prediction has any merit.