Microsoft makes another attempt at mobile presence it has always longed for
By Rakin Azfar
December 9, 2016
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Technology giant Microsoft, after weathering a shaky relationship with the mobile platform for years, is collaborating with processor producer Qualcomm to bring Windows 10 to mobile devices.
The launch will happen next year, and comes after a series of failed excursions into commuting Windows technology onto the mobile platform, including Windows RT and the now-defunct Windows Phone. Also announced were various updates to Windows 10 that will make the client more mobile-friendly.
"We are rapidly entering a multi-device world," said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. "By 2020 the average individual will have ten connected devices; the overage household will have 50 by 2022.
"Marketers must no longer be thinking about siloed engagement across a particular platform, like desktop, but engagement across all the devcies individuals use," he said. "So, yes, it will affect desktop advertising, but in ways that most cant yet image.
"Some of these devices will have screens and new input features like voice, but the vast majority will not, theyre used to help individuals and marketers share signals of preference and intent for the mutual exchange of equitable value."
The partnership was announced yesterday at Microsofts Windows Hardware Engineering Community event. Windows 10 will be enabled on mobile devices through Qualcomms Snapdragon processors, which will facilitate many of the demands that software as powerful as Windows 10 will make on the mobile technology.
Snapdragon can be designed to support Windows 10 PCs to combine many of the powerful features exclusive to Windows 10 with the cutting edge consumer electronics technologies available in todays leading smartphones.
New Windows 10 PCs powered by Snapdragon can be designed to support x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and Windows 10 gaming titles. The first PCs running Windows 10 based on Snapdragon processors are expected to be available as early as next year.
A few days ago, Microsoft demonstrated its desktop apps on ARM capability with Adobes Photoshop software.
Microsoft also announced updates to Windows 10s mobile experience. The company also announced that mobile users running Windows will soon be able to easily buy data directly from the Windows Store and be in control of how they use Wi-Fi and cellular networks, consume data, and manage costs.
Also, Microsofts partners can take advantage of eSIM technology to build devices without an exposed SIM slot, making it easier for people to activate a data plan right on their device.
These new devices are expected to be in market as early as next year.
Establishing Windows 10s mobile presence is merely the latest move in a busy year for Microsoft. Earlier this year, it acquired professional networking platform LinkedIn for almost $26 billion (see story
And its Microsoft Wallet property partnered with Mastercard to expand the latters Masterpass platform (see story
"There is no question the Microsoft has the potential to be an effective competitor against both Google and Apple," Mr. Becker said. "Just look at the past, just eight years ago Nokia was the leading mobile phone manufacturer and held the lion share of the mobile phone operating system market with Symbian, and now Symbian is dead, and Nokia is out of the mobile phone business.
"There are no monopolies on innovation, those that win in the future, in The Age of The Connected Individual, will be the ones that can execute on the vision to produce engaging cross-channel and cross-device experiences for individuals, experiences that create value for individuals, not from them," he said. "Microsoft has the experience, scale, and capabilities to be a major competitor.
"The key to success, however, will be in the execution. The question is, can Microsoft be strong enough to refine its culture and efficiently execute in the age of the connected individual?"