The Windows Phone 7 received a lot of praise after its launch at the Mobile World Congress today for its elegant, minimalist interface. From what we've seen, it does look striking.
What we also find to be crystal clear: Microsoft is putting far more emphasis on the consumer market than its productivity features for the enterprise.
Windows Mobile 7 Series is getting rave reviews. Bloggers say Microsoft really has started from scratch to get back in the game with Apple and Google. It is a brand new OS. And it's like nothing like we have seen on the market. It is similar to the Zune HD but apparently it goes deeper than that.
According to Engadget:
"First the look and feel. The phones are really secondary here, and we want to focus on the interface. The design and layout of 7 Series' UI (internally called Metro) is really quite original, utilizing what one of the designers (Albert Shum, formerly of Nike) calls an "authentically digital" and "chromeless" experience. What does that mean? Well we can tell you what it doesn't mean -- no shaded icons, no faux 3D or drop shadows, no busy backgrounds (no backgrounds at all), and very little visual flair besides clean typography and transition animations."
Microsoft is playing to win in the consumer space but we wonder where the enterprise fits in.
Philippe Winthrop of Enterprise Mobility Matters says there was almost no mention of its enterprise applications:
"However, the amount of time devoted during the presentation to "Productivity" was disappointing for me. Sure, I'm not expecting to see a full blown technical demo when a company is launching a brand new platform, but I would have loved to see how an actual email (and not just the Inbox), as well as accepting a calendar entry looks."
It's not unusual to have a lot of questions when a company like Microsoft makes such dramatic changes in its technology strategy. Microsoft is keeping mum about all sorts of issues that are important to the enterprise. Here are a few questions that are popping up:
- Windows Phone will most likely not support Windows Mobile legacy applications. The OS is entirely different. What does that mean for the enterprise now using these applications?
- What security features does it have? Can data be wiped from it remotely?
- How will the Zune software be adapted to the enterprise? Will IT permit people to sync to their PC's?
- How does Azure fit into the picture?
- Is this a service the CEO would use or is it really best as a consumer service?
We are very curious about how this will play out. Enterprise collaboration is becoming deeply tied into mobile platforms. The Blackberry, iPhone and Android devices all have their spots in the enterprise. The Blackberry is a messaging device. The Android and iPhone are both application and Web-centric.
Windows phones are a bit of a mystery.
Consumer and enterprise markets continue to overlap. It may just be that people find Windows Mobile 7 more to their liking. And in that case, they will find ways to use the phones for their personal and business use.