At a time when Android and iOS dominate the handset market, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is nowhere in the picture.
Months after the collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft has been announced, there are fewer Windows Phone devices than Symbian phones.
It’s not that Microsoft hasn’t seen difficult periods like this. It had a tough time with Windows Vista and Xbox 360, but if Microsoft and Nokia get it right together, be ready to read some glowing reviews all over the web.
Windows Phone is expected to become the number two operating system in the world by 2015. Apple, however, is likely to continue in market segments where profit margins are high, and therefore its numbers will be small.
So, what is the target audience for Windows Phone 7?
Observers have talked a lot about the possibility that Windows Phone 7 is not targeting geeks anymore. The move, if correct, would be substantial because that is the market that drove the first wave of success for the company.
One Microsoft official talked at MIX (a Microsoft developer conference) about the target audience of Windows Phone 7 and how the company is not about knowledge workers alone. He also mentioned that the company is now targeting “life maximizers”, or people who juggle different types of responsibilities all the time.
Microsoft is also targeting the youth who may worry about work email, but would like to have fun too, so they want devices full of apps.
But then these are two different categories, the young audience will get enhanced feature phones, loaded with apps but at lower cost.
Even at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona early this year, Steve Ballmer, the chief executive officer of Microsoft, had made it clear that the company would focus on music, video, games, photos, marketplace, people and, of course, office.
One thing is for sure, we can’t say Microsoft doesn’t know what it is doing.