Screen Digest Focuses on Microsofts Mobile Challenges

Media Analyst Screen Digest has published its latest company report, this one looking at Microsoft. The report, entitled Microsoft's Mobile Challenges, examines the challenges facing Microsoft in the mobile market.
According to Screen Digest research, Nokia, Google, Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple pose potent challenges to Microsoft's mobile ambitions. Microsoft aims to become a reference mobile platform, as it has done so successfully in the PC market with its Windows and Office products. The report notes, however, that today's mobile software market is much more competitive, with powerful players like Nokia and Google maximising deep pockets to drive openness in the mobile operating systems environment.
Screen Digest notes that RIMs Blackberry and Apple's iPhone are enjoying considerable success on the corporate and consumer market respectively, with a vertically integrated hardware/software strategy. In 2008, global Windows Mobile handsets shipments dropped 11% to 18 million units, while Blackberry sales doubled to 22.5 million and Apple sold over 13 million iPhones in its first full year of commercialisation.
Screen Digest believes that Microsoft needs mobile to compete with Google on advertising and web services. Google has invested considerable efforts to ensure an open mobile Internet; Microsoft has to be very aggressive if it wants to gain crucial momentum in the defining stages of mobile advertising. The analyst expects 2009 to be a crucial year for Microsofts mobile strategy. Synchronisation and backup services, application store and revamped user interfaces must be made available, along with Windows Mobile 6.5, to bear comparison with Android handsets and the iPhone. Windows Mobile 7, expected in 2010, must be Microsoft's big mobile platform push.
Screen Digest believes Microsoft plans to unite the platforms currently separately powering media players (currently under the 'Zune' brand) and mobile handsets (Windows Mobile). Microsoft's experience in content distribution with the Zune marketplace and Xbox Live is also expected to push this strategy forward.
“Offering a unified, compelling and hardware-independent handheld computing experience is crucial for Microsoft to differentiate its fee-based business models from upcoming free, open-source alternatives, and compete with vertically integrated rivals,” says Screen Digest Analyst, Julien Theys.