If you like politics you are most likely critical of the media (all of it) for spinning the truth and “changing the narrative” about the facts. Sadly, this is happening in tech and especially close to home with Windows Mobile and Windows Pocket PC before that.
We (Mobility Digest team) just got done discussing this article by TechCrunch titled: “What if the iPhone had never arrived?“. Immediately it is screaming Apple fanboy all over it but I’m game, I’ll have a read. The story starts off in 2007 when Apple launched the iPhone and basically goes on to describe the current market dominated by Apple and not carriers and different converged smartphones with different OS’s like Symbian and RIM which ran on devices like Nokia and Blackberry. The article goes on to describe what it would be like today without Apple and how carriers would have more influence than they do now and that Symbian and RIM would still be relevant and Android would be the dominating factor.
But how did they miss Microsoft and Windows Mobile? In 2007 when Apple launched the iPhone we had another top end ecosystem device called the “Tilt” by AT&T. Made by HTC the 8925 was a powerhouse converged device and had a massive superpower community behind called XDA Developers. In fact PC World named the AT&T Tilt their TOP 10 pick of smartphones in 2007: Check it out: PCWorld: “Top 10 Cell Phone Favorites for 2007”
What about market share in 2007 on smartphones? Apple was not even close to being on top. In fact behind Symbian which dominated, Apple only had a 7% market share:
Symbian leads with 65% share, ahead of Microsoft on 12%, RIM on 11%, Apple on 7%, and Linux at 5% (source)
The smart phone market was booming and it is still an ever evolving market. The smart phone has changed our lives as much or more than we thought it would back in 2007. But it was in 1996 when Windows CE came out that things started getting interesting. In 2000 it was renamed Pocket PC and then we got the Dell Axim in 2002. Later in 2003 it would be named Windows Mobile and we started getting really cool devices called “converged devices”.
It was then that Microsoft seemed unable to find their butt with both hands and a flash light and completely abandoned the promise of this platform and alienated their fan boy base by doing nothing. They could have dominated the market much like Apple does today but sadly and like so many other companies (cough cough RIM) missed the explosion social networking, soccer moms and playing games on phones. Yet, Microsoft wasn’t done raising our hopes and smashing them all to bits. In 2010 we were delighted to see Windows Phone come out. Much like Star Wars we thought of it as a “New Hope”. As I like to say No Ah Ah. Windows Phone was so limited when launched against an already powerful iPhone and Android platform. App developers were incredibly slow to adapt to it and release critical apps to compete with iPhone and Android. Then there was this relationship with Nokia that just didn’t convince consumers to buy Windows Phone. And now apps are slowing disappearing from Windows Phone and where are they now. Even a promising Microsoft Band wearable technology watch just could not hold up to the Apple Watch, Android and Fitbit devices.
So as you can see there was a lot going on and I see Microsoft Windows Mobile as being a huge part of the enthusiasm of where Apple and it’s iPhone is today. Apple did not invent the smart phone market, but they sure as hell kicked ass dominating it.