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Why did Tim Cook mention Windows Phone?

Tim-Cook-Apple-CEO-1So I’m finishing up writing rumors and speculation on Apple putting a 4 inch screen in the next iPhone which may or may not be called the iPhone 5, but who really cares right? The fact of the matter is that Apple devices are highly regarded by the public and they sell a massive amount of them. Fresh out of thinking about Apple and I check out Paul Thurrott’ s site, which is totally geared towards the Microsoft experience, PC, Phone, and Web.

Paul says that during the Apple quarterly earnings conference call yesterday, the one where Apple sold more devices than anyone else and made more profit than anyone else in history except Exxon in 2008. Wow. But during the question and answer session Tim Cook, Apple CEO, was “asked about Android and whether the smartphone market was a “two-horse race””. This all happening at “the 57:18 mark of the conference call that you can listen over at the Apple Investor Relations page. Here is what Tim has to say:

“I wouldn’t say it’s a two-horse race. There’s a horse in Redmond that always suits up and always runs, and will keep running. And there’s other players that we can never count out. And so what we focus on is innovating and making the world’s best products. And we’ll just keep on doing that and in some part just ignore how many horses there are. And we just want stay ahead and be the lead one.”

Paul goes on to explain the Windows Phone market share currently at 1.5% and that mentioning Windows Phone when your company just sold 37 million devices is either Respect or Subterfuge. Paul actually titles his post “Tim Cook’s Windows Phone Mention: Respect Or Subterfuge?” Paul ends his article with a question: “So. why did Tim Cook even mention that Microsoft was a competitor in this market?”

Well, maybe I can shed some light on it from a current iPhone daily driver’s point of view who just starting off using a Windows Phone. I really like my iPhone 4S. It never bogs down, it never fails, I don’t have the dropped calls issue, and the apps. The iPhone has tons of them. But when I first got the Titan, the speed was actually faster than the iPhone. It is amazingly fast and smooth. Opening and closing apps, making calls, it just works. Reading email on a Windows Phone is so much better than the iPhone and Android. Windows Phone keeps you connected with a people hub that is just fantastic. I get a complete story on the person I want to follow which includes phone calls, texts, Facebook, and Twitter entries from them all listed in order. No more app jumping. Live tiles is so refreshing as well. I really like weather, news, people, and email updates on the today screen. You can pin most anything there. At first, I was not a fan of Metro, Microsoft’s now  universal approach to viewing your PC, XBOX, and Phone. (PC is coming in Win 8). Metro is clean, almost surgical precision and not just a cluttered up mess that is hard to read.

Windows Phone can also bet on quality device manufacturer support from the likes of red hot Samsung, HTC, and now Nokia. You get a solid hardware experience. No, it is not a dual core processor. It’s a single core 1.5GHz that powers my Titan and if never told me it was a Single core and that it was a Dual Core, the same as in every Android device, I would believe you. The Camera on the Titan is excellent. I would say almost as good as the iPhone 4S, but better than anything I have used on an Android device. It is not just with these high end devices that Microsoft hopes to cash in. With the release of Tango, the next Windows Phone operating system after Mango (I didn’t make that up, that’s what they called them!), Windows Phone will be able to perform on lower end hardware specs, something Android could never hope to do. What this will do is give Microsoft a product they can put a 1GHz processor in and market off contract for $200.00. You can’t touch a decent smartphone these days off contract for less than $500.00. We have already seen Apple offer different price points for their phones, like the 3GS for free with 2 year contract and the iPhone 4 for $99. Can you imagine a $200.00 off contract smartphone that actually will perform well?

So why did Tim say that you can’t count out Windows Phone and Microsoft? I think it is because that he has most likely picked up a Windows Phone and thought the same thing as I did. This thing is for real. But is a solid device, with a  fresh new operating system enough? Microsoft knew better. They started out with a full on assault to get developers excited and developing for Windows Phone.  And it appears that Microsoft is also going to be willing to put it’s money where it’s apps are. Specifically, they will be investing 10’s of millions of dollars over the next three years. Microsoft has also said it will release the top 25 apps from both iPhone and Android by the end of the first half of 2012. Could this finally mean Zynga games?  Then, there is the XBOX integration into Windows Phone.  XBOX, who as everyone knows, enjoys tremendous success, has also adopted the Metro UI similar to that of the Windows Phone. So what’s left? How about Windows 8? Microsoft, after a very successful Windows 7 release, is set to follow up with Windows 8 which will be yet another Metro inspired experience that will take PC users in a whole new direction and user experience. So what we have is three stars converging to a single point all integrating a single user experience. Sounds impressive right? Yeah, I thought so too. More so, I think Tim Cook thinks so.

1.5% market share is not a lot to get up and sing about. However, analysts are saying that by the end of 2012 Microsoft potentially could exit with a 10% market share. But then Microsoft has the time, money, and experience to know this is not an over night race.  My guess is that Microsoft knew that the three stars I mentioned above would converge to a single point and that’s when they will really start caring and marketing their product. I think that’s why Tim Cook said “that Horse always suits up and always runs”. Tim has certainly got his hands full trying to fill the shoes of his predecessor Steve Jobs, but making comments like that makes me think he’s got a lot on the ball, and knows that he has to stay vigilant against Titans that many think are only resting.