Startup

Microsoft’s Terry Myerson Sees Windows Phone As A “Well-Funded Startup,” Downplays Smartphone Rumors.
Microsoft Windows Phone chief Terry Myerson took the stage at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference this morning, and wanted to make it very clear that he sees Windows Phone a little differently than others might.

Given that Windows Phone is still an underdog when it comes to the mobile OS arms race, it’s not exactly a surprise to hear Myerson characterize the WP team as a scrappy (albeit “incredibly well-funded”) startup operating within Microsoft — especially since Myerson himself helmed a startup that was ultimately acquired.

As such, there are certain places where Windows Phone is performing admirably (Fried points to recent reports that Windows Phone is outselling Apple’s iPhone in certain markets) and Myerson says Microsoft is keen to capitalize on those hotspots where they can. That’s not to say that Microsoft isn’t committed to making a splash in the United States where Windows Phone hasn’t been able to move the needle very much, but Microsoft seems eager to strike wherever those potentially fruitful opportunities arise.

“We need to be successful somewhere before we can be successful everywhere,” he said.

Pushing

When asked by ATD’s Ina Fried about where Microsoft sees opportunities to go after the competition, Myerson noted that Windows Phone is meant to focus on the consumer, and hesitantly poked at some of Microsoft’s more prominent rivals. “With Apple I sense a lack of urgency,” he said before jabbing at the latest version of iOS and the 5th row of apps and referring to Android as “kind of a mess.”

Of course, Windows Phone’s success is just as dependent on the hardware as it is on the OS that runs on it, and Myerson talked up the sort of measured approach that Microsoft has been sticking to on that front.

“We’re not necessarily going out and pushing for lots and lots of OEMs, he noted, adding that watching manufacturers like Nokia, HTC, and Huawei find success with their Windows Phones is what’s “really important right now.” Even so, rumors of even more Microsoft-crafted hardware in the pipeline (think a smartphone or a wrist-worn computing device) continue to make the rounds. Myerson was quick to downplay the notion that Microsoft would cobble together a smartphone of its own by pointing out that Microsoft would have to provide a consumer experience that current OEM partners couldn’t. That said, one could look at the Surface as a strong example of Microsoft doing just that, so I wouldn’t rule out a Microsoft smartphone entirely.

Look around

The big part missing in the Windows Mobile plan is the development community. Compared to iOS and Android the Windows Platform is dead as a door knob as the saying goes. On our development platform we get almost zero Microsoft technology job requests. Take a look around the net and you will find very
little Open Source tools which I would sincerely say is one of the biggest reasons why Windows Mobile has not caught speed. If the Microsoft project is “well funded” then I would try and start up Open Source projects (communities) that incorporate the Microsoft Mobile platform. WEB platforms like CRM, CMS, ECOMMERCE that focus around templates, plugins and cool stuff that encourages Windows Mobile projects to connect to the backends of these WEB platforms. Some other area to consider would be creating physical bricks and mortar tools platforms that focused around Bar Code Scanners, Mobile Card Swipers that plug into Windows Phones and of course adding to existing payment platforms like Stripe and Paypal.

Get the energy moving and surely Windows Mobile will become popular and fun, because these communities are the #1 energy source. When the local handy-man, massage therapist or plumber chooses Windows Mobile it will not be because the the hardware or even the software is cool, it will be because the community is vibrant and to participate will be low cost or free.