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Microsoft Should Dump Middlemen, Build Own Phones 262

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i'll-do-it-myself dept.
suraj.sun writes "Microsoft has a long and illustrious history of operating system sales. The model has served the company well on the PC, but if it wants to make money in the phone market, it needs to start thinking like a consumer electronics company and start making its own phones."
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Microsoft Should Dump Middlemen, Build Own Phones

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  • by Winckle (870180) <mark@nOSPAM.winckle.co.uk> on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @08:50AM (#33055072) Homepage

    Given that the xbox has done rather well for them, but they'd be entering a market where cool is king. They would have to come up with some seriously strong designs.

    • by vwjeff (709903) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @08:53AM (#33055100)
      I want to see a red ring of death on a phone.
    • Because in the gaming market cool has no weight whatsoever...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zantac69 (1331461)
      I think someone said this already - but cool is king on phones but its a different cool. Functionality, sleek lines, good displays, powerful hardware - who has the sexy phones now? Who would they have to emulate?

      HTC?
      Motorola?
      Nokia?
      Samsung?

      is that it? Would M$ think about an aquisition for this? The only one that might be grabbable (in m opinion) is HTC. Just tossing that out there...I hope they dont...but it could be an interesting move buisnesswise - especially if they let HTC maintain other activit
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cjb658 (1235986)

        It kind of depends. Blackberry phones aren't "cool" but they are simple and do exactly what business users want (at least they used to, nowadays even the suits have realized they are limited devices).

        Microsoft devices have always gone after business customers. If they want to start targeting teenagers, then they'll have to "get cool."

    • by Bertie (87778)

      Oh yeah, having to replace half of them because they overheated themselves to death has just done wonders for their bottom line.

    • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:15AM (#33055280)

      So they'll sink $4-5 billion building hardware, software, branding, and (presumably) a market/network? Yeah, maybe.

      Or it could be a Zune phone, replete of velvety brownness and the ability squirt.

      Actually, it would be fun to see them flop about in a costly and humiliating manner. Sure the Xbox has turned a profit for some select quarters but I reckon they're still down a few billion overall. Does anyone know how the Zune is fairing?

      I, for one, welcome Windows Live 7 Professional Phone Xtreme Crispy Chunky Ranch-Bacon. If it worked for Vista [penny-arcade.com] and Hotmail [msdn.com], well, they could work similar magic with a homegrown phone.

      (We can still make fun of Vista and Hotmail, right? And what the fuck is with those Hotmail ads? They make less sense than the Seinfeld ones.)

    • by samkass (174571) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:33AM (#33055476) Homepage Journal

      Given that the xbox has done rather well for them

      Only losing a couple million dollars is "rather well"? The XBox sells well because it's subsidized by the Office and Windows monopolies, but it's not exactly a profit center [businessinsider.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      Given that the xbox has done rather well for them, but they'd be entering a market where cool is king. They would have to come up with some seriously strong designs.

      How well has the Xbox done for them? They're only now turning a "profit" year to year and that ignores the hundreds of billions of money they've sunk into their entertainment division. Entertainment has lost Microsoft scads of money, there is NO way to view the Xbox or the 360 as a business success story.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by jcr (53032)

        Microsoft needs twenty more Halo-sized hit games for the Xbox to go profitable. I don't see it happening, frankly.

        -jcr

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @08:52AM (#33055090)

    Microsoft's search for a viable business model continues.

    • Re:In other news (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:41AM (#33055562)

      Personally, if I had a choice, I'd gladly take Microsoft's non-viable business model at $18bn profit in the last year more than I'd take any other technology company's as that's over double Apple's profits and nearly triple Google's profits.

      Microsoft's got a perfectly viable business model, such that it's still consistently slaughtering the competition in the technology market in terms of profit they make year on year- I think IBM is the next closest at around $12bn and HP 3rd at about $9bn, although I could be wrong, I've not been paying attention to all of them.

      The issue is simply that Microsoft is struggling to grow their market even more, not that they don't in fact make fuck loads of profit, and have a metric shit ton of assets and equity. The fact is it can do things like the Kin, the Zune, the XBox, and whether they flop or not is irrelevant when they're still pulling in more profit than any other technology company out there from the profits of their core business. If however one of their adventures does turn out to be a hit then great, they've widened the gap even more, if not, then, well, their lead in terms of profit is still pretty massive and even Apple and Google's resounding successes in comparison over the last decade haven't even come close to closing the gap. Unless Microsoft has a secret oil drilling operation that's going to explode due to poor maintenance in the gulf of Mexico soon then there's not too much that'll change that in the forseeable future. As a company, financially, they're still a behemoth, and are as solid as a rock.

      • Re:In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NatasRevol (731260) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:57AM (#33055738) Journal

        Microsoft is a software company, therefore they have 90% profit on sales.
        Apple is a hardware company, therefore they have 40% profit on sales.

        That's why, in spite of their revenues being about the same, MSFT makes more profit.

        However, AAPL's revenue is going up at a MUCH greater rate that MSFT. AAPL will pass MSFT in revenue this next quarter, and probably pass them in profits in the next year.

        Where do you want to be?

        • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @10:25AM (#33056140)

          Lots of companies have higher revenue but so what? Have you never heard the following saying?-

          Revenue is vanity
          Profit is sanity
          Cash is king

          If Microsoft is getting more profit from it's revenues then that means it has a better business model, and as Microsoft has both higher profits and more cash Apple's increase in revenue, like it's market cap, is largely meaningless. It'll only matter when Apple overtakes Microsoft in profit and equity and assets, until that point Microsoft is still the more solid business.

          To illustrate the point, Dell has a revenue of $53bn but a profit of only $1.4bn. By your logic the fact Dell has a revenue around $10bn higher than Apple it's a stronger company, but the profits tell a completely different story. I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who believes Dell, despite it's high revenue is a better bet when it has such vastly lower profits and vastly lower assets and equity.

          Besides, your assertion that Apple's revenues being about the same as Microsoft isn't even close to true anyway, there's about a $20bn gap with Microsoft at $62bn and Apple at around $42bn and Microsoft's latest results showed them with more revenue than Apple too meaning Microsoft are in fact widening the gap.

          Even if Apple do close the revenue gap they still don't have the profits gap closed and still don't have the assets or equity of Microsoft.

          So as for where I want to be, well, I'd still rather be where Microsoft is- higher revenue, higher profits, higher equity, greater assets, and not even losing ground in those metrics.

          If I were you I'd get a little better understanding of what revenue actually is, what profit is, what equity and assets are and what they mean for a company. Further, you also seem to have a confused view of the importance of quarterly revenue, for example, you suggest that Apple might pass Microsoft in revenue next quarter, which is certainly a possibility, but by how much? maybe in the absolute best case by a couple of $bn but they've got a $20bn gap to close across the year so they'd need to jump at least $5bn ahead every quarter from their current position of being behind, and once they've done that they've got to go from turning $1 in 5 of revenue into profit, down to $1 in 3 into profit which is where Microsoft is, and then building equity and assets takes time. All this for them to even catch up with Microsoft, let alone overtake it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by NatasRevol (731260)

            And you should get a better understanding of hardware profits vs software profits. Because you don't really seem clued in at all on this.

            And look at the last quarter for MSFT (16.1B) vs AAPL (15.7B) in revenue. That's about the same in my book. And AAPL will be above MSFT next quarter.

            Also try looking at growth patterns. MSFT flat, AAPL up. Pick any time frame in the last 10 yrs or so.

            You go stick with MSFT. I'll take actual price increases with AAPL.

            • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @10:53AM (#33056494)

              "And you should get a better understanding of hardware profits vs software profits. Because you don't really seem clued in at all on this."

              I'm not sure what you're suggesting I don't understand? That software nets more profit? yes, as I said, I get this, which makes it a better business model for achieving profit. Reality doesn't give a discount to Apple and say "Oh well, okay, so you made less profit, that's okay, we understand the profit you did make was made on hardware so obviously we'll give you an extra star for this". The fact is, Apple makes far less profit.

              "And look at the last quarter for MSFT (16.1B) vs AAPL (15.7B) in revenue. That's about the same in my book. And AAPL will be above MSFT next quarter."

              So you can see the future can you? No really, you may turn out to be right, you have a good chance, but so what? Read what I said, they need to be $5bn ahead next quarter, and then maintain it for the whole year, and then convert a much larger portion of that from revenue to profit. They aint going to achieve that, no company in history has made such a big leap and Apple despite Steve Jobs' scattering of magic wont be able to achieve it either- it's a long slow process, they may overtake them eventually but it'll be years. You seem to go on about hardware vs. software profits, but again here's the point- Apple can't increase it's revenue to profit conversion when large amounts of it's profit are on hardware so they need a massive boost in software to catch up- that's nowhere in sight, Apple admitted themselves that iTunes and the app store isn't a good money spinner and barely breaks even.

              "Also try looking at growth patterns. MSFT flat, AAPL up. Pick any time frame in the last 10 yrs or so."

              You're good at making stuff up, I'll give you that. MS are increasing too, certainly not at the rate of Apple, but increasing and most definitely not flat- their last quarter was their record ever profit for example which you know, means an upwards trend.

              But here's where you're going wrong, you're assuming Apple can continue increasing at the rate they are indefinitely, that's a hell of an assumption to make. Rapid growth from the underdog is difficult but possible and Apple proved it as did Google, but the saying it's tough on top is very true- as Apple get bigger, they'll start to find things harder and will plateau off themselves.

              • Re:In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

                by crmarvin42 (652893) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @12:44PM (#33057916)
                Here is where you are correct:

                – Profits are more important than Revenue
                – Profits are profits, doesn't matter whether they are from HW or SW
                – Microsoft has greater profits than Apple still
                – Both companies profits are increasing
                – Making assumptions about the future is risky

                However, I think that in the case of Apple vs. Microsoft predicting that Apple's profits will out grow Microsofts profits in the very near future is a pretty safe prediction. Here is one of the "Chart of the Day [businessinsider.com]" charts showing quarterly profits from both companies. Microsofts profits are increasing in a roughly linear fashion. There is a certain amount of noise in their line, but I would expect a significant linear trend if we were to run the statistics on their quarterly revenue. For Apple on the other hand, their growth in profits is exponential.

                Whether you like their products or not, and many here on /. don't, it is obvious that Apple has captured the consumers imagination with their products in a way that no other PC manufacturer, or consumer electronics company has. All of Apples divisions are turning a profit, whereas only some of Microsofts are. Those they have that are profitable are insanely so, but they are wasting a lot of their effort on projects with little evidence of ever being money makers in their own right. Apple has managed, thus far, to pick only winners for those things that they bring to market thus wasting less of the profits they do make on ultimately futile R&D.

                The only way I see Apple's growth slowing appreciably is if they make a major misstep, which could happen. According to some the whole "Death Grip" issue is such a misstep. I don't believe it is bad enough, but if they make too many more their house of cards could come tumbling down. They have a growing macintosh division, the iPod (still dominant), iPhone (still desirable and growing), and iPad (Demand out pacing supply for the foreseeable future). Even the death grip doesn't appear to have affected sales that I've seen.

                The only way I see Microsoft's growth increasing is if they start doing more things right in divisions that are current break-even or loosing money. That means taking some of their R&D projects and turning them into profitable products people actually want. They've demonstrated over the last decade or so, that they are essentially incompetent at this translation step. You can argue that their vaporware announcements have been everything they claimed they are, but unless it can actually be purchased it is essentially pointless. Maybe Balmer will be replaced with someone that actually understand technology and can steward products from the R&D department to store shelves. Unfortunately though, I don't think that will happen soon. Balmer and all of the other board members at Microsoft know each other too well. And as you say, no one makes more money than Microsoft. However, how much money could they be making if they turned even 1/10th of their R&D projects into moderately successful commercial products?
      • fuck loads of profit, and have a metric shit ton of assets

        You are mixing your measurements. I'm pretty sure that "fuck load" is an Imperial measurement, and "metric shit ton" is by definition metric. Do you work for NASA, by any chance?

        Kidding aside, their marketshare, revenue, and profits are still huge, but they are less dominant than they once were. Furthermore, their "viable business model" boils down to:
        1) Make an inferior copy of existing technology.
        2) Flood the market with product and marketing (read: bullshit / FUD tactics).
        3) Pour money into it u

        • Kidding aside, their marketshare, revenue, and profits are still huge, but they are less dominant than they once were. Furthermore, their "viable business model" boils down to:
          1) Make an inferior copy of existing technology.
          2) Flood the market with product and marketing (read: bullshit / FUD tactics).
          3) Pour money into it until it either sinks or floats.
          4) ???
          5) Profit!

          If you're referring to the Xbox division:
          4) Release a new model before your competitors, dealing a blow that one of your competitors (Sony)

        • by Xest (935314)

          I do generally agree with you, but I don't think that's entirely Microsoft's business model. They do have some innovations that do really well for them, Sharepoint is a fine example of a new product that netted them a lot of additional income.

          So the key for them is to basically use what you mention as their core business to keep them solid, and then try and branch out from there. The XBox is another example, and this is beginning to finally pay off- they have 25 million Gold subscribers at £40 a year

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mgblst (80109)

      Ms actually make money on each andoird deviCe sold, due to patents. That is a pretty good business model.

  • Ehr, no. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom@g ... .com minus punct> on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:01AM (#33055148) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft do not have engineering talent nor software talents to pull something like that off, especially not in management. No matter how good of a phone the grunts make, management will kill its potential. It has happened countless of times before and it will happen again.

    Xbox is not a success and while now making modest profits it has lots and lots of investments to recoup before giving any payment on the money spent. Its an utter failure up until today and if nothing ground breaking happens it will keep on being a third rate console.

    The only way Microsoft could succeed is to break out a mobile team and totally isolate it from any managment and Microsoft itself. Even when they buy an excellent and complete product like Danger they still manages to wipe it off the planet my mismanagement.

    Im also not so sure being a top down shop like Apple is good in the long run. Those kinds of companies tend to stiffen up and become stale and slow pretty fast when given enough market share.

    • Microsoft do not have engineering talent nor software talents to pull something like that off

      Where the hell did you get that from? Microsoft has plenty of programming talent, and they pay quite a lot for it. The problems are primarily in management (see: Vista).

      • Programming talent, yes, but phones require hardware engineering and design talent as well. Do they have that? They have a hardware business, but they do not, AFAIK, make any mobile devices.

        The rest of the GP's points seem entirely reasonable.

        • by Winckle (870180)

          Well they make the Zune, and that's a mobile device. Yeah...

        • by RKThoadan (89437)

          As far as I'm concerned MS made the best pointing device ever designed, the Trackball Explorer. Then again, they don't make it anymore. They definitely have the capability. Management usually messes it up royally, but you can't actually rely on that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by gimmebeer (1648629)
        That's not to say they don't have programming talent, that's a given. What I'm getting at is that MS tends to enter markets that already have cut and dried leaders, and their attempts to catch up from years behind the curve give their products a distinct feeling of inferiority. They may catch up to Android and Apple, but it'll take a while for the stigma of a "windows phone" to go away.
        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          What I'm getting at is that MS tends to enter markets that already have cut and dried leaders, and their attempts to catch up from years behind the curve give their products a distinct feeling of inferiority. They may catch up to Android and Apple

          But the cut and dried leaders in phones are the likes of Nokia, RIM, along with many other companies like Samsung, LG, Motorola - and it's Google and Apple that entered as the new guys, and are playing catch-up (in Apple's case, "from years behind the curve" - 3G,

    • They've already made comments like, "Windows Phone 7 will be an ad serving machine".

      http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/212394.asp

      This will kill the potential if nothing else. Who wants one of those?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SethJohnson (112166)

        They've already made comments like, "Windows Phone 7 will be an ad serving machine". http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/212394.asp [seattlepi.com]

        Wow. That is an astonishingly-bad piece of messaging. Their corporate perspective truly is warped by their decades-long desktop monopoly. This is where the monopoly actually hinders their ability to develop realistic marketing strategies.

        Everything I'm hearing from MS these days assumes defacto widespread consumer adoption of their forthcoming products. In this ca

    • by Hatta (162192)

      They should bring the same technical expertise they used in the Xbox to cell phones. That would give a new meaning to "Red Ring of Death".

  • by Fraggy_the_undead (758495) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:03AM (#33055162)
    ... and failed spectacularly?
    And seeing how the "make the OS, leave making the phone (mostly) to others" business model seems to be working rather well for Google, I don't see, why it shouldn't for Microsoft.
    • by ArtDent (83554)

      How about *because* it's working so well for Google?

      I presume Microsoft would like to charge something for their operating system?

    • by msauve (701917) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:32AM (#33055458)
      Yes, but they should still do it because Peter Bright, the author of the article, is a multi-multi-billionaire who made his money in consumer electronics. Wait, that not right, his bio tells us:

      Peter Bright dropped out of university after about five minutes to work as a programmer. He now lives in London, where he enjoys trolling, reading 4chan, gorging on burritos, and musing about the future of Microsoft.

      So, never mind. He's just another Internet person with an opinion which isn't backed up by either knowledge or experience.

    • Well as the article points out, it's already working for Google. Has been for a couple years now. Android is free (gratis) which I doubt the MS OS will be so that saves money to the OEM, It's customizable which the MS OS won't be, and it entrenched which the MS OS can't be. I think the author has a point here.

      Right now the consumer smartphone market is essentially divided between Android and iPhone in the US (Note, the *consumer* and the *US* before you flame please). iPhone is the vertically integrated

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Kin's hardware looked pretty cute but the software was horrible. With MS it's usually the other way around. Articles on Kin suggest the team was hobbled by Windows CE, morale was low and corporate infighting meant they were denied the support they needed to make it succeed. I expect if Windows Mobile 7 had actually been ready for Kin that it would have been a great deal better as a device.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Because MS will go out of their way to get you to use Exchange, Sharepoint, Outlook, etc.
      Google on the other hand will go out of their way to get you to use the Internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Your call cannot be completed. The number you have dialed is not on a Microsoft-supported phone! Press 1 to report the issue to Microsoft. Press 2 for technical information about this error. Press 3 to hear these options again. Or press 0 now to speak to a Microsoft technical support representative!

  • Oh yes ... (Score:2, Troll)

    by psergiu (67614)

    Oh yes, of course, Microsoft should TOTALLY build their own factories and then build their own hardware. All the Linux, BSD & Mac users agree that Microsoft should definitely invest all of their cash in some big money holes until they go bankrupt. :-)

    • But then where would they, uh, borrow ideas from? :)

      (Yes, a lot of 'borrowing' goes both ways, and probably makes both better than they would be in a vacuum.)

    • Building phones and building factories are not the same thing. Apple builds phones, HTC builds phones, Motorola builds phones... Oh, no, wait, some company in China with a really high suicide rate builds phones designed and marketed by Apple/HTC/Motorola. When you talk about a company making their "own" phone, you mean designed, marketed, and supported in house. It's still put together in a fab plant by a contractor. I could be wrong here of course, but I don't think any of the big players actually have

  • Because everyone wants that cool "Microsoft" logo on his/her gadgets [rolls eyes].
  • Eh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:05AM (#33055190) Homepage

    I think Microsoft should just leave the phone market all together, insofar as entire operating systems are concerned. Windows Phone 7 looks cool, but the lack of multitasking and the walled garden approach make it a moot point. Let's face it...if you are going to deal with a walled garden, you're most likely going to go with Apple.

    Xbox Live connectivity is intriguing, but not only do I not care about constant contact with my Live friends list...I don't want it. The mobile gaming is also a slight draw, but that's why I have a PSP/DS...

    At this point, Microsoft should just concede this market. They will never catch up to RIM/Android/Apple, and all it will do is hurt their image when it fails.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Let's face it...if you are going to deal with a walled garden, you're most likely going to go with Apple.

      Where did you get that one from? Many cell phones have no options for installing third party software at all; the imprisoned garden would be perceived as an improvement for users of those phones. Microsoft may be coming a bit late to that party, but I do not think the party is over just yet.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        Where did you get that one from? Many cell phones have no options for installing third party software at all; the imprisoned garden would be perceived as an improvement for users of those phones. Microsoft may be coming a bit late to that party, but I do not think the party is over just yet.

        Apple's Walled Garden already has a massive number of applications, on top of a mostly positive perception of the iPhone amongst the general public. Microsoft releasing a phone that, to the public, functions similar to the way Apple's runs will most likely be seen as copying Apple. Also, even though its death is imminent, don't forget about the Palm store, either.

        Those who know better won't deal with a walled garden anyway, and will stick with RIM or Android.

        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          You're missing the point - there are tonnes of companies that ship phones with a "walled garden". They sell far more than Apple. They existed long before the Iphone. It is ludicrous to suggest MS will be "copying Apple".

          Of course, I've no doubt that Apple fans will label it yet another "Apple first", and some of these people will be writing in the media. But it's a sad day if the disproportionate coverage of Apple in the media ends up deterring a massive company like MS from choosing what products to releas

          • by Pojut (1027544)

            They existed long before the Iphone. It is ludicrous to suggest MS will be "copying Apple".

            Agreed...but that will be the public perception.

            I point you in the direction of the Sixaxis controller and the Wiimote...despite the fact that the Microsoft Freestyle [amazon.com] existed long before either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mdwh2 (535323)

        This is a good point - the whole so-called "feature phones" (which are still "smart" in the traditional sense, in that they run apps, allow Internet access, but don't get counted as such) seems to be completely forgotten among geeks, but they sell far more than the higher end phones. (It's an anomaly why the walled garden Iphone got counted in the smart phone category instead of feature phone in the first place.)

        It's sad to see more platforms going for a locked down single-tasking model. But it's funny to s

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mgblst (80109)

      You are right, ms are coming to the party late. But mobile is such a big sector, and still growing, the can't afford to leave it. Much like their attitude to the Internet, they have to be there, and will pay whatever it takes. They should just buy motorola, and probably would, but they want lots of manufacturers to make their devices.

  • Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bertie (87778) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:05AM (#33055200)

    Just look how well designing the XBox 360 without the requisite expertise worked out for them...

    • by AndrewNeo (979708)

      Yeah, over 41 million units sold? That's terrible.

      • by Bertie (87778)

        And half of them broke because of a design flaw, costing the company an astronomical amount of money. I love how TFA glosses over this factor because it rather gets in the way of his point.

    • by Rayonic (462789)

      The new Xbox 360 redesign seems to indicate that they've obtained the requisite experience. And by all accounts, the Zune and Kin were fine hardware devices at least.

      The Kin even had great battery life:
      http://www.anandtech.com/show/3814/microsofts-kin-a-eulogy/4 [anandtech.com]

      I'm not saying that making phones is a good idea, but it's certainly possible.

    • by nmg196 (184961)

      Pretty damn well! Just look at the success of it and it's sales figures and popularity. Not really sure what your point is?

      • by Bertie (87778)

        The millions of failures as a direct result of deciding to do the design in-house? The enormous amount of resultant red ink on the balance sheet?

  • Utter crap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DavidpFitz (136265) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:07AM (#33055210) Homepage Journal

    Nonsense. They're hardly going to build a manufacturing plant. They could (like Apple do) sub-contract to another manufacturer. But, in essence they've already done this with HTC making the bulk of Windows Mobile devices. I guess they could (like Google did) get HTC to build a Microsoft branded phone, but it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference as to what they have today.

  • I somewhat agree and somewhat disagree.

    Microsoft generally makes pretty good hardware and doing the whole package would give them a tight control over the integration.

    The downside is you lose the ability to sell the OS to a bigger portion of the market at the outset.

    I think as long as they control the hardware requirements and perhaps have an approval process so that they can do some QA on the phones made by 3rd parties that would be a happy medium for them.

  • Selling your own hardware is not necessary in this segment. The issue with Windows Mobile has never really been the hardware. The HTC HD2 has great hardware, it is the software that sucks. Microsoft needs to fix the software. The problem with Windows Mobile is the typical Microsoft issue. They make a first software version lavishing many resources to enter a market, then when it gets successful they dump the developers overboard (happened to Internet Explorer as well). The Windows Mobile software platform

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:17AM (#33055296)
    MS already built a phone. Actually two of them. They were the Kin One and Kin Two and they have failed miserably.
  • ...have been clamoring for a Zune Phone. AmIRight?

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      The Zune is what people love to make fun of - though to put things into persepective, the market share varied over the years, up to 10%, dropping to a few per cent, which makes it a "flop" apparently; yet I'm not sure that Apple have passed 5% market share in the phone market, and this is seen as a runaway success.

      (Not to mention that even if the Zune was a flop, who cares. Lots of companies have their misses, including Apple.)

  • Yes... but I'm not buying one, unless it comes in brown.

    Seriously, MS's biggest Achilles Heel is it's whole Marketing / Design Dept. If they had better people there, they'd be a lot more successful, regardless of hardware or software.
  • by RMH101 (636144)
    Why not come out with an attempt at a kick-ass OS (Windows Phone 7 Series - no idea if it'll be good or not when released but presumably the idea is that it doesn't suck), a tightly-proscribed hardware reference definition for the manufacturers (chipset, number of physical buttons, minimum resolution etc) and then leave all the awkware engineering and production to companies that do it best such as HTC or Foxconn? They don't need to actually manufacture them themselves.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:27AM (#33055374)
    Microsoft has a long and illustrious history of operating system sales.

    .
    Here, let me fix that typo for you.

    "Microsoft has a long and iniquitous history of operating system sales."

  • by AntEater (16627) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:27AM (#33055386) Homepage

    the Zune-phone!!

  • Stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by diegocg (1680514) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:28AM (#33055402)

    If Microsoft made its own phone all the other phone manufacturers would quit using windows mobile. Yeah, that's a great idea, convert your partners into enemies.

    Just because Apple looks "cool" doesn't means that Microsof has to imitate them. In fact Android seems to be able to kill iPhone relevance in the next years. Yet Android is not the product of a company that does software + hardware.

  • the real problem is microsoft is a marketing driven company that is trying to squeeze a nickel out of and make everyone else happy except the person actually using the phone. If they would just concentrate on the end Customer and quit trying to make the all these other groups happy that have no other agenda, but to degrade the phone (with drm, etc) they would be more successful.
  • I've heard that their upcoming phone OS is very good. Unfortunately, it's saddled with "Microsoft" and "Windows". If I were Microsoft and wanted to give this division the best chance to succeed, I would spin off the mobile OS division into it's own company and be the majority (only?) shareholder. Part of the spin off agreement would be that Microsoft has perpetual rights to build products around the mobile OS.

    Microsoft should then concentrate on enterprisey products (ie, take on RIM) and cede consumer orien

  • The model has served the company well on the PC, but if it wants to make money in the phone market, it needs to start thinking like a consumer electronics company.

    Companies that stick to their core competencies thrive.
    Companies that lose track of their core competencies decline and fail.

    Microsoft is, first and foremost, an operating systems company. Whatever they do must serve that core competency. To stray from that into another market, say into the cellphone market as a direct competitor, is to pursue an

    • by HuguesT (84078)

      Except the market is changing. There is still money to be made in OS in the desktop PC market but this is not growing as fast as it used to and is fast becoming commoditized. No one wants to pay $300 for a new Windows license every 3 years when the whole hardware cost is about that price. In the new markets of various embedded devices, Microsoft is not a leader no matter how you look at it. In the server market, Linux works as well and is cheaper. In the gaming console market, Microsoft is doing OK but is n

  • This prototype [red-squirrel.com] ?!?

  • Microsoft's strength is in the fact that it delivers a software product that hopefully works on almost any manufacturer's hardware. The competition for the actual hardware is fierce, and therefore margins are thin. But Microsoft doesn't care whether Samsung, Nokia, LG, or whoever has the hottest line of phones, because they should be selling on all of those devices.
  • Clippy (Score:5, Funny)

    by bsandersen (835481) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:59AM (#33055778) Homepage
    Hi! I'm Clippy! Microsoft Bob is not available. You could leave him a message if you like. Just hold down the #, *, 7, and 3 keys. It looks like you are trying to make a call. Would you like me to help with that? I see you've dialed a 9. There is an area code "978", can I finish dialing that for you? Oh, I see you've now dialed a "1". You might be trying to make an emergency call. I could... ** REBOOT ** Hi! I'm Clippy! Microsoft Bob is not available right now...
  • What a ---kin great idea!

  • Own up, who has a Microsoft mouse despite running *nix? I do. Best build quality for the price.

    Microsoft make great hardware. Just so long as it doesn't need drivers and doesn't have any significant embedded software, it's fine.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I have a cordless laser desktop 6000. there's no encryption so anyone could sniff it (but I live in the boonies.) The mouse regularly exhibits "strange" behavior even when batteries are new. The keyboard will actually send the wrong characters if you hit enough keys before the buffer empties while you are at the limits of its range, which is shit.

      Then there's the classic Microsoft "ergonomic" mouse. It's ergonomic for exactly one size of hand. For everyone else, there's logitech.

      Microsoft has never been a p

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VGPowerlord (621254)

      Own up, who has a Microsoft mouse despite running *nix? I do. Best build quality for the price.

      Actually, I prefer Logitech. Microsoft's scroll wheel is way too loose feeling for me.

      Of course, I'm saying this as a gamer, where you want distinct click-stops if you use a mouse wheel.

  • I simply MUST be the first person to have a brown Phune.
  • Microsoft has a long and illustrious history of operating system sales. The model has served the company well on the PC, but if it wants to make money in the phone market, it needs to start thinking like a consumer electronics company and start making its own phones.

    But they recently tried doing just that [wikipedia.org]. And it was an epic failure [nytimes.com].

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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