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9/29/2010
00:06 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Consumers First For Windows Phone 7, Businesses Later

It doesn't take a genius to see that Microsoft designed Windows Phone 7 to initially appeal to consumers, from the finger friendly user interface to the hardware specs that resemble the form factor made popular by the iPhone over three years ago. It doesn't mean that business needs are off the radar though.

It doesn't take a genius to see that Microsoft designed Windows Phone 7 to initially appeal to consumers, from the finger friendly user interface to the hardware specs that resemble the form factor made popular by the iPhone over three years ago. It doesn't mean that business needs are off the radar though.More and more businesses are allowing their employees to buy their own smartphone and connect it with the corporate server to get email. Unless the company has strict governmental requirements on privacy and security, most companies are content to force a PIN lock on the phone and the ability to remote wipe the device in the event the phone is lost or the employee is terminated. With numerous devices supporting Exchange ActiveSync technology, meeting those and additional requirements are not a problem.

That thinking turned the Microsoft model on its head where it was trying to satisfy businesses thinking companies would buy the devices and push them down to users. That worked to some degree for a while, but once the iPhone came out, all bets were off.

Now Microsoft is going directly after the consumer market and is hoping that employees will take the devices to their IT department to get them connected to the mail server. That doesn't mean though that Microsoft is uninterested in business needs.

High on the list is the ability to deliver private corporate apps without requiring them to be listed in the online Marketplace for Mobile according to an article in Silicon.com.

The biggest issue for businesses may be the form factor itself. Initial devices will only be available in 800x480 and any keyboard will be the kind that slides out. That is fine for some, but many workers that just want a device primarily for email prefer a smaller screen with a full time keyboard, a la many Blackberry devices. Windows Phone will support 480x320 resolutions which will allow for a QWERTY keyboard to be available at all times.

We are probably a month or so at most away from the launch date in Europe, with the US following soon after. Both launch dates are promised to be soon enough to allow holiday shoppers to buy the phones. We'll have to wait until then to see if this strategy has any merit.

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