Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
9/22/2011
03:56 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Verizon CEO: Third Ecosystem Battle Coming

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform has a chance to overtake RIM's BlackBerry platform and become the third major smartphone platform.

The current market has proven that it can't support an unlimited number of smartphone platforms. But there's still some consolidation to go, believes Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam.

In January of this year, you could argue that the top mobile ecosystems were Apple's iOS, Google's Android, Nokia's Symbian, RIM's BlackBerry, and HP/Palm's webOS. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (merely months old) was but a blip. That was too many for the carriers and the market. At least one or two of the platforms/ecosystems had to go down.

The industry has done a good job of shaking things up this year, there's no doubt of that. Nokia's Symbian platform was the first to get the boot when Nokia ditched it for WP7 in February. It was followed more recently by HP/Palm's webOS, which HP decided to ax in August. (Though HP is considering what to do with webOS, it is for all intents and purposes defunct.)

With two down, that still leaves four major mobile smartphone platforms battling for carrier and consumer attention: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and WP7. This is still too many, and further consolidation is likely to occur. Android is the leading platform, and iOS isn't too far behind. They are both here to stay.

That means Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry OS are left to battle it out for the spot as the third major ecosystem.

"The carriers are beginning to coalesce around the need for a third ecosystem," said McAdam at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Wednesday, reported FierceWireless. "Over the next 12 months I think it will coalesce and you will start to see one emerge as a legitimate third ecosystem."

Which will it be?

There's no doubt that RIM is in trouble. It has misfired completely with the PlayBook tablet, and its latest batch of BlackBerry smartphones--while capable little business machines--are not the revolutionary type of product that most users want.

Can Microsoft really step up and fill RIM's enterprise and consumer shoes? A recent report from Connected Enterprise paints an uncertain picture.

Its data shows that 45% of consumers aren't even aware that Windows Phone 7 exists. Of those who at least knew that WP7 existed, most indicated that they didn't know enough about it for the platform to garner any real attention. Others said they were afraid of lock-in with the WP7 ecosystem, with 21% saying they had already invested too much time and/or money in competing platforms.

With RIM's missteps, Microsoft has a real opportunity here to become the third major player in the smartphone space. If the company can get around its marketing problem, it just might have a chance.

UPDATE: A portion of McAdam's quote inadvertently contained a sentence that didn't belong to him. McAdam didn't specifically state that he thinks WP7 will beat BBOS. Text adjusted above to account for this mistake.

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.