Jim  Burton
JIM BURTONFounder and CEO, CT Link, LLCCo-Founder, UCStrategiesJim Burton is Founder and CEO of CT Link, LLC. Burton founded the...
Read Full Bio >>

Jim Burton | January 10, 2017 |


Will Microsoft Finally Be a Player in Smartphones?

Will Microsoft Finally Be a Player in Smartphones? As technologies evolve the game is changing, and these changes may create a shift in smartphone market share.

As technologies evolve the game is changing, and these changes may create a shift in smartphone market share.

Change is afoot in the smartphone market, opening the door to new challenges and opportunities for market participants.

In 2016, demand for the iPhone fell for the first time since its introduction nearly 10 years ago -- a contributing factor in Apple's first annual revenue decline in 15 years.

Samsung, on the other hand, maintained its smartphone market leadership position even with the Galaxy Note 7 fire debacle. In a move to maintain its market share leadership position, Samsung is rumored to be readying the upcoming Galaxy S8 to allow the device smartphone to plug into a screen for use as a desktop personal computer. With this feature, users would have the option of traveling with one device vs. the two to three most of us travel with today.

I wrote about this sort of capability six years ago in the No Jitter article, "Tablets Coming to a Garage Sale Near You." At that time, new mobile devices from BlackBerry and Motorola had interfaces that would allow monitor, keyboard, and mouse connectivity... the first attempts to turn a smartphone into a desktop personal computer.

Universal Mobility Pipedream
Technology has come a long way in six years. Moore's Law has delivered on the promise of more powerful processors. The ability to handle storage and application processing in the cloud has shifted some of the storage and processing burden off the mobile device. Standards have provided several short-range wireless networking options, including near field communication (NFC), Wi-Fi Direct, and higher-speed Bluetooth for use in connecting traditional PC peripherals. It is easy to see how these technology advances could turn a smartphone into a universal mobile communication/collaboration (UMC) device.

Imagine carrying only one device when you travel. Your hotel-provided devices -- today a TV and keyboard; tomorrow, perhaps, a rollable screen -- along with your UMC replaces your laptop computer. This approach presumes UMC vendors use standards-based interfaces rather than proprietary interfaces as BlackBerry and Motorola did back in the day. The rumors surrounding Samsung's Galaxy S8 suggest the same.

Room to Move
With such changes in store, the question to ask is whether Microsoft can gain respectable market share in the smartphone market. It appears to have a good start on several fronts. First, Microsoft's anticipated Surface Phone will run a full operating system (a version of Windows 10) rather than use a lightweight OS as do all other smartphones available to date.

Second, Microsoft reportedly will be supporting standards-based wired and wireless peripheral interfaces. If other smartphone vendors follow suit, the hotel scenario outlined above will happen much sooner than later.

Third, Microsoft has had great success with its Surface products. As evidence, several noted journalists/analysts recently wrote articles about switching from Mac to Surface Book:

Also rumored is that Microsoft will try to leapfrog the competition with several key smartphone innovations, including the ability to control the device by hover/gesturing without making contact with the screen. As with the current Surface products, Microsoft is expected to go after the high end of the market with a focus on enterprise customers.

There are certainly many reasons to doubt Microsoft will move the needle on its market share, particularly its continued failure to attract developers to build apps for the platform. Samsung and others are likely to provide new features that will keep their following loyal. And certainly, not the least is Apple's 10-year iPhone anniversary release expected later this year. The big question is how far Apple will evolve the next iPhone, and whether it will address the enterprise market by turning the device into a UMC.

Any way you cut it, I am looking forward to a new mobile device in 2017.


April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.