It looks like Microsoft thinks the competition from Google and Apple in the mobile space isn't really much of a competition. In an interview with TechRadar, Microsoft's John Curran unsurprisingly sees Windows Mobile being the most successful out of the three in the next three years.
"One's an emerging one, the other is a very limited form factor. One has relatively limited hardware support and limited distribution; the other is just one form factor from one company with limited choices of operators. So they both at this point feel fairly restrictive compared to all the great options consumers would have with a Windows Mobile phone."
Curran has valid points here, as Microsoft has done a fabulous job partnering with various hardware and carrier players. Additionally, I think it's prudent to have Research In Motion and Symbian at the top of its competitor list.
But, I think Microsoft is making a major blunder if it underestimates the iPhone or the Android platform. Apple's holding a miniscule share of the entire cell phone market, but it's no surprise that we're seeing a slate of touch-screen phones coming out since the first iPhone launched. If you take Apple at its word, it was the third-largest cell phone manufacturer by revenue last quarter. Android also has the potential to be a very disruptive player, as the open-source nature may break the traditionally locked-down mobile environment many of us are used to.
Don't get me wrong, I think Windows Mobile is still a strong platform, particularly for mobile professionals. Unlike some, I don't think Windows Mobile is in that much trouble, but it's in desperate need of a user interface revamp.
Curran said the company is working hard to make sure the "Windows experience extends from the PC to the Web and the phone." And he even points to some "exciting" Windows Mobile phones like the HTC Diamond, Samsung Omnia, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. Here's the thing, though: the traditional Windows experience doesn't work well on a mobile handset. All those phones he pointed to use a modified UI because navigating Windows Mobile phones is cumbersome at best.
I still like the customizability of a Windows Mobile phone, as well as its enterprise-friendly nature. It has a strong foundation and I love the functionality, but I hope the next version features a dramatic UI improvement.