Microsoft is pouring money into the UK market to promote its Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) operating system. The chief beneficiary of this is Nokia, which will take the majority of the £28m budget in the run up to Christmas. Some are predicting that it’s make or break time for the two giants.
Much is, therefore, riding on the first Nokia smartphone to use the Windows Phone OS. Nokia is eager to claw back its much diminished marketshare and gain some real traction in the high-end smartphone segment. Microsoft is desperate to grow its Windows Phone OS into a serious contender to rival Android, Apple iOS and to a lesser extent RIM’s BlackBerry OS.
It’s a tall order. In Q2 2011, Window Phone 7 had a mere 1.6% of sales in the global smartphone market, according to analyst Gartner. Nokia still topped sales for all mobile phones with 22.8% of the world market, but that was down from 30.3% a year ago.
Word is the first Nokia phone to use Windows Mango is very impressive and those who have used Mango on other devices say it is a huge improvement on Windows Phone 7, which itself was hailed as quantum leap for Microsoft and a genuine rival to iOS and Android.
But will consumers go for Mango and can Nokia reclaim its old cache on the back of it? Other Mango users, in particular Samsung, HTC and LG will be keen to see the Windows Phone ecosystem take off, not only to get a return on their investment, but to balance out the growing dominance of Android. But they all still have Android, unlike Nokia, which has placed itself firmly in the Windows camp, as Symbian gradually disappears.
So, Microsoft and Nokia are going to have to work particularly hard to persuade consumers to convert to their offering. If it doesn’t work this time, will they ever crack it? Hard to say, but Microsoft isn’t short of a bob or two.