Smartphone wars: Analyst sees threat from WP7

Success with WP7 would hurt Android, help iPhone

A prominent Wall Street analyst declared Friday that Windows Phone 7 has seen a "successful launch" and that Microsoft will heavily market the new platform further, leading to a possible pitched battle against Android smartphones that would leave the iPhone on top.

Whether WP7 has really experienced a successful launch has been widely debated. Random spots checks with retailers in the U.S. and U.K. have shown somewhat limited sales, as well as some supply shortages. There's also been little initial commentary on early WP7 success by either Microsoft or AT&T, the U.S. carrier with the most WP7 phone models.

However, the analyst, Charles Wolf of Needham & Co., called the Nov. 8 launch of WP7 in the U.S. "successful," after earlier launches abroad. But Wolf noted that only 135,000 active users were on the WP7 Facebook app on Nov. 30, a possible indication of the number of WP7 phones sold at that time. His research was first reported by AppleInsider.

Even so, Wolf argued that Microsoft will use its planned $500 million WP7 marketing budget to "buy the support of the leading smartphone manufacturers." While he said there's been some WP7 launch success, he said if WP7 is ultimately successful, there will be fallout for the Android OS more than any other smartphone platform.

In the event of a battle between WP7 and Android, iPhone would win out, he concluded.

"With its growing brand equity, the iPhone could end up as the last man standing in this race to the bottom," Wolf added.

Wolf's analysis brings many factors to bear in the smartphone platform wars, including how Android and WP7 both work with a variety of manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, while Apple alone manufactures iPhone, a model also followed by Research in Motion with its BlackBerry OS.

Wolf said that if WP7 is ultimately successful in coming months, "it's difficult not to conclude that the Android platform will be impacted more than any other operating system because of the similarity of the two licensing models."

Wolf is also aware that the iPhone is expected to be sold by Verizon Wireless in early 2011, which would further hurt Android.

"Android benefited from the absence of the iPhone on the Verizon network, because the carrier spent heavily to promote the platform as an alternative to the iPhone," Wolf said. "Android effectively moved into a vacuum created by the implosion of Windows Mobile."

Windows Mobile preceded Microsoft's WP7 and still runs on many rugged handhelds and other devices, but was considered a flop for mainstream smartphones. Microsoft shook up its development teams to create the new WP7 platform.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftsmartphonesFacebookApplesoftwareapplicationstelecommunicationPhonesconsumer electronicsat&tMobile operating systemsMobile and WirelessMobile OSes

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?