As BlackBerry 10 struggled with marketshare, the Canadian company behind it decided that the best way forward was to refocus and push the OS and its devices…

Windows 10 Mobile attempts what BlackBerry 10 failed at

As BlackBerry 10 struggled with marketshare, the Canadian company behind it decided that the best way forward was to refocus and push the OS and its devices to target the business (enterprise) segment of the smartphone market. And so, BlackBerry made the switch to refocus their hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user We all know how that went. BlackBerry was unable to sell enough BlackBerry 10 smartphones in that segment.


Microsoft for business enterprise

Enterprise Is Android and iOS

BlackBerry 10’s experience suggests that even the enterprise segment of the mobile world have voted for Android OS and iOS for their needs. BlackBerry has since adjusted to this sentiment and have opted to run a hardened version of Android OS on their smartphones. To all intents and purposes, enterprise on mobile is firmly in the hands of Android OS and iOS.


Windows 10 Wants Enterprise

Windows Phone too has suffered serious loss in terms of marketshare in recent times (a 72% drop to an all-time low of 0.7% global marketshare in Q1, 2016), and Microsoft is taking the very same direction that BlackBerry first took – develop a new focus that is specifically on the business/enterprise segment of the market. Deja vu.

What Is Windows 10 Mobile Banking On?

We sure have seen this before. How does Windows 10 Mobile hope to pull off this enterprise stunt that BlackBerry 10 failed at? A few pointers:


  1. Unlike BlackBerry 10, Windows 10 Mobile has multiple hardware manufacturers
  2. Unlike BlackBerry 10, Windows 10 Mobile has a huge PC user fanbase that it can attempt to leverage on by way of Universal Windows Apps and Continuum
  3. Unlike BlackBerry 10, Windows 10 Mobile has the deep pockets of Microsoft to depend on

The question is: are the above enough for Windows 10 Mobile hardware partners to sell enough devices to make producing Windows smartphones profitable?

The Obstacle: The Personal Smartphone

It is not that people do not want to work on their smartphones – they actually do – it is that no matter how much work they want to get on their mobiles, they want it to be first and foremost a fun, personal device. Because, well, the smartphone is the most personal gadget in existence. perhaps it is the most personal gadget that has ever been in existence.

While most people love their work, it is not their work that defines or shapes their person. Their choice of smartphone is a reflection of this. As such, work is hardly ever the most important factor in people’s choice of a personal smartphone.

PC, Check. Tablets, Check. Smartphones….

I do not know for sure if Windows 10 Mobile can survive against this reality, but it doesn’t look so good. Continuum is good, but it isn’t compelling enough for most people. As a matter of fact, it is available only on higher end Windows smartphones. Ta! Windows 10 has done well in the tablets segment. Microsoft is selling a good number of Surface tablets. It still sells well on PC. But it hasn’t been the same on smartphones. Microsoft has an uphill task ahead of them in the smartphone sector. May the force be with them.

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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi's journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.

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  1. Microsoft’s focus on enterprise isn’t at all surprising, as most organisations still use Microsoft Windows and Office suites. In my experience, at least 3 organisations I’m familiar with have deployed Windows phones to staff – only recently with a change of contract has my Windows phone been replaced by an Android phone.

    With the Windows phone deployment, most Windows phones tend to be the low end, not mid or high end phones. Only one organisation gave their staff a choice of phones, and that was between a low and mid tier phone, not a single high end phone. All of them, naturally, are Lumias.

    It really depends on the organisation. Some private sector and specialist companies will go with iOS. Maybe a few charities, but iOS is an expensive option when funding is being cut, but many will rely on the least expensive option and go with a mix of devices. And some organisations will go with a Bring Your Own Device but I’ve not come across many of these.

    Most importantly, a work phone is nothing like a personal phone. It will get limited customisation, it is there to serve a work function – there are policies in place that you agree to when you are given that phone. Add to that you have limited data so there’s only so much you will do with it. My work phone’s wallpaper has been changed but I refuse to sign up to Google Play to update anything and if I did, it would simply be work related stuff e.g. Maps, Google Authenticator. Do I really want to set up another Google Account just for a work phone? I knew people in the past who used to use their work phone as a personal phone and were billed for personal calls, but that has been done away with for a while. One person was quietly cautioned about things that were said on IM about the organisation they worked for, so no, I don’t play with my work phone and I restrict what I say or do over work WiFi.

    Microsoft left it pretty late to get into the Enterprise game, especially when they had all of the advantages but simply wasted time dithering and didn’t push Windows phones enough. Now they’re on the blackfoot, and racing to catch up.

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