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.
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:
- Unlike BlackBerry 10, Windows 10 Mobile has multiple hardware manufacturers
- 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
- 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.