It wont make the dent in mobile space that Microsoft or Nokia would like it to.
Let me me clear right from the start- I’m not saying that Windows Phone 8 will be a bad OS. On the contrary, I’m really looking forward to testing it out as I love the UI of my Lumia 800. However, I don’t believe it will be successful in making a big dent in the mobile OS space and my three reasons for that are as follows:
Where is the current growth coming from?
Windows Phone has certainly been growing as far as market share is concerned but not at the expense of either iOS or Android- the two dominant players in the mobile space that also continue to grow. Microsoft has been picking up RIM’s falling subscriber base to an extend and the number of people jumping ship from the BlackBerry platform will continue to shrink as the year comes to an end because of two reasons: Most of the folks remaining with BlackBerry LIKE their BlackBerry and second, BlackBerry 10 is just around the corner so folks looking into abandoning their current BlackBerry will probably wait and see what RIM has to offer.
Abandoning your hero product
Microsoft and Nokia made quite a bit of noise with the Lumia series- even though Nokia already knew that it wasn’t going to be until Windows Phone 8 or Apollo is released that they will have a solid device (as suggested by Nokia’s regional manager during my interview with him at Gitex last year). Yet, both Microsoft and Nokia spent a lot of advertising dollars to get the Lumia 800 or 900 in the hands on end-users which, pretty much turned out to be the hero product for Windows Phone 7.5 (aka Mango)
I especially feel the pain for Lumia 900 owners who bought into a device that will be obsolete six months into it’s release as Microsoft has officially stated that none of the current Windows Phone devices will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8. I think that is a lousy move from Microsoft. Neither Apple, nor Google has made their previous-gen device obsolete when releasing a new OS. Just look at iOS6 being able to run fine on the iPhone 4 and 4S just as Jellybean runs on the Galaxy Nexus without any issues. Microsoft needs to be better than Google and Apple to attract consumers to it’s platform and neglecting the current user base, no matter how small it is, is not a good idea for a platform that is only on the second version of it’s OS.
Relating to Metro will not happen instantly
One of the key strategies for Microsoft is providing the Metro interface everywhere- from your PC to your Xbox and your tablet as well as your Smartphone. They want an interface that the consumer can instantly relate to, no matter which platform they’re using. There is no denying that out of all Microsoft products, Windows enjoys the biggest market share however, Metro will not be available on Windows until it’s released towards the end of the year and even then, it will take time for people to learn and recognize Metro- obviously assuming that consumers to take a liking to it. That takes time. I’d say a minimum of one year so Microsoft won’t be able to use that card for a while.
So there you have it- my reasons on why Windows Phone 8 won’t be a successful O/S for Microsoft. Again, I’m not saying that it won’t be a good OS but I’d bet on Windows Phone 9 as the product that will have a better chance at shaping the mobile landscape in its favor.