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Where is the Windows Phone Tablet?

The Windows Phone platform currently has hardware specifications that imply a cellular phone device. What is interesting in light of the new WebOS TouchPad, the newly announced Android tablets, the RIM Playbook and the iPad is that this supposed “third horse” of Windows Phone has no hint of present or future presence in the tablet form factor.

That might have something to do with the plans to move Windows to the tablet form factor. Perhaps Microsoft thinks that pocket size devices deserve a separate operating system, platform and ecosystem than portable mobile computers. Perhaps Microsoft plans to have two separate interfaces for these tablets (slates vs. tablets?) Then again, Ballmer held up a Windows Phone and said “This is Windows too.”

Adobe and Microsoft sitting in a tree

Adobe is one of the last surviving desktop software companies. So is Microsoft. Consolidation happens when an industry matures and excess capacity and excess overhead can be squeezed out of the value chain, giving a temporary burst of earnings growth.

So, in this way of thinking, recognizing that the sun is setting on desktop software, a merger of old schools of thought may make sense. Rather like Sun and Oracle or HP and Compaq.

But then a lot of other things make more sense. Like both companies trying to expand into new growth areas. Like Microsoft talking to RIM or Adobe developing tools for HTML5. Adobe’s cash cow products are not going anywhere without a deep reset. Same is true for Microsoft. They will both face these challenges whether standing alone or together.

There would be nothing strange about a Microsoft Adobe merger, but there would be nothing great about it either.

When's the Zune team going to do an iPod funeral?

Survey data on US College students’ music player share.

Can’t wait for the Youtube video of the Zune team getting down with an iPod funeral. After all, the Zune has higher market share than the recently celebrated Windows Phone 7.

The Apple-branded campus – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech

Ballmer on leadership changes aka voluntary retirements

“And I think i’ve been quite public about the fact that I chose to make a set of leadership changes in the team of people building and executing on our Windows Phone software.

“We had to do a little cleanup, change things around,” Ballmer said

via AppleInsider | Microsoft CEO hopes to reenter phone market, disputes PC shift.

“I chose to make leadership changes” and Robbie Bach the ultimate leader of Windows Phone “retiring”.  Did he jump or was he pushed?

Microsoft OEM VP on tablets: wait and see, could flop like netbooks

Giving Android the green light:

In addition, for the time being, Microsoft will not offer new Windows versions to support non-Intel architectures that are targeting tablet PC development, noted Guggenheimer.

The formation of a market segment for a new product category necessitates the existence of a supporting ecosystem made up of a complete industry supply chain, Guggenheimer emphasized. He cited the netbook market as an example; units were selling well initially and people believed that the market was going to be established as a new segment, but recently market growth has slowed down considerably, Guggenheimer pointed out.

via Whether tablet PCs can become market segment is still uncertain, says Microsoft VP.

I remember when Microsoft used to be paranoid.

At 135 devices, the Android army marches on but what happened to the Windows Mobile legions?

The number of Android devices is rising steadily; it’s already up to 135.  Android devotees should rightly rejoice.  However, Android is not the first mobile platform with an open licensing strategy. A quick visit to pdadb.net lets us count the number of devices that shipped for every mobile platform in history.  We can also see the current market shares as listed by Gartner for these platforms.

The numbers of SKUs (stock keeping units) that have shipped historically vs. the market shares of the mobile phones running those platforms are (see Footnote below for some caveats):

The same data in a scatter plot:

The reason Robbie Bach was fired

Vague justifications about under-performance of Windows Mobile or cancelled Courier miss the whole point.  The chronic problems with Microsoft’s consumer businesses cited as causes for dismissal have roots in core processes and priorities which management changes will not address.  The failure of Zune was evident long ago. Windows Mobile has not been competitive with RIM for years, and failed to take significant share from Symbian, never mind iPhone. Tablets were the responsibility of the Windows team.  Kin is a rogue project based on a bone-headed acquisition. From a P/L point of view, Entertainment was mostly Xbox, which although deep in the hole over its lifetime, was starting to break even.

No, the reason I believe Bach lost his head is that HP bought Palm.

HTC to pay Microsoft for Android

While Apple’s patent lawsuit against HTC remains ongoing, the Taiwanese handset maker has reached a licensing agreement with Microsoft to avoid another lawsuit over its Android-powered handsets.

AppleInsider | Microsoft believes Android infringes on patents, HTC strikes deal

Who says Android is “free”?

Google and Microsoft swap mobile share

according to a report published Monday. ComScore reported that Google’s share of smartphone subscribers rose to 9%, compared to 3.8% at the end of November. Meanwhile Apple’s share fell 0.1 points to 25.4%, while Microsoft’s share fell 4 points to 15.1%.

via Google’s share of mobile market grows: report – MarketWatch.

Seems Google’s gain is Microsoft’s loss.

BlackBerry, saw its share rise 1.3 points to 42.1%, according to the data. The number of owners of smartphones rose 21% in the U.S. in the three months ended in February compared to the prior period.

Ten Percent of Microsoft Employees use iPhone as Company Phone

Nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employee email system last year, say two people who heard the estimates from senior Microsoft executives. That figure equals about 10% of the company’s global work force.

link: Microsoft Employees Love Gadgets, but iPhone Fans Lie Low – WSJ.com