Hot! Apple-Samsung Verdict: Will This Really Help Microsoft?

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With Apple’s victory in the much-hyped Apple-Samsung legal showdown, numerous websites, and Microsoft itself, have waxed eloquent about how this would be a big boost for Microsoft’s hopes in the smartphone industry. Let’s take a look at the validity of that assertion by looking at the stakeholders involved.

Developers

VisionMobile’s developer survey shows that developer interest in the Windows Phone platform is still lagging far behind Android & iOS and even behind the mobile web. The two most important factors for app developers are the install base of users a platform currently has and the growth of that install base. Microsoft currently lags the market in terms of install base and the growth so far has been lackluster as well. Based on this, I don’t see a sudden jump in developer interest anytime soon. In fact, developer interest may see a temporary dip from already low levels because of the fact that apps developed for Windows Phone 8 will not be compatible with existing devices, i.e. the install base is effectively zero. Apple’s victory against Samsung will do nothing to change developer interest.

Consumers

As the smartphone market has matured, consumers have realized that a smartphone platform is only as useful as the app ecosystem available. While early or first time smartphone customers would have not found the “app gap” a problem, current smartphone buyers do. The Apple-Samsung verdict will not make consumers less sensitive to this app-gap. The major PR impact this verdict could have is that Samsung would end up with a copycat image. Even so, this copycat image seems to be helping spread the perception that “Samsung is the same as Apple” and enhancing Samsung’s brand, at least as per initial reports. Therefore, at the very least, it is ob

vious that Microsoft’s platform has not generated additional consumer interest due to this verdict.

OEMs & Carriers

Finally, we have the OEMs. Reports say that OEMs will be more willing to adopt Windows Phone to avoid litigation issues. The problem is that most Android vendors already have Windows Phone based product, and have had them for some time. It’s just that these products have received tepid responses from both the market and the sales channel (carriers) alike. OEMs clearly have no option to diversify platform ownership, as that is based on consumer interest. The only option available to them is marketing funds. Is a substantial marketing investment enough to overcome the “app gap” and developer disinterest? Based on Nokia’s experience with Windows Phone, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Author

Sameer

M&A/Business Strategy Professional and Analyst tracking the Mobile Industry

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