The Business Case for Windows Phone


Let’s face it, if you’ve had a Windows Phone historically you’ve been the red-headed step child of the smart phone family that’s filled with iOS and Android siblings.  While the Windows phone is gaining some success globally the US market seems to have blinders on and is completely focused on Apple and Google.  Ironically, Microsoft was one of the first to the phone market but they were there before the users were.  When the adoption of users came Microsoft was late to the game and struggled to get anyone to take notice.

So you’re probably wondering, what’s holding it back?  Well, that depends on who you ask.  Consumers complain about the lack of apps.  Businesses say there are some key features missing.  Children complain about fewer games.  Geeks complain about the closed ecosystem.  Quite honestly, it really doesn’t matter what the complaint is. Once it’s fixed another one pops up to take its place.  If you go to your local cell phone store the sales rep probably won’t even mention a Windows phone because they personally have never used one.

The truth of the matter is only a few of the reasons to look over the Windows Phone really carry any weight.  Being the last to market, the Windows phone will always be behind the curve on the number of apps.  Still, there are 200,000 plus apps available.  Even if you tried 10 of them a day, it would take you over 54 years to try them all, assuming they never added anymore.

So you’re probably wondering, what’s changed now?  My answer would be the upcoming release of Windows Phone 8.1.  I would say it’s the only phone that is truly business ready.

To begin with, the mobile device management features of 8.1 will make IT administrators happy.  Enterprise enrolled phones can have their passwords changed and remotely locked.  You can also whitelist or blacklist Windows Store Apps, as well as block access to pretty much any hardware or software on the device.  This, along with features like Exchange support, Outlook, Office Apps built-in, and new syncing features between the phone and desktop, have always made the Windows phone attractive.  Full VPN support is now available and, if desired, the VPN can be limited to Wi-Fi connections only.

For the past few years Microsoft has also been working on universal apps to make Windows more consistent across devices like phones, tablets, and desktops.  Not only from a user experience perspective but also from a code/API level.  The long term goal is to enable developers to build a single application that works across all devices and give them the option to charge once for an app and allow use across the Windows ecosystem.  While there still is a ways to go, Windows Phone 8.1 has made a huge step in this direction and there are a handful of Microsoft games that now use the single purchase model.  If you’re developing your own apps this is something you’re going to be really intrigued by.

Another new feature is Microsoft’s digital assistant.  Similar to Google Now or Apple’s Siri but with some unique features that I think you’ll find more useful in your day to day business.  (For more details, check out Jeff’s blog about this specifically).

In addition to having Microsoft Office a cool new feature on Windows Phone 8.1 is Office Lens.  This feature will scan documents and screens and give you the ability to open password protected Office documents.  If you think you can already take a picture with your existing phone…check out this article to learn more.

While all of these aspects are great features alone won’t bring Windows Phone 8.1 to the top but price might.  Microsoft recently announced that Windows (any version) is available to OEM’s on devices with a screen size of 9 inches and smaller for FREE!  One of the biggest obstacles for OEM’s has been attributed to licensing costs.  After all, in a business where margins are really thin Android’s zero cost (before patent royalties) was simply more attractive.  So now Windows phone will actually be cheaper to produce than Android devices.

As always time will tell. But I think that all of these things combined might be the catalyst that Microsoft has been building towards.

Innovia Consulting

Innovia Consulting

Innovia is a multiple-award-winning Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Business Central consulting firm known for delivering innovative Microsoft ERP systems while providing exceptional client-focused service. With five project teams and a dedicated support team, Innovia has the resources to handle all types of ERP projects.

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