Windows Mobile: Losing Ground at Motorola?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 30, 2009

Motorola reported its first-quarter results this morning, and not once did co-CEO Sanjay Jha mention his company’s plans for Windows Mobile. I think that’s significant.

Late last year, Motorola announced it will refocus its efforts on only three operating systems for cell phones: Android, Windows Mobile and its own proprietary software. Android was to become the main area of focus, while Motorola waited for a new version of Windows Mobile to come out in late 2009 or 2010.

But this morning, while Jha talked about his company’s plans to release several Android phones in the fourth quarter of 2009, he didn’t mention Windows Mobile at all. There can be many explanations. Here’s the one that, I think, is the most likely: An update on current Windows Mobile may still be ways away, possibly not coming until late 2010 (Microsoft’s releases are often delayed). For Motorola, that may be too late.

When I talk to analysts about Motorola, they say the company must prove itself in the next half a year to a year. They no longer mention Windows Mobile phones, either. Motorola hasn't yet responded to my request for comment.

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Reader Comments

jsjohnson

May 1, 2009 09:49 AM

I mean seriously, does it even matter? Let's take a look at Motorola's financial AND development performance over the last 2 years. They are non-contenders in this space (smartphones). They haven't produced a modern phone with mass market appeal since the RAZR and the ROKR and KRZR were just not enough to bring people to the brand. Too little too late no matter what the OS will be.

Anon

May 1, 2009 10:44 AM

...unless they make an Android smartphone with a nice big screen, a slide out keyboard, and a standard headphone jack. They'll have my money.

CaySee

May 1, 2009 12:38 PM

A recent South FL job fair presented many ex-Motorola cohorts out of work and looking. They said that their FL Windows Mobile software development group had been "completely cut" from Motorola. They also said that Microsoft was building its own phone. That seems to be accurate if you look at the hiring trends at Microsoft in the cellular arena. Android will be the future.

SandCat

May 2, 2009 01:05 PM

Windows Mobile is a terrible operating system, I don't blame companies for ditching Microsoft's junk for a better OS, I myself will never buy a windows Mobile device again !

Anon

May 2, 2009 02:33 PM

Mr. Jha needs to be given the boot first. The company needs an American creativity, not an Indian crap where only political games are involved.

rawrmast0r

May 2, 2009 04:32 PM

I can confirm what Caysee said... Motorola has ditched most if not all their WM techs in south florida

Patrick

May 2, 2009 07:34 PM

Would Motorola need to do that much to look viable against HTC? The concepts are out there, the firmware is getting close. All they need is a reasonably compelling, well thought through device to get them back into things. I miss the simple elegance of some of my older Motorola phones (for making calls).

Ted Liniski

May 2, 2009 10:09 PM

Motorola is being practical by leaving the past and the future of Windows Mobile outside of their product discussions.

Microsoft is planning a major upgrade to their mobile platform over the next 24 to 30 or so months, which will undoubtably include a complete rebranding.

Talking about a future with Windows Mobile, as business customers and consumers now know it, is like talking about a partnership with Enron: a distraction that will win no hearts or minds. Or market share.

jack smith

May 2, 2009 10:19 PM

lets be realistic when you have a young CEO who has no idea what the heck he is doing since he came to motorola. I would like to suggest that these companies need to start bringing in our own ceo's who have understanding of our own market in the usa.

Dadinski

May 2, 2009 11:04 PM

I own a Q. My first Windows Mobile phone. The Q is well made and as a phone functions very well. Great sound, especially on speaker. We have even used it as a small conference phone. Windows Mobile however, sucks. I think that if Motorola sticks to phones and uses Android they have a good shot at getting back in the market. In any case, I will never own another Windows Mobile smart phone, regardless the brand.

gcs

May 2, 2009 11:14 PM

I'd never buy a Mobile divice unless it did have windows mobile. I was hoping motorola would come up with something to match the iphone, using windows mobile.

anon anon

May 3, 2009 12:35 AM

Motorola has always made functional phones, especially for users looking for phones with modems and the ability to tether or bluetooth a data connection for a laptop.

They did stumble with their first keyboard Windows Mobile phone by not making it available from all carriers. Windows Mobile itself is fairly functional and for several years offered the best browser.

Now the company seems a bit lost, forced to provide novelty over basic functionality to keep up with the current trend of phone as toy.

It would be nice if they managed to remain competitive since very often they improved their phone lines rather than abandoning them as so many other phone makers do with phones that never quite provide all the advertised features.

I'm still using a couple of Motorola phones while several Nokia, Samsung, and HTC phones have come and gone.

Michael

May 3, 2009 12:48 AM

This Microsoft OS has seen better days. Unfortunately, I believe that Microsoft has gotten sloppy in delivering their OSes. The last three revs - 5.0, 6.0, 6.1 were released by OEMs with limited vetting by Microsoft and some things just don't work (see http://studierstube.icg.tu-graz.ac.at/handheld_ar/camera_phones.php for a glaring example). I was told this would not even be fixed in the coming 6.5 release. They are laying off people while making staggering profits and letting this slide. I believe Gates would never have allowed this or Vista to happen. It is a shame.

Dektros

May 3, 2009 01:35 AM

I have had some very bad experience in the very basic functionality in the WinMo. Android trumps WinMo not only in the simple UI but also avoids the usage of stylus. Users don't have to focus too much on the tiny icons to figure out what is written. To overcome that they released WinMo 6.5 which I think is total stupidity considering the fact they're losing market share in the smartphone arena. Microsoft needs more passion in testing out their software.

SkateNY

May 3, 2009 03:55 AM

Who cares?

Windows Mobile is a joke, except for those people who believe that everything Microsoft produces carries the Midas touch.

That's not my issue, and it's not my problem.

This childish nonsense in the tech sector needs to stop, but it never will.

People like what they like, even when it's crap.

Even a chitty boat is better than no boat in a storm.

uncle bernie

May 3, 2009 04:04 AM

after the ROKR they came out with the LOSER.

rpahk

May 3, 2009 05:20 AM

Moto used to make the best and most reliable flip phones but failed to make the jump to smartphones. Their Moto Ming A1200 was pretty popular in Asia but they did not expand the line. I wonder why they didn't port android into a form factor like the A1200.

jinsugar

May 3, 2009 07:30 AM

Perhaps motorolla might go back to symbian for the now-near future devices while waiting for android to prove itself. But first they need a device designer in any case.

*wink*

rich nardone

May 3, 2009 08:19 AM

i agree in part with the earlier entry (anon).
Here's my requirements for a sucessful entry:
1. slideout keyboard,
2. 1/8" stereo jack (this is big)
3. 3+mp autofocus camera
4. Micro SD HC slot
5. bluetooth (of course)
6. win mobile is ok provided a custom overlay is installed by default (something like "touch flo 3D" or SPB Mobile Shell)
7. and please prevent Verizon from crippling it.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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