Your article about Windows Phone being late to the market was an interesting read. Microsoft still has a chance to be successful though. Consider the Xbox for example... They were very late coming to the video game industry compared to Nintendo (Xbox came out in 2001, the NES came out in 1985). Despite this very late start, the Xbox brand is now as successful as Sony's PlayStation, and both consoles get all the big 3rd-party games.
While that’s true about Microsoft with the Xbox (and even Sony with the Playstation — a company that originally wanted to partner with Nintendo), the smartphone business is very different.
Thanks to apps, content, and things like iMessage, there is decidedly more lock-in in mobile. Yes, the video game consoles have some lock-in with their games, but because the business changed so much generation to generation (with mixed backward compatibility results), there were obvious “switch points”. That’s not quite the same with mobile.
More importantly, Microsoft (and Sony) could get into the gaming business because they could buy their way in with the large publishers of games. So far, that hasn’t worked for Microsoft with smaller app developers. While money is money, time is often more valuable to these small teams. And they’re not going to waste time on a platform with relatively few users.