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.
Steve Ballmer, 2007:
Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year.
Steve Ballmer, a few months later:
It’s sort of a funny question. Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? (Laughter.) I want to have products that appeal to everybody.
Now we’ll get a chance to go through this again in phones and music players. There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.
Steve Ballmer, yesterday:
Mobile devices. We have almost no share.
I think we can probably do better for consumer names than ‘Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020. Yet, because of where both companies are and the independent nature of the businesses, we haven’t been able to shorten that. … Now, we can simplify the overall consumer branding and messaging gets much simpler. That is an efficiency of being one company.
Steve Ballmer, speaking during a conference call on the Nokia deal this morning.
I mean, he actually said this — while typing on his Microsoft Surface RT with Windows RT featuring Office 2011 Pro Plus with Microsoft Live SkyDrive for Enterprise Workgroups using Azure for the Cloud 2013 Bing Edition 7.43 and a Touch Cover.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road.
Windows Phone is really an incredibly well-funded startup.