Is it game over for Microsoft in mobile?

The era of PCs which we have so used to grown up on is vanishing fast. Mobile phones today have become more personal devices than they ever have been in the past. Its amazing to see how in the last few years mobile phones evolved with great strides. Mobile phone OS manufacturers like Nokia, Apple and now Google have been there right in front to spot this upcoming change but unfortunately Microsoft has been too slow to identify the change because they are too desktop bound in milking their past successes with Windows and Office suites.

Mobile phone manufacturers ship more mobiles each year than the entire install base of Windows PCs which should be a cause of serious concern for Microsoft. Microsoft has no one to blame but themselves to have such a week weak ecosystem surrounding their current Windows Mobile division. I cant believe how they have screwed themselves up by allowing other manufacturers to go so far ahead of them that now even a catch up sounds a tough call. They have given Windows Mobile the least priorities in all fronts. Even their portable media player Zune gets more frequent updates and support than their Windows Mobile platform: Where is Silverlight for mobile? Support for Windows Mobile in XNA framework? or the ever so long taking desktop port of Internet Explorer 6 for mobile? Why cant the world’s largest software company understand that Mobile is the next big thing or is it already and they have got to get their strategies right before its too late for them.

Microsoft should really be thankful to HTC with their innovation on UI front for Windows Mobile devices that have kept their platform alive. If it wasn’t for them,  Windows Mobile would have been long forgotten but then again there is only a limited stuff that manufacturers like HTC can do because they cant change the core of the OS. Windows Mobile, the OS in its current state needs lots of work to get back from the mess it has created for itself: Poor memory management, no integrated application store, no multi touch, unfriendly user interface to name a few.

For years, Microsoft has been playing a game of catch up to Google in online services. Slowly and steadily, they are now getting it right with Windows Live as it becomes more and more mature as we near Wave 3 release but they are still no where to be seen when it comes to search. Similarly they lost lots of ground in mobile world to Nokia and Apple and it wont be long before Google with Android joins the party too to hurt Microsoft even further. They need a complete overhaul of Windows Mobile division. A Gargantuan project that brings together their mobile platform to work seamlessly with their online services and cloud computing platforms.

I still remember Steve Ballmer’s infamous laugh over the iPhone when it was released back in 2007. It will be interesting to see what he says about it now that the iPhone has been such a success and everybody wants to have one. Microsoft executives really needs to do something fast about Windows Mobile situation or it wont be long before they find themselves to be no where.