Watch Makers’ Dilemma!

rolex

Traditional Watch Industry is fast facing disruption. It is all transforming into a Smartwatch Industry.

There is a new hush in tech circles. Merger of the Classic Watch Industry and Tech Industry in cross roads as discussions go on. Triggered by countless Android wearable initiatives and smartwatch efforts fueled by the latest Apple Watch rumors. Probably this will be on lesser extent but Watch will probably disrupt the Watch Industry the same way iPhone revolutionized the mobile industry, or just as iPod disrupted the portable music player and music label industry back in the 20s. Apple Spring Forward watch even will be held on Monday.

If “Mobile First” was the success story of the iPhone and follow up wannabies. I have little doubt on the smartwatch and the Internet of Things (IoT) future. What do we gonna call it when things emerge in the wearables first? It’s already mobile so what it would be “Personal or Intimate First” User eXperience has in store for us?

The watch industry will never looked the same after Monday

Here Apple’s legendary execution and scale of Integrated Systems will have an upper hand. Specially HomeKit/CarKit/HealthKit and the extensions of them probably with iPhone and Touch ID integration. Touch ID is Apple’s hidden absolute innovation on the privecy and security issues we faced as the tech industry since the legendary UNIX username and password protocol came in. Watch already seem to make the strongest case for many things to come after the smartphone revolution.

When most seem to doubt why would anyone want to carry a secondary device, when BYOD is in full swing, do we have to carry another? I speculate why would anyone NOT want one if Watch supposed to get us the promised of the following?

Presumably, Watch (all smartwatches someday) can resolve

1. All our access worries (Home, Car, Door Keys, proximity cards, etc.)
2. All our wallet worries (Credit, Cash, Reward Cards, Clubs, Memberships, etc.)
3. Identity worries (National ID, Driver License, Logins, Social Security, Insurance, Health etc.)
US government has just endorse Apple Pay I heard. *Please read the footnote.
4. It will probably do some of the smartphone functions better than imagined (Fitness, Music, Location, etc)
5. Possible emerge of the HomeKit/CarKit/HealthKit related IoT sub-ecosystems to boost

The first 4 points alone itself is more than enough for Watch to be another game changer device. If things fall well in place as Apple planned, I think Apple Watch V1.0 can trigger all that as it is proposed right now. From Apple Watch V2.0 and beyond we will see the new user cases of the WatchKit that we are unable to see clearly right now, but I am sure we will be taking about “Intimate First” UX in no time!

First WATCH ads appeared on Vogue Magazine, not anywhere near in any Tech Magazine. No surprise. Apple’s message is clear. Not many tech brands can get away with spending near $200,000 grand per page and simply having WATCH on a blank page to give the message. This is where tech circles don’t understand and underestimate Apple. Apple knows how to make technology common place.

It may be specific, For example my dad all he needs will ONLY be the watch, for the first 3 points he will probably LOVE it, We tried but he never wanted or carries a mobile phone, doesn’t need one. Only worry is Mom’s not knowing where the hell he is in the town, the watch probably can resolve that too by ping back in the future which I would love to have on my kids too: -D. This is just two user cases I see for Watch to sell in millions.

Then the question of how do we address the intimacy UX now with already phablet sized and growing phones? Viola! Suddenly the watch makes far more impressive wearable for me than the original iPhone ever did in 2007! or the vaporware Google Glass which kille the intimacy in 2014!: -D

Meanwhile Swiss watch makers like TAG Heuer, the biggest brand in luxury goods group LVMH’s watch portfolio, had until recently largely dismissed the threat of these “smart” gadgets or Watch saying it was not a threat to them. Then suddenly changed the tone to rush up smartwatch projects to rival this such as TAG Heuer. It also seems that TAG Heuer might be starting to realise that making a smartwatch isn’t as easy as it sounds. That’s borne out by the attitude of Biver to the Apple Watch. In September last year, he said Apple’s smartwatch was “too feminine” and “looks like it was designed by a student in their first semester.”

But later LVMH watch chief Jean-Claude Biver says he had changed his mind on the subject. In his Bloomberg interview, Biver is now all for the Watch, claiming that “it’s a fantastic product, an incredible achievement.”

11970-5452-150301-Style-l

UK Style Magazine runs Watch featured.

“Smartwatches represent a challenge to the Swiss watch industry that is comparable to the appearance of quartz technology. We cannot ignore this tsunami that is coming closer,” Semon said.

Biver, who had already outlined plans for a smartwatch, said he had struck several partnerships and was mulling purchases to help come up with an original upmarket offering.

“We started on the project about four months ago. We have done several partnerships and might also do acquisitions,” Biver, head of LVMH watches and TAG Heuer interim chief executive, told journalists at the brand’s headquarters at La Chaux-de-Fonds in western Switzerland.

But the problem is whatever they come up with TAG Heuer’s smart watch will not sell. There’s no market for it.

As an industry observer as I can see now, be warned. There is a real problem in luxury watch maker industry trying to imitate the smart-watch market yet to be blossomed. Even if smart watch is not poised to break smartphone scale revolution, there will be sufficient clues gathering that watch industry will seriously be disrupted.

There is a technical reason why Apple Watch requires pairing with an iPhone, and TAG Heuer’s or any to be smart watch will need to pair with a smartphone to even have a chance of being as feature-rich as Watch. Technology isn’t there for them to be standalone yet. If you ask Apple why Watch has to pair with iPhone while it can be standalone, Tim would say underline technologies have not emerged yet. There is no chance Tim can have GSM/ GPS receiver and Apple A8 chip in Watch with sustainable battery life even if he wished. So for a foreseeable future Watch will off-load battery and cellular heavy functions to an iPhone.

So no TAG Heuer or Rolex smartwatch has the luxury to off-load its functions to its owner’s iPhone, but an Android.

A Tsunami is coming for the luxury brands

That’s where the problem begins. Android copied iPhone and could sell it to the developing world for a cheaper price to gain momentum. But if a la carte TAG Heuer pairs with Android, can they make it cheaper falling in to the Casio and Citizen level? or a Chinese made level? Or else can they engineer it higher than Apple (or Google) would do? Also Apple isn’t going to re-engineer iOS for TAG’s specific benefit, so TAG’s smart watch won’t pair with an iPhone the way Watch does.

In order to have even a remote chance of being as feature-rich as Watch, then, TAG’s smart watch will sure have to pair with an Android phone. However, TAG Heuer wearers aren’t Android fans. Rich people buy TAG watches, but rich people don’t buy Android phones. They buy iPhones, Alas!

Watch Edition edition would be as premium as any Swiss made gold.

Ultimately, this is the basic dynamic of the entire luxury watch industry. Replace TAG Heuer with Rolex or any other high-end Swiss watchmaker, and you see the problem is exactly the same.

A Rolex smartwatch need to pair with an Android phone to be anywhere near as feature-rich as Watch, but Rolex users don’t buy Android phones. So on and so forth. None of their smart watches would sell. There are no rich-people-who-use-Android-but-buy-luxury-watches to wear.

lg

Korean LG Web OS Smartwatch

huawei

Chinese unrivelled Huawei Smartwatch

withings-activite

Beautiful Withings Activité Smartwatch

Over the next decade with few versions of Watch becomes more powerful, Google and the China have time to catch up. Almost all watches will become smart watches, just as how all cell phones have become iPhone clone smartphones. The luxury watchmakers who tires to make smart watches will fail because they don’t know the tech, there won’t be a niche market for their already niche luxury products. Even the luxury watchmakers who don’t try to make smart watches will still see their market continuously shrink.

They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I would call this as “Watch Makers’ Dilemma!” The watch industry will never look the same after Monday, 9, 2015.

Jony Eve has subtly put this in to context in an interview with his mellow words because he doesn’t want to be too dramatic on this, but the message is now very well written.

“Switzerland is fucked”.

NOTE *Apple have mentioned the usability of Apple Pay with the watch, but I failed to see how Touch ID get used here with Apple Watch, Do we have to pull iPhone to OK a payment with Touch ID? Then the purpose is probably lost so how would Apple will implement this? Also in the long run I wish there is a Touch ID in the back of the watch strap. Because I sense we are in a “Peak iPhone/ Smartphone” era as speculated that still has to carry over the burden of legacy. A Touch ID Sensor for authentication, or a secondary method. On March 9th Apple’s Spring Forward Watch event we may see how Apple actually would implement this if they launch Apple Pay along with Apple Watch.

INTERNET OF THINGS – WWDC 2014

APPLE WWDC 2014 PREDICTIONS!

I am just day dreaming this, but I have seen this all, it all repeatedly happened before. Apple did revolutionize the industries as chronological order as follows.

1. Once (Mac/ GUI) for PC and Desktop Publishing Industry
2. Twice (iTunes/ iPod) for Music and Labels Industry
3. Thrice (iPhone) for Mobile and Telecoms Industry
4. 4th (AppStore) for Software and Content Industry
5. 5th (iPad) for Post PC Industry

I think Apple will unveil the 6th iteration of this today @ WWDC 2014. It’s gonna be all about connected devices future I hope. iPhone (iOS) will be the long promised Digital Hub of Things which ultimately drives our all interconnected devices, smart homes and beyond.

The bellow picture shows how the Internet of Things (IP Connected devices, sensors, gadgets) as they looks today. Isolated, not really have a shared intelligence as such. Pretty bizarre picture right?

inot

This is where exactly Samsung Gear, Google Glass, Nest and many other fitness-ware, medical and home automation sensors fits in, and just like Android fragmented ecosystem this is a chaotic picture even for the savvy consumer. There’s is hardly a chance that anyone in particularly stand out, or play a significant role as Apple iPod did in 2001 in music industry or as iPhone did in 2007 in mobile industry.

This is where exactly I guess Apple will drive next wave of small small things (Wearable or Internet of Things) revolution’s future.

Remember where there were a thousands of MP3 players in the market in the year 2000? (Creative Nomad, Walkman, Countless Chinese and Winamp and Napster music). Apple launched the iTunes, iPod and then “Made for iPod” initiatives with criticism much what’s the use of 300 grand MP3 player when few bucks Chinese exists?

Today, the history is written as iTunes Music Store plus iPod was label music industry’s biggest digital transition success story. Wearing that white earphone became overnight hit hip-hop a sub-culture itself.

I hope Apple will announce something similar which it tern will make and shape the future of wearable devices and connected smart home, they may start it with Healthbook fitness healthcare app and combined “Made for iPhone” connected devices initiative that this INTERNET OF THINGS will kick start to flourish.

healt

Rumored Apple Healthbook.

I am sure in few years 90% of these shown things in the picture will have “Made for iPhone” badge and will work natural with iPhones. People will say there were all there Apple just connected them. Android clan also will follow suite me too, me too slogan initiative. For the reasons that once the system is in place with marketing and political battles fought by Apple, it’s just a few matter of hours for other device makers and Android developers to make a similar API to connect to those and work almost the same.

It’s an irony that if it is either hardware or software, the world always instinctively follow on Apple. Soon, no one will remember then what Apple did to the industry!

Will see this in a year or two!

WHY BIGGER ISN’T NECESSARILY BETTER!

Debate over bigger is always better and Apple’s stance on iPhone screen size has I think a reason to stay the same.

Samsung-Galaxy-S4-vs-Apple-iPhone-5-01

As a designer I always liked bigger flagship displays since the nineties, like this SONY Trinitron Sun Microsystem monitor which I used for many years. Fast forward a decade and what you get on Samsung Galaxy S4 handheld (Is it really a mobile?) which display I love is almost the same pixels crammed up to 5 inch of that 21′ SONY behemoth of the past. On contrast still Apple’s latest iPhone 5s have lesser pixels and smaller 4 inch size regardless of critics but it doesn’t really mean any less usability for practical reasons. So here is the facts.

PLEASE NOTE: I tinker every OS, explorer most gadgets I get just for fun, but the only practical use I get from any of these smartphones is making calls and browsing web other than occasionally play a game. That’s it. So this may differ with your actual usage. But smartphone’s sheer success was due to desktop class mobile browser before the App era. And this isn’t necessarily a technical rundown, rather a routine I observe everyday from early Android Froyo days to today 4.2 Jelly Bean. On iPhone front this has been almost the same from iOS 1.0 to iOS 7 now from 320X480 3GS to today’s iPhone 5 retina display. Rendering size is always the same while retina bump-up the crispiness of the text. There is a significant way Apple handles the screen in iOS and Mac OS X. iPhone screen size still remains in the 4 inch region without any practical usability hindrance.

So millions of millions iPhonions have seen everyday bigger screens doesn’t necessarily yield any usability breakthroughs on a mobile. So if you filter the critics, it’s always Android fans who complains iPhone has a small screens. Not iPhone users. This differ when you move up from phone to a phablet or tablet and that is a different use case.

I have picked up http://www.redmondpie.com and http://www.androidpit.com blogs to showcase this

DEVICES TESTED
iPhone 5 Galaxy S4
640 x 1136 px 4 Inches 326 ppi 1080 x 1920 px 5 Inches 441 ppi
IPS LCD AMOLED
iOS 6.1 with Safari 6 Android 4.2.2 with Chrome 31.0

Check out the real captures.
IMG_3974

Native rendering of http://www.redmondpie.com as it loads. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4? Actually native loading size of fonts are more readable on the iPhone. Both phones can bump up font size as accessibility feature.

IMG_3973
Single double tap zoom to fit-to-screen. This is where the beauty. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4? Single double tab on iPhone makes the site text quite readable and fill the whole full screen in iPhone you just have to scroll down to keep on reading. Where as on S4  you have to fiddle with pinch, zoom, find a fit, loose your read location and make it readable size and then scroll side-ways and up and down side ways to find your location back. This is a pain. For me, this makes a whole world of difference. Of cause you get used to the for both scenarios over the time, but can Android claim this IS better usability? This is worse with the famous Android Screen Lag even with the latest Samsungs flagship S4 and Note 3. Google is trying to fix this with Nexus new 4.4 ART runtime.

IMG_3979
Native rendering of http://www.androidpit.com as it loads. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4?

IMG_3980

Double tap zoom-to-fit the screen. For my aging eyes iPhone is still “MORE” readable. Anyone?

IMG_3975

The whole point is here there is no point you seeing more (more lines or content) if you really can’t make use of it. It only helps when you do view pictures or videos on a mobile but never with text. You read one line per round. Perhaps Apple will go 5 inch in the next year iPhone. But it is still a long way from iPhonions clamming to a bigger screen yet. For me Samsung S4 5 inch draws the upper limit of a mobile. Note is out, Next Samsung S5 should get the S Pen. Or what if Apple too will join with my decade older famous Wacom Tablet (S Pen maker) which I have been using since 1998?

TECHNOLOGICAL BARRIER OF OUR TIME – THE BATTERY!

Today’s iFixit tear down of newly released iPad Mini reminds me the technological barrier of our time. The power hungry devices without never in sight of a technological breakthrough to juice them continuously.
qQNPnMHxrrcROwFg.medium

More than 80% of the internal of new iPad Mini is consumed by the Goliath Battery, the sheer beauty brain is merely an inch of a logic board! This is no ordinary feat, even by the desktop PC terminology, the board has a 64bit desktop class oomph powering up air gasoline 2048X1536 pixel 326 dpi LCD Retina Display.
F35ljr1ipoYI3LGl.medium

Even my three times bigger 22″ desktop still doesn’t go this far, Just even to think of crunching this many pixels it would have needed an air cooled dedicated graphics board to do that. This tiny ARM board does it all effortlessly. This is also something Intel doesn’t have a clue what to do with. (So recently INTEL joined the club too.)

But the real dilemma of our everything now should go wireless concept is the juice that powers the very things. The battery is the only thing that holds our fancy hardware like these new iPads from getting the feathery flying wings through the thin air.

Gosh this is when? It’s being nearly stark 250 years since the Benjamin Franklin found out the electricity, if I remembered it correctly.

iPad is just 3 years old, the PC industry itself is just 25 years young. The electricity is in the stone age!

Oh, What an irony!

INTEL’S IDENTITY CRISIS!

Intel still Inside – ARM Outside, that’s where the fun is!

arm

Intel originally was the original DRAM manufacturer. Intel reaped the benefit of their chip designs due to the success of their 386 architecture. Those were the foundation of the PC era, and while they faced nominal competition from AMD, they gained many of the economic benefits of a monopolist more than Microsoft. But for a brief spell around the turn of the century, a “good” computer required an Intel chip.

Throughout the PC period, Intel invested heavily in their chip design. They learned the lesson of DRAM becoming cheap, and were determined to never be second class; their microprocessors would always be superior performers.

The problem with setting such ambitious goals, of course, is that you are usually successful. Intel chips have no rival when it comes to PC performance; unfortunately for Intel, PCs are in decline. Mobile devices, such as iPhones, Androids and tablets, are in ascendance, and there Intel’s core strength in ALL-OUT PERFORMANCE is a 2nd-class citizen in mobiles, until now.

Power consumption is critical, as well as custom logic for specific functions such as graphics, motion, GPS, radios and media decoding. General purpose performance is nice-to-have.

Intel’s identity as a chip designer is increasingly irrelevant.

THE COMMODIFICATION OF CHIP DESIGN

AppleTownHall-869

This is not a marketing gimmick, the only person who believed that already got fired.

After all, nearly all mobile chips are centered on the ARM architecture, from a accidental billionaire small British company due to Steve Jobs fell in love with their energy efficient ARM chips who have been designing chips for old Psion and Palm PDAs. For the cost of a license fee, companies, such as AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Apple can create their own modifications, and hire a foundry to manufacture the resultant chip. The designs are unique in small ways, but design in mobile will never be dominated by one player the way Intel dominated in x86 PCs.

THE RISE OF MANUFACTURING

It is manufacturing capability, on the other hand, that is increasingly rare, and thus, increasingly valuable. In fact, today there are only four major foundries: Samsung, GlobalFoundries, TSMC, and Intel. Only four companies have the capacity to build the chips that are in every mobile device today, and in everything tomorrow.

Massive demand, limited suppliers, huge barriers to entry. It’s a good time to be a manufacturing company. It is, potentially, ironically a good time to be Intel. After all, of those four companies, the most advanced, by a significant margin, is Intel.

The only problem is that Intel sees themselves as a design company, due to the huge success of Pentiums.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Today Intel is increasingly under duress. And, once again, the only way out may require a remaking of their identity. So they have just announced the only logical way forward. Ok, me too. Hell breaks loose, Intel will start making those ARM chip, let it be for Apple, Samsung or anyone. Intel is already the best microprocessor manufacturing company in the world. They needed to accept and embrace their new destiny and I think they just did.

From DRAM to Core Processors Design transformation was from a low margin volume business to a high margin one; Investors love that. To go in the opposite direction may take incredible turns, but for Intel, right now it’s the only way forward where the money is.

DROPPING THE LEGACY! – THE NAME OF THE GAME

There is an Only One Company in the world which does what it does at its best. If the name of the game is Dropping the Legacy.

Welcome to Apple Incorporated.

macbook
Though this article is dated back, the picture i wanted show just came in today.

portsThe new Macbook do away with all the legacy ports but one!

Make no mistake. This may look like moving too fast too soon. Sometimes just look plain pastel crayon color child’s play in iOS 7 release. Give it a year or two. Boom! You will all grow upon with it. Give it a decade you will know no better world esisted before.

ios_7_vs_ios_6_home_screensiOS 7 colors were critizied but adopted very well with the industry.

Years passed since the original iMac, iPod, iTunes, Music Store, iPhone, App Store, Macbook Air and iPad. Many nay sayers started questioning the Apple’s ability to further innovate any of the intended market, let it be the Personal Computer Industry, then the Music Industry or later the Mobile Industry. So for a week or so there are ney sayers and famous Apple doom stories hush… hush.. for a moment.

Then the whole industry knows better than who invented the wheel.

There’s no question that the original iPhone upside down or down up and iOS with multi-touch together make for the best mobile phone ever made.

The can of offhand, dismissive spec bias criticism from the Android fan base that Apple never innovates should be silenced, canned, at least for awhile, given that Apple now sells the only dual-tone LED flash; the only 64-bit mobile CPU; the only 64-bit capable mobile OS; the fastest touch-screen performance phones by far; (we iPhonions all knew this all along) the only wide-scale deployment of Multipath TCP; and the only useful, usable and widely used fingerprint scanner ever placed on any consumer electronic device.

Yes, there’s plenty of petty grousing. And who knows what competitors will ship tomorrow? But as of today, rest assured it’s clear that Apple rules the high tech market and again sets the way forward for rest of the industry.

When BlackBerry OS 10 launched earlier this year, it made iOS the oldest of the modern major mobile operating systems. Web OS, Android, Windows Phone all launched after Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone in 2007. (Some well after.) iOS, which had started the smartphone revolution, was facing a world where it was no longer revolutionary, and it was unclear what, if anything, Apple would or even could do about it. After all, it’s difficult if not impossible to change course when hundreds of millions of customers are being dragged behind them. We saw this very well with 2 decades of Windows withheld the tech world from innovation altogether (think of IE browser stagnant until Firefox liberated it)

And Apple as usual is pushing everyone to ditch the legacy just in six years as it ignited the App ecosystem, where as Microsoft took nearly 2 decades and still somewhat carry the DOS legacy.

ios_7_vs_ios_6_apps_screens
First when paper became digitized we needed it to remind us of the paper, now we have accustomed and lived that generation
isn’t this now growing up further upon you?

So this is what Apple does. They ditch floppies. They ditch PowerPC chips. They ditch Intel, they re-write the Mac OS X, then port it for the Intel, make it the first 64 bit OS years before others even think of it, make it mobile ready, port it to ARM. They reshuffle their executive teams, shake up the very people who got them to where they were, and they radically change course months into their product cycle. In short, instead of dragging legacy, they get out and push the future forward.

Is there any other company which does it and excel at it? When Palm dis it, they went bankrupt. When Compaq, Dell do it they loose their market. When Microsoft does it they loose their core business model altogether, when Nokia does it they sell their headquarters. Apple do it and build 5 billion spaceship to prove it to the world. In the later days no one noticed, now everyone nags about it.

It’s messy. And iOS 7 is still messy around the edges. I’ve been using it since June, through all the betas, being in software I know its scary and messy. But it’s also damn good. very bold. Excellent even. It’s computationally expensive in a way that will be non-trivial for the competition to match, especially when paired with the equally forward-thinking new Apple A7 and Apple M7 chipsets in the iPhone 5s. That’s good for us, because when competition is hardest, the results are the best. Still Apple pushes it forward keeping others on the nerve.

After the iPhone in 2007 and Web OS in 2009, and then Windows Metro, I wondered often what would be the next. iOS 7 with it’s crayon pastel colors and 1500 new APIs for the developer magic. This is it.

This is the one aspect where Apple might take it.

And most importantly, it’s just the beginning.

BROKEN SWORDS! (MICROSOFT – NOKIA MERGER)

Wow! Whatta an interesting week to be a gadget lover!

brokensword

  • Google announced KitKat 4.4 their next Android love.
  • Samsung unveiled new Note 3 and Galaxy Gear watch
  • Amazon did introduced Kindle Paperwhite 2
  • SONY and LG is putting their new high end series
  • Apple announced their September 10 iPhone iOS 7 event

While all the above seem positive

  • Microsoft announced it brought Nokia for 7.1B Dhah!

From Microsoft point of view this came as no surprise. Stephen Elop (Nokia CEO) is the old Microsoft guy Microsoft send to Nokia as Trojan Horse to get Nokia alined with Windows Phone instead of Nokia marrying the Android army. The only viable Windows Phone licensee for Microsoft while old OEM Samsung, LG, HTC all went to bed with Google beloved Andy. Meanwhile Nokia, from being the most prime mobile phone vendor in the pre iPhone era, are killing themselves of being such a historic company a 6 years ago. It seems to me Microsoft – Nokia got entangled in such a mess that they themselves can’t even get out with their broken swords.

MICROSOFT’S DILEMMA – A PC COMPANY IN THE MOBILE AGE!

– For Microsoft their lucrative OS licensing system is broken, dead, finished and done with. You can’t sell OS when Google give away such wonderful Android (Chromium too) for free. The problem for Microsoft in mobile is that Android has completely destroyed the value of a licensed OS. They did what Linux couldn’t do and now every darn gadget I know of comes in “Android Embedded” form. No, you can’t sell OS (ecosystem) by the means of hardware as Apple does either if you don’t speak hardware and don’t have the content to go with. Microsoft’s traditional software model is broken and Microsoft doesn’t really know what to do. Bingo!

NOKIA’S DILEMMA – A HANDSET MAKER IN THE SOFTWARE AGE!

– No matter how good, you can’t sell your hardware if you waste your chance to build or go with a robust OS and content ecosystem (like Android/ iOS/ Amazon) and brush up your expertise on hardware and logistics to differentiate . So now your Microsoft Windows Phone OS experiment failed that your Lumia hardware is still so good almost everyone (Except MS) wish that it runs Android. Overall it’s now too late to build your own OS while your expertise is on hardware and can’t even go to bed with Android due to your ego and hard ties behind MS. Bingo!

Now what..?

Nokia has already sold it’s Head Quarters year back to recover expenses, can’t recover sales from loss of 90% to 4% market share drop and left with no where to go other than bankrupt. MS on the other hand failed to get traction on Windows Phone from other old Windows Mobile OEM manufactures (or PC) and can’t let Nokia die cos it’s the only Windows Phone licensee which had some success (Lumia Series) which going fast down the drain if it do not pump even more money on it.

So where do we go from here…

and comes the fight of the Broken Swords. The Microsoft – Nokia Merger. Done. Deal.

Now the difficult part. How do we correct that what went all wrong? Will others stay on their laurels (Google, Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Xiaomi) while Microkia get their act under one hood, figure things out and plan ahead to ‘Empire Strike Back’ ? and when? Are there any place left in mobile ecosystems to grow-in profitability? Do customers care? Will enterprise hold their breath till they get this sorted out? Would they?

bb

Gosh, now the Ballmer has left Microsoft with such an ordeal, who would be the next superman, superhero CEO to take up this challenge? Coming MS CEO is gotta be another super CEO like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, Do we have a candidate? I don’t think that anyone is around there to take up the challenge, have the guts and the vision to drive forward. It’s again the famous “Burning Platform” for both parties and specially for Nokia for this time for real! Ironically Stephen Elop could be Microsoft’s next CEO too!

Then in the Microsoft end, here’s the mess Steve Ballmer leaving for his successor:

  1. Windows 8 and Office have failed to produce break-through turnaround in Microsoft’s gradual decline cash-cow business. It has found no business model to survive in today’s Google and Apple invented could centric App, Service Content ecosystem model. iPad, Android succeeded without MS Windows or MS Office anywhere near them.
  2. The Surface tablets have more or less died in the market.
  3. The company’s just been through a massive top-level organizational change. That process will be disrupted while everyone waits to see if the new structure will stick with the new CEO (unlikely; new CEOs almost always want to change things).
  4. And now Microsoft needs to mesh and fix the Nokia and Microsoft businesses. There’s a cultural challenge. There are also operational challenges. It’s incredibly difficult to manage an operating system to please both your in-house hardware team and your licensees. They always want conflicting things. Microsoft claims it can both license Windows Phone and run Nokia. Whatta bluster, it will not work in practice. It’s an almost ridiculously complex situation. Who could make all of it work? Who has the ego big enough to even try?

nokia-blow-mind

Now to match iOS, Android duopoly ecosystem, MS need more than what MS has failed to do. Zune, Win Mobile, Tablet PC, Bing anyone? In a pre WINTEL world there were many PC OS systems, none survived well. Even Apple was 90 days from bankruptcy when MS put money on it to breath. But that genius guy called Steve Jobs turned it around for Apple with a per-determined plan, and then after the iPhone era was also just like that. None survived well. Palm OS, HP Web OS, RIM, Alcatel, Ericsson, Symbian, Meebo and now Nokia all dead and burned their platforms.

I think there may be room for at least 4-5 OS ecosystems in the world, the issue is none has the vision, guts, funds and time to get there while only main one or two can make money on this business. Widows-Mac OS, iOS-Android duopoly proved that. Samsung may be the new Dell and lucky child for the moment while Amazon is the company to look forward as a successor.

MS says it got in to 3rd place in mobile passing BlackBerry, Come on, you are beating already dead horse. You should be at least like Amazon to survive this onslaught. Otherwise MS will only loosing all the money it made on Windows and Office trying to get there as No 3 in mobile and retain it. The issue is they are already there after trying all this hard. But is there money in it? No way! To be successful Microsoft-Nokia would need to find a new business model that will challenge and render obsolete App, Ad and content combined hardware ecosystem business models pioneered by Apple, Google, Amazon and the likes. A very very risky undertaking even for the one time kings of the past to say the least. And to make matters worse they are even loosing their core business competence already. Windows 8.1 anyone?

(This is extracted from the web)
By far the smartest strategic thing either Nokia or BB could have done would have been to accept their weakness – they didn’t have an adequate OS or ecosystem – and focus on their strengths.

  1. BlackBerry should have adopted Android and made it enterprise-ready, with BBM for consumers. And, of course, those hardware keyboards.
  2. Nokia should have adopted Android-stock, and used their unmatched supply chain and distribution to do to their competitors, well, exactly what Nokia had been doing to their competitors for the last decade (if you think Samsung is running over everyone today, in 2007 they could only manage less than half of phones compared to what Nokia shipped.

Both BlackBerry and Nokia would have gotten a good OS and thriving Android ecosystem for free and been able to compete and differentiate themselves on the exact same area they had previously. To put it another way, RIM and Nokia had never been successful because of their OS or ecosystem, yet both decided their best response to iPhone iOS and Android was to build a new OS! Alas!

Building a healthy app ecosystem is probably the most difficult problem in technology even the expert Microsoft could not still do it right.

You need an API that can be built upon
You need an OS that developers want to use
You need consumers who are willing-to-pay
You need a liquid marketplace
You need to overcome the opportunity cost of developers working on other platforms

And so, for BlackBerry and Nokia at last, here came the fall.

Mobile computing will continue to evolve in form of new business models where hardware is not the source of profits but a distribution channel. Chances are that the new Microsoft together with what’s left of Nokia devices will not be a part of this now-showing future.

We will see.