The Fight For Digital Dominance

Its still early days for smartphones. No one has struck the right balance between phone and PDA, but everyone is trying. Leading the charge are Nokia and Microsoft, who approach the smartphone issue from opposite ends of the spectrum. On the surface the main difference is that Nokia is trying to make handsets smarter and Microsoft is trying to make PDAs better communicators. Digging deeper though, it is clear that Nokia versus Microsoft is really about about the future of wireless computing and how we get there. Microsoft is playing by the same rules that made it the dominant player in the PC world, it’s all about the software, and more importantly their proprietary software. Nokia on the other hand has built its business on open telecom standards, handset design and marketing. So, will the future be about whitebox communicators running Microsoft software or about well designed, easy to use handsets with rich data feaures? Probably a bit of both. As we’ve said many times before we think Microsoft powered products will appeal to enterprises and Nokia style communication products will have broader consumer appeal. The two will overalp with some directly competitive products, but those products will meet with limited success, at least in the short term.

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