Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mobile entertainment (2)

Last Monday I visited the symposium on mobile entertainment: now and in the future, organized by students of INHolland College in Haarlem. The audience mainly consisted of students and instructors as well as a few outsiders, a scriptwriter, a blogger of Mobile Dutchcowboys and me.

The program had been built up in two tracks of presentations which were held once. So choices had to be made and by definition four presentations had to be missed. After the introduction, the first selection moment presented itself: a presentation on the network of KPN or a presentation of Microsoft the Netherlands. Both are public companies quoted at the stock exchange, so no real novelties will be told and presuming that the network presentation was going to be rather technical I went to the Microsoft presentation. Perhaps the guy was going to give a reaction on the iPhone.

The presentation was nicely built up with market research data, basically indicating that consumers are going to spend more money on data service and certainly on mobile gaming; $ 722 million in 2006 and $ 1.3 billion in 2010. Mobile will become more interesting for mobile services as everyone is used to a mobile and with the data speed becoming faster and more comparable to the fixed line speeds, mobile data services will become more prominent. But the acceptance will follow the model of business first and then consumers.

For Microsoft this means that it will have to address mobile data services. It means that Microsoft is confronted with multiple form factors of stand alone machines, networked PCs and PDAs. And even in mobile Microsoft has to address mobile multiple form factors with Windows. There are now some 140 devices around, which are moving from a media centric orientation (mediabox for TV) to a voice centric orientation and on to a data centric orientation; let alone the notebooks and tablets. Mobile telephones are moving from talking machines to data machines, from devices with small screens to larger screen.

Microsoft has now a range of mobile software with Windows Mobile, Windows CE (e.g. to be used for the infotainment system in Fiat cars), and Windows embedded. It is clear that Microsoft wants to couple smart mobiles to the net and have the users go through an experience. An example was shown in the presentation. A Silverlight plug-in for the webbrowser combined with Deepfish for the building up the page on a mobile was shown in the example of the major baseball league, including video and audio (see photograph).

In the Q&A session the inevitable question about the Jezus machine of Apple, the iPhone, popped up. Was Microsoft going to follow also that road. The Microsoft presenter offered compliments to Apple, but supposed that Microsoft would not follow the example. In his opinion Microsoft was a platform development company and not a service oriented company. I guess I do not agree with that. It is just that Microsoft is always late and imitates. Microsoft was late in internet browsers; Microsoft was late mobile software; the X-box came after PSP and the Zune followed the iPOD. So one day Microsoft will have a device comparable to the iPhone (famous last words!). I guess that it will be nicknamed the Gates machine.

Blog Posting Number: 803


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