Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Kinfull question

By now it is common knowledge that Microsoft have killed their Kin mobile phone. The information that emerged in dribs and drabs made fascinating reading. We learned of a company not only riven by internal rivalries, but also that doesn't seem to know how to develop software. Which is odd, as by most measures I reckon they are the most successful software company in the world to date.

I attended a recent Enterprise Java presentation on Android. A graph shown during the talk sheeted home to me just how much  Microsoft have been humbled in this space:

% Share of Mobile Web Traffic, 2007
Windows > 20%
Sidekick  +- 20%
Blackberry < 20 %
Playstation > 20%

% Share of Mobile Web Traffic, 2009
iPhone > 60%
Android > 10%

So the space of two years Microsoft has managed to take their share of mobile web traffic from 40% down to a scant blip on a graph.

Consider the following:
From 2007 till now, iOS has moved from version 1.0 to version 4
From 2009 till now, Android has moved from version 1.0 to version 2.2
Windows Mobile 6 was released in February, 2007. We are still waiting for the next version release.

It seems to me that the software development practice roundly ignored by Microsoft is that of performance, feedback, revision. I.e.: release regularly, measure the result, and then adapt the next release of the software accordingly. I am not surprised that some see the next release of Windows mobile as a slow train wreck unfolding. Short, sharp and focused cycles are important. Any agilista knows this. Why not Microsoft?