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CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft

5:00 AM -- LAS VEGAS -- 2012 International CES -- I, for one, am hoping that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) really embraces CES this year -- its last with CEO Steve Ballmer headlining -- with a big Windows push. And I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one hoping for this.

The wireless operators want 2012 to be the year a third ecosystem outside of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Android emerges, and Microsoft may just have best chance of forging it.

"Carriers won't publicly talk about this, but they're dying for a third ecosystem to emerge," says Chris Collins, director at Compete Inc. "Having an Apple/Android duopoly doesn't play to their best interest."

The fact that no other OS has made moves to suggest it would carry the mantle, coupled with the marketing dollars Microsoft plans to inject into Windows, leads Collins to believe it's the right OS for the job.

Much of this responsibility will fall to Microsoft's flagship partner and rumored acquisition target Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which is expected to announce its first Windows-based, Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphone for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) at the show. (See AT&T Developers Summit: What to Expect, AT&T Champions Windows Phone and OS Watch: Nokia & Microsoft Headed to the Altar?)

But it's not the only device maker that will be showing off gadgets based on the OS. John Elliott, senior director of Accenture 's Mobility Services group, believes that Microsoft's latest OS version, Mango, is strong enough to be a real competitor in smartphones and expects to see more phones announced that sport the OS. On the tablet front, he's also positive about the prospects for Windows 8 and is anticipating lots of demos of Windows 8 slates, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and ARM-based tablets. (See CES 2012: The Ultra Tablet Show, Microsoft Tangos With Mango, Mango Is a Go and Nokia Tablet Due in June 2012? )

"Tablets running Windows 8 that have access to all Microsoft Office capabilities will fill a void in the market," he says, adding that the iPad is still primarily a consumer device and Android isn't conducive to PowerPoint presentations. "We could see some [Windows 8] slates that fill the gap and make it easier to just carry a phone and tablet."

CES is the perfect stage for Microsoft to prove it's got the kahunas to pull off being a solid number three. The wireless operators' presence at CES may be a little muted this year with the exception of AT&T's collocated developers' conference, but that isn't to say they won't be watching the show with interest. And Microsoft will be the one they're keeping a particular eye on.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:46:17 PM
re: CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft


Isn't that the real question?  The carriers would be happy with 150 ecosystems.  It costs them nothing and gets them leverage.


 


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sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:46:15 PM
re: CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft

True, but carriers control the distribution channel in the U.S. and help tell consumers what they want through their marketing, so what they want matters too.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:46:05 PM
re: CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft


If there are more equipment vendors than customers (see most telecom equipment), the vendors pick up the costs (for example ever pay a PCP at Verizon or have a Lab Test Fee?).


If there were 150 ecosystems, AT&T would demand payment to market them.  Right now the power is with the other party and the carriers vie for exclusivity.


Same would be true of support if there were lots of vendors, they would get raked over the coals by the carriers to see if their devices were worthy to be on my network.


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krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:46:05 PM
re: CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft

Not true.  AT&T will be marketing the phone and running ads much like they do for the iPhone.  So AT&T is picking some of the marketing costs up.  Having 150 different ecosystems also costs them in various other ways; testing, training, product placement and support.  If a customer has an issue with the phone, they are calling the carrier and most carriers do train their employees.  So having too many different ecosystems does cost the carriers.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:46:04 PM
re: CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft



<div style="color: #000000; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: #ffffff; margin: 8px;">

I know for a fact that your "view" is full of&nbsp;fallacies and assumptions and is not even close to being accurate! &nbsp;Coming from you, it is exactly what I expected. &nbsp;I wouldn't call your post garbage as some countries have used garbage as a base to build a foundation on. &nbsp;An example would be Singapore. &nbsp;Back to your post, there is nothing that can be built upon that.

</div>



krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:46:04 PM
re: CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft

The phones already go through testing procedures and phones have been rejected until fixes are made. &nbsp;It has happened even to Apple. &nbsp;Phone manufacturers are not paying to train the customer service/tech support reps.


&nbsp;


"The carriers would be happy with 150 ecosystems.&nbsp; It costs them nothing and gets them leverage."


&nbsp;


So prove it! &nbsp;You made the statement, provide the proof. &nbsp;The proof is not your opinion as what you stated was not an opinion!

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:46:04 PM
re: CES 2012: It's Time for That Third Ecosystem, Microsoft


I did.


You ignore the change in what happens when everybody wants to sell you something.&nbsp; The proof is what happens in the rest of Telecom equipment - you pay the carrier to test your product.&nbsp; You pay penalties if it fails testing.&nbsp; You pay penalites if there are problems in the field.&nbsp; That is because there are LOTS of vendors.&nbsp; There are only 5 credible handset vendors.&nbsp; How many people do you think send in an RFP response say for a POTS system? 20 - 30?&nbsp; If 1 drops, there is no meaningful change in competition.&nbsp; If one phone vendor drops there is a 20% drop in effective competition.&nbsp; And really one of those vendors (Apple) is completely outside the effective control of the carriers.


You make the assumption that if the situation changes then the power structure remains the same.&nbsp; The WHOLE point of a 3rd Ecosystem is to get a 6th and 7th phone vendor (given that Nokia is NOT a credible smartphone vendor right now.


This requires IMAGINATION and THINKING.


QED - Proven - now go learn something.


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