Gartner: Microsoft Not a Threat (yet)

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Despite the recent launch of Microsoft’s push email software, many analysts believe that predictions of it threatening the dominance of RIM’s BlackBerry device are being over-exaggerated.

“The press seems to be giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt that their release 1.0 of wireless email software will be competitive with the Blackberry in terms of security, manageability, and battery life,” commented Gartner analyst Todd Kort. “But I have strong doubts about this.”

Kort predicts that Microsoft’s email solution, which allows Windows Mobile smartphones to function as direct push email devices, won’t truly take off until the software giant addresses a number of problems.


First of all, there is a very limited selection of push-capable Windows Mobile devices currently on the market, and from a hardware standpoint, they aren’t as advanced as they could be, using far more battery power than a BlackBerry.

There is also the problem that the current release of Microsoft Outlook isn’t particularly easy to navigate on a mobile device, coupled with the fact that the push software’s security and manageability features are inferior to those of the RIM solution.

“Smart companies using Windows Mobile devices will choose GoodLink rather than the Microsoft push email offering, at least until the next Microsoft rev,” comments Kort.

In addition to all this, the fact remains that most existing businesses that depend on push email are already users of the BlackBerry service. As a near-invisible underdog in the wireless email market, Microsoft will need to find a way to offer something innovative that the BlackBerry doesn’t, if it hopes to lure away any of RIM’s fiercely loyal customers.

All in all, Microsoft could eventually reach the point of being a threat to RIM’s dominance, but we shouldn’t expect it to happen particularly soon.

“About the time Microsoft improves its email offering and fixes mobile Outlook, enterprises will begin entertaining the idea of mobilizing additional applications beyond email, such as CRM, SFA, and field services. This is when Microsoft will become a threat to RIM,” Kort commented, giving a timeline of at least a year before Microsoft can start making any real headway.

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