Oliver’s Twist on Windows Mobile


On Wednesday, InfoWorld’s Oliver Rist posted an article titled “Windows Mobile needs fixing, fast†on the InfoWorld website. In the piece, he detailed Apple’s ability to beat Microsoft on the mobile front if the Cupertino, CA-based company were to make some “quick fixes†to the iPhone; which, needless to say, left this mobility junkie a little more than puzzled.

Rist went on to explain how Windows Mobile 5 and 6 were “troubled technology†that have brought him nothing but reader complaints, which seems to be a tad bit of a generalization. Need we forget the countless number of enterprise solutions realized by businesses through the deployment of Windows Mobile handhelds and applications? Oh yeah, Apple Stores themselves are utilizing Windows Mobile solutions through their wireless point of sale Symbol handhelds. Well, as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.â€

While Rist does bring up some good points about the iPhone’s potential utilization of its built-in OS X platform, the manner in which he degrades and downplays Microsoft’s role in the mobile enterprise world is downright laughable. He even goes as far as to say that “users can’t rely on it out there in the wild, wooly, and unsupported field.†However, what Rist declines to mention is the number of highly sensitive deployments actually utilizing Windows Mobile technology today. The United States Government, an institution where reliability requirements are a must, has deployed Windows Mobile-based software and devices for use in military efforts and is deploying 500,000 handheld devices to outfit census workers for the 2010 census taking. Meanwhile, the iPhone will let you watch YouTube clips of a bulldog riding a skateboard.

And as long as we’re on the topic of reliability, the iPhone’s lack of SDK facilitates the need for a constant internet connection in order to use its browser-based applications. Last time I checked, ubiquitous wireless internet coverage has yet to be achieved, leaving any sort of enterprise application deployment short of reliable. While Rist’s insistence that “Nothing ticks off salespeople more than relying on a tool to help close a deal and having that tool suddenly do a face-plant midspiel,†is certainly true, what he fails to mention is that such a “face-plant†is achieved via iPhone as soon as an internet connection is lost; rendering the device useless for any sort of enterprise work.

It’s not that Rist has bad intentions by prodding Apple to target a more enterprise oriented audience, it is the manner in which he bashes Windows Mobile that is just dirty pool. Furthermore his suggestion that Apple should “Pump some lattes into a few MBAs up there in Cupertino†is also somewhat of a stretch. From a business standpoint, Apple’s MBAs seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. Apple has seen there stock skyrocket from around $90 at iPhone announcement, to today’s current posting of $141.15.

What may be the actual case is that Apple is content to roam freely in the consumer electronics market. In terms of growth, they have dominated the industry. And with Piper Jaffrey stock targets at $205, they should be more than willing to stick with their current business plan. Microsoft has always been an easy target for analysts and bloggers alike. However, to claim that they stand to be beaten on the mobile front may be biting off a bit more than Apple is willing to chew. For now, Microsoft continues as the leader in mobile enterprise solutions. And with the current landscape of the mobile industry, things look to stay that way for years to come.

Hi Nathan:

Do you have a direct link @ Infoworld to the article you mentioned above?

The Oliver Rist article can be found @

Hi Nathan:

I think Oliver Rist is seeing this from an end user perspective as far as mentioning sales persons and Customer Relationship Management Software plus the issues associated with them in regards to Windows Mobile problems. From an IT perspective which you are taking, all your comments truly makes sense but it does not reduce the concerns Oliver highlights since it is based on reader complaints Oliver has received.

IT tend to stay with what works and going from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6 is not an automatic given.

I do not see the iPhone as an IT related device at this point anyways therefore is not something I would even try to equate to a Windows Mobile used in an IT environment.

Hi Martin:

Sorry to disagree with you but I do feel your pain. Your headaches would be drastically reduced if on a corporate level you deployed the same make/models. Having issues with the various make/models is not an OS issue but a make/model issue due to the manufacturers own modifications of the OS. Stayng with a common make/model throughout the enterprise will greatly minimize the headaches for any IT person.

Also, it helps in the end to take mobility access as a core functionality and not as an added feature to existing corporate data accessibility. Just my 2 cents.

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