The battle for mobile dominance

Will Google and Apple dominate the mobile phone space from now on, or can Microsoft muscle in? And what about handset manufacturers?

The smartphone revolution will have casualties. It seems the early losers will be anyone who didn’t pay enough attention to quality and usability. That’s certainly been part of the issue for Nokia, but will the switch from its cumbersome Symbian operating system be enough to save it?

Asymco’s industry analyst Horace Dediu — and former Nokia employee — says the industry is littered with companies that failed to recover once they lost profitability. The decision to go with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 might save Nokia’s mobile business, if the software giant can play catch up.

Sheau Lan Reed, Microsoft’s Australian director for mobile communications, says that Windows Phone 7 provides a whole new experience, and the bar is raised higher with Mango, their next release early in 2012.

In today’s program, we discuss how the customer’s focus is now on operating system. The brand and reputation of the actual device has become less important (except in the case of the iPhone, of course).

I ask whether that places the hardware vendors in a dangerous place. They have little to differentiate themselves, which could point to an ugly price battle that will hit margins.

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