Microsoft: Changing the Face of Field Service Mobility?

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The apparent demise of the software giant Microsoft – from being the undisputed market leader across a wide-range of innovative software solutions to one as an “also ran” – is well documented:

  1. Microsoft’s stock price – which closed at a high of $179.94 on 25 March 1999 – has fallen today to around $31.20 (their IPO price in 1986 was only $21)
  2. Microsoft  held the record for market capitalization – at around $619BN – for over fourteen years only to be surpassed by Apple in August 2012 with Microsoft’s figure now ‘languishing’ at around $260BN
  3. Microsoft’s market share of the PC and Smartphone market has collapsed from 95% in 2000 to 50% in 2011.  While securing half of the market of 800 million devices in 2011 is still an impressive number, it’s not as good as it once could have been
  4. And on 23 August 2013, the longstanding Chief Executive Office – Steve Ballmer – announced that he’s stepping down from his position within the next twelve months and the search for a new CEO is on…

Life is tough at Microsoft but finally some good news – potentially at least – comes out of Redmond and that’s the $7+BN acquisition of Nokia’s Smartphone business by Microsoft which could be Steve Ballmer’s Last Hurrah before he departs.

Despite the rationale for this acquisition being clearly presented to Microsoft employees, all doesn’t seem well with much of the online discussion challenging the likely benefits of this acquisition, and here’s why:

Microsoft’s latest iteration of its mobile operating system – Windows Phone – is trailing behind the competition and analyst estimates are that it will possibly attain a market share of just 10% around 2017-18. While this represents a potential tripling of their current performance, it’s still way short of the likes of Android and iOS.  It’s a huge investment for such a potentially small gain.

So from a field service management perspective, what does this acquisition mean? Will it lead to an explosion in the use of Windows phones? Although Microsoft will always have its unwavering supporters, it really needs something transformational if Windows is to become the dominant operating system out in the field once again so the answer is most probably “no”.  But that’s one area to watch over the coming years: innovation.

Maybe a new breed of product and software innovation will come from this acquisition or did Microsoft simply acquire a new CEO in Stephen Elop instead?  As always, this blog gives our thoughts and opinions, but what do you think?

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