It might sound simplistic, but because Microsoft developed Windows Mobile, the software works extremely well with Microsoft Exchange. And as most corporate users know, Exchange has become central to the success of many companies. Given the link between Windows Mobile and Exchange, companies could find value in the operating system beyond anything else on the market.
The enterprise is dominated by Windows. And although Windows Mobile isn’t the best option in the mobile market anymore, it interfaces well with Microsoft’s desktop OS. That link between the two operating systems makes Windows Mobile a fine option for some companies—and it makes it relevant in the increasingly competitive space.
What Windows Mobile lacks in next-gen value, it makes up for by limiting user ability to get distracted with Web surfing and other improvements that are being enjoyed with next-gen operating systems. Windows Mobile’s limitations forces users to focus more on those things they can do—edit documents and answer e-mails— than those things they want to do on other operating systems.
Apple and Google have both made strides in making Office-document editing useful on their platforms, but it’s tough to bet against Windows Mobile. Realizing it had an opportunity to capitalize, Microsoft made the link between Office and Windows Mobile quite strong. And in Windows Mobile 6.5, it made that link even stronger. Companies looking to get strong Office integration will find a nice offering in Windows Mobile.
Security has always been a problem for Microsoft in all the platforms it offers. But Android OS, arguably Microsoft’s biggest competitor in the mobile market, is also suffering from security problems. That has helped to turn some companies off Android OS, as well as put it on an even playing field with Windows Mobile.
It’s hard to bet against RIM in the corporate world. The platform is arguably the best option around for most companies. But with BlackBerry OS 6, RIM showed that it doesn’t fully understand what it takes to be successful in the mobile market. Microsoft, on the other hand, is doing its best to keep up with Android OS and iOS with Windows Phone 7. RIM’s issues with developing a major upgrade over BlackBerry OS 5 could make some companies wonder if they should hold on to Windows Mobile, and wait to see what Windows Phone 7 offers.
Windows Mobile might not be the best option for every company, but it provides IT managers with solid control over employee use. As security issues grow in the mobile realm, companies need control over platforms. Windows Mobile was designed with companies in mind, so the software delivers that kind of control quite well. Perhaps not enough to sell a company on keeping Windows Mobile, since the competition offers better administrative control, but it’s certainly part of the decision process.
Although Windows Mobile offers some apps, the software’s marketplace pales in comparison to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market. And for most users, the apps aren’t nearly as useful. For consumers and employees, that might be a problem. But for companies, that might not be so bad. Such a small selection of viable apps, means employees will be less likely to download extra programs. That, in turn, could help IT managers cut down on the potential security issues that would be caused by folks downloading those apps.
If some firms have decided to stick with Windows Mobile, the reality is the devices currently available aren’t all bad. In fact, the HTC HD2, which runs Windows Mobile 6.5, is one of the best Windows Mobile-based devices ever released. That said, there are better options available that run other platforms. But if device design and value mean something, current options are good enough to not turn companies totally off to the possibility of running Windows Mobile.
In the end, cost plays a role in the viability of Windows Mobile. Companies that are heavily invested in the platform will be loath to switch. And those that don’t have the budget to adopt BlackBerry devices in their operations will likely find the most cost-effective solution in Windows Mobile. That doesn’t necessarily make it the best option, but it does make it the chosen option when money is a key factor.