MS must tailor Mango to developing markets

Don Sambandaraksa
06 Oct 2011

The next version of Windows phone will arrive in early 2012 and will finally support the local Thai language, according to the Managing Director of Microsoft Thailand, Birathon Kasemsri Na Ayudhaya.

The poor country manager was besieged with questions on availability and localisation at the launch of Microsoft’s 2012 year - most of which went unanswered. Whether that would be a minor bump to Mango point zero one, or a major new release remains anyone’s guess.

The other question that went unanswered was the official availability of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Kinect. The systems are everywhere in Bangkok but only through grey market channels. His predecessor said that bringing it to Thailand was a priority, but that never happened during her tenure and one wonders if launching it this late in the lifecycle would make any sense. But not launching it at all would rob Windows Phone of an important piece of its allure.

And therein lies the crux of an complex ecosystem.

WP7 is proud of its tight integration with other services, what of countries where those services are not sold? Much has been made of its integration with the Xbox 360, but what of those countries where the console was not sold?

What of services like Office 365 and skydrive in countries in which less than 10% of households have a copper phone line or widespread 3G networks?

Alongside Metro and Windows 8, it is clear that Microsoft is embracing the post-PC era with rushing into the post-PC era after a slow start. The question is how much connectivity will play a part in stifling its success.

Remember how AT&T’s network buckled and crashed with the launch of the original iPhone? Take that line of thought and multiply it to depths of infinity and you will only have a glimpse of the challenge that Redmond, and Espoo, is facing in its quest of world domination.

Of course, they are not alone. Google Plus has an instant upload feature, where every photo taken is uploaded first and then categorised, or deleted later. Fine in a land with fast 3G networks, but revert to EDGE in many markets and the cellcos must be thanking the stars that Google Plus did not take up as fast as Google had hoped.

Early 2012 is only a quarter a way. Things will be much clearer soon.

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