79 percent of all smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2013 are powered by Android.
That’s an obscene share of the global market by any standard and a reality made possible through the use of their open source software as well as the more tightly controlled “Google Approved” versions it provides along with Google Play and a plethora of branded software applications.
Recently, stories have surfaced that Amazon may offer a completely free smartphone and take the smartphone battle to another level. But what if Amazon actually went a step further?
Now, I expect this is going to sound impossible to many, however, just consider for a moment what would happen if Amazon partnered with Microsoft to bring the Microzon smartphone to market.
Okay, maybe the Amasoft smartphone?
Microsoft just acquired Nokia and is floundering with single digit market share despite having a solid mobile OS. Within the non-premium phone market, their OS would be considered by many as a step up from the most recent Android flavors.
Microsoft built their business on software and partnerships with manufacturers and complimentary service companies. This stands in stark contrast to Apple’s model and very similar to how Google evolved.
With the exception of Xbox, Microsoft’s independent manufacturing efforts have largely failed to date. Even Microsoft’s app store content is miniscule compared to Google and Android. Like BlackBerry, its market share is so underwhelming that new apps aren’t even being launched for its OS.
Simply put, Microsoft needs unit sales and share to become relevant. That’s exactly what Amazon can provide here.
Here’s the breakdown.
Amazon brings retail, a stronger app store experience, cash (to make the free model work), books, music, a strong delivery channel, and a history of taking share from both Google and Apple in the tablet market.
Microsoft brings Nokia and a 41 Mega pixel camera to the party, a better OS for tablets than open source Android, a gaming platform that can integrate into the phone to play Xbox games, better interaction with Office products and a cross channel ad platform that can help them eat into Google’s leading mobile ad revenue business. Microsoft also has Skype which can power a superior and better integrated experience than Amazon could produce on its own.
Clearly, both Amazon and Microsoft could choose this strategy independently and fragment the market even further. However, they have very complimentary value propositions with less overlap than most would think. With Ballmer departing and Microsoft 3.0 on the horizon, I could see this happening and generating the kind of buzz that is needed to truly compete with Android and iOS.
What do you think? Fantasy or plausible?