Now that the Chinese smartphone market has everyone’s attention, Microsoft wants in as well. And, somehow, company executives are predicting outright dominance. Regional CEO Simon Leung, in a Bloomberg report cited by BGR, told the news outlet that it plans to overtake Chinese majority marketshare by 2016.
Considering the head start enjoyed by Apple and Google in China — and considering Microsoft’s difficulties in establishing much relevance for its Windows Phone platform here in the U.S. — Leung’s assertions are irrationally optimistic. When asked how Microsoft meant to achieve this lofty goal, Leung said pricing is the most important factor:
We will continue to drive the price down. Our goal is number one. Having a goal to be number two is not really a goal.
Maybe it should be.
It’s true that if Microsoft and its manufactory partners can indeed provide unsubsidized Windows Phone handsets in the promised $150 price range, they will dramatically undercut Apple’s iPhone (which sells for a reported off-contract average of roughly $800). But what’s going to happen when Apple finalizes its long-rumored deal with China Mobile and brings the iPhone to 650 million eager subscribers? And keep in mind, Android phones currently sell at fairly low MSRPs across Asia; it will be no small task for Redmond to overtake Mountain View’s mobile OS marketshare.
Personally, I don’t think Microsoft stands a chance over there.
But I don’t think they stand a chance over here, either.