Microsoft has had a big week. On Monday, the company unveiled its latest Windows Phone 8 software, and the same week it announced an own-brand tablet. On Wednesday, Microsoft showed off the core features of Windows Phone 8, a significant leap forward for the platform that should boost its appeal to consumers, businesses, and developers alike.
Microsoft has experimented unsuccessfully with handsets before. It bought fashionable phone designer Danger and developed a phone in-house called Kin In 2009. The devices ran a Microsoft-contrived operating system on Microsoft-designed hardware. They were soundly bashed by the tech press and Verizon stopped selling them after just two months. The Kin were a resounding market failure.
Windows Phone 8 is the latest version of Microsoft's mobile software, set for release in autumn. So far, the software giant has struggled to make a mark, with Windows-powered smartphones taking only 2% of a worldwide market dominated by Apple Inc's iPhone and devices running Google Inc's Android system.
Surely a disaster such as the Kin would give Microsoft pause before pursuing a hardware strategy again. Is Windows Phone 8 the right platform for it to make a comeback? It's possible.