As the mobile OS market turns more toward general consumers, Microsoft's Windows Mobile has chosen to focus on the business sector, with lackluster results. As the mobile systems debate heats up, Windows Mobile has been largely left out of the conversation, mainly because it's so behind its competitors in interactivity and functionality.
But Windows Mobile is available on about 40 models, and most are from smaller manufacturers such as i-mate -- and that number is expected to grow only minimally with the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 in October. As the smartphone industry ballooned last year, Windows Mobile's market share fell.
Gartner's Dulaney attributes the stall to Windows Mobile's user experience; its current version hasn't evolved much beyond the one Microsoft launched four years ago. When most companies made user experience their top priority, Dulaney says Microsoft neglected it. "Microsoft has tried and failed in the past," he says. "They have a big challenge to in 2010."