Will Microsoft’s new mobile devices lure businesses?

Nova Safo Oct 6, 2015
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Will Microsoft’s new mobile devices lure businesses?

Nova Safo Oct 6, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Microsoft unveiled its latest mobile devices Tuesday, hoping to lure business users by integrating all products with the new Windows 10 operating system. 

The company introduced a surprise new laptop, the first it has built, called the Surface Book. It is more powerful than Microsoft’s popular Surface tablets and comes in a laptop body that can split into two, also functioning as an oversized tablet.

Microsoft said its laptop has twice the power of the MacBook Pro. In its product launch event in New York, the company said it welcomed comparisons to the Apple laptop.

The company also unveiled new smartphones that can be used like desktop computers, with a new docking device that can connect a monitor and keyboard.

“We’re building the most productive phone on the planet,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “phones you can run your entire business on.”

Microsoft has struggled to get traction for its smartphones amid stiff competition from Apple and Samsung. Earlier this year, the company wrote off $7.6 billion of value from its acquisition of Nokia and laid off 7,800 workers, mostly from its phone business.

“It has been a major uphill battle for Microsoft for years,” said analyst Daniel Ives of FBR Capital Markets. “They’re really a rounding error when it comes to overall market share.”

Microsoft may get another chance to win over market share by making a case for smartphones that are business-friendly. 

The devices unveiled Tuesday, including Lumia phones, are designed to take advantage of the Windows 10 platform for cross-functionality. Microsoft said that 110 million devices have already downloaded the new operating system.

“If you’re doing a Word document on your smartphone, and then later on you can pick it up again on your PC, and then later on on your tablet, there’s a sense of continuity there,” said Ramon Llamas, mobile analyst at IDC.

It could take a year or more for Microsoft to show whether its strategy is working, Llamas said. “This is going to be a slow sell. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of people barging down the doors at Day 1 saying, ‘Give me that right now.'”

Correction: A previous version misstated the name of Microsoft’s new laptop. It’s called the Surface Book. The text has been corrected.

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