Windows Phone 7 Means Business

Microsoft’s annual TechEd Conference started today and we’re taking this opportunity to share more about what Windows Phone 7 means to business through keynotes, sessions and product demonstrations. I thought I’d take a few minutes to share an overview of what attendees are hearing.

Many of us interact with digital content on several screens throughout the day and have growing expectations for the range of capabilities and quality of experiences available to us wherever we go. In business, people increasingly expect more than a palm-size workstation from their phones. At Microsoft, we recognized that in order to meet customer needs and significantly improve the mobile experience for end users we had to redefine the role our software and services play in delivering rich experiences that are uniquely mobile. By adding Windows Phone 7 to our portfolio, Microsoft is well positioned to address the needs of customers with active personal and business lives who desire a single device that delivers rich end-to-end experiences and navigates seamlessly between work and play. Demand for Smartphones that play as hard as they work is fueling the continued growth for new devices, with IDC projecting 31% growth in Smartphone units in 2010 and another 22% in 2011.

More than 90% of our target customers for Windows Phone use their Smartphone for business purposes and 61% use their phones equally or more for business than personal use. This is why we designed Windows Phone 7 to combine a smart new user interface with familiar tools such as PowerPoint, OneNote, Word, Excel and SharePoint into a single integrated experience via the Office hub. Integrating these business capabilities along with rich email, calendar and contacts into a mobile platform that supports compelling business applications enables increased productivity. Windows Phone 7 is designed to excel at the business scenarios most commonly used. This means Windows Phone 7 will appeal to a larger number of people working in businesses of all sizes, creating a more versatile and accessible productivity tool as well as a larger market opportunity for application developers and system integrators.

What hasn’t changed is our ability to deliver a great user experience while reducing complexity by enabling business organizations to utilize their existing IT investments like Exchange and Exchange ActiveSync to support Windows Phone access to enterprise assets such as corporate email. Exchange remains an industry standard with an annual growth rate of 11% and an expected install base of 347 million mailboxes by 2013 (Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook Market Analysis, 2009 – 2013, The Radicati Group, March 2009). With Windows Phone 7, rather than attempting to replicate the experience of the desktop, we focused on delivering end-user experiences that are uniquely optimized for the phone through tighter integration with Exchange and Office, the addition of SharePoint and our Silverlight development platform for delivering new user experiences.

We’ve designed an Office hub that is both engaging and familiar to the more than 500 million people worldwide who already use Microsoft Office, while introducing a new level of integration with SharePoint, which grew by more than 20% last year alone. We’re looking at people and productivity in a new and different way from anything in the market today, as evidenced by our focus on smart design and integrated experiences. We’re delivering a fresh take on the business functions that people care about most; email, calendar, collaboration and keeping up with colleagues and contacts.

The vast majority of individuals make their own personal decision regarding which Smartphone to purchase. Given this, we often hear from IT professionals that their most important considerations for Smartphones are that they are phones people want and that they meet the organization’s IT needs– enabling them to increase usage and productivity. Organizations are interested in investments they have already made (e.g. Exchange, SharePoint, Office). Windows Phone 7 enables the IT support most organizations need without the need for additional infrastructure.
Specifically, Windows Phone 7:

  • Is built from the ground up using industry best practices in secure software development (Secure Development Lifecycle).
  • Deeply Integrates email, calendar and contacts with Exchange Server enabling rich, seamless email and calendar management to enhance productivity.
  • Integrates with SharePoint through the SharePoint Workspace client, enabling enhanced collaboration through offline document access and syncing.
  • Helps protect corporate information by securing the device through PINs and passwords. Information is further protected by not allowing access to data via PC tethering or support for removable SD cards. In addition, Windows Phone 7 supports IT managed EAS policies such as Require Password, Password Strength, Remote Wipe and Reset to Factory Settings with multiple failed unlock attempts.
  • Helps ensure data reliability and integrity through application sandboxing and managed code. Windows Phone 7 ensures communications channels between applications cannot be opened and critical system resources cannot be accessed. Most malware threats are introduced through the browser. IE Mobile helps ensure that malicious code cannot be launched from web sites, thus reducing this threat.
  • Provides certification and verification of applications and content through Windows Phone Marketplace, further enhancing security.
  • Enables secure data transmission through 128 or 256 Bit SSL Encryption.
  • Supports secure access to on-premise applications and network resources using Forefront Universal Access Gateway (UAG).
  • Is future ready with cloud / services integration. Through the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Microsoft offers hosted Exchange and SharePoint services. Windows Phone 7 will support mobile access to BPOS from Outlook Mobile and the Office Hub.

Windows Phone 7 is a new platform that we will continue to improve and evolve. We needed to restart in order to build the right foundation for the future. We are delivering a great business phone that improves productivity by taking a fresh approach to the most common Smartphone business usage scenarios such as email, calendar, contacts and collaboration. At the same time, with support for Silverlight, XNA and the full suite of development and design tools from Visual Studio 2010 to Expressions, Windows Phone 7 provides a rich, efficient and familiar development platform that also meets the IT needs of many organizations with support for the most common EAS policies for management.

We understand that migrating from Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.5 to Windows Phone 7 will take effort. However, many customers we have spoken with thus far have told us that these are steps they are willing to take in order to achieve a new level of usability and productivity.

Windows Phone 7 is the newest addition to the Windows Phone portfolio that includes Windows Mobile 6.5, more specialized CE based devices for ruggedized or task-worker scenarios, and the new KIN phones targeted at social communicators. We understand that while Windows Phone 7 will bring a new level of business productivity to a broader range of customers than we’ve ever reached before, for more highly managed corporate scenarios or where customers have made significant investments in applications on Windows Mobile 6.X, Windows Mobile 6.5 may remain the best choice in the near-term. We’ll continue gathering feedback from customers and steadily evolve the new Windows Phone 7 platform to enable additional scenarios and capabilities for all customers. Business customers can prepare for Windows Phone 7 by reviewing the Business IT Resources at Windowsphone.com/business.

P. S

See Brandon Watson’s post on the Windows Phone 7 Developer blog for an update on Windows Phone Marketplace.