Mobile Platforms: Don’t Call Any Winners


Today we have two interesting bits of news in the mobile OS space. Microsoft has replaced the head of its Windows Phone division, which is widely viewed as being troubled to this point. And from eWEEK Labs, we have the story that HP may be planning to make webOS, which is widely viewed as being a total failure, an open project.

This gives me the opportunity to state a belief I’ve held since Google bought Android: there is no such thing any more as a dominant (or preferred, or even “leading”) client computing platform. Or, at least, not for the new client devices, the mobile ones.

Back when the Internet hit, there was some talk—partly led by one of my favorite tech opinionators, Jim Louderback—that the Windows vs. Mac OS vs. Unix-like debate was now obsolete, because it was the same Web whatever platform you used. Turned out that was premature, and probably still is when it comes to the PC. But on mobile platforms, I think that just about any OS has a chance, thanks to the mobile app model, the cloud computing model, and yes, the Internet that underlies it all.

I give Windows Phone a great chance of making big gains in market share in the coming two years, particularly after the release of Windows 8. And at the risk of looking foolish in three years, I think it pretty likely that webOS will be next in line, after Windows Phone has its day, as the platform that gets all the buzz.