HTC is in a world of hurt with Apple, and it is partially Microsoft’s fault. You see, HTC used to be the best maker of Windows Phones until Microsoft said “no” too often, repeating what is a common mistake. (Customers don’t like the word “no.”) Now HTC is arguably the best maker of Android phones, and since Android is largely a rip off of the iPhone, that has put HTC squarely in Apple’s litigation sights, and HTC is losing badly.
In related news, Scott Adams, the guy who pens Dilbert, the parody comic strip on business intelligence, or the lack thereof, just picked up the Windows Phone challenge because he thinks both the iPhone and the Android phones suck. I think he probably could highlight a number of mistakes from both sides, and that the visibility will only help what is my own favorite mobile phone platform.
So I’m going to approach this as if I were laying out a series of Dilbert story lines.
Story Line One: The HTC Meeting
The Dilbert version of this tale would have HTC going to Microsoft and asking for an iPhone-like Windows Mobile device. It would then show Microsoft refusing because it felt it was a dumb idea. It would then detail the meeting that created the Zune, a product that is a wireless iPod clone without the annoying phone part, which would only connect to other Zunes, and wouldn’t run apps.
You can imagine the pointy haired boss arguing that the best way to enter the market is to create the anti-iPhone — a device so incredibly bad that it was good. Additional benefits would include: Apple’s would be unwilling to copy the device, HTC wouldn’t be able to take credit for it, and if it failed it really was HTC’s idea in the first place, so it can be blamed.
Story Line Two: Naming the Windows Phone 7
Scott shows another staff meeting at Microsoft, with folks discussing the different naming options. Dilbert argues that the name should reflect the simplicity that the user interface excels in, much like Windows was named to reflect the UI feature that differentiated it from everything else. He continues that it shouldn’t be named “Windows” because the brand hasn’t translated successfully to non-PC devices.
The pointy headed manager, who has been daydreaming, concludes the meeting by saying “I agree with Dilbert that the product be named Windows Phone, because that’s what we did for the PC, and because it can do translation.” He then asks for a demonstration of this translation capability.
Story Line Three: Android Meeting
This takes place over at HTC, where the bald-headed guy from Dilbert’s firm has been asked to give HTC the bad news. He took the job because he wanted a free lunch from HTC. He doesn’t want to tell them no, and explain that Microsoft is doing the Zune instead, because the HTC folks will be upset and won’t buy him lunch.
So he says it was his firm’s conclusion that HTC should go with Android, because Microsoft feels that Google needs all the help it can get.
Story Line Four: Google Meeting
This takes place at Google, and has the executives reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of Android. The lawyer in the room points out that it appears to be a clone of the iOS, and shoots it down because Apple will sue everyone who uses it.
The Google CEO, who looks a lot like the twin of the pointy haired boss, says that this isn’t possible because he is on the Apple board, that as long as Google isn’t sued who cares, and that Steve Jobs is under his control.
The pointy haired boss gives a guy who looks like Scott Adams a Windows Phone 7 because it is cheap publicity. Dilbert whispers to the bald-headed guy that it may not safe to give the device to someone who makes a living out of making fun of executives. It may piss off their CEO.
The bald-headed guy points out that it is likely a promotion opportunity, because the result will free up a management slot. Both congratulate the pointy haired manager for the best idea he has ever had.
I probably shouldn’t give up my day job. Since I’m actually a fan of the Windows Phone 7 platform, I think that any focus on it is likely a good thing. There are risks associated with Microsoft’s Dilbert approach, but the company used to be famous for being able to make fun of itself, and lost that capability with the loss of Gates. I actually think, regardless of the outcome of this, that getting back that sense of humor should be a priority for someone.
The final story should likely have something to do with a pointy haired analyst thinking it would be funny to write story lines for Scott Adams. For some reason, I can’t wrap my head around that one.
Guest contributor Rob Enderle is the founder and principal analyst for the Enderle Group, and one of the most frequently quoted tech pundits in the world. Opinion pieces denote the opinions of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Digital Trends.