Microsoft has been trailing Apple and Google in the mobile market since the launching of smartphones several years ago. They are mounting an offensive of sorts, however. Microsoft has a developed approach and strategy to asserting their place as viable competitors in the market. Achieving this will not come with significant challenge though.  The current market share positions are quite telling: 50.1% of smartphones are powered by Google's Android platform, 30.2% are Apple iPhone's, and Microsoft powered phones holds only a 3.9% share, according to comScore. Microsoft's answer  - the app market, for one. The Washington-based tech company has been a leading innovator over the decades and appears to be developing a multi-faceted approach to their mobile push, one centered on the development of compelling apps. Beyond the apps though, looking at their strategy in its totality, lessons can be drawn for other businesses, internet marketers, and SEO companies seeking to enter or gain market share in a specific industry where they currently lag behind.

Looking specifically at Microsoft's case, they realize that apps are a large draw and selling point for the smartphone, but also realize where they are in the app market. Google holds roughly 50%, Apple 30%, RIM 15%, and Microsoft 5%. If the disparity isn't clearly seen there, then it is with the total apps available on the platforms as Apple leads with over 585,000, Google with over 450,000, and both Blackberry and Microsoft with roughly 70,000+. As such, developers shy away from the smaller platforms working to get up and running on Android and Apple, and only then turning their attention to Microsoft. The company knows this but is making a concerted effort to woo developers to design apps for their platforms. It is industry practice for the operating system companies to offer programs and classes to developers to entice them to design apps for their platform, however, Microsoft is stepping this practice up. In 2011, they hosted over 850 sessions across the globe to educate and guide developers on making apps for the Windows Phone software; this is more than 3 times the number of sessions held the previous year. Also, they are also expanding ways developers can make money selling their apps.

Direct Lessons
These are important aspects but arguably more important are two other elements: the highly developer support-centered approach the company takes in answering developer queries and the marketing of that approach, as well as the telling of the Windows Phone story.  The company has made a concerted effort to make their app tools very user-friendly and they are reportedly much more attentive to the developer inquiries than their competitors. This gives them an advantage in establishing trust and better relationships with developers. Company decision-makers realize app development is essential to the growth of the Windows Phone and they have prioritized the relationships with the developers of them. SEO companies and businesses across industries can learn from this by putting their customers or business drivers first and improving those relationships.

Next, businesses need to make their story known by marketing it effectively. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, head of Microsoft's Windows Phone division, Terry Myerson, stated that they simply have not invested the money needed to tell the Windows Phone story to people around the world, but once that is done they are confident the phone will gain support. Marketers can take from the point behind his comment. Crafting a product's story is paramount and this goes beyond the telling of specifications and capabilities, which is certainly part of it, but crafting an identity and story through can often be just as important. SEO companies can then push this story online and cement the identity by driving target traffic to web properties that support the story and widen exposure.

For more information on the Microsoft Windows Phone or how your business can take from this branding example, reach out to me directly at