"Here's the thing about BlackBerry users: We're people who, at least when it comes to our phones, appreciate function over form. We've stuck with our little, not terribly stylish bricks because they worked. They didn't drop calls at bad moments. The e-mail came in and was easy to access. The point was simplicity, lack of worry. It just worked. Can I really say that now?"
CNET's Jim Kerstetter has written an editorial suggesting his days of being a dedicated BlackBerry user might be over. If I read his editorial correctly, I think the reason can be summed up as: his perceived benefit of the BlackBerry platform has been pushed to the brink with yet another service outage, leaving the other platforms much more attractive than perhaps they were before.
I was a BlackBerry user for six years before switching about a year ago. I haven't looked back. I prefer the physical models of the other platforms, their user-interfaces and availability of apps. I am not aware of a service outage in the last year on my platform. I think I would have a hard time to go back to the BlackBerry platform. Are there others out there like me? I bet there are a lot.
So, is this an opportunity for Microsoft and Windows Phone 7? I think it is. For one reason, anyone who might have been teetering on the edge of switching from the BlackBerry platform (assuming they have control over that decision) might just have had that little nudge they needed. We have become so dependent on multiple forms of communication through our smartphones (e-mail, text/instant messaging, voice, video, broadcasting (tweeting)), that even an hour without service can be annoying. Another reason is that the timing might just be perfect - Microsoft's new Mango version of the WP7 operating system is hitting mainstream and garnering attention the platform needs. Combine that with the BlackBerry users' drifting eyes and there might just be an interesting intersection point being formed.
It could be an opportunistic period of time for Microsoft and WP7 in the lead up to the holiday season. Your opinion please: is this a realistic opportunity for Microsoft, or just a speed bump for RIM?