SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft is expected to unveil new Lumia smartphones Tuesday at a New York event, a move that would reinforce the Redmond, Wash-based company’s mission to be a dominant player in the cloud- and mobile-first enterprise market.
Microsoft (MSFT) closed up 2.3% at $46.63 in anticipation of the event. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.6%.
Whereas iPhones and Android handsets are aimed squarely at the consumer market, a Lumia phone running Microsoft’s Windows 10 could simplify access to workplace information in a way that may help CEO Satya Nadella reach his ambitious goal of 1 billion Windows 10 active devices by 2018, says analyst Daniel Ives of FBR Capital Markets.
“Windows 10 could be a potential game changer as Microsoft looks to emulate the success of transitioning Office to a mobile/cloud world by creating a tightly woven integrated ecosystem, with its ubiquitous operating system across devices such as smartphones, tablets, PC, and gaming consoles that would help drive recurring revenue, consumer success, and free cash flow higher over the coming years,” Ives says.
If the rumored new Lumia phones were to gain traction with enterprise-focused users, that success would represent a major turnaround from Microsoft’s failed purchase of Finnish handset pioneer Nokia. Microsoft wrote down most of that $9.4 billion deal in July.
With smartphones increasingly dominating our lives both at play and at work, devices that allow seamless interaction with information across devices could catch the eye of consumers.
In fact, at September’s Salesforce customer meeting, Dreamforce, Nadella’s keynote included a demonstration of how a Windows 10 PC not only allowed users to leap from one device to the other without interrupting their workflow, but also didn’t require a password input because the PC’s camera had successfully scanned and identified Nadella’s face. Doing away with cumbersome and often security-poor IDs in favor of biometric solutions could help a Lumia handset stand out in the crowd.
Also on tap at the Microsoft event is more information on HoloLens. Microsoft’s new virtual reality headset is expected to make its way into the hands of developers next year and could be a formidable rival to Facebook’s Oculus Rift, also expected out next year.
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