MS banks on Windows 8

The success of Windows Phone 8 is crucial to Microsoft, which has failed to make meaningful inroads with its redesigned mobile OS since its launch two years ago, says an industry consultant.

Mobile is Microsoft's weak spot as the company is both dominant in the PC market and a leading player in the connected TV market, according to Nick Dillon, senior analyst, devices & platforms at Ovum.

The IT research and consulting firm said that one of the main reasons Windows Phone has struggled is consumer acceptance.

While there is very little wrong with the software, its design is significantly different from the current status quo of the "grid of apps" user interface, and this change represents a perceived risk to potential customers.

However, in the last year Microsoft has built consumer familiarity with the new design by extending it to both its Xbox console and its PC and tablet operating system, Windows 8.

Microsoft is reportedly spending US$1 billion on marketing Windows 8, which is expected to have knock-on benefits, generating greater interest in Windows Phone 8.

Another area in which Windows Phone has previously struggled is in sales and marketing support from operators, which have generally been lukewarm about the operating system, preferring the easier sell of iPhones and Androids.

Ovum has noted an increase in optimism and support for the platform from both vendors and mobile operators ahead of Windows Phone 8, which is generally driven by the belief that Microsoft's proposition is now both unified and complete.