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windowsphone-apps-5The Windows mobile operating system still pales in comparison to iOS and Android when you look at overall market share. But one Seattle VC still believes Microsoft will become a viable third OS within three years.

Speaking at a WTIA TechNW event last week, Tom Huseby shared some thoughts on the possibility of a third operating system to compete with the other two giants.

Huseby, a former wireless exec now affiliated with three venture capital firms — including the mega-fund Oak Investment Partners and the Seattle early-stage investor Voyager Capital — said that it will take Microsoft three years to get Windows at a 10 percent market share in the mobile OS space. Currently, Windows only has about three percent.

Tom Huseby. Photo via Voyager Capital.
Tom Huseby. Photo via Voyager Capital.

Former Qpass exec and current Zettics CEO Sterling Wilson didn’t quite agree with Huseby. Though he’d “love to see a third or fourth OS,” Wilson thinks iOS and Android have too much momentum.

“I hate to be fatalistic but I think iOS and Android are it,” he said. “Microsoft has not done well with its Windows product. … I don’t know how you get a [third OS] when you already have 95 percent of the market covered. I’m not sure how that happens in the near-term unless someone comes up with a new idea that just wow’s everyone.”

Wilson did note, however, that the providers like AT&T and Verizon would love to see another OS because “having to deal with Apple every day is a pain in the ass.”

osmarketshare1“That’s why there will be a third,” Huseby responded.

Huseby added that Microsoft needs to “do more for the development community than they do right now.”

“They have a tremendous economic base to push off and they need to spend a lot of that on the developer community,” he said. “There are standard apps that don’t run on Windows Phones and they have to fix that. They were great with the developer community on Windows; I don’t know why they haven’t used the same expertise to go after the phone business.”

In the end, Huseby said it won’t really be about the operating systems or phones. He believes all apps and services will eventually run over an Internet-Protocol homogeneously connected network.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there that won’t care [about the OS], because it will be HTML5, a web protocol that rides on top of any OS,” Huseby said. “And the OS that isn’t compatible with an app is the one that suffers, not the app.”

The conversation starts at 23:00 in the video below.

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