By killing Windows phone, this is what Microsoft will lose


The mobile version of Windows 10 died not because no one was developing apps for it, or no OEM was making phones or tablets for it, rather it’s because of Microsoft’s own conscious decision to slowly disregard its own OS and start giving preference to the two rival mobile platforms, all because the CEO Satya Nadella “did not get why the world needed the third ecosystem in phones”.

But in the process, not only Windows 10 Mobile really did die–which is what Nadella wanted all along–it also resulted in the failure of other Windows 10 features and Microsoft services and apps whose success was dependent on mobile.

These are:

UWP. UWP is completely useless now as no developer would ever want to make apps using this platform. There is little incentive to port apps to the now-dead Windows 10 Mobile, or bring app from there to PC. Now Microsoft is being forced to embrace the much inferior PWA, only because UWP has failed. To add fuel to fire, Google has just released Flutter to compete against Xamarin!

Edge. Most of the internet browsing is done on phones, not on PCs, and consequently Edge is bound to lose market share. Releasing Edge on iOS and Android is futile–why would anyone download and use Edge on iOS or Android when they can use the native browsers that come with these platforms? And by using Chrome or Safari on phones, users won’t be able to sync their history and bookmarks with Edge in Windows PCs. Even if they download Edge on iOS and Android to use this feature, Windows-to-Windows syncing is much superior to Windows-to-iOS or Windows-to-Android syncing. Bing is also going to lose market because of no mobile.

Cortana. Again, voice assistants only make sense on phones, which you can carry anywhere. Cortana on Android and iOS has many limitations, and no one would use it anyway because there’s Google Now and Siri that come baked into their respective platforms.

Groove. People listen to music on their phones. Nothing more needs to be said.

Ebooks. Like Groove, ebooks will failed too. That’s the whole point of ebooks – they are read on ebooks on handheld devices like tablets and phones, not on laptops or desktops.

Maps. Bing Maps will eventually die as people need maps only when moving around.

Linking with PC. Why would users want to install Cortana on iOS or Android just to see notifications coming from their PCs? The new option for linking iPhones or Android phones is extremely cumbersome and buggy.

Skype and messaging. Skype was nicely and successfully integrated with the Message app of Windows 10 Mobile, a feature they later removed. Then there was Messaging Everywhere that allowed sending text messages from PC through Windows phone. This too was killed before being officially released.

Office and OneNote. Microsoft Office is popular, no doubt. But on Android, there is Google Docs and Sheets that come pre-installed in the phone. People would use that instead, and not bother to download Word, Excel, etc.

Background syncing. One of the most frustrating experiences when using such apps as OneNote and To-Do is that the notes or to-dos don’t sync in the background. You have to open the app for the syncing to start! Had there been mobile, apps such as OneNote and To-Do could have been integrated into Windows 10 to allow background syncing. People instead use native notes and reminder apps of iOS and Android.

So you see, Microsoft is being beaten in all of the above services. With no Windows phones on the market, less people will use Edge, Cortana, Bing, Bing Maps, Groove, ebooks, Skype, Office, Outlook, OneNote, To-Do, buy apps from the Microsoft Store, and, most importantly, make apps for the Microsoft Store.

Because someone at Microsoft does not get why the world needs a third ecosystem.

Comments (15)

15 responses to “By killing Windows phone, this is what Microsoft will lose”

  1. jimchamplin

    Think it's pretty obvious that Nadella's end game is to eliminate Microsoft's reliance on Windows revenue and the best way to do that is to simply destroy the thing. They want you to use MS services and cloud, Office 365, and all that... But Nadella doesn't want to spend any money on Windows development, which is why he fired the QA team and has apparently just a small handful of people working on it.

    • pderosa

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      That is the first explanation for firing the QA team I have heard that doesn't depend entirely on short-sighted greed. I like windows 10, but I absolutely cannot deny that the lack of the QA team is super noticeable. I was never nervous about updating when windows 7 was new.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Not at all. MS has made it clear - they lost the mobile phone race. They moved on with an eye to working on the next thing after smart phones. They have said they will be doing mobile devices but it must be new and innovative. There is a high degree of chance that this is exactly what Andromeda is. If they nail it with something that is truly exciting to the mass market they could up end winning the next generation of mobile device market share.

      Android is the most at risk OS. Many believe since Androids market share is so high they can't be beat, but this is plain wrong. Consumer loyalty is not strong with consumer for Android - its simply the OS that came on their cheaper phone than the iPhone. And a large % of users get new phones every 2 - 4 years.

      Android also has zero ecosystem outside of itself on mobile devices. Almost all phone users either use Windows or Mac - if Microsoft can release a compelling solution that works seamlessly with Windows then Android is at huge risk. iPhone will be less at risk as the majority of users associate themselves as being apple people even if they use Windows PCs.

      MS has their eye on the prize for the next true shift in mobile devices/phones. They have definitely not given up on Windows; in my opinion there has never been a PC OS as good as Windows 10 is today and that includes OSX.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Let's not pretend here. We all want Windows to be great, but the truth is that it's not the behemoth team that once developed it. They may have their eye on the prize, but they're sure not "betting the company" on Windows the way they did with 8. Why would they?

        The product we see is a dead-end and there's not going to be a lot of time and money spent on it. There's not a lot to be done with it anyway. Some future Windows derivative? Yes. Are they going to put more effort into "Andromeda" and the future UWP/PWA-powered version of Windows it runs? Yes.

        But the product called Windows 10 is in maintenance mode. All the UWP-based features being added will carry over to that legacy-free Windows product, but there's no substantial changes being made under the hood.

        Also, macOS delivers a level of consistency and predictability in the UX that Windows 10 can't deliver on. The overall quality of High Sierra has been spotty, but it carries on with the tradition of being well-polished and never more than it needs to be. You won't be using a Macintosh and suddenly find a dialog box unchanged from 1993. Or have a major system component look like 10.5 Leopard released in 2005. (I'm looking at you File Explorer...)

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to jimchamplin:

          . . . "betting the company" on Windows the way they did with 8 . . .

          And they lost, at least the faction which believed in Windows Phone and convergence of Windows on all types of devices failed.

          Once burned, twice shy.

          MSFT is coming to terms with the fact that the greatest share of value in Windows is the accumulated mass of Win32 software. Nothing else MSFT can come up with in consumer markets will ever come close to that.

          As for the necessity of Windows, try running software for which there's Windows and Linux (and macOS) versions. Chrome, Firefox, Opera and other browsers -- is there an advantage to Windows? Math/stats software like Mathematica, MatLab, GNU R with either Rcmdr or R Studio GUIs, even Visual Studio Code -- any advantage to Windows? What advantage there is comes from MSFT's own Office, Adobe and other software for which there are no Linux versions, but all that valuable Windows-only software is also Win32.

          If MSFT doesn't go back to improving the desktop/Win32 Windows software experience, Windows will indeed become stale. Making Windows suck for desktop/Win32 software won't help sell UWP software. Let's hope MSFT doesn't need to learn that from experience.

          • jimchamplin

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            Yeah, 8 was a massive - and unwarranted - gamble, which yeah, failed big time.

            And yes, they do need to improve the classic desktop. I wasn't saying that they should leave the legacy product behind, just that it seems that's what they're doing. The fact that the desktop tools haven't changed since Windows 7 is pretty pitiful. Almost as pitiful as spinning their wheels at creating all these features that target UWP software that will never be written.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        . . . [MSFT] will be doing mobile devices but it must be new and innovative. . .

        OK, where is it?

        Does someone else need to come up with it first, them MSFT will spring with all the agility its ultrasaurus-like body can manage to take a leading place on that new thing?

        • jimchamplin

          In reply to hrlngrv: OK, where is it?

          Does someone else need to come up with it first, them MSFT will spring with all the agility its ultrasaurus-like body can manage to take a leading place on that new thing?

          Just for the record, this made me laugh! :D

          Edit: How on Earth does one quote something?

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to jimchamplin:

            Edit: How on Earth does one quote something?

            Tangent on quoting.

            When replying, the comment system starts off with a vertical bar, horizontal space, then In reply to . . .: . Put your cursor on the end of that line, press [Enter], and there should be a new line underneath the original line also with a vertical bar on the left end. Then paste the text you want to quote. Then press [Ctrl]+[End] to move to an unquoted line, and enter your comments there.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to VancouverNinja:
        iPhone will be less at risk as the majority of users associate themselves as being apple people even if they use Windows PCs.

        I associate myself on being someone who wants to receive updates.

  2. wunderbar

    Windows Phone's marketshare was irrelevant enough that even if they still had it none of these things would matter anyway.

  3. Andy Babiec

    Let's be honest - it was already dead when Nadella become CEO in Feb 2014. Put the failures of WP on Ballmer (who should have at a minimum stopped charging for the OS when Android came out.)

    By the end of 2013, WP only had 3% market share while Android had 78%

    The only difference is that Nadella didn't spend billions propping up a failure. And this is coming from a huge WP fan, got a Samsung Focus (WP7) on the day it came out and owned a Lumia 920 and a Lumia 950. It wasn't until the end of 2015 when I moved to android.

  4. Jules Wombat

    Nope. Windows Phone [7]/ Mobile was already dead wrt to marketshare in 2010, when it was already late after Android and iOS had got well established. But WP7/W10 Mobile remain the best core Mobile User experience, and I still use it today.

  5. hrlngrv

    How much phone user share did you believe Windows 10 Mobile would have achieved? At what cost to MSFT?

    Have there ever been any under-8" tablets running Windows 10 Mobile on the market?

    There were some phone makers still making Windows phones after MSFT ceased doing so after the Lumia 950*. Since Lumias had well over 80% of the Windows phone market, do you really believe those other phone makers' user share would have increased 5-fold to maintain Windows phone's sub-2% user share for all smartphones?

    I figure when all overhead was allocated, MSFT was losing money on every Lumia sold. Maybe MSFT could have stuck it out, like Xbox, but Xbox at least sold out its first few holiday seasons, became the #2 game console after 6 years, and no one expected its unit sales to exceed 100 million annually. I figure MSFT would have had to expend another US$20 billion before they could have expected Windows phones to become profitable, but there was no guarantee it'd ever become profitable.

    Then there's what MSFT gave up.

    UWP - no great loss, besides can't macOS handle high res display scaling without needing to make everything iOS? Don't Qt and Gtk (to a lesser extent) handle high res display scaling under Linux? Is it really & truly impossible for MSFT to add scaling to Win32? Even desktop software using Qt (R Studio being a fine example of such Windows software)? As for security, Win32 software really can't be made more secure? Windows itself can't be made more secure except by using the Store to install all software?

    Edge - if the bulk of its use would have been on phones, MSFT is giving up maybe 3% of phone users by killing off Windows phones. Then again, it's user share on PCs (with Feb 2018 Netmarketshare data just in) is 4.38%. Windows 10 user share is 34.06%, and since Edge can only run under Windows 10, that means Edge is the browser choice of slightly more than 1 in 8 Windows 10 users. The market has spoken: it wants Edge as much as it wants UWP.

    Cortana - it doesn't make sense on smart speakers? Only on phones?

    Groove Music - the fact that MSFT never provided family plan options like its competitors played no role in its failure?