Gassée on Windows Phones

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Saw this on reddit.

https://mondaynote.com/fiction-who-killed-windows-phone-af7491d4a363

Comments (25)

25 responses to “Gassée on Windows Phones”

  1. Avatar

    anchovylover

    That's a good read, very interesting. Thanks for posting it.

  2. Avatar

    JimP

    The sad part is that circa Windows Phone 8.1, they had a working strategy. Numbers were going up - slowly - but definitely in the right direction. Had they stayed with their strategy, who knows? Windows Phone might be at 10-15% marketshare by now.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to JimP:

      Circa WP8.1 is about when MSFT bought Nokia's phone making and selling operations. Then look at, say, Netmarketshare from mid 2014 on. No more clear growth. Some up blips, but a declining trend. WP/WM was never going to reach even 5% worldwide, and if MSFT had to keep on making 90% or more of all phones running Windows Phone/Mobile, MSFT would have lost billions of US$ in its first decade as a phone hardware maker.

      • Avatar

        JimP

        In reply to hrlngrv:


        I don't recall the specific dates, but according to this chart, Windows Phone market share almost doubled (about 4% in Dec 2012 to about 8% in Nov 2013):


        allaboutwindowsphone.com/images/flow/misc/kantar-nov-3.png

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to JimP:

          Kantar was new phone sales rather than usage. Important, and could be a harbinger of the future, but not current total usage. Also, note that the chart appears to show EU5, US and Australia. Nice, but no China, no India, no Japan, no South Korea, so limited relevance. These days, Asia has roughly 60% of the world's population, Africa 1/6, Europe 10%, USA 4%, Australia < 1%. Your chart represents new phone sales in countries making up less than 15% of the world's population. Even adjusting for relative wealth, the chart represents new smartphone purchases by less than half the world's smartphone buyers. For the other more than half together, I believe Windows phones never cracked 2%.

          If MSFT could handle the psychological implications of having less than 5% of the smartphone market, it's possible if could adjust production to achieve much better, though still disappointing, financial results. Part of such adjustment would almost certainly be reducing Lumia models to no more than 4, and almost certainly the highest end of those 4 models would still disappoint the fans.

          Bluntly put, Windows phones never became hot in USA or China, and given the way MSFT thinks, Windows phone could have had 30% usage share in Europe and still have been killed if USA and China remained under 3% and worldwide under 4%. Let me be clearer: to MSFT, Europe doesn't matter.

  3. Avatar

    Supatra

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  4. Avatar

    yamaha5

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  5. Avatar

    oao

    The most important part of the article is that monopolists lose need and ability to compete. MS did not learn this lesson from its rise due to exactly this failure by IBM.


    This is something that the new platform monopolies are trying to address by eliminating all competition: undercutting them at loss and diversifying to the hilt (e.g., Amazon).


    For all the American chest-pummeling about "competition, competition, freedom of choice", the US is increasingly an autocratic oligopoly lacking both.



  6. Avatar

    Paul Thurrott

    This is what I wrote on Twitter when I saw the Verge story he references. Microsoft---not Android, not Apple---killed Windows phone. He's exactly right.

  7. Avatar

    skane2600

    "The gross failure of what once was the most powerful and richest tech company on the planet led to a search for a platform killer."


    We should all be so lucky to earn the profits from the "gross failure" of MS.


    "While Microsoft treated the emerging mobile devices as a sideshow, Google and Apple forged ahead with modern operating systems that ran circles around Windows Mobile, itself a Windows CE descendant."


    As a PC replacement, mobile devices devices remain mostly a sideshow .


    • Avatar

      Dan

      In reply to skane2600:

      The masses use their smart phone for everything from note taking, email, web browsing, banking, photography, photo editing, connecting with friends, and home refinancing. This all used to be the domain the the white box Windows PC in the corner of the home.


      The phone is the device that is always with you.


      Remind me why people need a Windows PC again?


      And the $7.6 Billion write down from the Nokia 'investment' removed all profits windows mobile ever made.

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to Dan:

        Photography? Love those candid shots of my office wall I took with my PC back in the day. But seriously, the percentage of people who use their phones for some of these activities and the degree to which they do it relative to the PC is limited. IMO, only a masochist would perform home refinancing on a smartphone.


        I don't dispute the write-down but mobile is only one part of MS. Had MS treated mobile as even more of a sideshow they would not only have avoided wasting money on Nokia, but they would probably be doing better on the desktop if they hadn't tried to "mobilize" Windows starting with Windows 8.

        • Avatar

          Dan

          In reply to skane2600:

          The past doesn't matter, only the present does. And presently, desktop PC usage is still declining and mobile use continues to grow. Its the world we live in.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to Dan:

            In the present MS is still making a lot of money. PC sales are down but that's not the same as PC usage. Tablets were the best hope for PC replacements, but their sales have stalled. Even phones with 6 inch displays are still too small to be viable PC replacements.

            • Avatar

              Dan

              In reply to skane2600:

              The funny thing is that Intel, MS's partner for life, has had failure after failure in the consumer space as well. They just shut down their wearables division. they shut down their smart phone SoC division last year. The two are hand in hand these days.

              • Avatar

                skane2600

                In reply to Dan:

                If we classify PCs to be outside the consumer space, Intel, like MS, has never been a major player in consumer electronics. Getting out of the wearable business is probably good advice for just about everyone. We don't even know if Apple has recouped the cost of their watch development and they're the market leader.

            • Avatar

              hrlngrv

              In reply to skane2600:

              Tablets as the best hope for PC replacements was always debatable. For media consumption and leisure surfing, maybe. For most things work-like, including online tax returns, home budgeting, etc, maybe not. They always struck me as the 3rd car for 2-driver households.

              • Avatar

                skane2600

                In reply to hrlngrv:

                By "best hope" I didn't mean to imply great hope. However unlikely tablets are to replace PCs, smartphones are even less likely to do so. That's not to say that tablets are more popular than smartphones, just that their form-factor is better suited to productivity work, which IMO, has always been the core purpose of Windows (with the possible exception of major games).

                • Avatar

                  hrlngrv

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  Smartphones eliminated any reason for households to have more PCs than people. For those issued laptops at work, work laptop and own phone are often sufficient.

                  I agree that there are many things PCs can do which phones can't, but if you're not a gamer or hobbyist programmer, PCs are no longer the go-to leisure computing device for most people. That's a big change from a decade ago.

                  That gives rise to a very awkward question for MSFT: how much future does Windows have among consumers/leisure PC users? It's been declining, and I can't see any reason it won't go on declining. And as Windows becomes more an more a workplace OS, there'll be less and less reason for UWP to exist.

                • Avatar

                  skane2600

                  In reply to hrlngrv:

                  "Smartphones eliminated any reason for households to have more PCs than people. "


                  When was that ever a thing?

                • Avatar

                  hrlngrv

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  Every person plus a home server. Not widespread, and obviously far more common at higher disposable incomes.

  8. Avatar

    Dan

    The other point was that their reboot focused on consumers and left out features business required. Except their consumer features were too little, too late. Then they dropped consumers and targeted business to sell Azure licenses for services. Management in that division had no focus. The pertaining wisdom at the time was 'This is a marathon, not a sprint'. Except that Apple and Goole were already at the finish line while MS kept stopping for bathroom and water breaks.

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