Feeds

Windows 8

Apple iOS 7 makes some users literally SICK. As in puking, not upset

Excessive zoom and 3D-effect graphics in Apple's latest iOS is leaving some users reaching for the sick bucket

Windows Phone 8: Microsoft quite literally can't lose

If it bombs, Ballmer is no worse off than he is now

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Should Microsoft's mobile operating system Windows Phone 8 bomb, the effect on the software giant's sales would be negligible - but the same could not be said for its prestige.

According to one estimate, sales of WinPho handsets added a mere $736m to Redmond’s coffers in its last fiscal year – that’s just under one per cent of Microsoft’s total business. The Windows client division and the server and tools wing made $18bn each in fiscal 2012, which ended on 30 June. These are Microsoft’s two biggest business units.

Overall, the Steve Ballmer-led giant reported $73bn in sales for everything in that 12-month period.

The WinPho figures are based on some number-crunching by economic consultant Adam Ballantyne on the Seeking Alpha Wall Streeters’ web site here.

Microsoft, which leaves the manufacturing and flogging of the actual handset hardware to Nokia and other partners, doesn’t make its Windows Phone sales public. It’s part of the entertainment and devices (E&D) division, which is also home to Xbox 360, Skype and Media Room, Microsoft’s TV-over-the-internet service. As with Microsoft’s other groups, the E&D numbers are reported as a whole, unless individual lines are thought flattering or help prove some growth point.

For the last fiscal year, E&D reported $9.59bn in revenue – the second weakest performer in Microsoft's portfolio, ahead of the perennial weakling: Microsoft's online business that’s home to search engine Bing, another Redmond catchup effort.

Ballantyne got his numbers by going back over three years of E&D results, and stripping out Xbox 360, Skype and Media Room.

Revenue tells only part of the story, though, and what we don’t get from Ballantyne are profit and loss figures – which would reflect just how much Microsoft spent on staff and marketing among other expenses.

If phone-maker Nokia cuts WinPho 8 prices, and other handset partners follow suit, then this could wipe out any hope of a profit from this mobile endeavour for Microsoft. Much will depend on how many Windows Phones are sold, and the point at which volume rubs out the loss.

As an example of the current state of play, every $49 Lumia phone sold in the US has been sold at an up-front loss to Microsoft's carrier partner AT&T, which is estimated to be spending $450 in marketing per handset.

Windows Phone 8 will launch on 29 October. Ahead of that partners are trying to stoke the market – Samsung announced a Windows Phone on Wednesday and Nokia is expected to make its own Windows Phone 8 announcement on 5 September. Adverts are appearing online and posters are being plastered across railway stations in Great Britain, targeting Google fandroids and Apple fanbois heading to work and hungry for something new.

A long battery life seems to be the big selling point Microsoft and Nokia are pushing on. Redmond-backing bloggers are pumping away, poring over the minutiae of every detail of Windows Phone to shamelessly salivate and froth about each new handset.

If this doesn’t work for Microsoft, nothing will. And if this doesn’t work, then it’ll just be question of how long the company wants to support yet another drain on its resources. Based on Microsoft’s experience with Bing, the answer might be quite some time. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV
Alert system tips oblivious phone junkies to oncoming traffic
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
SMASH the Bash bug! Red Hat, Apple scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.