Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

Why Redmond's CEO offloaded the business in an instant

Err, no they didn't

Thus, when Windows 10 Mobile was launched, a bevy of phones masquerading as computers came out alongside it. The Lumia 950, the HP Elite x3, the Acer Liquid Jade Primo are examples of just a few phones that pushed Microsoft's mobile computing vision. Unfortunately, this strategy – like the ones before it – didn't bear fruit.

Despite what Microsoft's research indicated, it turned out that in reality, not many people saw the need for a smartphone that could double up as a poor computer. Especially when you could purchase a cheap Windows PC or Chromebook and Android device for the price many of these devices were being sold for.

Overall, Microsoft's failure with Windows Phone was a failure to commit to one strategy and follow through. At the start, Microsoft wanted to both have its cake by pushing premium handsets, and eat it by flooding the market with low-end handsets. As a result, Windows Phone was never quite able to settle on what it wanted to be.

On the high end, Microsoft's slowness in adding support for the newest technologies meant that OEMs would never be able to get the specs they needed to be competitive with their Android counterparts. This was made painfully clear with the Lumia 1020, which despite its amazing 41MP camera, came out with a slow dual-core processor, and a 720p HD screen at a time when flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S4 were pushing quad and even hexacore processors paired with full HD screens.

Not only would Microsoft start from a position of considerable market weakness, it would have to win over all those fans and partners it has estranged while learning from its past mistakes.

The software, too, suffered from this failure to commit. Windows Phone updates were often slow, and basic smartphone features like storage management, rotation lock, as well as a notification centre weren't quite present. While Microsoft eventually got around to putting those features on the platform with subsequent updates, the fact that the OS was not quite as feature-rich as Android, yet not quite as polished as iOS, let it down.

Ultimately, the public didn't buy Microsoft's Nokia Windows Phones. Microsoft has yet to announce the death of Windows phone – and it may never. The firm didn't announce the death of Windows RT, opting to give it one final update. It buried the death its Groove Music subscription service under an ostensibly chipper headline announcing a partnership with Spotify.

Products allowed to wither never get a Redmond reprieve. Should, however, Microsoft decide that it does want to reactivate mobile then it has a long way to go.

Not only would Microsoft start from a position of considerable market weakness, it would have to win over all those fans and partners it has estranged while learning from its past mistakes.

A tall order. ®

Sponsored: Minds Mastering Machines - Call for papers now open


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018