Discussion Is Microsoft exiting the Mobile Devices Segment?

Discussion in 'Gadgets and Consumer Electronics' started by JD666, Jul 11, 2015.

Share This Page

  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    With the recent announcement of 7,600 job cuts, and a write off of over 7 Billion dollars, speculation is rife that MicroSoft is looking at exiting the mobile segment completely.


    It is old news that Windows Mobile platform never got the jump it needed. Windows 7.xx for devices was too restrictive as an OS with little to no multitasking capabilities. This was when Nokia was doing Windows devices.

    Windows 8 for mobile devices did bring in a plethora of changes, however could never match up to the expectations that Android and iOS had set.

    Windows 8 did come with some nifty applications like the Social app that gave an overview of a person's online social presence, or the various camera apps like Photosynth or Lumia City lens that allowed you to simply point your camera in a direction and see physical landmarks being pointed out.

    Here Maps was another blessing that was available on Windows mobile only. So if you wanted to enjoy offline navigation, a Windows device was a must.

    However market penetration was slow (probably due to the build up of negative response to the earlier windows 7 devices), and conversion of users from other platforms next to none. I am yet to meet someone who switched to Windows from iOS or Android. I've met first time smartphone buyers going to Windows devices, or in the case of a family member, upgrading to a Windows 8 device, from Windows 7.

    This contributed in turn to lack of app support and companies did not have App development for Windows mobile devices on their top list. They would do Android (which I believe holds a 90+ percent market share), and iOS (which has a smaller share than Windows), but would cool their heels on Windows 8 App development.

    So No customer base -> Lack of App Support -> Lack of customer interest -> No customer base.

    This vicious cycle did consume a lot for Microsoft. So much so that for instance, Google did not provide a proper application for YouTube on Windows, ever. Or Google Maps for that matter. Third Party Apps did work, but I remember reading that Google did their best to block such apps from functioning properly. Till date there is no proper Gmail, YouTube, or GMaps app.

    Another hindrance in this situation was the GUI and interface of Windows devices. The plus point of the OS was that it was super light and super fast. The touch and response of the device was good even on mediocre devices. It wasn't really a memory hog, and worked really well on dual core processors with 512 Mb of RAM even.

    However the issue against it was that the Apps were limited to the Windows interface and design. Each app tends to follow the GUI and design flow of the OS it is supported/written for. However in the case of Windows, it controlled the menus, display options, layout, selections, navigation etc. I understand that this was an attempt to provide a uniform interface and experience. This would ensure that one would not feel the transition between application and the device OS, and would provide a great user experience.

    Great ideaology, however with limited app support, this was never the case. Had Microsoft launched Windows 8 first, and gotten a slightly higher user base, I'm sure this would've been a reality.

    Having realized their folly , Microsoft is now looking at porting Android apps over to Windows, so that users can install and run apps for Android, on their Windows devices. This is akin to what BlackBerry did with their BB10 OS. I can install and run Android applications on my BlackBerry, though not all of them work as intended. The touch screen swipe function of BlackBerry OS 10 is yet to be integrated properly with these apps. So they stick to having buttons present at the bottom of the screen.

    Microsoft is also making a whole suite of applications available on iOS and Android like Office, One Note that will ensure a higher user penetration and better office integration for iOS and Android. They (MS) are ensuring their existence and presence on all mobile devices, but not necessarily on Windows mobile device.

    I feel that this is an opportunity lost for Microsoft. They could've done tie ups with Mobile network providers to provide communication solutions to mid sized companies that require email on the go. Typing on a Lumia device is a breeze (especially with the Swype keyboard, which is much better than its Android counterpart), Outlook is the choice of email platform for many organizations. And crucially, app support is not top priority for an office device.

    Another factor worth noting is the variety in the number of devices that they have on offer. Android devices are now flooded at every possible price point (though still no 4.5 inch powerhouse). Apple also offers the iPhone 5, 5C, 6, 6+ and the 4S (in some markets).

    Microsoft last launched a flagship model nearly 2 years ago (Lumia 930). Since then, they have expanded to allow other manufacturers to build and sell Windows 8 devices. However keeping the OS limited to Microsoft/Nokia devices only, restricted the design and development of their devices.

    All look the same slab sided. There is only so much that you can change with covers and designs. And not to forget, the huge number of devices which kind of look ridiculous when you see that there are.

    Lumia 630, 630 dual Sim, 635, 530, 530 dual sim, 730, 735 dual sim, 535, 535 dual sim, 830. 435. 435 dual sim, 432, 432 dual, 532! 532 Dual sim! and the list is endless with the latest 640, coming in three variants as well - 640 XL, 640XL Dual SIM LTE, 640XL LTE, 640 Dual SIM, 640 !

    This is madness. They should've a) simplified the numbering and nomenclature. and b) defined their price point and feature points.

    Now they plan to launch 6 devices every year. But the mess from the previous devices still needs cleaning and sorting. Too many options that boggle and confuse the mind. Just pack all of it, into one device and do away with the variants. The price difference does not justify it.

    And they need to price it right. Lumia devices need to undercut Android devices, especially the cheaper ones made by Chinese manufacturers. From what I read, Microsoft actually loses money per device that it sells. This is not really good business sense, but to have a foot hold in the market, a necessity.

    Windows mobile was a very promising platform, and it would be a shame to see it go. But certain failures and oversights propagated this effect. Funny to see when a multi-billion dollar global company fails to see such events.

    Onwards to 2016, and the first Android/Meego devices from the re-vamped Nokia.

Share This Page