1. jlzimmerman's Avatar
    A good article, from Why Microsoft can not give up on Windows Phone - WMPoweruser

    Like clockwork, every quarter when market share numbers are released, and are less than a year ago we see editorials explaining its time for Microsoft to give up on Windows Phone, their high profile money-losing venture. We understand for example that the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, is not a huge fan of the Windows Phone business, and was for example opposed to the purchase of Nokias handset division. We note also that despite massive investment there has been very little and even negative traction for Windows Phone in USA, the source of much of the English online media.

    But should Microsoft be listening to sense and simply give up on the mobile business? Lets look at what their world would look like if they did.

    There are of course 3 options a) stop making phones completely or b) adopt a forked version of Android or c) start selling Googles Android phones

    If Microsoft were to sell off Microsoft Mobile, shutter the Windows mobile division and simply concentrate on making a desktop and tablet OS for OEMs, what would change? Microsoft would see some small improvement in their profitability in the short term and could throw their full weight behind making apps for iOS and Android.

    With most of Microsofts customers already using iOS and Android they would in fact experience even greater support from a less distracted Microsoft, which we have seen already has been useful in ingratiating Microsoft with US technorati. It would turn Microsoft into a true software and services company, with no hardware to hold them back.

    On the other hand a lot of the work they do for Windows Phone they would still need to do for Windows tablets, and on mobile they would be at high risk of being shut out by policy and platform changes by Apple or Google which would sabotage their software and service offerings. Also the other companies would be free to continue to attack Microsofts desktop bastion (eg. via Chromebooks and a resurgent Macbook patform) but Microsoft would pose absolutely no threat in return. Microsoft would also not be able to offer a complete solution to enterprise (phone, tablet, PC), an area where they have been having real success in recent years.

    Truth be told however, it is a viable strategy in the short term, but it is fraught with existential risk in the longer term. Microsoft would have to work very hard to prove their services are better than vertically integrated offerings from Google and Apple, who would be making the platform, the apps and the services (and sometimes hardware) and it is likely Microsoft would eventually turn into a slowly and then rapidly shrinking company like IBM.

    Adopting a forked version of Android, like Amazon for example, would give Microsoft their own platform, and bring app compatibility with Android apps. On the other hand this will not automatically mean that Microsoft will have access to all the apps in the store, again much like Amazon, which only has a subset in their app store, and would still mean that Microsoft is in a platform race with Google, who could introduce features in the mean branch of Android which would eventually make forks non-viable (e.g. requiring apps integrate with Googles online services). Buyers would still have to choose between the real android and Microsofts version of handsets, and as we have seen from Amazons Fire phones performance, they have a clear preference for the real deal.

    Lastly, simple starting to sell an OHA Android phone with Microsofts apps and services bundled in would leave Microsoft at Googles mercy, as they would fully control the platform, and would compete on the same handset, with Googles services usually as the default. This seems very little different from not selling any phones at all, and leave Microsoft to compete against Samsung and everyone else.

    Continuing with Windows Phone, despite it being a minor player, has some significant benefit and only minor drawbacks to Microsoft.

    1) They can easily afford the expense (Revenue of $26.5 billion December 2014 Quarter, profit of 16.2 billion, and Phone actually contributed positively to the tune of $331 million and $2.3 billion in revenue.)

    2) It is strategically important to have their own mobile platform to fall back on should Google or Apple work to shut them out of their platforms.

    3) They can offer a full solution with guaranteed security to enterprise customers.

    4) With the integration between phones and tablets they will be doing much of the work in any case already.

    5) They would be prepared for a future in which desktops are not very relevant at all, rather than later trying to create an offering when desktops and laptops have declined further.

    Sure, given Windows Phones market share in USA Microsofts investment may seem like a folly. However surrendering in mobile would be an even greater one, and would leave Microsoft at the mercy of their enemies, which seems an even worse idea
    03-16-2015 12:52 PM
  2. Witness's Avatar
    Thanks for the article - I don't frequent WMPowerUser and this makes a lot of sense.
    03-16-2015 01:38 PM
  3. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Increasingly, computing is done on mobile... This is a trend showing no signs of reversing as tech concentrates on making the mobile world more powerful and consumers embrace that philosophy. In emerging markets many are now and will increasingly do their computing exclusively on a smart phone.

    Ignoring this and withdrawing from it is akin to stating, we as a company want to dwindle to insignificance.

    Remember the downward spiral HP went through after [S]the mad hatter[/S] [S]the most foolish man in the world[/S] [S]Satan[/S] Leo Apotheker killed off their mobile hardware division? Sure it was compounded by the boondogglery of the Autonomy fiasco. But also recall Meg Whitman's efforts to lead the firm back into mobile and her many interviews.

    Mobile is the future and Microsoft dare not drop participation. They have had a steady influence and participation since the beginning and they dare not stop now. This Windows Phone thing didn't just come about. There is a clear lineage going back to the very first mobile computing generation laptops and PDAs.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 03-16-2015 at 02:04 PM.
    Laura Knotek, a5cent and jmshub like this.
    03-16-2015 01:50 PM
  4. Spectrum90's Avatar
    Windows won't survive if It can't do more than Linux and Android. Why should Microsoft invest in Windows if they can use Linux and Android for free or a fraction of the cost?
    Satya said "Microsoft loves Linux", and that's great. Although, they have to love Windows more, only if Windows can do more.
    03-16-2015 02:48 PM
  5. 920Walker's Avatar
    As a consumer I would rather pay for an operating system on a device than deal with advertisements and having my data sold.
    vepac, JohnStrk and RumoredNow like this.
    03-16-2015 03:09 PM
  6. paulxxwall's Avatar
    anything can happen.
    I got bashed last year when mentioning a Xbox one without a Kinect. It was tweeted and right away ms reps shot it down! You can now buy a Kinect less Xbox one. Anything can happen.
    Last edited by paulxxwall; 03-16-2015 at 05:15 PM.
    03-16-2015 05:00 PM
  7. MDMcAtee's Avatar
    There is one other scenario that isn't covered here.. That is Microsoft concentrating solely on it's enterprise for mobile phones. Keeping it's mobile divisions but scaling it back to low end devices.... Oh wait... That's what they are doing now isn't it... Lol

    They don't have to do anything more than to position themselves in this, retain the tablets and the Surface and move them quickly onto Windows 10. Make sure that the lowend phones run 10 will be the hardest part for what most smartphone users expect from them.

    As soon as possible get all of their services onto both Apple and Google before both realize they have allowed a Trojan Horse into their midst.

    I see them going after the other 96% of the markets advertising dollars by shear volume of desktops. They really don't have to compete with Androids and Iphones as long as they are using their services. Get all the apps updated both stores and then merge them.

    While this won't set well with WP fans it will make Microsoft's shareholders extremely happy.

    Then it comes down to paying developers and spending massive amounts of money for marketing.

    Cry me a river then build a bridge and get over it
    03-17-2015 11:36 AM

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