Everyone is right - and wrong - about market share


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Mar 1, 2011
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So what's Microsoft's strategy? That seems to be topic of conversation lately. There's a lot of confusion as to what's going to happen to the Lumia brand and whether it's going to survive beyond 2016. Some view Microsoft's recent strategy shift as a sign that Microsoft plans to exit the phone market. Others believe Microsoft is committed to their Lumia line but have lost interest in chasing market share. I think the answer might be a little more nuanced. To quickly recap the recent changes:

  • [*=1]Factory closures
    [*=1]Fewer handsets
    [*=1]Supporting iOS/Android
    [*=1]Limiting carrier availability
    [*=1]Shuttered Zune :(
That certainly doesn't sound like a company that's poised to make a roaring charge in the mobile market. Microsoft's apparent about-face on spreading the Windows Phone gospel certainly looks to have a negative, short-term affect on Windows Phone and the Lumia brand. But then that's the keyword, isn't it - short-term.

Microsoft was definitely more aggressive when Windows Phone 7 was released. Ben the PC Guy (remember him?) faced competitors head on with the Windows Phone Challenge. There was the Rolling Thunder campaign that was supposed to reintroduce Nokia to America. Even Gartner predicted that Windows Phone would overtake iPhone by 2015. Which is true if you only count Brazil, Lithuania, and Russia. :grin:

Microsoft tried to win the smartphone war overnight. It didn't work. Now I'm quite sure that you could point to apps, carrier biased, marketing, and a thousand other things as to why Microsoft failed. And yeah, you'd all be right. But from this point on, Microsoft has to think of the future of Microsoft as much as it does the future of Lumia.

When people say Microsoft doesn't care about market share, I think that's absurd. Of course Microsoft cares about market share. Progress doesn't happen without it. Continuum doesn't happen without it. Universal apps don't happen without it. Giving Windows 10 away for free is a direct ploy to gain market share. Windows Central recently had an article about how Microsoft is trying to position itself beyond the mobile curve.

"That's why whenever I talk about Windows 10, I talk about mobility broadly across all of those devices. For sure there is a form factor today which is the below six or seven inches, which is powered by a very specific operating system instance of Windows 10, which is Windows Mobile. But what do you call that (device) when you use Continuum, and then you're using applications on a big screen with a mouse and keyboard? It's Windows 10."— Satya Nadella

Microsoft has in no way given up on Windows Phone. They want Windows everywhere and on every device. It's why devices like the Acer Jade Primo is bundled with the Continuum dock. Or why the 550 exists, so Microsoft can continue to attack emerging markets. Why Microsoft stores are still opening up all around the world. So yeah, I think they very much care about market share.

But they're also being realists. They tried to do overnight what takes a fortnight. Microsoft is recognizing that everything they want to do with Windows (tablet, phone, desktop) isn't happening in 2016, or 2017. They're building an ecosystem around the long haul, letting Windows 10 and Universal apps drive their mobile ambitions. They're shooting for a billion Windows 10 users because their ultimate goal is to be too big to ignore. And from there, Microsoft hopes that the apps will filter down from Windows 10 desktop and to their tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft is playing the long con. We're looking ahead 10 months from now and Microsoft is looking 10 ten years from now. Tthat's not to say that you personally shouldn't worry about market share. It is your money, after all. But there is a bigger plan in place. One that is designed to make Microsoft stronger before it makes their mobile efforts stronger.

And yes I'm well aware that a fortnight is only two weeks. I was trying to make a point. :grin:
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