Microsoft's smartphone failures may negatively impact its folding PC dreams

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Critics declared Microsoft's Windows phones dead long before its smartphones efforts actually failed. And they did so while the company was still actively "investing" in the phone-focused aspects of its mobile strategy.
Windows phone enthusiasts and critics know that Microsoft's commitment to smartphones was wanting. That reluctance to fully commit echoed through Microsoft's former CEO Steve Ballmer's infamous dismissal of the iPhone in 2007. The 2010 three-year-too-late introduction of Microsoft's modern smartphone platform Windows Phone. To a lackadaisical commitment to development for the platform (the world's leading software company could have aggressively and creatively modeled Windows phone app development), to CEO Satya Nadella's failure "to make Windows Phones if no one else makes them" promise.

Microsoft's brand is strong. Surface is succeeding. Azure is generating billions of dollars in revenue and growing profoundly. HoloLens 2 is inspiring. Microsoft Teams is beating Slack. Office, Dynamics and Microsoft 365 are expanding and Xbox and game streaming are potentially positioned to win big (if all goes well) in the next evolution of gaming.
Still, Microsoft's spectacular failure in smartphones, a computing platform that (re)defined mobile computing and birthed an ecosystem of apps, developers, carrier relationships, ambient computing and more may negatively impact folding PCs as part of Microsoft's always-connected PC vison. Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gave this indictment in a recent interview:
The greatest mistake is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is ... Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform.
The impact of this failure is already affecting Microsoft's non-phone efforts and the ripple effects may continue.

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