Why did MS fail in the mobile phone market?
I'm surprised MS has given up, so why did they fail?
Microsoft has a long history of abandoning partners,
Neonode had a touchscreen phone built on Windows CE in 2003
but microsoft mostly developed their phone OS with Orange UK and left them missing deadlines when they didn't deliver on time.
The companies building microsoft phones then were mostly left buring without support.
Rebooting with Windows Mobile in 2010 was after both Android and iPhone had grabbed the market,
but that didn't stop MS from driving Nokia into the ground.
But on the larger scale, phone operators before smartphones had built up gigantic specifications and standards
making it a big effort to enter into the market only to deliver old, outdated technologies.
Android and iPhone sidestepped all that by providing the simplest phonefunctionality possible and then just connect it to the internet.
They failed to make the transition from enthusiast / professional users from the stylus and keyboard days of Windows Mobile 5 PDA's (the later ones with phone functionality) to the mass market adoption of multi-touch touchscreen smartphones that started in 2007 with the iPhone and then in 2008 with Android.
At first they laughed at the iPhone (there is a video of Steve Balmer of that) and then they took too long to adapt and made way too many break points along the way, which kept preventing adoption by both developers and users who wanted some continuity in their ecosystem. Windows Mobile 6 was still old-school and that's when they started to make changes, but the resulting Windows Mobile 6.5 only made superficial GUI changes in the main screens to be used with fingers, but the rest of the usage still had to be done with a stylus or keyboard as the GUI still hadn't been fully updated to the new paradigm.
Windows Phone 7 was their first serious incursion in the new paradigm, but at that point they were late (sales of handsets began in Oct 2010) and behind on features. It took them more time until Windows Phone 7.5 to add some much needed features such as copy paste and others, that the competition already had. Also, even though the system was now incompatible with the previous Windows Phone 6.5, it was also not fully modern and only supported single core CPUs. Then they went to Windows Phone 8, which was a much more modern platform, finally based on the NT core of Windows 8, but it again broke compatibility in the software ecosystem, at which point it was all too late. Windows 10 Mobile was supposed to solve it all with UWP (another break point), but at that point it was too late and the strategy of trying to use desktop users to the point of their frustration by shoving a mobile GUI in their faces starting with Windows 8, didn't work and the damage had been done. iOS and Android were too far ahead for developers to consider investing the time and money on a platform that had had too many changes in the past and was super late to the party.
I don't think that they gave up though. In a few years they will drop the NT kernel, and adopt the Linux one, at which point Windows will be like Android, built on top of Linux and at that point they will try again. Right now they are pursuing the "if you can't beat them, join them", so they are making their applications and services available on the competition, in order to make money, stay visible and relevant. When the time comes, they will make another push, with tablets and then eventually smartphones, even if it takes them 20 years, they will keep trying, slowly, but surely.
Interesting and in-depth analyses. Thanks.
I remember back when the Xbox was launched some people predicted it would fail against the long established Nintendo and Playstation brands, because they didn't have many meaningful, exclusive, launch titles outside of Halo.
Nokia still seems to be surviving.
MS on linux, that will be interesting.
The apps weren't as good, nearly as many, or totally compatible with the Apple or Android ones, and you were left out of most of the new ones. Left out of the groups of people who's phones could run the latest apps.
And they failed to deliver a real windows os on the phone, even though they had it on lower powered tablets like the HP Stream 7 that had an atom and 1 GBram.
My daughter has a Leagoo T5c that has twice (8) the atom cores that can run at the same speed as that tablet and 3GB ram and the battery life is normal for a phone.
The Zenfone 2 also had hardware superior to low end windows tablets and the Windows desktop os was never made available.
Windows mobile was always fake windows like a windows RT version 2. That also failed in tablets. You think they would have noticed.
I had a windows phone , I quite liked it , but the apps were limited and that really hampered the usability .
I definitely preferred it to my current Samsung Galaxy S7 P.O.S. I would sooner go back to a dumb phone , but I have already bought the Samsung and will just use it till it dies .Not a mistake I will make twice .
'The fast, powerful, beautiful Galaxy S7 phone is 2016's all-around phone to beat.'
Nobody is going to develop for Microsoft phones without reason because they didn't hold high volume flagship or midrange status. If all your phones are budget or low volume then you won't gain appreciable marketshare. There isn't an ecosystem in place for its success, without features such as google cloud / icloud , google maps, and facetime (google Duo on android).
Want to pay for something? Where's the ApplePay, google Pay, or SamsungPay? Paypal was never officially supporting it either. Skype is on Microsoft phones because they own Skype. There's not an actual Discord app on Microsoft's app pages since they needed to use a port.
Android holds the highest marketshare right now because they have flagships such as the $700+ Galaxy Note / Galaxy S series , $300-500 midrange phones such as the Google Nexus / Pixel 3a / Motorola One / LG G series and Galaxy A series, as well as budget phones sub $250 such as Motorola G6 that actually aren't absolute garbage (particularly Android One phones which run stock Android). Outside of the USA Huawei has a substantial userbase. It's a full product stack from high end flagships on 5G all the way down to budget phones using TFT LCDs.
From a development standpoint iOS is the best option because the number of phones you need to account for is much lower and people can't download your apk files and pirate them. Granted the app store is much more controlled which may lead to problems if your app gets kicked off the iOS store.
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