Last weeks announcements that over 7,000 people were being laid off from Microsoft, mostly in the Nokia acquired mobile division, was the final nail in the Windows Phone coffin. Couple that with the multi-billion dollar write down of the Nokia business and, well, that nail is properly sunk deep in said coffin.
Make no mistake: I love Windows Phone. I have been using a Windows powered mobile device since the Pocket PC days and even before that in the H/PC days. In fact you can still visit one of the last H/PC sites out there, HPC:Factor, a site I helped found. But I left the platform in 2012 because of a lack of apps and direction. I came back in 2014 because it looked like things were turning around.
I was wrong. I’m terribly sad that I was wrong but I was wrong.
Over the course of the last two months you have seen a shift on my site. That shift has been more around Android than Windows Phone. The writing has been on the wall. Windows Phone is dying and Microsoft all but confirmed it was on its death bed last week. Sure there will be a new device or two for enthusiasts and developers but the cutbacks on devices should not be under estimated.
Microsoft flew the white flag last week. The war is over. Apple and Google won.
While Apple and Google may have won the hardware and underlying OS war on mobile, Microsoft still has a strong and significant play in the mobile arena. Apps. If there is one thing that Microsoft does really well it is apps. The hint, after all, is in the name (MicroSOFT) and the battlefield for apps and mind share around those apps is still very much up for grabs.
Over the course of the last year, basically since Nadella was named CEO, Microsoft has been pushing out and updating apps at a rapid clip on
Android and iOS. There is no reason to think this won’t continue and with services like Office 365 in the background, Microsoft can, will and should be a serious player in the mobile app arena. They have a significant range of apps, well beyond just Office, that mobile users can use and properly benefit from using. This is in stark contracts to Apple and Google.
Apple has tried to get mind share and user uptake on iWorks, their office suit. It has been minimal at best. Likewise, Google has done the same with their Google Docs, Sheets and Presentations services & apps. Again, minimal uptake. Why? Because Office from Microsoft is the standard by which all other suits are measured. There are things that Word, Excel and PowerPoint do that the others can’t and Microsoft, if they are smart, will capitialize on that big time.
Which leads me back to to the debacle, the mess and the utter cock-up of Windows Phone. Microsoft had a shot but by their own doing and some not of their own, they lost the Mobile OS war. Maybe it was the fact that the market couldn’t bare 3 mobile platforms. Maybe it was their dive to the bottom on device specs and price without releasing a flagship in over a year. Maybe it is all of it.
The bottom line for Microsoft is to turn their attention to the apps. That war they can win.
So long Windows Phone. I will miss you and I appreciate you.