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Windows Phone RIP? Microsoft to Layoff 1850 As it Streamlines Mobile Phone Business

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Microsoft announced today that it is streamlining it's smartphone business by laying off 1,850 employees, including 1,350 in Finland where much of Microsoft's mobile design and development staff is located. In announcing the restructuring Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same" and that “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.

I interpret Nadella's reference to innovation across "all mobile platforms" to means that Microsoft will accelerate its development of apps for Android and iOS that tie into Microsoft services like Office, Outlook and the Microsoft Cloud. But I suspect that we won't see the release of any new Windows Lumia devices. For current users of Windows Phone and Windows 10 smartphones I expect Microsoft to provide service and support for at least a coupe more years.

Many industry watchers think Microsoft is working on a new line of "Surface" smartphones featuring it's Continuum feature that lets users connect their phone to a monitor and keyboard  and use it as a PC. These will likely be high end devices primarily targeted at business (Continuum has relatively high hardware requirements). However, the latest round of layoffs suggest that those plans could be delayed or even cancelled.

Today's restructuring is the latest in a long string Microsoft failures in the mobile area. In the early years Microsoft achieved modest success with its Windows Mobile smartphones. But the launch of the iPhone killed that business and Microsoft abandoned Windows Mobile. Microsoft's answer to the iPhone (and Android) was Windows Phone which launched in late 2010, over 3 years after the iPhone and 2 years after Android launched.  Microsoft poured billions of dollars into Windows Phone but it never really caught on. They even purchased Nokia, their largest hardware partner, in 2014 for $7.17 billion when Nokia was on the verge of financial collapse. Windows Phone actually sold best shortly after it launched, attaining a peak market share of 3.6% in the third quarter of 2013. It's been mostly downhill ever since with Microsoft's smartphone market share falling to just 0.7% last quarter.

It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does next in the mobile arena, but it looks the Lumia era is over.

Sources: Microsoft, Recode, Statista. Image: Microsoft

32 comments:

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  1. I got tired of waiting for AT&T to release Win10 Phone for my Lumia 640, so I just sold it ($50 plus shipping, eBay). With this announcement, I wouldn't be surprised if AT&T just cancels the release.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You got for a phone you can get at Best buy for 29.99. Wow I wonder what dummy bought that one.

      Delete
    2. Well, there are plenty of eBay buyers who don't read this blog or shop Bestbuy.com regularly. No dumb, just not informed. And they can buy on eBay without a credit card that passes Bestbuy fraud checks.

      Delete
    3. I bought an AT&T Lumia 640 from Best Buy 3 weeks ago for $19.99, on a 4 hours flash sale they have almost daily.

      Delete
    4. Target has the Lumia 640 on clearance for $14.98. Bought one this afternoon.

      Dale

      Delete
    5. I am waiting for he Lumia 950 to drop to around $20 (its around $550 now) than I'll buy one.

      Delete
    6. Windows Phone has been collapsing for a year or two or longer.

      Anyone who has one. or buys one for $15, has a pretty snazzy touch-screen dumbphone.

      Delete
  2. I would like to know where can I port my number to for free or for the least amount of money possible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you want to port your number to one of the "big four" carriers or to an MVNO carrier? To make it easier to point you in the right carrier that charges the least amount to port your number, is your current service on a CDMA or GSM carrier?

      Delete
  3. To buy on ebay you still going to need a credit card or bank account to check out via paypal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't need a credit card (or debit card) to buy on eBay.
      The credit card OR a bank account OR a PayPal credit line are needed for a PayPal-confirmed address, to verify your account. Not all sellers require that, though.
      Without the card or bank account your spending, receiving and withdrawals may be limited (and eventually, PayPal will likely ask you for link a card or account).
      Without a bank account, you can't withdraw money.

      Delete
  4. I still want to buy the US Lumia 650. It's on the MSFT website, but not for sale. Only the international dual sim model now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cricket just started selling the Lumia 650 with Win10 phone. $80 off the list price here: https://www.cricketwireless.com/cell-phones/smartphones/microsoft-lumia-650.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. $120 with activation is way to expensive for the 650, I bet ya, it will drop to 20-30 bucks for Black Friday deals.

      Delete
  6. I bought the 635 for TMO used for about $20 last year and it was actually ok, I wanted to see Win 10 on it, but turns out that they shorted the RAM and there will be no updates. Pfft. The apps were abandonware for years. It's sad. My main complaint was a lack of ad blocking.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Microsoft should've adopted Android from the start and stuck to competing on hardware/services.

    Now both it and Blackberry are suffering for arrogantly betting on themselves.

    At the end of the day, app gaps and consumer disinterest really can kill platforms.

    Anyway, at least shills can finally rest easy knowing that they were wrong the whole time, and that Microsoft really has gone full retard after the release of Windows 7.

    Instead of having at least one thing they do really well, their grand achievement is making both desktop and mobile users universally hate the direction they've been heading.

    Mostly because they appear to be striving for complete obsolescence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nokia did adopt Android with the Nokia X phones, probably as a last gasp attempt to give Microsoft the finger. Nokia X also gave hackers access to Nokia-exclusive software that Nokia had ported to Android for the X.

      Delete
    2. I actually forgot about the X, mostly because my $30 unlocked Valiant (from back during the days of Metro's hefty instant discounts) made it irrelevant.

      Nokia...really shouldn't have hopped into bed with Microsoft, because they might've otherwise had a chance over the past couple years.

      Delete
    3. Nokia X was Microsoft's way of giving the finger to Google, not the other way around. Microsoft forked it and Elop the Scum put it on their phones, made it unusable. Nokia, HMD, and Foxconn together will soon show everyone what a solid Android device bearing a Nokia brand will do...

      Delete
  8. "But the launch of the iPhone killed that business and Microsoft abandoned Windows Mobile."

    I think a more accurate statement is that Microsoft killed Windows Mobile/Windows Phone with gross ineptitude.

    Question: How many developers put up with Microsoft's obsoleting the previous OS everytime they upgraded the OS?

    Answer: if you exclude the developers Microsoft threw money at, zero. Which, not coincidentally, is the number Windows Phone's market share is accelerating toward.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Microsoft has mismanaged their business but Windows Phone is a great OS. The Live Tiles are genius and Windows Phone is very stable compared with Android.
    Continuum could have turned things around if they would fully implement it and lower the hardware requirements.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Windows Phone was potentially a "great OS". It maybe have been designed well, but that didn't make it a great OS. The enduring lack of apps prevented it from being one.

      Delete
    2. Their business is doing just fine.

      It's their office culture that was fucked up.

      Stack ranking killed innovation, leading to the string of product failures that knocked Microsoft off the map.

      Even though they claim to have trashed it, that doesn't fix the damage done to employee trust and motivation.

      In the end, Ballmer did more damage to Microsoft than its competitors could ever hope to match.

      Delete
    3. "...Windows Phone is very stable compared with Android."

      Of course an OS that has to deal with very few apps is more stable than one that has to deal with a huge variety of applications testing the code in it.

      If you really want something with the most possible stable OS, get a deck of playing cards. Similar form factor, and nothing will ever crash it.

      Delete
  10. Waiting for the guy how says that real viable mobile OS's like IOS and Android are only good for "flappy birds" to come and chime in how Windows Phone is taking over the world.

    Sure, there was room for another viable mobile operating system.. a third one. But Microsoft was too inept to provide it. Remember, this is the company that also gave us Windows 8, Windows Vista, and Windows ME.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's all about making it easy for programmers to create great apps quickly. Apple's Swift is so good that IBM adapted it to Linux for apps that will run on their servers and Google is considering it for Android app development.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Developer interest is, first and foremost, just a measure of how successful a product is at any given time.

      In reality, it's corporate decisions that make or break an OS, even in consumer markets.

      It's just that Microsoft's corporate leadership turned the tech giant into Ballmer's "battered wife," which crippled their ability to innovate and compete.

      In contrast, Android's lack of Swift didn't stop it from dominating the smartphone market thanks to Google's brilliant marketing strategies.

      Now, while Android is poised to improve over the years, Windows Phone is finally dead in the water.

      Leadership matters most, and this is what happens when you put a rich, successful asshole with power, influence and anger problems in charge of something more complicated than a hammer.

      Ballmer smash, indeed.

      Delete
  12. Developers want their apps to reach new customers with minimal time and expense for reprogramming. 700k apps have been developed..If MSFT had given them early on the tools and training that are available now, the platform could have been much more successful. MSFT did make mistakes. By buying Nokia, they discourages other handset manufacturers from adopting Win8 Phone. And they really did not know how to be a successful device manufacturer and marketer when they began. Nokia has lagged the industry since Motorola developed the Razr - they were big, slow to make changes and did not focus their efforts. The iPhone was the last strike against Nokia; they did not respond with competitive smartphones. Most of their US carrier deals disappeared. They were doomed before MSFT bought them, and MSFT sure did not teach them anything. It wasn't just Ballmer's fault. The execs and planners in both companies did not plan or execute well. Hubris? Maybe, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Serves Microsoft right for that inside job they pulled off on Nokia with Stephen Flop. Nokia is much better off now and will have design and QA control over devices running a much more universally accepted OS. Long live Nokia!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The new owners basically bought the name, and the factory in Vietnam. The old Nokia feature phone portfolio and business is not worth much, if anything.
    They have a big challenge ahead, and have to really focus their effort. Only Samsung makes a profit on Android smartphones.
    New 'Nokia' will probably fail within a few years.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "And it's one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam"
    -Country Joe and the Fish

    ReplyDelete
  16. "By buying Nokia, they discourages other handset manufacturers from adopting Win8 Phone."

    I'm not sure this was the problem, though. These Nokia phones seemed quite nice, and were readily and easily available.

    In other words, I am doubting a lack of Samsung or HTC "Windows Phones" really got in the way of anything.

    ReplyDelete
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