The alarms came on when one of its top officials, Joe Belfiore, answered questions from users on Twitter that asked if they should choose Windows Mobile for their new terminals.
“We will keep our support on the platform: solutions for bugs, security updates, etc. But we are not focused on designing new features,” he said.
Before the flood of comments received, Belfiore justified his decision to throw in the towel and “let die” Windows Phone.
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“We put a lot of effort into encouraging app developers. We paid them money, we designed apps for them … but the volume of users is too low for most companies to invest,” said Belfiore, who also confessed to switching to Android system for the diversity of its apps and hardware, following the example of Bill Gates.
It seems that, at least for now, Android and iOS will not have competition in the mobile platforms market (if Windows Phone was ever).
But what are the reasons why Microsoft’s success in desktops was not repeated on mobile devices?
1. Late entry into the market
The late appearance of Windows Phone, released in 2010, is a key element of its failure according to most experts.
“It appeared on the market too late, several years after the iPhone and when Android already had a large percentage of sales for different brands of cell phones, that is, it reached a market that was already collapsed,” said Jorge Mundo, computer expert and professor at the Universidad Mayor de Santiago de Chile.
Thus, by the time Windows Phone began to become known, the vast majority of the market had already chosen their favorite platform.
The purchase of Nokia’s mobile division in 2013 was another frustrated attempt by Microsoft to lure customers into its system. In the last quarter of 2016, according to studies by firms such as Gartner or IDC, Windows users were only 0.2 or 0.3% of the global mobile market.
2. Few “apps” available
This small number of customers motivated, as recognized by Belfiore on Twitter, the lack of interest on the part of companies to develop applications for Windows Mobile.
Thus, one of the biggest frustrations of its customers was to look for apps in the catalog and check how many of them were not available in the “Windows Store”. Or if they were, sometimes it was earlier versions or less functionalities than those available on Android and iOS.
According to data from March 2017, the applications available in the Windows mobile operating system did not reach 700,000. Apple and Google Play have up to three and four times more in their catalogs, respectively.
“Windows Phone was never anything to look out for – its inconsistent user base was not an incentive for app developers, which meant that the number of users did not grow, do you know anyone with a Windows Phone?” “Dennis Yu, an expert in digital marketing and technology, told BBC World.
3. Replicate the desktop system
Experts believe that Microsoft’s strategy to move some of the most successful applications and programs on their desktop to mobile was not at all wise.
“They tried to combine a mobile and desktop experience, without being satisfactory in any case,” said Dennis Yu. According to the expert, this foray into the mobile world “is the hallmark of Microsoft’s biggest failure.”
“No one wants to carry their desktop computer on the phone, and the phone is not a smaller web browser. The most popular applications are created specifically for mobile – making use of, for example, the camera and GPS – phone from the desktop “.
The latest model of Windows 10 Mobile tried to attract users by allowing them to run the same “universal applications” on both their PCs and mobile phones, but the concept did not work either.
4. Do not prioritize the phone market
That Microsoft already counted on areas of work and products as large and successful as the desktop Windows or the tools of Office caused that the company did not devote all the attention necessary for its immersion in the world of the smartphones.
Thus, it seemed complicated that he succeeded in front of a company whose top priority was a phone, as was the case of Apple with iPhone.
“Competing on phones is crazy for Microsoft when its true strength lies in the business environment,” said Windows ex-developer Balaji Viswanathan in a discussion of the Quora portal.
“I think the mobile launch did make sense at the time, as there were a lot of changes in the company – like, for example, the advent of Windows 8 – and it really was an attractive new way to use a smartphone. time, the little support from Microsoft and the scarce market made them finally give up, “said expert Jorge Pávez.
5. Differences in its interface
Another detail that seems to have not convinced Windows Phone clients is their user interface, with a not so friendly and intuitive appearance.
According to Pávez, “this operating system has major differences in the interface with respect to its other two competencies, so switching to Windows is a bit more complex for the user.”
“Definitely, from the consumer perspective, the Windows operating system does not provide as good an experience as Android or iOS,” said IDC’s director of mobile device research in Europe, Francisco Jerónimo.
Now it’s about to see if Microsoft definitely gives up the smartphone market.
Earlier this year, the company reported that it was working on a new version of Windows 10 that would run on all types of computers and that would allow third-party applications to adapt without having to encode a special “universal” version.
It was announced that the operating system would be launched in 2018.