Skip to main content

The long-term effects of Microsoft's low-end mobile push

It was a race to the bottom as Google's Android One strategy and Microsoft's low-end Lumias vied for mobile market share.

Microsoft's faithful fans watched Redmond claim and desperately grasp the 3% share they held by way of this low-end approach. A strategy that necessitated a nearly two-year absence from the high-end space.

Redmond has now entered the next phase in Nadella's long-term mobile strategy. The low-end push is ended. High-end Windows Phones, the Lumia 950/XL, are hitting the market. Redmond's mobile strategy is now deliberately focused on fans and enterprise users. Clearly the low-end push had the benefit of getting Microsoft's mobile OS and its complement of Microsoft services in as many hands as possible.

But what other effects might this low-end push have had on the Windows Phone ecosystem in the long run? Particularly since many consumers of low-end Windows Phones weren't looking for a Windows Phone when they bought into Microsoft's ecosystem. Most of these buyers were likely just looking for a phone that they could afford, and a cheap Windows Phone happened to be available.

How does this particular reality regarding the largest portion of Windows Phone users, value phone consumers, affect the loyalty of that segment? (Windows Phone fans are a small minority of Windows Phone users.) And how does Microsoft's mobile strategy address the challenges their large low-end base may present?

Patterns of loyalty

Ericson recently released their Q3 2015 mobility report. This report revealed interesting data about the switching patterns of smartphone users. As most enthusiasts and even the regular Joe know, most people are fairly loyal to their smartphone platform of choice. Anecdotal experiences with friends, family, co-workers and strangers in comment sections of blog posts bear this out. Interestingly enough, empirical data from Ericsson's Q3 2015 report corroborate our experiential knowledge.

It probably comes as no surprise that 80% of iPhone and Android users are loyal to their respective platforms when they upgrade to a new device. What may be surprising is that Ericsson's report yield's that a mere 20% of Windows Phone users were loyal to the platform when they upgraded to a new device. Ouch.

Now at first blush that information may seem shocking. Keep in mind, however, that this report is reviewing data gleaned from a period when there was no new flagship Windows Phone available to which Windows Phone users could upgrade. Also, if this information seems to conflict with the perceptions of some of you Windows Phone fans who may assert, "Most Windows Phone users I know are loyal," please keep in mind that context is key.

As tech savvy, blog reading Windows Phone fans your engagement with other Windows Phone users is likely primarily with like-minded fans in blog comment sections, forums and on social media. Thus you, like myself, are likely to hear of more Windows Phone users that do remain with the ecosystem. This unique subculture in which we exist can color our perception of the larger industry if we are not careful to step back and view the industry objectively.

Consequently, unlike iPhone and Android users the Windows Phone fan base is a tiny sub-culture of the platform rather than representative of the mainstream user base.

The devil is in the details

Let's take a closer look at Ericsson's numbers. (I promise not to bore you). Specifically speaking, 82% of Android and 73% of iPhone owners are loyal to their respective platforms. Conversely, as mentioned above only 20% of Windows Phone fans are loyal to the platform. The data show that 60% of Window Phone fans defect to Android while 15% defect to the iPhone. According to Ericcson here are the monthly switching rates between platforms.

Android users:

  • Upgrade to a new Android device 1.7%/mo.
  • 0.3% switch to iPhone
  • 0.7% switch to Windows Phone

iPhone users:

  • Upgrade to a new iPhone 1.1%/mo.
  • 0.4% switch to Android
  • No data presented for switching to Windows Phone

Windows Phone users:

  • Upgrade to a new Windows Phone 0.6 %/mo.
  • 0.4% switch to iOS
  • 1.7% switch to Android

The above numbers represent normal market conditions. Of course, Apple's yearly launches of its flagship smartphones are seemingly a cultural event on a global scale that has an undeniable effect on the market.

Consequently, in the two weeks after Apple's September iPhone launch loyalties begin to shift.

Those users loyal to Android drops from 82% to 76% while defectors to the iPhone doubles from 0.3% to 0.6%.

Individuals loyal to the iPhone jumps from 73% to 93%. Yes, iPhone users upgrading to the newest device increased to 4.5% from 1.1%. Conversely, those defecting to Android dropped from 0.4% to 0.3%

Windows Phone users have also been affected by Apple's pull. After the September launch of the new iPhone, Windows Phone users who defect to the iPhone doubles to 0.8% from 0.4%. Defectors to Android remained at 1.7% while 0.6% stayed committed to Windows Phone.

This data presents us with a sobering view of Windows Phone's position in the industry that we have likely perceived but never quantified. The numbers are a glaring testimony that the majority of Windows Phone users are not loyal to the platform. They are not fans. The question is, why?

If they pay, they stay

Microsoft's low-end hardware push lasted a couple of years and put millions of budget smartphones into the hands of consumers who likely had no pre-existing commitment to Microsoft's mobile ecosystem.

Sadly, based upon the Ericsson report, one of the expected outcomes of the low-end push, users who buy into and subsequently upgrade within the ecosystem, is highly unlikely to happen.

When looking into switching behaviors per device vendor and model series, loyalty varied significantly between low-end and high-end models (irrespective of operating system). Owners of high-end models were much more likely to select a new model in the same series from the same vendor than users of lower-end models.

Apparently a consumer's investment in higher-end hardware is an indicator that he/she will likely have a long-term commitment to the platform into which he/she has bought. This is bad news for Microsoft whose user base is comprised primarily of consumers of low-end hardware courtesy of the low-end push.

It seems that it is the consumers of low-end Windows Phones who are moving to iPhones and Android devices when they have an opportunity to upgrade.

Apple's strategy to avoid the low-end and position its smartphones as expensive high-end devices not only allows the company to reap over 90% of the industries profits, but it also ensures that the vast majority of iPhone users will remain iPhone users. Loyalty.

Low was the only way to go

So was Microsoft's low-end push a mistake? No, I don't believe so. As a temporary strategy for a "late comer", who was building a new OS around a single core, with entrenched rivals ruling the space, it was necessary.

All attempts to establish a relevant market presence with high-end Lumia's failed. Microsoft needed market visibility for its mobile OS and services. Building large numbers (though not large share) by way of the low-end was the most effective way to accomplish that goal. The industry and consumers needed to know that Microsoft had a mobile play. Redmond's cross-platform app strategy complemented this low-end strategy of building the Microsoft mobile brand.

Sadly, the inherent lack of commitment to a platform consumers of low-end phones have in conjunction with a lack of high-end Windows Phones for nearly two years, has contributed to some Windows Phone defectors.

Still despite these challenges there is a strong and vibrant Windows Phone fan base. And Microsoft's current mobile strategy looks to turn things around.

Microsoft's shrinking slice of the pie

Sometimes when I do a big clean up in my home, the process can look counter-productive. As I'm pulling things out and moving things around the situation may look worse than it did before I started. But when the process is over, the result is pretty much what I set out to accomplish.

I am committed to our first-party devices including phones. However, we need to focus our phone efforts in the near term while driving reinvention. - Nadella

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO and Chris Capossela, Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer, have made clear that Microsoft's focus is primarily Windows fans and the enterprise. As such they have committed to producing two devices per year for these segments. They have also pulled out of markets that they were not succeeding in effectively retreating from the mass market. They've now retrenched intent on serving the targets mentioned above.

Gartner's Q3 2015 report is reflective of Microsoft's shift into this phase of Nadella's strategy. Microsoft's market share for the quarter was a mere 1.7%. In the same period where there was a drop in Windows Phone sales, and no high-end Windows Phone in the market, Apple, Samsung and other Android OEMs have continued their dominance of the market. Both industry-leading mobile operating systems iOS and Android have continued to grow with iOS growing 21% above market average and Android gaining 1.4 percentage points YOY.

Additionally, there was, 3.7% growth in worldwide mobile phone sales totaling nearly 478 million units. Emerging markets, a space Microsoft had found some success in also grew during this quarter. Windows Phone, due in large part to Microsoft's intentional withdrawal from areas of the market were not beneficiaries' of any of this growth.

Aiming high

As I mentioned in Microsoft is Committed to Windows Phone, Capossela is asserting the high-end segments, fans, and enterprise, are the areas upon which Microsoft is focused. This strategy makes sense when you consider the effects high-end devices have on a consumer's loyalty as mentioned above. Microsoft is trying to maintain/create Windows Phone fans.

But obviously we want to be in the phone space. We're excited about the phones we're delivering this holiday for those customer segments, but we're just going to have to work and make them huge fans, and see what comes next."-Capossela

By committing to delivering high-end devices to fans and enterprise on a regular basis, Microsoft ensures that there is an upgrade path for Windows Phone users. This may temper the defection rate of the low-end Windows Phone consumers while maintaining the commitment of the fan. As noted a user's investment in a high-end device increases the likelihood of long-term commitment to a platform.

Additionally, Microsoft is hoping that Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform will, in the long run, convert users to Windows Phone as those users come to love Windows 10 on PC. That will take time. For now, however, Microsoft is retrenched and focused on building its core.

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood put it this way,

"We launched a 950 and a 950 XL. They're premium products, at the premium end of the market, made for Windows fans. And we'll have a business phone, as well. It's a focused approach. I think we're not focused on what that growth will look like and should look like. We're focused on doing it in a smart way. And we're focused on the people who love our products and our experience."

Wrap up

As the Windows Phone story evolves, the chapter of the lack of high-end devices and an apparent obsession with the low-end (according to some) is ended. Redmond's current strategy is also addressing the negative effects of the low-end push.

As with all stories each turn of the page brings progress. We are still at the "conflict" stage of the tale, however, as we enter 2016 and rest our hopes on the App Bridges to bring resolution to the app gap problem. If developers choose to utilize these tools to bring popular mobile apps to Windows, the next phase of a likely phone/tablet converged device – the anticipated "Surface "Phone" will likely change the game.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

221 Comments
  • Thanks again for reading! I realize this piece presents some sobering information. But I felt providing this context along with some pieces that are in the works will give us a fuller picture of Microsoft's current position. This candid view in the context of Microsoft's strategy and potential growth gives us a richer perception and appreciation of Microsoft's unique challenges and the reasons for thier particular strategy.
  • Long-term? 5+ years?
  • What idiot is gonna be the first one to say "the sky isn't falling, people"... It's on the ground..
    ..
    Marketing... Marketing as well... Because, if MS managed to bring more people onboard, then there would be more room to loose people to other platforms. Not that this would be acceptable, but it wouldn't be as detrimental.... Now, with these high end devices coming so late, and being even less appealing, there isn't barely anyone left to keep onboard.. Not to mentioned that US availability sucks...
    ........
    WM is literally right back where it started in 2010.... MS better make a shit ton of high end devices, and spend billions on the best, most consistent, marketing money can buy. That's their only hope.... Until they do this, and it either fails, or works, I will always say that marketing is the root cause of all of WP/WM's problems....
  • Windows 10 Mobile is so cool, Rodney! Our community should praise it a little more, I should say. That's the best marketing!
  • I agree.. It is cool, although on the surface it's not too different than 8.1...
    ...
    But, a fraction, of a fraction of WP/WM users can't move anything... Do you guys understand that us fans are so limited in numbers we almost literally do not exists?... No, Apple, and others, do sufficient marketing, and MS should as well, or they deserve to continue to fail... Besides, why should we push a platform that MS doesn't even show they care about themselves?.. When MS starts showing pride consumers, and fans will as well.. They did it with Surface, so they have absolutely no excuse....
    .......
    The days of blind fanboism are over!
  • You see, Fidel and other 70+ people did what they did in Cuba... so let's not talk about minorities... lol! ; ) I'm talking about W10M :P. Users like me love the Windows ecosystem and won't jump ship. If we get a fraction of a fraction of those 90% PC users... That's clearly where W10M is heading. This is not blind fanboism. This is loving live tiles, the complexity of a Windows machine... I can give you aplenty other examples... I really really hate android and apple stuff. I can't explain how much.
  • You just said from my mind..
  • Dude!!! I feel that same as you do.. And, I'm thinking along those lines as well..
    Windows 10 is key to possible success in mobile, and I've never heard anyone argue that..
    ......
    This article is more about the reality, as a perspective, and truly understand the reality, and why the reality is the way it is.... All the hope, love for the platform, and dedication in the world won't change the state of the platform.... But, I do understand what you're saying, and I feel the same way.. I'm not going anywhere until I have a choice... The only difference is I'm not recommending my GF trade her iPhone for a 950XL.. I've been burned for 5 years... Actually, every one of us are clinically insane by definition. Lol.
  • Marketing is a big issue but of all the people that I know who left the platform did so for two reasons, lack of apps and lack of devices. All of them liked the platform but none of them would recommend it due to the reasons I mentioned. I like the direction of W10M and have been using WP since the beginning, but I'm not upgrading my 1020 to any new flagship devices until I see universal apps start to bring app parity, if the trend doesn't show as happening by mid next year I won't be on this platform any longer.
  • Lol.. Yes! Apps are a huge issue.....
    ....
    But, coming back full circle marketing is what creates awareness, and drives market share, in the end attracting developers, and more consumers, OEM's, and then completing the circle...... That's why I say, for the millionth time, that marketing is the root cause of all of WP/WM's problems.... Lol. It's actually quite funny..
    .... I don't believe in the chicken/egg BS phenomena.. I believe there's a direct, progressive, step by step, process to success.. Chicken and egg theory's are used by excuses makers, and losers... Lol. It's the pathetic truth..
  • THIS. Everything you said about marketing, I feel is also the culprit. As a person, who until about a week ago, was gung-ho for a Lumia 950XL, this is MS main problem with their mobile efforts. Their marketing is subpar, if that. It wasn't until I got hands on with the 950XL for an extended time, that I realized it wasn't for me. Using it I looked at my wife and said, "I can't give them $700+ for this phone." It's just for me, not worth the price of admission. Regardless, of the specs, because they match the market, its the soul almost, I'm speaking on. Currently using a Lumia 1020, that phone when released had excitment behind it. It felt exciting. The 1520 did too, as did the original 920. MS starts with a strong marketing push (well in those days) and then lets it fizzle out. Had they kept, pounding away, releasing phones, pushing specs and innovation, they wouldn't be where they are now. Regardless of the market leaders, people would have noticed, tried it out or even switched. These phones, while good, aren't what MS needs to light a spark. It definitely won't get people to take a swing at it, if it's only available on ONE carrier. For me, that was another hurdle. If TMobile would have been included to carry the phone, I'd have no qualms picking it up. But, when I need to shell out a stack of benjamins to play, then I have to sit back and think on the choice. I'm sure I'm not the only non-ATT subscriber fighting this. Either way, they need to get their marketing in the same line as their Surface line. Hopefully, this rumored phone is apart of that family, becasue MS has the ability to change the tide on any market they chose. This release right now, only on ATT and at a MS Store, is not the way to yeilding better results.
  • At least in 2010 the OS was beautiful.  Five years later, it's become or on the edge of fugly.  That's my opine.
  • It's kinda all over the place now,, when it used to have a defined agenda..
  • "Coming soon" (tm) Lol :D
  • Agreed, well said
  • What worries me about making low end devices is that it creates a decrease in respect for a company. When Mercedes Benz started making cars that would be affordable by the average Joe, the company loss some of the respect it gained through the years. When a person mentions a Bentley or a Veyron, we know what those names mean. When we now hear the name surface, we know that means high quality...that's the direction Microsoft needs to take. Stop the low end crap, and leave that to Google.
  • Bah I liked the article but I still wonder if we need all these "complicated" theories. I mean, I can't believe that Microsoft cannot produce one low end phone, one mid range phone with XL variant, one highend phone with XL variant. This is what they did in 2015, this is what they should have done in the past. This is what they should continue doing until other OEMs get into the game. This year 550 640 640XL 950 950XL Next year, if no OEM steps up: 560 660 660XL 960 960XL If they can create an intel chip for phones well that would be game changer, but if no big OEM starts making windows phones and no x86 chip is available then I don't see why they should not cover the market with ONLY 3 phones a year (with a screen and case variant  for mid and high end).
  • The claim in the article that focusing on the low end "necessitated" a nearly two year absence on anything in the high end was the first of many laughable statements. Much could and should have been done differently to maintain and expand market share beyond what they actually did. There is very good reasons for the extreme frustration from fans who have watched multiple bad decisions and neglect over the years slowly erode the prospects of what could easily have been the number two mobile platform.
  • Agreed. I don't know how effectively rereleasing a bunch of low end hardware has any effect on the lack of a flagship for nearly 2 yrs. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Agreed. I don't know how effectively rereleasing a bunch of low end hardware has any effect on the lack of a flagship for nearly 2 yrs. Just give up already if your going put in such little effort. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • From different angle, anyone else notice that these 'analyses' that pin the demise of Windows Phone on Microsoft's supposed tunnel vision focus on the low-end conveniently leave out any mention of the ho hum mid-range models that Microsoft also introduced during the past two years? 
  • @luxnws lol...thwnks for the input but this article is definitely not a demise of Windows Phone article.:-) It's actually just an analysis of the particular effects of one aspect of Microsoft's mobile strategy as the title indicates- the long-term effects of the low-end strategy. As I state in the piece I believe the strategy was necessary and had its benefits. Also by the end of the piece, under wrapping up (as well as my first comment in the comments here) I certainly don't believe that Windows Phone is dead. This was just a sobering view of specific data in relation to a particular strategy. As the conclusion of the piece allude to, the are broader aspects of MS's strategy at work that continue to support and perpetuate the platform. Thanks for the input!
  • Also, as is often forgotten (by Americans): Lumia 930 - which we had in the rest of the World. So the two year lack of a high end phone was "only" for non-Verizon customers - whom I understand had a terrible experience, so let's just say that the US was completely without a flagship. That still doesn't mean that Microsoft had a "low-end strategy", though. Why they never succeeded in bringing the 930 to the US (on AT&T) however, is something I'm curious about. I cannot believe that it was deliberate. The Ericsson report is Worldwide in scope, so the "lack of a flagship" argument for the (partial) lack of loyalty doesn't quite hold up, either - again given that the 930 existed in the rest of the World. One could argue though, that the lack of a flagship in the US had an indirect effect, because it meant that news outlets and blogs spoke less favorably of the Windows Phone device situation. I have read SO many blog posts and comments where people (understandably) bemoan not having a flagship - forgetting that we had them in Europe and many other places. Unfortunately, since American blogs and news outlets are highly influential outside the US, this could have had an effect on the perception of Windows Phones Worldwide. Not saying this explains everything, just saying it probably factored in somehow. I agree with Paul Winslow, that a high end as well as a high end strategy should be continued. It is not a matter of one or the other. That wasn't the problem, I think. One problem was a much too broad portfolio of devices. Instead of having a few strong models which could gain recognition worldwide, they opted to go with (probably forced by telecoms) these silly variations specialized for each telecom. This was the old Nokia strategy all over again, which was part of what killed them in the first places. So what Microsoft is down right under Nadella, is that they have cut down significantly in the portfolio. Have a limited number of models which is much easier the get broad recognition of while being easier to distinguish between. And one (or two) of these models are "flagships" or at least "premium" as Nadella called them. As I have said before, I think going forward, we will see that Surface becomes the flagship brand (metal, exclusivity, x86 SoC) and Lumia becomes the mid-to-low end brand (plastic, low price, ARM SoC).
  • You realise the 930 was released almost two years ago, right?
  • Lol...
  • He he, well, July of last year, so 16 months... which is also when I got mine :) Btw, the rumored and cancelled McLaren was supposedly going to be the new flagship last fall - which underlnes the point that Microsoft didn't have a "low end strategy" - they had a failed "high end + low end" strategy... The flaw in my argument is that they didn't succeed in bringing out the 930 instead of he McLaren in the States, which would have been helpful. Not tide-turning, but helpful. Either way, I am guessing we will see a much different take now that Panos Panay is truly running things.
  • @Jason_Ward "Apparently a consumer's investment in higher-end hardware is an indicator that he/she will likely have a long-term commitment to the platform into which he/she has bought. This is bad news for Microsoft whose user base is comprised primarily of consumers of low-end hardware courtesy of the low-end push." What about the mid-range Windows Phones that were introduced from 2013-2015 which are not mentioned in the above analysis? To me the red flag (or red herring) in these 'analyses' is the mention of the lack of a flagship as the deciding factor in the demise - er, okay I'll play along - the decline from ~5% in 2013 to less than 2% of the market for Windows Phone. If the mid-range phones didn't attract a wider audience, why would the presence of a flagship have changed the equation? The lack of the apps that consumers wanted to use was the overarching reason for the decline. If Windows Phone users could use their low end phones in everyday situations, for their social media pursuits, their banking, their traffic reports, their payments, etc. they would be using those phones today or looking to upgrade to another Windows Phone. The reason they aren't using their low end Windows Phones or moving up to higher priced Windows Phones is because Windows Phones aren't as functional or useful as Android or iOS phones for the vast majority of mobile customers. Simple as that. Back to the hardware and flagships. Okay, Microsoft has finally released flagships. So as an analyst, how many 950/950XLs do you think Microsoft will sell this launch quarter? A million? Two? :_)
  • I don't personally think a low end push is bad. In fact I think it's good... The problem is that they should've been pushing just as many midrange, and high end phones as well...
    .......
    When you're in the position that MS is in you don't have room, or time, to put all your eggs in one basket..where MS went wrong is that they failed to hit the average consumer up from every angle.. They gotta look at marketing (product placement) from a military tactical standpoint... MS has to learn to hit up the competition by land, sea, and air... They gotta be aggressive, forceful, and relentlessness.. Sounds an awful lot like Samsung..
  • Google makes high end devices.  What MIcrosoft should do is allow the OEMs to make low end devices, which is exactly what happens with Android. There are two ways of looking at this.  Microsoft could be the only manufacturer, as Apple is with iOS, or Microsoft could focus on high end devices and allow OEMs to address the low end.  And if no OEM desires to make low end devices, then so be it.  We need several years for these low end devices to wear out for the average device running Windows Phone to be a high end device.  There may not be any low end devices for a few years, from Microsoft or OEMs.  Perfectly fine with me.  But I don't think that Windows 10 is in a position where we can completely abandon low end devices.  If Windows 10 is going to require 1 GB RAM to run well and include everything that OS has to offer devices won't be that low end anyway. We need new standards.  No new Windows 10 devices under 2 GB RAM.  No new Windows 10 devices under 32 GB of storage.  That will prevent devices under $200 entering into the marketplace.  People will accept Windows 10 phones that do not utilize Continuum.  They won't accept Windows 10 phones that are stuck in "resuming" for several seconds, like the low end Windows Phone 8.1 devices do. 
  • Not much revenue in low end. OEMs usually make low end to spread brand name and high end phones to make money and marketing. Then again they should leave low and high end to OEMs with just a ultra highend model a year from MS. But until then they have to cover all market in my opinion (not with the 10 thousand Nokia models).
  • True.. Terrific point.
  • completely agree!
  • I agree... I said this years ago... I always said MS should position WP as a luxury brand...
  • Google has their nexus p line now. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "Apple's strategy to avoid the low-end and position its smartphones as expensive high-end devices not only allows the company to reap over 90% of the industries profits, but it also ensures that the vast majority of iPhone users will remain iPhone users. Loyalty". I disagree. What ensures loyalty is the utility of the device. Apple users truly believe they get the best (based on their needs of course) when spending their money.
  • It's part of the illusion though - they've done multitudes of studies that if you give someone something and tell them it's very expensive or the best there is, their perception will change and they will invariably agree e.g. they had $5 champagne and $100 champagne, swapped the prices, and the tasters said the "expensive" champagne was the best (but it was actually the $5 bottle). Chivas Regal came to the same conclusion, so they charged a premium price for what is actually quite an average whiskey - and people lined up in droves touting that it's amazing when it's not. Similarly, iPhone users (and Apple customers in general) truly believe they are getting the best, and will ignore any evidence that indicates otherwise.
  • Ok. Who loves Apple more? Photographers, journalists, artists... Windows environment? 90% of PC users. Then Windows 10 Mobile is probably trying to get as close as it can to the needs of that universe and say: hey, look what we did. Just for you guys! They are the same system, they talk to each other best, and so on. The ammount of work is huge though, and really takes time, one can assume. I can't wait to see W10M in 1.5, 2 years from now! This is really getting interesting, IMO. And Nadella said: we are going to make this happen.
  • 100% agree. Here in the UK everywhere you look you see people walking around with iPhones in ugly 3rd party rubber cases. How do I know they are iPhones? Because they have a special hole cut out the back that shows the shiney rose gold Apple logo. They think this makes them rich or cool even though everyone else has one. Its embarrassing. The UK apple TV ad for the 6s is super patronizing to anyone that has a brain cell, yet the idiots *cough* customers still camp out here on launch night. Why? Because Apple have nailed the consumer branding and marketing. People just think iPhone is the best. The sheep mentality is real. I feel like getting a 6s just to show everyone how poop it is. Seriously, taking to social media moaning how rubbish iOS is compared to Windows/Android.
  • A well read article again! Thanks Jason!!
  • I totally disagree with your opinion that the low end focus was NOT a mistake. Having spoken with many low end customers of windows phone a found many of them believed their purchase of a windows phone was a mistake because the apps their friend were using were not available... These customers are unlikely to EVER give windows a second glance in the mobile space again... Meaning even if the "app gap" gets closed those initial customers will never know because they'll never even check. Windows phone gave itself a black eye by trying sp hard tp drive adoption when the apps just were not there... The enthusiasts know about the app gap and are willing to deal with it... They should've focused on that all along until the app gap issue is getting close to being resolved.
    Microsoft should agree to make and support all important first party apps indefinitely... They have the resources (there would only be MAYBE 100 truly important apps that are missing)... Stop paying companies to half ass it and just inhouse the whole 9 yards... Companies get extra users (admittedly a small number) at zero cost.
  • I remember asking the question on WC ages ago that: If the low end is the right strategy, how come MS mobile market share keeps decreasing? It's not really rocket science, seriously!
  • You start out by stating that you, "totally disagree with (Jason Ward's) opinion that the low end focus was NOT a mistake." Yet, you then expound on how the app gap is really the problem. I tend to agree with you that the app gap is the main culprit for a lack of market share but I don't see how that explains why Microsoft's low end focus was a mistake. Is having high end phones without the apps people want really any better than low end phones without the apps people want?
  • Low-end focus was to close the app gap or at least make it less of a problem. It's easier to sell a $100 phone with "no apps" than it is to sell a $700 phone. Also, if you get mass-adoption of phones you get increased marketshare and that makes it too big for developers to ignore. I really thought we were going to get there with widespread adoption of Lumia devices... but MS buying Nokia might've been the worse thing that could've happened. Unfortunately the real problem is that Microsoft are too slow... they need to be quick and nimble getting their devices on-par with everyone else, and not dropping features before people get a chance to use it. The API's were locked down for far too long, and seemingly simple functionality was infuriatingly hard, which drove developers away e.g. push notifications were a complete shambles on WP7! It's hard to change public perception when a lot of things didn't work like the competition. They tried to cater to the happy-to-be-locked-down Apple crowd, but really needed to appeal to the "I can do anything" Android crowd.
  • I want to see unreserved passion from Nadella and Microsoft to (reinvent and) win in the mobile device space. I believe some of the recent defections can be directly traced to a sense of hesitation (if not apathy) on Nadella's commitment. Consumers know Android will continue, they know Apple isn't going to quit, but people are not so sure Microsoft won't leave the space. Why would a typical consumer commit to a Microsoft platform, when people question Microsoft's commitment? Say what you want, but that perception is out there. It hurts with apps (why build a other version if you feel Microsoft may pull the plug?) and users alike.
  • I read the whole article but I'm confused as to what this next phase of the strategy is? Surely Microsoft can't be saying that they have given up on the mass market consumer mobile market? Fanbois only and two flagships that sell is tiny numbers? Surely a better way forward is to either launch an Android powered Surface phone preloaded with MS apps (to get premium mass phone market) or pay for companies like Samsung to launch Windows smartphones again. HTC, Blackberry and Sony are all struggling, how difficult would it be for Microsoft to give some of the Lumia R&D funds towards working with these companies. Similar to the Google Nexus program. I just can't believe that Microsoft have basically thrown in the towel? What did I miss?
  • What a terrible idea..android powered Surface phone???
  • But it would sell, unlike the 950. The press would write about it. Surface is all about Hardware. When it comes to smartphone apps, we can't compete. There is no way a Galaxy S6 Edge user with snapchat, game of war and clash of clans can leave for a Lumia today. He/she would return the Lumia 950 in a day. The surface hardware inc Zeiss lens, powered by the world's most popular mobile OS (Android) with Microsoft Apps preloaded and Google Play store would be a massive hit. Perhaps Microsoft could offer two variants of Surface Phone, one powered by Windows 10 Mobile, the other Android. But this waiting game for Windows 10 Mobile is taking forever. Literary it could be another two years before those developers consider bringing their popular apps to Windows 10, in the meantime MS's share of the smartphone market continues to fall.
  • Let's call this - Third time is the charm. WP7 was the necessary reboot that Win Mobile 6.5 needed. WP8.1 was better. Buying Nokia? Seems necessary now if doing premium in house. Third time is Win10 Mobile and Microsoft getting it right. It took them a few tries with Xbox 360, Surface, and Xbox One, but all turned around and into successes.
  • Ummm, you forgot 8.0... Fourth times a charm.. SMDH.
  • Don't forget there were 7.5 & 7.8... 7.0
    7.5
    7.8
    8.0
    8.1
    10.0 But who's counting.  My favorite is still 7.5!  :)
  • I miss 7.5 :tears: Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If Microsoft had not bought Nokia there would probably no longer be anyone making decent Windows based phones at all.
  • Microsoft may have been better to give the billions they paid for Nokia to Samsung instead to make Windows versions of their popular Galaxy devices. I know that one Samsung Windows phone wasn't a hit, but that was a long time ago. I still think 3rd party manufacturers is a good option, but Microsoft needs to pay their developer costs initially to get the Windows Mobile market moving again.
  • Nice article Jason.
    Next probably you should write about Chris Caposella the genius.
    This guy knows so much about marketing as evident from highly effective and successful present and past campaigns by Microsoft.
    Or is he newly appointed on post and someone else deserves the credit.
  • give me the 950xl for FREE i will be your slave forever
  • I think the articles theory is flawed. Android has way more low end phone users than Windows Phone, yet they seem to be loyal to Android. It's only Windows Phone users who are switching in high numbers I think the answer is much simpler, Windows Phone did not meet their requirements so they decided to switch. I know this is something us Windows Phone fans find hard to stomach, but most probably this is the reason for the lack of loyalty.  
  • I believe it's all about the apps. If someone wants apps, he or she has a choice of high end only with Apple or high end or low end with Android. If Windows Mobile had the apps, I believe that the loyalty would exist. Posted from my Moto X Pure Edition via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Thank YOU for the article, it was very informative!
  • Funny, previously it was all "Microsoft know what they are doing with the 50 trillion low end phones they are releasing", now its another story and its all about the high end. Doesnt matter how you write it though, they failed in mobile because of their own incompetence in not moving their OS forward fast enough and making it competitive, and now its all over bar the shouting of a few deluded fanboys.
  • He writes the same thing over and over and over, just with different words and pictures each time.
  • @maktaba thanks for the response. Actually this Ericsson report is new data that I have never seen or written on until now. And was only published after Q3 2015. Consequently the effects of high end purchases on brand loyalty is something I've never written about. Incorporating that data into an analysis of MS low end strategy and their current re-trenching is something that I've only done in this piece. In truth I haven't seen it done anywhere else. Thanks again for your input.
  • You are too polite, give us some blood!
  • That data is not new at all. Here for example are the numbers from Q3/2013(!) up to Q2/15: https://picload.org/view/pidcgcg/customerretentionrateiosandroi.jpg.html And as you can see: The numbers are basically the same like for Q3/2015. So you're theory that it might have something to do with the availability of high end phones is just wrong (there were new WP high end phones in 2013, right?). Additionally Windows Phones have the highest retail return rate of all smartphones. Why do you think that's the case? Because people buy a cheap phone and then decide "Oh, there wasn't a high-end windows phone for two years. Ok, then I better give back my new phone!"? Of course not. They bring it back because they don't like it. Because the UI is annoying and "confusing" (Nadella's words) and because there are no apps.
  • Agreed!
  • LOL I guess no one ever said that not releasing an high end phone was a good move. We all complained and said it was a stupid move. Step down from your pedestal :) And we fans of the product do not shout, we just enjoy our 950 and see where this goes. If you already decided it's over, goodbye, wish you good luck!
  • Brand Loyalty. Sad thing is, because of SP3/4 & Win10, I have three of my iPhone using execs asking about Windows Phones. But we're Verizon, since ATT can't provide any kind of indoor signal. So, life goes on....
  • I've ran into that issue as well.  The idea of windows phones seems to appeal to a lot of people.  My boss did the same thing.
  • Do the 950 and 950XL work on any network, like the recent iPhones and Nexuses? I don't see why any high end flagship shouldn't be able to do that at this point. There aren't that many antennas to include. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The Qualcomm SoC in both does support multiple networks on other platforms. It's been disabled/removed on the 950/xl for whatever reason.
  • You obviously haven't been paying attention.  Verizon doesn't like Microsoft.  They likely would give users a hard time activating the 950/XL on their network.  As a result, Microsoft disabled the Verizon bands (and Sprint too).  The phones will work on ATT and T-Mobile in the US.
  • Cellphone repeaters? Skype for Business?
  • I need less hassle as an IT manager, not more. I'm not going to cajole ATT to provide repeaters at our 5 business locations as well as everyone's home. It comes down to, people see Apple, Moto, Samsung, and half a dozen other OEMs on all carriers. They think less of Microsoft for lack of that presence. S4B would be a hack for something that works natively on other pkatforms.
  • Low end models which are easily to spread bring few user that focus on the flagships
  • What if WP fan base is low because actually not many people are satisfied with it? I don't think it has to do with just being low end.
  • Exactly,I've been using their phones since W7,and the 7.1 was the last time I was satisfied. Phone wise it doesn't take much to impress me. Just work,Let me add Music,and a banking app.
    As time went on,they lost chase support,I'm sick of getting errors with their Music service I pay for,Lastly..the phones,The 1020 keep freezing and overheating.
    The 635 is a joke which I excused because it was low end.I was buying my sister a phone,I reached for a WP,then I thought,"get her a phone that works"..and end up grabbing an android. I want to like WP,but they aren't good.If the Win10/950s aren't good,I'm done.
    I'm feel like a blind Fanboy at this point
  • Sadly, we'll never know - as not many people have tried it. The low-end phone experience is crap, no matter what OS it runs. The vast majority of sales were these low-end phones. That is many folks only experience with WP. Not a great way to build a reputation.  
  • This. What if dine some people are switching because their banking app is not supported on WP? Or they can't use Snapchat? Or upload a video to Instagram for free like Android/iPhone users?
  • Ignoring the fans of the platform is always a mistake.  They're normally the most loyal, and the ones that people who looking for advice go to on what to buy.  If you don't keep them happy, the platform is doomed.  And thus the decrease in market share over the last few years.  The fans of the platform have not been happy, and many have moved on, likely to never come back now that they've made investments into other ecosystems. Focusing on the low-end was a mistake.  They needed to focus on the high-end, while making good quality low-end devices available.  MS really screwed up big-time with WP.  It's their own fault that the situation is the way it is.
  • I don't think the focus on low-end in the past months was wrong, considering the circumstances. The problem were those circumstances in the first place, i.e. having to wait for Windows 10 Mobile.  
  • Agreed. Win10 mobile wasn't ready and premium user wouldn't have been happy. My 920 is aging, and I've been Insider on Win10 and Xbox, but I've stuck with WP8.1 because it's stable. I've wanted to upgrade so many times to new hardware, but only now does the Lumia 950 XL tick ALL the boxes.
  • But it comes out with Beta software... There are reports all over that apps crash & resuming screen is still there... May be this time next year...
  • I agree (with doubledeej). They needed to produce regular flagships as well as go for volume at the lower end of the market. Having just the low end phones available builds an impression of Windows Phones being cheap low quality devices which will stick in peoples minds if they ever produce an attractive high end device. Very sad how badly they have performed.
  • Considering they had between 8-12% market share in some countries at the 920 going into the 930 period. If the mass low end production and ignoring the high end was so right, how come the market share dropped so much?
  • If they can make windows 10 stable, compatible and with good battery life like Windows phone 8.1 then I would like Windows 10 for phones else I will keep windows phone 8.1
  • Stable, compatible and with 8.1 battery life (or even better) on my 930. Receiving 950 shortly.
  • Well mine is Lumia 720( 512 MB ram) win 10 was hanging and lagging a lot so I reverted back. But the way windows 10 has evolved is awesome thing
  • Windows 10 and battery life is amazing on my Lumia 635.
  • In my opinion Microsoft should realize (and I think they already have) that WP is not likely to achieve mass appeal anytime soon, if ever. Instead, MS should try to find its niche to build on and be succesful in, similar to what they did with Surface, which is increasingly gaining traction after two unsuccessful years even at a time where surely some people had thought the tablet market would be firmly in hands of Apple and Google. I do think MS can build a successful niche with Windows Mobile as well, for which I think the enterprise market and Continuum (even more so if it allowed Win32 applications to run) are key. Let's see what they're up to with the alleged Surface Phone.
  • Nadella has already acknowledged that. He said, we are going forward, independently of OEM partners. That seems a bigger move. Windows 10 for free? For Mobile, remember? I'm so happy with both 950s. Can't wait to get one for me. Will be the first in line.
  • That's their stated strategy going forward. Their phones will be mini tablet computers running Windows 10 that can also make calls and SMS.
  • Windows Phone)/BulldozerO--O|
    I'll admit, I was able to get Windows Phones into the hands of my nearest and dearest, but right away my brother was a tool and got himself a low end android (he was a broke freeloader) and now after 2 years with her L822, my ex is going to an iPhone (her job is a Mac shop). So yeah, the loyalty is a joke, but I do see and understand what they're doing, even if it's hard for others to get. You have to raze the field, and then draw your lines again to delineate where you can make your stand, so even if the thin line of fans breaks, well at least they can try their final ground of enterprise, though they won't hold their breath on either, seeing as how fickle both of these people are...I'm in it for the haul tho and if all else fails, then I can just give it all up anyhow. =[
  • Although i'm gonna go and pick one of those Note Edge, I am still a proud fan of windows phone! :) Eventhough MS wasn't really focusing on mobile platform( as others have said it), but their commitment on bringing universal platform to almost all devices including WP really made me to keep being loyal to MS. :)
  • The problem is that they had so much time to develop a true flagship phone, and instead gave us a powerful phone that looks like a $100 device. I would give them a slide if they took the time to develop a mobile payment system, while they were so actively pushing low end devices. But no, they screwed up on that front as well. Everything Microsoft does on mobile part has been either in wrong direction or taken way too much time. One app bridge already failed, hopefully ios one will succeed, but knowing Microsoft they will probably take so much damn time with it, that when finished, people will not care about it. They have about a year to develop a mobile payment system and a car system if they way to stay relevant.
  • Say all you want but this HUGE GAP between high end and low end phones is gonna cost Microsoft too much. Mid Range devices are much needed in the market. Can't see any OEM push too much in favour of Windows like NOKIA did. Without a Lumia 750, 650 with latest processors (not 2 year  old) and a 1050 Windows phones will fall below Blackberry. Microsoft failed to create any excitement with their phones. I think they should leave Lumia as it was after the NOKIA deal ends and focus on a Surface Phone and try to make an X-Phone for gamers.
  • Agree with you almost totally, especially about the use of always old processors, especially in low and Mid range Lumias.
  • Yup, 735 sucessor is needed, people wil start very soon or they are already starting to upgrade from 735and there isn't device to upgrade. I would upgrade my 735, but nothing appealing is there, 640xl is too huge, 830 brings just a better camera, 930 is non available or too expensive with poor battery life.on other side, so much Android phones are there, better, worse, old, new, second hand, used, LG G2 is just little bit pricier than my 735, talking about used phones. If MSFT doesn't deliver good upgrade for 735/830, I don't see my self upgrading to Windows phone.
  • I personally think it's more of a combination between multiple factors. Like loyalty but also people stick with what they know. And getting people to switch from what they known to the unknown Windows phone/mobile might be to much to accomplish. Also whilst windows 10 mobile still needs to get the momentum the others all ready have it and are increasing it.
  • People aren't loyal because they miss the apps they see their friends use on the other platforms. If the apps were there, they'd upgrade their $100 WP to a $600 WP when they wanted a better camera, faster phone, etc. It's not much more difficult than that. End of story.
  • Will the Surface Phone/Mobile be the device for the enterprise market?
  • "What may be surprising is that Ericsson's report yield's that a mere 20% of Windows Phone users were loyal to the platform when they upgraded to a new device. Ouch."   It's absolutely NO surprise at all. Not to me. And for a very simple reason, which I've said over and over again in the last few years: most WP users were NEVER loyal to WP. They didn't picked WP because of WP. They chose it because of Nokia. Most of the WP users that Microsoft's mobile OS managed to get were Nokia fans and people loyal to Nokia, not to Windows Phone. As such, it's absolutely normal that, the moment you remove the thing they were loyal to from the equation - Nokia - those users will move to a platform of their choosing and WP clearly was never it. You can not deny that over the years many people said about Nokia Lumias "I really like that phone. If only it ran Android...". Those people were people that were loyal to the Nokia brand but not to the point of moving to WP for it. Others, like me, value Nokia more than the OS and so we moved to WP because Nokia moved to WP. The moment Nokia left the market and we no longer had Nokia phones, we were "free" from the bond that tied us to WP. And so many of us simply jumped ship to Android and iOS. Nokia was commanding the loyalty to WP. Not WP itself. I've always said it. As I did say that things would go downhill the moment Nokia left. And so it has been. You can try to blame the lack of high end phones for that. But you're being dishonest if you do that, because high end was never what drove WP even under Nokia. The big difference is that the power of the Nokia brand was able to move more people to buy low end phones as well as high end than WP itself.   I believe Microsoft has already realised that too. Which is why they basically gave up. When they say they're going to focus on WP fans and enterprise they're basically admitting the simple fact that without Nokia they don't stand much of a chance of growing beyond that. WP fans are the ones loyal to the platform above all (well, most are loyal to Microsoft more than the platform itself but I digress). Those also are the ones that will most likely be willing to buy flagships, even if realistically a WP flagship isn't worth as much as an Android flagship or an iPhone. Those are the fans. And notice that if Microsoft cuts down on budget phones and focus on high end phones for fans, they won't get any marketshare at all BUT they will at least not lose so much money as they would on budget phones. Then there's the enterprise. I highly doubt they'll manage to get many businesses invested in Lumia phones, but then again that's where I think the Surface phone will come to play. As I see it, with the battle for mobile relevance lost, Microsoft will try to cater for now to the remaining WP fans through the Lumia flagships and start moving enterprise customers to an eventual "Surface phone". As I believe WP will not last much longer and Intel-powered handsets running full real Windows 10 will eventually arrive, I think Microsoft is more concerned with preparing the end of their mobile OS and a move to true-Windows 10 powered phone-PCs. WP fans will still enjoy those as all the limitations of WP will be gone since the phone will be running full Windows 10, businesses will enjoy those as those phones will finally truly make Continuum useful and THEN Microsoft will have a chance of getting some users from other mobile OSs since being able to run full Windows 10 and Windows programs on a phone will compensate many for the lack of Snapchat and things alike.
  • If these numbers are worldwide I'd agree with your theory. If they are about the US, no, since nobody has given a damn about Nokia here for the last 15 years.
  • Worldwide. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Simply isn't true. I picked this OS because I loved the OS, especially when compared to iOS and Android. I loved the pinning, the live tiles, the simplicity of the OS, especially compared to Android. As a Windows and Microsoft fan, I can point out a few major things I think they stumbled on. 1.) When I bought my Lumia 920 in Dec. 2012 I commited to Windows Phone for two years. I knew what I was getting into app wise and I was ready and had faith in Microsoft and Nokia to get a true successor to the awesome 920 out in 2014. They released the 930 only Verizon in 2014. As Im on AT&T, that wasn't an option for me. As a Windows Fan, this seriously upset me as well. No true, easy upgrade in the industry standard time frame was available. I felt let down and to be honest, furious. Nokia and Microsoft screwed up and they shot themselves in the foot in terms of growth, sales, market share, loyalty etc. I eventually bought a 1520 which Ive been very happy with, but isn't something that looks like an iPhone or Galaxy. Which brings me to my second point. 2.) Premium feeling. Apple figured this out a long time ago. You can get away with subpar specs if you make it glitter like gold. Samsung eventually figured this out. Their plastic Galaxies felt like Fischer Price toys. If you can't make it feel and look premium, it's not. Lumia's have always felt plastic, cheap, and midrange. The HTC M8 is the sole except. If it had been a Lumia, it probably have sold much better. 3.) The low end phones. As a Windows Fan looking for my new upgrade in 2014, the only decent options were the HTC M8 and the 1520. Neither were the phone I wanted, though now Im glad I got the 1520. However, I would have preferred a Lumia M8 with glance, Qi, etc. I would have bought. But the WP market was flooded with crap low end phones. And not just 2 or 3. Almost a dozen. Where was my flagship? Ballmer was clearly all about padding market share numbers with crappy phones, trading a hardcore fan base, for a reluctant, crappy experience for the low end user. You can image my happiness with Nadella's new philosophy. I just wish it was in 2014. I truly think you'd be looking at 4% market share not 1.7%. Basically, Im here until the phones are just unusable. I went to AT&T and looked at the iPhones and Galaxies. I hated the Android interface still and iOS I have on my iPad. I don't feel the app gap really. I came away prettying up the home screen of the 950 on display so people could see how vibrant and functional the OS is. And determined to see this ride out till the end. The combination of Windows 10 and Universal apps, I think will give WP a niche to grow in. And I'll live here until it's just intolerable. But right now, I LOVE Windows 10 on my 1520. I can't wait to get my 950 XL. The other thug I came away with from the 950 and reviews is the XL is the right choice for someone like me.
  • 2) yep! Even Nokia figured it out, they developed McLaren which leaked with premium metal body and great design. But, MSFT had to ditch it. Just if they released it wothout 3d touch, with it's spec of 5.2" 1080p 2GB snapdragon 800, it would save a part in 2014 and 2015...
  • I wrote "most of WP users" not "All WP users".
    You had your reasons to pick up WP but you're part of the minority who are actually fans of the OS. You're clearly part of those to whom Microsoft released the 950.
    But the reality is that many people (most of them, probably) didn't pick it up for the same reasons as you. ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I thought Microsoft branded phones would sell more than Nokia phones but I was wrong, in 2014 when Windows Phone were still Nokia they had 3.7%, in 2015 they sunk to 1.7% with Microsoft's brand, which is pretty sad.
  • Of course not, Nokia is loved brand around the world, everybody wanted Nokia with Android, and MsFT is hated brand.
  • Not true where I live. Peoplebought Nokias 720 on contract because Nokia.
  • Because Srbija. :)
  • Branding virtually had nothing to do with it. It had more to do with fans having no true upgrade for three years, low end phones glutting the market, and Microsoft killing confidence in the platform by writing off the Nokia acquisition. Microsoft as a brand is fine. See the XBox and Surface lines. The bigger problem is just mismanagement from the senior level. I don't even blame the marketing teams, they've been given very little to work with.
  • It does have. Not a big part, but one for sure. If million people leave it because of Nokia, on 5 million sold devices in last quarter it shows as 20% of decrease. And yes, you are right, not having the true upgrade, absence of 740,840, 940,1030, all is maybe a bigger factor.
  • If MS is serious about their phone platform, they need to start advertising again.  They need to double down on effort to get app development.  They need to continue to entice developers.  With that said, their hardware and OS offerings need to continue to be rock solid and cost efficient.
  • What they need is: Marketing Stablise WP10 Release MS apps with on Win10 with feature parity Discount 950/XL by atleast €100-€150  
  • MS needs something to advertise. The 950XL will hit the stores this week. The 950/950XL are too expensive for many people. The 550 will be released with Win10M,  but there is no current timeline. This will represent the low end of the market, but there is no mid-range/business phone in site. Word of mouth is good advertising. Right now if someone was considering a 950 and asked a friends who uses WP if it is good idea, most WP user would have to say "I don't know. I think i might get an update in a few months." After the 550 is released and Win10M is released and stable on existing Windows 10 phones is the time to advertise. During the interim, MS need to incentiveize a hand full of key apps to be released as universal apps. (Incentivize is threaten, bribe, assist or but developers and pay to write apps for key services like BofA, Chase, etc.)    
  • Let me laught I don't seen any more end one in Chile than the 435-535
  • In Mexico where I live is the same story, I went to Black Friday last week (called Buen Fin here) and asked for a Lumia 640XL for my wife since her Android phone broke 1 month ago, and the salesman at Liverpool said this phone was not sold without a data plan, but I saw in newspapers and internet website that this phone was selling off contract.  I was so mad that nobody likes Windows Phone and I decided its time to abandon this shinking ship, instead I purchased a ZTE Android middle range phone for my wife. She doesn't like Google services as me, so we decided to disable all Google services of this Lollipop 5.1 device and installed Microsoft apps instead.  Its like running a Windows Phone but with an Android UI.
  • Lol good going.
  • You could at least buy some with decent quality, stay away from Zte, Huawei and other low quality manufacturers. What I know of, only Xiaomi and Meizu of them have ok quality. Hope that one serves her well.
  • Most commenters shoudn't forget that the world doesn't end with the US or EU borders. I'm from Brazil, and the low/mid spec phones are a necessity around here. I would love to get my hands on the L950/XL, but only the 950 is confirmed, and there is no information about the price. The best rummors place it around 800 USD. I'm an accountant and make a decent amount of money, but I can't afford a phone that costs almost my full monthly salary. There is a lot of Windows Phone devices in Brazil right now because they got the right price and beat the socks off any Android for the same price.
  • 550 and 640XL look like great phones for the money for the next months.
  • This right here. Im currently on a Lumia 640 and if in 1 or 2 years all MS has to offer is a high end worth a salary, and no mid-range device, I'll have to revaluate my option to stick with WP. The world doesn't end on US. BTW still waiting for Cortana...
  • I hope that Microsoft would soon announce support for New SOCs ( Snapdragon 415, 617, 618, 620 as these processors are not still supported by Windows 10 mobile) and would use them in Lumia upcoming mid range Smartphones. But, that's only I can hope. But, if Microsoft would use old Snapdragon 410 and 615 processors in upcoming Lumia 650, 750 and 850, I bet that their performance won't be much better than their 2015 Android counterpart smartphones, let alone 2016 Android counterpart smartphones.
    Let's hope for upcoming Lumias with Latest SOCs, I am also trying to buy a new mid range Lumia but the SOCs suck and the quality and design of them is not much better, even Android phones in such price range have much better design and quality, and always latest processors.
    Hope, Microsoft is serious about bringing best new designs for Lumias, and significantly improve the build quality of Lumias and their components, use latest processors even in low and mid range Lumias. From a blind Windows Phone fan boy.
  • It would be easy, not just to have Snapdragon support, but also MediaTek, Samsung Exynos and Huawei chips if Microsoft forked Android which runs on all these different platforms.  Intel is good on productivity devices, but ARM conquered the mobile platform long ago.
  • Windows Phone lost me with their low end strategy.  I don't think I'll ever go back.
     
  • OK bye.
  • I've been a Windows phone user for the last 4 years, and am on my 3rd device. What drew me was that I could integrate my phone with my Xbox system. Now I think the other OS can do it as well.
    What keeps me is the familiarity with the OS. Although it's getting tougher as Windows loses apps, and fails to pick up apps the other phones have. I lost my local newspaper app in the spring, and as a heavy movie goer, it's disappointing not to have the Scene It app that others have. Just yesterday I watched a guy tap and scan his phone for movie purchases, and couldn't help but think it sure would be nice if I was able to do that.
    And because of some of the above I think there is a perception problem with Windows phones. Some of my colleagues refer to my OS as the rotary of the cellular system for it's lack of apps and features and wonder why I stick with it. A perception Microsoft needs to over come if it wants to pick up new users, I think.
    But I still love my Windows phone, and wont be ditching it any time soon.
  • According to Gartner https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems Windows shipments are 14% while Android shipments are 48%, (more than 3 times).  And this is including Windows 10 desktop OS, since Windows Phone marketshare is just abysmal 1.7% in 2015. Windows is now in risk of falling to 3rd place since iOS is at strong 11%.  I'm a Windows fan, but Android is just too powerful today and all app developers/Game studios are building apps using Android, is time for Microsoft to think in Plan C and fork Android on smartphones to see if they can become more popular, they just need to hire a former Amazon employee who knows the process to fork Android and put a custom appstore like Amazon did with their FireOS which does not depend on Google Play services on their Kindle tablets which are very popular.
  • That's like a worst scenario. Why would they fork Android. There are thousand os of Android flavors, Aosp,aokp, pure, cyanogenmod, every manyfacturer have each own. Just get the one you want and end of story.
  • I think that they should invest in exclusive content for their phones in fields where it won't hurt their software market shares. I understand that they want to give their ecosystem products to every devices since there is alternatives for the consumers. If OneDrive is not on Android, others products can do the same job. However, I think that management tools for their server infrastructure could be exclusive to Windows Phone. I don't see a company changing their Exchange server because Android or Iphones doesn't have the official management tool for it. Same thing with Active Directory, Sharepoint, SQL, etc. But it could convince IT pros to switch to get these options. And of course they could be Universal Apps so they could take advantage of Continuum.  
  • Moral of the story is, you can't have a mobile platform that doesn't have a high-end flagship phone for a couple of years. While I understand the push for low end phones, why couldn't they release high end flagship phones at around the same time? Loyalty to a product is only limited to fanboys. Other people, especially those that can't afford a phone every year, will get a phone that "simply works". People were jumping ship to iOS and Android because they provided phones that at that time works for their current needs/situation, not because they were disloyal.
  • Great article, unfortunately Microsoft's game changer is always coming soon or around the corner. But I'm a jaded WP Fan since 2010 that couldnt hold out long enough for the 950xl.....I chose to switch to android and sit this round of "this is the savior" moment out and watch from a distance for this round.
  • Even if Windows store has all the apps, people will not convert. While it's true that Windows phones are fast and user friendly, the only way that people will CONVERT to Windows phones is if it offers something BIG. And right now, Microsoft has that big thing on the software front. It just needs to match that on the hardware side. Put Intel atom chips in smartphones, and run full Win 10 on them. They can even ask Intel to design a chip like this. This is what Apple did in 2007, this is what Microsoft needs to do today to CONVERT people. They need an blast to shake people off.
  • Got a 950 yesterday and I haven't found anything that is not flagship on this device. Windows 10 is here to stay. Mobile will take time to take off, but I have no doubt it will. This is a marathon and I'm in it for the long run. Did the low end strategy hurt? I don't think so. It make more people use MSFT services and as I said before, services are what will bring people to the platform.
  • "Mobile will take time to take off, but I have no doubt it will" I said the same exact thing 3 years ago when I bought my flagship Lumia 900. 
  • And there has been a substantial progress in the three years. Maybe just not substantial enough, or the competition prpgressed even more.
  • Progress in the platform, yes. Progress in the market share, no.
  • Good, since I use the platform, not the market share.
  • It's undoubtedly in a better place than it was. I couldn't justify buying a windows phone back then, but now it has all of the apps I need and more. Really nice ones too. It's a decent time to buy into the platform, but it's important to buy it for what it is today and not on promises that may never happen.
  • Eh, I played with the 950 at AT&T. It's pretty nice, but wish it was metal. Also, I couldn't find double tap to wake. Im gonna grab the XL, but the 950 is nice.
  • Good article, interesting analysis. Of course, only time will tell, but I trust in these solid long term strategies. It's Microsoft, after all, not a small startup which need sto burn like a star to just exist.
  • Let's see if I get the numbers right: every month 0,7% of the huge number of Android users (say 80% market share) switches to Windows Phone. Meanwhile, 2,1% of the very few Windows Phone users (say 2-3% market share) switch to something else. That means Windows Phone market share should be growing 0,5% each month?!
  • Another aspect is that it let them use the capacity and parts they inherited from Nokia while they consolidated. If I recall, aren't the 435 and 532 based on the old Nokia X devices?
  • Remember what was a moderate success for Windows Phone - the Nokia Lumia 520/521 introduced in 2013. Microsoft tried to build on that momentum after it bought Nokia but their product lineup was a mess. There were so many different unimpressive new low end models. I still remember lol'ing when I read about the phone with 4gb memory. You could tell by late summer early fall 2014 that they were floundering. Microsoft didn't provide any upgrade path for the 520/521 crowd. It wasn't the lack of a flagship. It was those lackluster mid-range models (from a hardware perspective, app gap notwithstanding) that were the final nails in the coffin. Also, none of the new low end models were interesting enough to displace the 520/521 even after a year. I remember the 520 going for $49 on Amazon during Christmas 2014 and it was the best selling Windows Phone even outselling the new 640. 2014 was pretty much a wasted year for Windows Phone. Beginning of the end.
  • I have been having troubles finding a good upgrade for my contract phone. I'm at the point of thinking to grab an S6 or LG something to sell it and buy the 950 XL which seems that will never land in my carrier as the low end WP selection and existences are shrinking.
  • I see a "Surface Phone" being the last stand for Microsoft in mobile phones.  They are well positioned for life after "Windows Phone", but I hope it can survive.
  • Why do articles at WC continue to neglect the obvious which is the value proposition of WP hardware?  Yes, I can get a Nexus 6p for $500 unlocked with the same amount of RAM as the 950 but the camera is not as good.  WP always has something better, in terms of specifications, if you play your cards right that you can purchase for cheaper for the equivalent Android device. That is what brought me to WP.  I didn't care about the platform at all.  I knew that apps would be missing. Software is an interesting differentiator but it doesn't fully address the appeal of WP.  There are low end enthusiasts that want WP for reasons that do not appeal to users that need their hand held through the dissapointment of whatever is lacking in the platform. Windows was always for tinkerers and hobbyists.  WP is the same way.  You come to it looking to experiment, not to have all of your questions answered.  If Microsoft takes that away from us, by severely handicapping the process and only manufacturing high end equipment it destroys the spirit.  It destroys the community.  I don't want another Apple, where everything is high end, because no one has the patience, tenacity, or will, to deal with anything that does not make their head explode.  I don't want Microsoft informing me how I should use my phone.  Leave the low end devices alone, or at least get some OEMs to make them or create a low end label to handle those devices.  I was under the assumption that the Lumia brand was going to stick around for that purpose, that obviously is not the case.  I am probably not the consumer that Microsoft wants.  I am only going to pay when I have to.  I'll find workarounds and other ways of doing things to address what I don't like, rather than complain or the hand wringing that goes on in these forums, over Groove Music, or the camera app, or OneDrive, Office, whatever.  But you need those consumers around because they're actually more loyal, even though they don't spend as much money.  They're the consumers that are the most passionate about the platform.  Everyone else will just leave when a cooler way of doing things comes around.
  • People defected due to bad communication by MS. Time to market is too long, the OS has barely added new functionality and MS has a tendency of alienating app builders, consumers and telephone operators by changing strategy every year and abandoning products that their partners, consumers and app builders commited to. Over the past two years Microsoft convinced me more than once that they abandoned WP, and even now I don't have the confidence that their mobile OS will still be around a year from now. If I feel that way I understand why app developers and OEMs don't commit to windows phone. MS actions over the past years don't show a lot of commitment to its own OS. Better MS products on android and IOS, windows 10 mobile is barely acceptable, hardware is ok but not top of the bill, app situation sucks and always the feeling that MS will change their mind and pull the plug on our OS in 2016. I fully understand what's going on. I converted a lot of people to windows phone but most will switch to android when they have to get a new phone. Not because they are unhappy with their phone, missing out on 95% of the local apps is the key reason. The consumer market is lost, the business market is willing to adopt WP. But most likely MS will find a way of killing that market as well, shooting themselves in the foot is one of the key qualities of MS. I hope for the best but fear for the worst.
  • I agree with much of what you said. As a developer though, I have no plans of nor utilizing Windows 10 to the fullest. Even IF Microsoft gives up on mobile (which I don't believe) I code for Windows 10. That is the beauty of it. I address 3 device family by default. If one of them turns out not to pay off, there are still 2 left.
  • Nadella needs a 3-Plan strategy. 1) Launch a Xbox phone (consumer) & Surface phone (enterprise). These two brands are already popular premium brands in consumer hardware. 2) Reserve Lumia brand for low end / emerging market. The Lumia brand is too watered down now to command premium. 3) Team up with Partners Samsung for 3rd party phones such as the Galaxy brand. Come on Microsoft, don't give up!
  • I think MS needs to make a phone that's on par with newer android devices, everyone I've talked to looked at the specs of the 950 and 950xl and laughed at it because android already did what that phone does years ago,if they can make something that even exceeds any new iPhone or android phone then that may entice devs to come over to their platform to develope apps and games that people want finally,if they can do that then WP may actually thrive longer than lots of people expect it to.
  • Can someone explain to me how Microsoft expects to sell Windows 10 Mobile and any 950's to the public with zero advertising support? 
  • It would be sad if the 950 and 950XL are the high end enthusiast devices. As a fan who has had them in hand, they look and feel generic. If those are high end, is the Surface Phone going to be mid to low? Talking to developers, so far bridges is only having a small affect because if they ignore Windows for apps they don't ignore their userbase. With 97% of the market having Android or iOS they can still support their userbase without bothering with Windows. Microsoft still has a chance to get back into phones with hybrids and tablets. Windows still has a lot of pull and if they can get other vendors to make compelling tablets and hybrids that get more people using apps, mobile could benefit. Problem is as nice as the Surface series is, so far it hasn't had enough pull by itself to accomplish this. Hopefully this situation will improve.
  • Interesting to see whether Nokia designed and branded phones coming late 2016 will outsell Nadella phones.
  • In the other news: Microsoft just updated Skype for iOS.
  • They updated it for WP day before yesterday.
  • What feature was removed?
  • Updating for WP isn't the same as updating for iOS or Android. In the latter case, usually a new feature is added. In the former, either a feature is removed or if it is added the app becomes unstable.
  • Here's my ten cents.... I think MS made a mistake when deciding to postpone the flagships because of Windows 10 mobile. It's devestating to see how badly the well dried during the long wait and market share dropped to a nearly invisible 1,7%. Now that the flagships are here, one can ask if the wait was worth it. There are no masses of consumers out there that care for Windows 10 mobile. Only the ever shrinking group of fans. Even MS says that these phones are for the fans. The sales were never going to explode the banks, yet they still decided to wait with the flagships. They should have released these last summer with 8.1 inside and fight the falling marketshare. Now would be the time to update old hardware and just promote the new OS-update. Or even better, they could have let a partner like HTC to be the first to release a windows 10 phone out-of-the-box. Now they have a lot harder times ahead to try to draw people back....good luck with that. Windows 10 mobile is yet again a restart and people are told again to wait for things to get better. The problem is that I use my smartphone today and the competition is again further away than a year ago. 
  • Agree 100%.  All they had to do was put a better processor in the 830 and they would have had an impressive flagship phone to hold us over.  I would have purchased it in a heartbeat and then planned to upgrade to the Surface Phone whenever that arrived.  They really missed an opportunity there, in my opinion.
  • When I read through these comments I find that most of the usernames are familiar to me. Are we really so few?
  • Great article Jason!
      I have to admit, I think MS failed with the low end strategy. The reason lies in the useness of those smartphones. I have a Lumia 920 and whatsapp never was fluent. Even with windows 10 it's not fluent.  In comparison, a friend of mine has a Galaxy S3 plus or something (a device slightly better than the normal galaxy s3, he bought it for around 240€) and starting whatsapp takes about one second. On my Lumia 920 it is slightly more than 3 seconds. So basically, what is the reason people buy low end phones? In a normal 1st world country, mostly people who only want a phone with a messaging App and Apps which are mostly used on a daily basis like maps, internet browser, transit apps, RSS reader. Those Apps are really really small and never started on my Lumia 920 as fluent as on Androids with similar hardware and price. I think that's the reason low end consumers will only have one Lumia.  PS: I have to admit, I don't know if a Lumia 535 starts whatsapp faster than my Lumia 920, but as a Flagship model, I think the start times for the smallest Apps are embarrassing and this is the reason I'm thinking of changing to other plattforms. 
  • I really don't understand why the low end push of the last few years is regarded so negatively. Sure, perhaps there were too many overlapping low end Lumia devices released like the 435-532-535 that just created a mess. However, the very fact that affordable Lumias are a better bang for the buck in comparison with similarly priced Androids was the very reason that led me to choose WP, specially after the bad experience with my first 2 low end Androids. I already knew WP had no apps beforehand, but that didn't stop me from buying a Lumia 630. And the experience was so good even with only 512MB RAM that it was enough for me to purchase the L640 later on. I don't know why everyone thinks the budget market hurts WP and only a flagship can save it. Not everyone is willing or even can afford phones worth a salary, regardless of it being Apple, Google or MS. I have no intention to upgrade to Lumia 950, however I do want to remain loyal. If Microsoft drops the affordable segment entirely, that's exactly what would leave people like me who actually like and support WP with no other option but to jump ship to something else. Why throw away the market share they managed to conquer, with the low end strategy, however small that may be globally, and please only high-end. Hey, I'm a fanboy too. But I don't need a flagship. Do I count for Microsoft???
  • Thank you. You nailed it. I think the flagships are cool, but no interest in actually having one. They do great for the affordable segment and not having their phones be complete trash in that area.
  • Microsoft's core business is Enterprise!!! and Function!!! will always rank higher in their design than Form. Having a metal body that limits file space and battery use is not a big seller in Enterprise. As for all Microsoft products they have been created for people who actually use the device in a productive manner..
  • Office was never priority to sell Windows phones. Been stagnant since WP7 and better in iOS/Android for a long time. Now maybe things will get a bit better but too late to have any impact.
  • Very interesting article. I agree on that the low end strategy was not a mistake. I wouldn't have a WP if they hadn't affordable phones. I have never spend more than 200€ on a phone. I had the 620, then the 730 and now the 640XL and they are all great phones! And they are not too expensive. The REAL problem for WP and loyalty are APPS: Most people people that buy a cheap smartphone just want some apps, apps they know, because there friends, family or children have them. And there is the app gap. Sure, right now there are more apps than before but the major problem is the app quality! Compare the most used apps between Android, iOS and WP! I am a WP fan and love the design, simplicity and stability of the OS. But most people see that their friends etc have different and more functions in the same app on Android and maybe iOS. So most will decide to switch when they can. This is what I think the main problem. The app quality! And then to a minor extent the app gap. What makes me, as a fan, also a bit angry, is that even the Microsft apps are better on the other platforms. Outlook, Office, Skype, Onedrive... you name it. I totally understand that they want to be where they can earn money. And that is the most used platforms, Android and iOS. So they have good apps there. But why not make them at least equal in terms of functions for their own mobile OS? And we could asl also: Why should anyone choose WP if all the apps, even the MS-apps, are better on other platforms? Why should they care if MS doesn't (seem to) care? I haven't tried W10M yet, I don't know if MS-apps on the new OS can compete with their services on the other platforms. But even if it is the case, how will people know? And will the give WP a second chance?
  • Ok I really don't think the low end push is or was a mistake, yes you will get defectors because the other two operating systems are so big. Some of the sales guys don't help either.
    Ms need to sharpen up their marketing skills even further. It's a great os and they need people to see it it's moving forward tech wise and it's more secure than android.
  • I guess the right strategy in hindsight was to produce and release high end devices first in order to create a buzz or create a demand such that, those in the lower end markets would seek out something that looked like the flagship devices, only a lot cheaper.  MS went with producing a whole bunch of lower end devices first hoping it would catch....it didn't.  Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20.
  • Not coming out with next version of 640 and 640XL is a big mistake. They should have came out with faster process update for both of those models. Not everyone is going to shellout 600$ for phone. Deverlopers don't go after smaller marketshare. Reason microsfot appstore is OK for non US market is because their > 10 % marketshare and I see that also going down. One thing Satya need to undertsnad , if there is no mobile presece for microsoft there won't be Microsoft. Things are going towards full mobile and don't giveme this BS for services, as if you don't have your own OS those advantages will also go away.
  • Feeling sad after reading the article. Just recently bought a 640xl
  • Windows10 would be awesome and be better than any other no need to feel sad
  • Aw please don't feel sad. Enjoy your XL, I'm still enjoying its little brother!
  • All I phone users are mad !! Apple is copying everything they like from others!! Like they copied living images , yeah 3d touch never came to market from Microsoft but yeah that was Microsoft's idea and Apple copied it !!
  • It's time for everyone to admit that the "Go low-end" strategy failed, miserably. Windows Phone marketshare didn't expand, it contracted. Contrary to what the article states, Windows Phone was no longer new to the smartphone arena, when it started pumping out low end phones. It started around the time they launched WP8.1.
  • If there was no low end strategy, there wouldn't be people like me using WP and there wouldn't be any WP relevance whatsoever, such as >10% market on Ukraine, Russia, Brazil and others and even overtaking iOS in some of them. Could you people just be aware that the world doesn't end on US? This fanboy only enterprise only strategy without accompanying affordable device like Lumia 650 is a big mistake, because it is basically throwing this market share back to Android.
  • This. Also the idea of spending a lot of money to try a foreign OS is kind of...lol no for me. Foreign meaning it's totally different to me.
  • Don't agree with you, windows market share contracted after they stopped coming out with good low end phones.
  • I hate seeing the whole "MS was late" -thing, they weren't, they were slow. Even the low end push needed to happen 2-3 year earlier, when there were still a relatively large amount of adults not using smartphones. Even with the introduction of WP8, where MS broke API compatibility and user trust, they had a chance, but wasted it by fragmenting their own platform (W8 vs WP8), and not supporting industry standards (OpenGL ES). Constantly being late on SoC -support certainly didn't help. Most of all, the platform itself never communicated a reason for its existance other than MS wanting to have presence in the mobile space. There were some cool ideas, sure, but they were never taken to the point of usefulness (hub-integration could have been the preferred way for service developers to create apps, had there been a well designed open API, Live Tiles are little more than glorified icons [although secondary tiles were a good idea]). The lack of high end users is a symptom, not a problem.
  • Thank you!!! There's a lot of revisionists' history being told lately.
  • Open GL sucks.
  • Doesn't matter, they should have supported it in WP8. Missing it wasn't the greatest obstacle, but it all adds up. Especially early on, mobile development was small-scale and any significant re-investment was not desireable; it took a very long time for 3rd party game engines to have proper support (they still don't support WP that well really).
  • Well said man. I really love windows phone, but they need to get their shit together.
    If onlu there was a few more apps that I need AND a upper mid - range device (lumia 640 is a tad weak for me), I would have HAPPILY gotten that device.
    But here I am with my Galaxy E7 Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • FWIW, I know about a half dozen people, who, in the last year or so bought low end Windows Phones, Lumia 530s - 640s.  Without exception, they are all now running higher end Android phones.
  • Because of the OS and app gap. Of course if they miss key apps, they won't buy an expensive WP. However lower market is willing to overlook the apps missing if the affordable device provides value for the money. No one is saying Microsoft has to release hundreds of budget Lumias, but appealing to flagship only will just make whatever market share they had to disappear.
  • Carrier subsidized smartphones are so common in the US, most users can't tell you what the non-subsidized price of their phone is. So the difference between high end and low end smartphone pricing can convoluted in the US.
  • There were two problems with the low-end strategy: (1) way too many low-end models with too much overlap between them, and (2) it came at the expense of any mid- and high-end models over the last year+. Microsoft and/or their partners need to hit the low-, mid-, and high-ends on a regular basis, say one per quarter. And then we need work on that announce-to-availabilty duration. All said and done, I really hope Microsoft's new stategy of pulling out of less successful markets doesn't lead them to stop selling phones for the US market.... I really don't know where I'd go, because neither iOS nor Android really appeals to me.
  • If there business phone is the surface phone, should I wait until next year or get the XL now?
  • I don't like the word premium, the 950 feels exactly like my 640xl feels cheap like a $299 phone
  • Appreciate the well researched article. But I can't help but separate the subject of "Low End" mobile devices and the Loyalty %'s of Iphone customers. How can Iphone customer data even be considered?  Although it is completely believable that Iphone customers have a high loyalty percentage, comparing that percentage to Low End loyalty of ANY other brand is apples\oranges. Apple doesn't have a low end market. They have ZERO % market share of Low End!  Nada. Having said that, I am not defending Microsoft when I say that I am STILL amazed at how spectacular their 2 year old flagship is when compared to any other competing flagship. The venerable Lumia 1520 running on 10586 W10M is, for me, STILL a flagship performing Beast! And a low-end brand new Walmart Lumia 640 running that same build of W10M is a mindblowing value. In any developing country (code for lower income consumers) this package will deliver up-to-date current technology for entry level dollars. In my opinion it can stand toe to toe with anything out there. It's kind of sad that it is such a well kept secret. SnapChat is the bane of reality-perception! LOL 
  • "Apple doesn't have a low end market. They have ZERO % market share of Low End!" Apple took in 94% of the profit for smartphone sales world-wide last year. I don't think they care that they have 0% of the low-end market. Users care about market share because they need to feel that they are a part of a winning team. Businesses care about profits. When it comes to smartphone profits, no one is even close to Apple. And the fact that their customers are loyal to their brand is bad news for every other smartphone maker.
  • My humble opinion is Ms should focus on hi end business phones... With the app gap the low end teenagers market is property of android. :(
  • Sad fact is "apps don't come, people is gone" and windows 10 is extremely good looking but it came a little too late 8.1 should've been released when 8 was, 10 should have been released at least with windows 10 for pc and developers should be interested but I've heard it's a bit complicated to make apps for windows phone or is just not something worth for them... I really want to see this platform lives...
  • Had 2 Windows Phones since I started Highschool, ive got a lumia 830 but had a 520 before an convinced my dad to get a lumia 925, passed my mum my 520. I love Windows Phone (die-hard fan) and i don't think i'm ready to leave, not in a LONG time! Go Microsoft!!!, we shall punch android and ios hard in the face one day!!!
  • As always, excellent article Jason!
    I'd like to point out a few things: • the gains & loses of market share is only a part of the big pictures & companies like Microsoft & Apple are in it for the long term ... If they pushed it hard enough, kept innovating & improving upon constantly, it will eventually break through & turn into a successful business Th...ink Surface, Xbox, iTunes, App Store... Etc. It takes Vision, Commitment & Deep pockets (& a diversified yet a successful portfolio) to be in it for the long term … Microsoft got all of the above & they proved they can do it over & over again with both Xbox & Surface … they can do it again.
    ______
    • Windows phone's problem & biggest obstacle is precipitin, the OS is very capable & feature rich … yet most people (or Civilians as Phil Nickinson calls them) either don't know about it, have the wrong idea or simply too lazy to give it a chance longer than 10 minutes before they return it … Microsoft must change that precipitin & that requires advertisements (TV commercials, bill boards, even more product placements on prime time TV… etc) & trained\knowledgeable reps (maybe. Even give em bonuses on every WP they sell) & salesmen … conquer those two & carriers would have no choice but to play ball … Just like the iPhone
    ______
    • Brand Loyalty will only get them so far (Nokia, Motorola, iMate, Simmons, Ericson… take your pick) & Microsoft have to constantly work & adapt to make it work … if that means ditching the Panoramas for Hamburgers or another overhaul so be it …
  • Windows fans seem loyal because they know the OS shortcomings and are ok with it.
    People jump ship not mainly because of hardware but because of capability and apps are what make your phone capable. I know why I switched to Android and it's because I can do a lot more on my Note 4 then I can on any Windows phone and I still have an Icon.
    For instance, the Facebook app can't even reply to comments. The damn web version can do it but the app can't. Memes and GIFs are fun in messenger but you can't do that on WP either. It's boring to use and as a WP user you feel left in the cold Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I've been a Microsoft phone user since the Pocket PC era, but I'm conflicted about what to do next.  I'm SO tired of seeing only "app store" or "play store" on about 99% every interesting new app I might want to try.  I truly hate Apple with a passion, but my next phone might be an iPhone.
  • It comes down to one thing: A P P S Every single person I've heard that tried WP complained about the lack of apps. Every single negative review or article I've read about WP complained about the lack of apps. MS needs to do more to attract developers -- bribery shouldn't be out of the question at this point. They need apps and advertising. Think of every ad and commercial you see for apps and mobile games. They all say "Available for iPhone and Android" or something to that effect. If MS can get "...And Windows Phone" added to those ads people will take notice. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yes. We need apps. MS needs to pay developers to make apps better than Google or Apple does is one solution.
    But for that they need money, for which they require profit, for which they require people buying their phones, for which they require... apps. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • And when is WP going to work with Xbox controllers? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Sorry guys but talking about a low end strategy in terms of Microsoft or Nokia is totally wrong in my opinion. I don´t know if you´ve ever been to a developing country for a longer time. But if you´re talking about a low end strategy and naming then the cheapest Lumias - I think you don´t really have an idea what low end really means. In those developing countries we´re talking about entry level smartphones at a price around 20-50 €. Nokias Lumia 520 wasn´t cheaper than 120 € for a very long time. By that time and even now you could get a good Android device (http://www.cherrymobile.com.ph/promos) and that´s what the people are buying there. Maybe not because they want but because it´s all they can afford.  I was disappointed when i heard Nokia and Microsoft are aiming for the low end market and the only thing they brought to the market were devices at around 80-100€. And the worst WP ever - the Lumia 530 is still sold for around 50€. This device might sell for 20€ in emerging markets as it has no future but i just don´t see any strategy there. Nokia still had a good name in those markets 2 or 3 years ago but now i think it´s definitely over. People were buying Nokia feature phones but there has never been a affordable phone for the masses and thats one reason why they lost the game.  Microsoft then officially ended their low end strategy before it even started. 
  • I've been using Windows forever it seems . My first real smartphone was an HTC snap that I loved . I continued with other various WM . I continued with WP7 with an HTC Radar and WP8 with the HTC 8x ( yes I know , I love HTC . Lol ) but I'm planning to purchase a 950 most likely ( I think the XL is maybe too big for my liking ) . What I'm trying to point out is if you love the platform , I mean truly love the platform , you won't leave it . Don't get me wrong , I have an Android phone too ( I've never liked ios , not sure why ) , but my Windows is my main phone . Is now and always will be until they decide they don't want to support it anymore . Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The real story here is Microsoft has shifted from the Nokia approach to make 57 different phones with three variants each. This was not profitable. They say for "fans and enterprises." What this really means is to become profitable. Microsoft no longer cares about market share, they care about profitability. Will this work out in the long run? I dunno. I can't imagine this will help bring developers, but instead the hope is put into UWP. As a stock holder and fan, I welcome this change. If it doesn't work out Microsoft will adopt a new approach (eg drop "mobile" all together and make a phone running full windows 10 - a Surface phone, or buy an android fork [which I hope doesn't happen]). Anyway back to my original point. Microsoft is no longer interested in market share, but only in becoming profitable in the mobile space. That's somthing I can get behind.
  • Well crap. There aren't enough high-end fans to keep the platform alive and you say low enders aren't loyal. I dont necessarily agree with that notion. I came in on the low end and very few people are more enthusiastic about Windows phone than me. How can you say that lowenders dont trade up when given the chance? There hasn't been much to trade up to. The low end approach worked for google if it doesn't work for Microsoft maybe the blame shouldn't be placed on the people of the low end.
  • Hi Jimmy, thanks for you input. Please remember that the data from the Ericsson report is not stating that 100% of people within a particular category will behave the same way 100% of the time. :-) The data simply points to the likelihood of a particular behavior based on data collected in relation to past behavior. So of course there will ALWAYS be some people who do not follow the pattern. :-) Additionally the following quote from the study os clear the the behavior regarding a likelihood NOT to upgrade within an ecosystem if one purchases a low-end device is independent of platform. The study saw the same behavior across platforms. "When looking into switching behaviors per device vendor and model series, loyalty varied significantly between low-end and high-end models (irrespective of operating system). Owners of high-end models were much more likely to select a new model in the same series from the same vendor than users of lower-end models."
  • Microsoft's strategies as it relates to mobile ( this is from what I've read here ) is forward thinking and although it may take time to come to fruition , will work wonderfully when it finally does . The Surface phone will be premium and exclusive and owned first by true fans . The app gap is bad , I admit , but not so horrible that it would make me move on . My android is a cheap HTC Desire 610 that I use most times for YouTube and gaming . My HTC 8x is damaged and I'm going to purchase a 950 for Christmas , because I find myself missing Windows Phone . A lot . I don't mind Android , but it's just not the same to me . Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • While I agree with some parts of the article I whole-heartedly disagree with the lack of high end phones for basically 2 years. Microsoft should not have put all their eggs in one basket with the low end push, it wasn't necessary to have one or the other. A lot of people running the 920, 930, 1020, 1520 etc would have been really happy to just get natural upgrades to those phones with newer hardware inside, sure they might not have been revolutionary or "magical" but it would have built on strengths of previous models and aesthetics and provide minor improvements along the way. If you take the cancelled McLaren device as an example, if 3D Touch wasn't ready or not a good enough implementation rather than trashing the device they should have removed the 3D Touch feature and hardware and just released it anyway. What I want to see going forward is basically what has been promised, a low range, mid range and high range line, not focusing on one range but ensuring that each device is perfect for the intended market, the high end phone should have the latest technology available at the time of release, if they want to release in November but a new processor is available in January then just change the release date to match. I think XL variants are important, from what I've seen men will go for the largest screen possible and women will go for whatever is most comfortable for them which is usually the smaller phone. So for any XL phone it really needs to match the competition, if apple and google make 6" then Microsoft should make it 6" too, not 5.8, not 5.9 and not even 5.9999. That tiny difference in screen size can really be a deal breaker. Internal storage is also vital, I've heard many people commenting that the new Lumia's only have 32GB storage, and even after they see support for 2TB SD card, they are already not interested because the other high end phones on the market have more built in storage, so why not have 64GB, 128GB options and still include the SD card support? Sure that will push up the price but honestly price means nothing for a high end phone, in some cases the more expensive it is the more valuable and desirable it seems to the consumer. As for apps, I think the iPhone bridge will do the job nicely, but for companies like SnapChat Microsoft seriously needs to just buy them for whatever cost it takes and then release for Windows.
  • I think I think the worst side effect of Microsoft's former low cost phone strategy is the lack of quality (or any) apps for Windows Phone. People who spend £50-75 on a new phone are not going to be buying a lot of apps and they are not going to be an attractive target for any advertiser, so the ad-supported apps are out of luck too. Even with Android's massive marketshare, it still has second rate apps compared to iOS - because iOS cornered premium market which is profitable for developers. And Microsoft couldn't even get marketshare... I hope Microsoft will succeed with Universal app strategy, and will not go into low cost market ever again.
  • The low end market has been dominated by Mediatek SoC based devices for some time now, and as far as I know, you can't run Windows Phones on it.
  • Love my 1520 and 930 and even, to an extent, the 530 on my desk. I'll be loyal to the end but I hope there won't be one. If there is, I'll stick with it until support ends and the devices die of old age and only then move to a Nexus. I don't use third party apps but I do use Microsoft productivity and live tiles.
  • The real saving grace for Windows mobile can only be the dominance of the computers. The reason people leave it's because the phones are not readily accessible... In stores you have to struggle to find them. The apps are just useable, and awhile there are great Windows only ones, we are missing a lot of social apps like SnapChat or YikYak. And if your friends are on one of these, you are left out. These things come up so quickly in other platforms and take so long to happen in the Windows platform. The phones will not save the phones. If anything, surface has the ability to bring apps and interface. Windows will only truly make it when other platforms are waiting on our apps. I remember people commenting on Microsoft bringing Zune or Office to apple and android, but the truth is they didn't care because they didn't know we exist.
  • We're doomed....dooooomed!!!.....ahem....sorry, I was just attempting to anticipate and impersonate some of the more prominent naysayers on here. Okay, so the low end thing is looking at the moment like it backfired. I guess we'll see if any of those low end people become committed after really "tasting" UWP. Maybe in end, it won't be as much of a failure as it looks right now. However, let's just say for the sake of argument that the thing was a total flop - heck, let's say the reality is even worse than the numbers. Here are the two important takeaways anyway: 1) They've retrenched. They are not clinging to a strategy that didn't work, but are moving their focus elsewhere. 2) This is a point I have to keep repeating over and over here but - they are not dead yet! It seems like anytime something doesn't go just perfectly, there's a smattering - a pretty consistent smattering of "we're doomed"s rising out of the crowd. Heck, some of these voices I even hear when things go right. The point is, when I want to see the sky, I still look in the same direction I did before- up. It hasn't fallen yet, and I think because of numerous other factors, all of which I've elaborated on before, I don't think it's poised to do so anytime soon. Now, I definitely think focusing on the low end is not what they want to be doing now. They want to focus on the fans and the enterprise. But this almost sounds like they're abandoning the low end entirely, and I can't help but wonder if that might not be "leaping out of the one ditch and into the other". I don't know, maybe they are counting on 3rd party OEMs to fill the basement needs - and maybe they're even right to do that. But I can't help but feel that cutting off the low end entirely is probably not the right answer either, especially if any hope still remains for the UWP's growth turning these people into eventual, unintentional "sleeper agents" for W10M. Particularly in 3rd world countries where Continuum may prove to be the most useful of all - those who can't afford both a computer and a phone buying a phone that is also their computer in a more true sense than Android, and especially Apple people can say about their devices. Also, while I'm sure this is reflective of the low end mostly, rather than flagship territory, I couldn't help but notice an encouraging sign for Windows Phone fans in the numbers: it appears that a significantly higher percentage of people leaving Android for elsewhere are leaving for Windows than for iOS. Now again, how much of that are $20 cricket wireless deals? Don't know. Probably a lot. But even still, we DO still have SOME lifeblood incoming after all.... .....we're doomed!!!....sorry, I just get stuck in a mode sometimes! ;-) This is a retreat on Microsoft's part here, let's just admit it - but it's also one that fails to disabuse me of the lion's share of my optimism for the future of the platform. Bring it on MS!!!... ....and keep up the great work , Jason!!! :-)
  • It is simple:
    A) when you enter ANY phone shop the salesmen hand you right away an android phone. Other phones are hard to spot. And there are reasons for this
    B) probably majority of people do not remember what given icon is supposed to mean. Icons without names, in similar way as androids and iPhones have, is a lost cause.
    C) the interface is too "fluid", easy to "lose" tiles and difficult to find them again. Continuous scrolling does not create a sense of position where given icons were, just like iPhone has virtual pages. One can say, I know, it is there on page #3. Easy. Here we have no space delimiters.
    Worse, windows 10 mobile seems does not have subfolders either. For some people it is a must.
    D) High level, low level does not matter if we can't find easily what we need in our phone...
    Lets be serious guys. I have used it and am still using it... I know and I have seen that problem in other people's hands.
    E) Colors of tiles are fine, but why is possibility of choosing black font for light colors not available?
  • The world concists of 300 million UC citizens an 7 billion foreigners. In many foreign countries, Wp have already caught 10 to 20% market share even without having a 2015 model flagship, That speaks loud! Some apps may be missing, and some have more to develop, but pressure from the rest of the world WILL force the app creators to make them better. BTW, this years flagship is next years low-end.MS phones upgrade!      
  • Put another game-changing camera in a device and give it the processor and RAM to shine. Add pen support, win32 apps with full networking capability, real continuum and call it the Surface Phone. Don't sacrifice anything (glance, Qi, PMA, Camera button, etc). Charge $1000 and make an actual profit on the 1% marketshare like the surface.
  • I truly believe those are the marching orders from Satya to Panos.  Remember he cancelled the surface mni at the last second because it wasn't different enough?  I believe Satya see's the future of mobile being a Surface mini that (as someone else wrote above) makes phone calls & texts as well.  Intel powered and wireless continuum = PC in your pocket.  Premium price just like the rest of the Surface brand.....small but successful result.
  • The effect of the low end strategy is that Windows Phone has a much larger market share than it would have otherwise. People on this site are incredibly narrowminded in general, not realizing that most of the world can't afford to spend $600+ on a phone. And outside of the United States, most phones are sold outright, not subsidized through a contract. So if the choice is to purchase a $600+ phone, or a phone 80% as good for $200-$300, most would go for the cheaper alternative. That said, Microsoft realized pretty quickly that 12 variations of phones just wasn't sustainable. So they are regrouping and are likely to keep it to no more than 5 models or so, each hitting different price points and use cases. This way it will be much easier to manage the product line and there can be much better consistency in the overall Windows 10 Mobile experience. It's really as simple as that.  
  • I think the 80% figure for your average person buying a $100-200 phone is a farce. This is 60% of the market and people I talk to that I have seen with a new WP I asked why? they just said they thought it looked nice .... do you like it? yeah it works good......   Most people want a  phone and a couple of bits thats it.    
  • They really need to turn Android and IOS users into fans of Microsoft apps. Then as Microsoft fans, they'll love the idea of Window Phone. Native goodness.
  • 1. Add all user loved features in Windows 10 Mobile.
    2. Make some mid - high range devices (2 GB ram, Snapdragon 420/620 minimum).
    3. Focus on more apps coming to store while new users appear buying new device.
    4. Maintain this.
    5. ???
    6. Profit Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I read many comments about low end being crap and stuff because of snap chat this or not on Verizon or any other silly ,petty , and rather irrelevant reasons. I've had windows phones since 8 , also have had several Sony, Samsung,HTC android phones and iPhones ( original, iPhone 3g , iPhone 4 and 5) . I had a computer business for sales and repair for 15 years working on windows from 3.1-8.1 with every os in between and Macs from os 6-9.2 and os 10.0-10.8 . I am typing this on my Lumia 535 . Microsoft has done a great job in putting a good , capable smartphone in the hands of the average consume without forcing them to get a loan or contract . If you try and by a android phone for the same prices as Windows phones cost you will get crap. The midrange is very similar the same way and forget about updates , that only leaves the premium. IPhones, M9 ,S6 and such . All these phones are grossly expensive and honestly if I miss out of snap chat or what ever I don't mind the paying only 1/4-1/3 and still be able to do 85-90% of everything else . The phone is paid for and there is great support , getting windows 10 soon .....cant say that for any android phone I bought and paid for. Only my iPhones had the same support and fluid software .
  •    Well, hopefully this strategy works out better than the low-end one did. I will support WP/WM as long as Microsoft does.