Skip to main content

With 'Surface phone,' will Microsoft learn from its past marketing mistakes?

Whether there is or was an actual lack of passion from Microsoft is irrelevant. As a company that hoped for a broad consumer embrace of Windows phones, the perception of disinterest from Microsoft was just as detrimental as an actual lack of the same.

Windows phone fans who accuse Microsoft of a less than optimal affection for its mobile efforts often cite a lack of marketing. This accusation certainly seems valid considering what we've seen (and haven't seen) in the way of advertising of Windows phones. This perception is particularly apparent when we consider the amount of marketing that comes from far more successful smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung.

But marketing takes many forms, and if you ask Microsoft, it would likely argue the company did invest liberally in marketing Windows phones, just not in the manner one would expect.

We'll look at those other marketing methods in this piece and consider if in hindsight Microsoft might do things differently to market its ultimate mobile device: the ultramobile Surface PC.

The face of in-your-face marketing

You can't forget what never leaves your field of view. Microsoft's competition seems to subscribe to this belief, but Microsoft itself has not embraced that philosophy. Beautiful, well-crafted, seducing iPhone and Samsung Galaxy ads have consistently graced our television screens for years.

Knowing that thousands of consumers were being lured into the Apple and Google ecosystems by these seductive ads has been a pain point for Window phone fans. We've been forced to helplessly watch as unrelenting marketing from entrenched market leaders yielded greater market and mindshare for those companies.

Many people have concluded that those same efforts, combined with Microsoft's lack of equally consistent investments, led to the decreased market share and mindshare of Windows phones. Lest we forget, Microsoft did come out of the gates running. Early in Windows Phone 7 history, even up to Windows Phone 8, Microsoft and its carrier partners peppered memorable Windows phones ads on TV. This Lumia 1020 commercial is a classic:

Those highly visible television spots were less consistent than the persistent flow of ads from rivals Apple and Samsung. Compared to those rivals' connected tapestry of ads that communicated a consistent narrative to consumers, Microsoft's sporadic TV spots were like a collection of disconnected "short stories" that struggled to connect with consumers.

Consistency matters. A lack of consistency, therefore, precludes the establishment of a sound foundation.

Choosing your battles

By the time Microsoft entered the space with its attention-getting attempts, its rivals were entrenched, and consumers were deeply invested in Apple's and Google's ecosystems. The millions of dollars rivals were pouring into television ads were reaffirming messages to the already-converted masses and pulling others into the fold.

Perhaps Microsoft deemed the costs of fighting a battle for the iPhone- and Android phone-focused minds of the masses via costly TV spots too risky an endeavor. No one knew about Microsoft's mobile platform with the unique tiled interface, after all. Consequently, Microsoft's television ad campaign strategy would have had to be a persistent, long-lasting and very expensive three-pronged endeavor.

First Microsoft would have had to build awareness for a virtually unknown platform in a "noisy" space where consumers didn't think another viable platform existed. Secondly, Microsoft would have had to educate consumers via succinct (approximately 30 seconds) but effective ads about the merits of its unique platform. Third, in a space where consumers only wanted iPhones and Android phones, Microsoft would have had to persuade users that Windows phones were a better option.

Microsoft likely calculated a war of TV ads a lost cause.

To pry users' hearts and minds from the ads that reaffirmed what they had already embraced with ads that would garner their enduring attention would have required profound creativity and dedication.

If rival companies were not already entrenched, and consumers were not already thoroughly aware of and invested in those ecosystems, and Microsoft's efforts did not require building awareness of and educating the masses about an unknown entity, Redmond may have pursued more aggressive television campaigns. Given what Microsoft was up against, however, it likely deemed the probability of success for an ad campaign of that magnitude too low to commit to investing the necessary resources. Thus, Microsoft focused its marketing efforts elsewhere.

Connecting products as a marketing strategy

During Microsoft's Convergence 2015 event, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Chris Capossela shared his marketing strategy (opens in new tab):

... my second transformation agenda item for Microsoft is this notion of using our amazing innovation engineering resource pool to build marketing into our products.

Capossela shared Microsoft's attempts to mimic the success Apple and Google achieved by building marketing into their products. This strategy is designed to lead to an interconnection of products where the use of one product would give rise to the use of another.

The following graphic is a snapshot in time. The size of the circles represents how many people were using a particular company's product, and the lines represent the connections between products. Yellow represents Apple, purple Google, and blue Microsoft.

Clearly, the crisscrossing network of yellow and purple lines reflect that both Apple and Google succeeded in building connections that lead users from one of the respective company's products to another. Capossela acknowledged how in the U.S., Apple needed only to advertise the iPhone and iPad, and that was sufficient to ensure a user buy-in to Apple's broader ecosystem.

Microsoft's clearly-disconnected graph represented a profound need to improve interconnections between its products and services. Capossela said the following:

And the beautiful thing about having lots of lines is that you don't have to market all of your products. You only market the locomotives. And then when someone uses your locomotive, it pulls along the cabooses.

Build marketing into its products, then acquire, engage and enlist

Any Windows phone fan at any stage in the platform's history would agree that Microsoft needed to acquire more Windows phone users. Fans who have bemoaned the lack of aggressive television ad campaigns would certainly agree. They would argue that massive financial investments at the first stage of Capossela's "acquisition, engage and enlist" marketing strategy were necessary. There was even a time when Capossela would have agreed.

Acquire

Capossela stated the following:

How much marketing should I put at the top on acquire, how much should I put in engage, how much should I put in enlist? Think to yourself, if you were spending a dollar on this business, where would you spend it in the funnel?I think most people would say acquire, and that's what I said in the beginning. The reality is we have no issue with acquisition, zero. Tons of people know the brand. I can do a press release, and all of a sudden, 'Oh my gosh, Office is on the iPhone, let me go download Word and Excel and PowerPoint.'

Capossela used Microsoft's release of Office for the iPhone and Android, which resulted in tens of thousands of immediate downloads because users knew the brand, as an example. No marketing required. Millions of people use Windows PCs and Microsoft services. People knew the brand. Windows phones were another product in this broadly accepted and deeply integrated, personal and professional ecosystem.

Consequently, the company chose a marketing strategy as part of which it hoped to leverage the Microsoft and Windows brands and the integration of the phone in its broadly accepted ecosystem of products and services rather than the heavy marketing of Windows phones at the "acquisition" stage. Microsoft likely perceived Windows as the "locomotive" that would pull the Windows phone "caboose" forward.

Engage

Microsoft chose to "connect the product lines," such as an initial exclusivity of Cortana on Windows phones. Fans may remember Group Program Manager for Cortana Marcus Ash asserting Cortana exclusivity on Windows phones as a draw to the platform.

Other connections were the company's promotion of a default inclusion of Office on Windows phones and limited integration with Xbox games. Given the advantage of hindsight, such a heavy dependence on "engaging" users as a primary marketing method with so little effort at the acquisition stage may have been a naïve miscalculation on Microsoft's part.

Microsoft may have overcalculated the strength of its brand in relation to what investments would have been needed to break significantly into the mobile space. Perhaps a more balanced approach would have led to greater success. Especially because Microsoft's strategy also includes bringing the breadth of its software and services to competing platforms, which undercuts exclusivity advantages Windows phones would otherwise have had.

Marketing, it's in there

Capossela shared how Microsoft seeks to use engineering to build marketing into its products and expend less money on marketing:

It's using a resource that we have a lot of, engineering at Microsoft, and it's counterbalancing a resource that we frankly want to spend less on, marketing, in order to get people to experience the full ecosystem and fill out those lines on that blue, purple, orange chart, to really compete ecosystem to ecosystem as opposed to product to product.

The Surface, Surface pen and OneNote integration is a great example of how Microsoft leadership got various teams to work together to achieve such a high level of product cohesion. Now that Devices Chief Panos Panay and the Surface team are building Microsoft's ultimate mobile device, can we expect a similar cohesion of current innovations, such as mixed reality and digital inking? Could Microsoft have done more with Windows phones in the past?

Capossela stated:

One of the things we realized immediately is marketing dollars spent around engagement can be effective, but actually product design is far more effective at getting people to be deeply engaged in your products.

That statement assures us of both Microsoft's investments in quality design and of the company's desire to minimize marketing dollars. Apple's and Samsung's philosophies seem to embrace Microsoft's vision for quality of design but also a less reserved approach to aggressive financial investments in marketing.

As Microsoft learned from Apple's and Google's integration of services, perhaps a lesson can be gleaned about more liberal marketing expenditures in time for the debut of the ultramobile Surface PC.

Enlist

The final stage of Capossela's marketing strategy is enlisting. It is at this stage that diehard Windows phone loyalists play an active role. It is also the stage that costs Microsoft nothing in the way of marketing. In fact, it is to this stage that any company hopes to transition a sizable portion of its user base.

Apple and Google have acquired, engaged and enlisted hordes of fans who, through word of mouth and other means, passionately advocate for those platforms. The millions of Windows phone fans who make up the less than one percent of the smartphone market are a vocal, passionate but faint whisper among the thunderous rumbles of the competition's enlisted fans. Caposella shared the following about how Microsoft views its fans:

Then we figure out what a fan looks like, what is someone who loves our stuff, is loyal to our stuff, and we can enlist them to talk about how they use our products, we can enlist them to be a voice piece, a better voice piece of our company, even though they don't work for our company.

Microsoft obviously failed to acquire and engage a relevant number of Windows phone fans. One may wonder how Microsoft might have been able to use its fan base to promote Windows phones if the company had achieved a more impressive measure of success.

As it stands now, the company's Insider Program and the program's leader Dona Sarkar are clearly meant to keep fans engaged, and through software build releases keep them talking about the platform. Without the Insider Program, the hopes of many Windows phone fans would have long withered away, and with them, Microsoft's free marketing resource of enlisted fans.

History is the best teacher

When Microsoft reenters the mobile space, it won't be with a smartphone but (presumably) with an ultramobile Surface PC. As a PC first, with telephony attributes, it will not be positioned to compete directly with smartphones, though it will overlap the smartphone space.

This ultramobile Surface PC will be a category-defining device that Microsoft will need to introduce to the masses proactively. Hopefully, the company will have learned from past mistakes that a more balanced marketing approach of television ads combined with the integration of services is more effective than an overreliance on one method over the other.

The fact that the ultramobile Surface PC will be part of the Surface family bodes well for the product. Microsoft has been far more aggressive about its advertisements, promotions, partnerships and product placements of Surface PCs than it has been for its phones. Microsoft's confidence in both its Surface brand and its PCs is evident. Smartphones, however, have been the company's Achilles heel.

Will Microsoft execute more balanced marketing for its ultimate mobile device?

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft will combine its confidence in its Surface brand and PC prowess with a more balanced approach to the marketing of the ultramobile PC. Microsoft has learned from competitors how to engineer marketing into its products.

But has the company learned that for certain product categories, television marketing campaigns are likely a necessary supplement to its existing marketing?

Microsoft's smartphone strategy: Rules of engagement, and business unusual

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!

226 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks! As with any product marketing is key. If no one knows about a product, what it can do for them and why they should buy it, no one will buy it. I understand what I believe to have been the merits of Microsoft's marketing strategy of Windows phones. I don't agree with all of the company's decisions, however. Perhaps this time around, with the ultramobile Surface PC, Microsoft themselves will not "agree" with its previous strategy. Here's to hoping for far more aggressive marketing efforts for its category defining Surface. So what are your thoughts - LET'S TALK!!!
  • That's some awesome in-depth article Jason, Kudos.
  • Thanks kenzbit! :--)
  • Jason.... I just want to ask you if you have seen me complain about MS's lack of effective marketing all these years?? Have you noticed my relentless comments?
  • Agreed - best writer in tech right now.
  • Thanks Jamison!😎
  • If they announce it the need to release it not long after. Ever time they've announce a new phone is taken months to come out and the buzz is gone.
  • Lest not forget the app envirnment, while it can be a great product id there are a crap load of missing apps its doomed, third party apps don't cut it.   I waiting but not excited.
  • My thoughts exactly. Even if Microsoft or HP or Wharton-Brooks or whomever brings out a high performance, aesthetically pleasing Windows Phone, without app support sales will still be negligible if not dismal.
    Many people are familiar with the saying "build it and they will come". Well, if app developers aren't making apps for Windows Phones not many people are going to buy Windows Phones. If not many Windows Phones are being sold app developers won't have much incentive to create apps for Windows Phones. It's a catch 22.
  • This is why they bought Xamarin, now developers can create great apps for all platforms and its not a great deal of work to make sure it works well on another device. What they actually need, is a device which brings something new and exciting that will get people buying it for that reason (like a foldable phone for instance) and app developers will come in droves.  
  • Early on you said the right word - passion. With Apple and Google it's obvious that mobile is a passion. With Microsoft it's a sub-part of a division that doesn't make them much money but they do have to look vaguely interested. In other words it's like going to the toilet. Something you have to do but you rarely bring attention to it.
  • Joe Befiore was deeply passionate, while he was head of the then-separate Windows Phone division before the shake-up when Satya became CEO.  In fact, it's his passion for Windows Phone way back in 2010 that got me into it and I'm still a loyal user of the platform.  I would probably have stumped up my Apple tax 2 or 3 times over by now if it weren't for him.
  • Yes he was. Nutella doesn't like passionate guys so he left...
  • Appreciate the rustling up of those old Windows Phone videos, brings back a tear.
  • I feel that Microsoft lost their ambition for awesome phones around the time of the 1020/1520. That 41mp camera was groundbreaking and one of those 'shut-down apple fanatics' moments (Oh that giant thing is my camera takes DSLR - RAW files that I can import into photoshop, what does yours do again?). When they didn't follow-up with a replacement for the 1020, they lost all hope. What was there even brought to market? A Samsung reskin? An apple clone? Woo-no.  I love the OS, but the hardware hasn't called to me since my1520 died.   
  • I'm 19 now and didn't really get into Windows Mobile (and technology in general) until 2015. But even now, I remember the commercial I saw for the yellow 1020 which blew me away. I thought it was the coolest thing.
  • Thats exactly what happened to me after my 1520's battery stopped holding a charge (and its a costly nightmare to replace, plus bugger all apps now).;
  • I honeslty look forward to every article you write.  You are just like the rest of us passionate!  Never stop writing Jason.  
  • Thanks "High"😎 !
  • Microsoft is the new Apple! Can they do it here;")
  • MS have their work cut out. The masses are heavily invested in Apple or Android, there's also a generation of people growing up only knowing these brands for mobile devices. Presumably having an ultra mobile pc will eliminate much of the app gap and hopefully grow the user base enough to encourage developers to back the platform. There seems to be some other pull for Apple & Android.... When my wife recently changed her phone the assistants at Carphone Warehouse ignored Windows devices and when questioned just said something along the lines of, you're much better of having Android especially with all the apps available. Now if MS concentrate fully on device design without marketing and without buy in from the people selling mobile devices it'll be another case of no matter how good a product is, the ones that sell the most will win out.... For us oldies Betamax vs VHS.
  • I honestly do not understand the obsession with this foldable device called surface phone. I this we already have the right form-factor computing device in today's phones, which suffices to most people's needs.
    Microsoft is saying that they are not focussed upon 'the phone' currently. But 'the phone' is the largest selling computing device now. Not focusing upon it marginalizes Microsoft in the computing industry.
    Microsoft could have run android apps on it's phones.
    If that's not possible, then why can't Microsoft come up with it's own android the way Blackberry did. Microsoft's android phone which showcases Microsoft 's unique strengths.
    What's the shame in it when they already make android apps?
    Microsoft 's unique features like glance, black theme, live tiles, start screen, cortana, outlook, could all be patented so that they appear only on Microsoft's android phones.
    This surface device will be expensive, and won't fetch the developers.
    What say?
  • Going by Capossela's locomotive theory, the problem is that they remained behind with development for mobile. Just like iOS and Android, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone should have followed the same one year development cycle. WP8 should have been as good looking and developed as W10M is now
  • Panos Panay's intro to the Lumia 950/XL was spectacular imo. I remember watching and longing for the phone for soo many days.
  • The board should be telling this "CEO" to get the hell out of the way of Panos ans just five the guys the reins to do whatever he wants.
  • Panos Panay is one of the best assets Microsoft has, but he showed he is very self centered and really does not believe in anything unless he does it himself. The Lumia 950 introduction was nothing more than an afterthought and certainly not spectacular. Part of that is that the phon ewas so far removed from where he was (going) with Surface and he was probably just told to include it. The big problem is that for Mobile to succeed you need to be able to reach out to and understand consumers, neither of which Microsoft is capable of. The Surface phone will _not_ be your average joe smart phone, it will be a fairly pricey and powerful device geared comepletely towards enterprise. If any consumers want to hop on fine, but it's not the focus, never was and never will be.
  • He did present it with passion though, he sold me on the device! I had (to have) it on day one!
  • ^Agreed he did sell me on it as well ...it just happened to be he knew what he was about to announce next which is without a doubt the more exciting product.
  • and yet the phone was marred by bugs in the prod release of W10M, so if surface mobile hardware is ground breaking,, will WoA be able to give a smooth OS experience?
  • I think that comes with territory. Such was Jobs, even worse - but he was, nevertheless, right man for the job. Just as many/most best racing drivers have killer instinct and huge ego - it is not coincident, it is part of formula that makes them best drivers.
  • I don't think it showed him to be self centered at all. I think he did a god job of presenting them considering he knew they were dead products. He knew MS made them just to get something out there and they were not going to put any marketing behind them. He also knew that only 1 of them was going to be carried by a carrier and even then, only 1 carrier. Kinda hard to get excited about presenting a product knowing all of those things.
  • Days? Took months before i could order one in the uk
  • And by that time, all buzz had died and people got iphones and galaxys instead.
  • In stark contrast, I watched Panay's bit back then and I was utterly disappointed. The introduction of the 950/XL convinced me even then that Microsoft had squandered any talent it got from Nokia and was vomiting on their own product.  W10M has been almost a complete disappointment to me and my wife, after having been HUGE cheerleaders of both WP7 and WP8.  Somehow, both my wife and I allowed ourselves to be convinced to throw away a total of $1200 on a pair of Lumia 950 devices. And we have regretted it daily. Despite having what was then the latest hardware, the camera was a huge disappointment compared to my 1020, and the performance of W10 on the device is quite a bit slower than WP8.1 on my 1020 (with exception of the camera app itself).  Even on the latest build, 15063, I can run things side by side and the 1020 just leaves the 950 in the dust.  So, I have really very little confidence MS knows what it's doing here.  I have a Surface Pro 3 and my wife has the SP4, and we love these devices.  But I just don't believe that MS will come out with a smartphone (or WHATEVER they are going to call it) that's as impressive.  I want a device with a camera that is so much better than the competition that there's no debate. If I'm going to have to put up with how horrible the user experience is in W10M, the device better be a LOT snappier.  And if the design and solidness of the hardware is going to be like the 950 or like every other Android device, then there's just no point.
  • Almost any camera would be a disappointment to the 1020, however, new ones are much faster, and just as clear in quality. I found all the windows 8 and 8.1 phones quite a disappointment to the windows 7, (7.5 and 7.8) ones, so i didn't even bother to try those phones or consider them either. The SP3 and SP4 , were quite a disappointment compared to the SP1 and SP2, when it came to Pen technology so I didn't bother with them either, you have the inferior machines. Funny how you still supported MS, when they created inferior OS systems, and devices, when the old ones were superior. I still use the SP1, and windows 7.8 phone now. You should have learned to switch to something else a long time ago, if you didn't think things were getting better.   later -1
  • I agreed with alot of what you said unil the last update. The last update dramatically increased the performance on my 1520  and new 950XL. The camera is very good on both of those phones as well.
  • It's not about "performance" for me.  Just because the phone moves .005 seconds faster or doesn't crash isn't impressive to me. None of the Lumias or HTC's I've owned crashed or gave me issues.  It's about FUNCTION.  The ability to see information.  Wasn't that what Windows Phone was all about?!  Now you can't see instant information in People Hub.  There's no ROOMS.  The Groups have been neutered.  I can't believe they took away the ability to view Multiple information (postings) on FB or see the comments of those you follow on Twitter quickly at a glance.  Got rid of the Square for Dots!  Why the hell did they do that?! What is Windows Phone?!  People complain about apps.  Maybe I got spoiled with Nokia products.  The HERE apps were the BEST.  No Transit app.  The good useable apps that supported Nokia are gone.  Let's not talk about the great photo centric apps that are all gone now.  Sure I can lament about the Me tile or Photo Hub, but what's the point.  What has replaced them?  What is better about WP10?!  Please don't give this Continuum crap.  I can log onto any computer anywhere and get to all my work without the need of Continuum.  And that's with ALL my data!  Can't use the large phone with one hand anymore because of those worthless hamburger menus.  Sure there are pivots but they don't work or control your phone like the way they did in the previous iterations of WP.  There is almost nothing special about WP anymore.  Or is it I just use my phone differently?  I bought in to Microsoft's early vision.  That was something great.  Now it's something else.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if this new "Surface" phone runs Android.  I don't think it would be a problem or bother 85% of the current users because MS ruined their great OS to please Android users and see where it's gotten them at this point.  
  • Amen to that!
  • @ScubaDog I feel you man!  I wish some other brave company could buy or mimic Windows 7.X/8.X and build on that vision and version of that OS.  I'd be there like 2010!
  • You are missing a big question here. Why has Samsung heavily marketed Google's platform and not Microsoft's? Why didn't we get inundated with Samsung Focus ads? What did Microsoft do wrong here and what did Google do right to remove much of the marketing burden from themselves?
  • Surface phone articles are clickbait for Windows phone fans.
  • Especially since there probably will never be a Surface phone.
  • Actually, clickbait articles by nature have no substance. The desire of the author is to simply generate clicks - not to be read. If you've read this piece, you would see more well referenced substance to how MS executed its marketing strategy, likely more than you'll get from most other sites. Also, it is clear (if you don't want to accept my testimony) by the evident passion, effort and detail (and the time committed to it) that is in my writing, that I want my work read, not just clicked on. I'm a writer. I have a passion for writing. Before I'm a tech writer I'm a writer: poetry, plays, short stories, even started on a couple of books. Writing clickbait articles offers nothing to satisfy my innate passions as a writer.
  • I appreciate your response, but satisfying your passions as a writer does not necessarily satisfy my needs as a reader. While I understand there is a dearth of Windows mobile/phone news to write about, there seems to be an endless stream of articles discussing a device that's only rumored to exist and may not be released for another couple of years. An article like the one youve written might be appropriate if there actually were a device to be released sometime soon, as it stands its just a long piece of history and conjecture about marketing of all things. It becomes wearying to see "Surface Phone" in the headlines of articles, when there is no actual news or story to break on the mythical device. For me, that phrase in a headline has become clickbait.
  • Hi bub78: Thanks for the discussion. Given that Microsoft's marketing of its mobile devices is something that consistently comes under fire in this community this article which gives a picture of how Microsoft markets and has marketed (which isn't covered much anywhere else to this extent and depth) while also incorporating the company's future mobile efforts that interest the community is relevant. My passion as a writer, particularly within this setting, are often a drive to inform and provide context to the readers. All readers here have varying degrees of knowledge about the things we talk about here (as do we writers of course). Thus many of the readers of this piece may not have been aware of Capossela's marketing strategy to incorporate marketing into products in luei of a television campaign. Informing the thousands of readers who may not have know that may have helped them see Microsoft's marketing strategy in a different light. Furthermore, it may have helped them to set expectations about how a potential Surface may be marketed if Microsoft continues with this strategy. Or it may have equipped readers who didn't know with more information so that they can contribute to the ongoing dialogue of MS mobile efforts in a more informed manner.
    I like to help elevate the conversation, give people a little more to think about than the rhetoric in an echo chamber. 🙂
  • At what point is marketing not the answer and you just need a better product? Where is the article about how Microsoft repeatedly made an inferior product and it repeatedly failed in the market? Where is the honest article about all the shortcomings with Windows phones that caused them to fail? All I hear is excuse after excuse. It is the developers faults, it is marketing, it is the carriers, it is the manufacturers, etc. Is Microsoft's product ever in the wrong here? At what point do you actually hold Microsoft accountable for their inferior platform and demand something new? Windows phone is dead and anything even remotely resembling Windows phone will fail even harder tomorrow. It won't matter what Microsoft calls it or how they market it. That was never the issue. The product is the issue.
  • 950 was half hearted product because it was handed over to panos from Nokia team, but nobody mentions of how bad the W10M was on those phones initially.
  • Love the article and agree with the points. While I dont agree your specific article can be called clickbait, it is true that most other websites do it with regards to surface phone rumours. Just recycled rumors over and over again with nothing concrete. And it just causes heartache for people like me who are holding on to windows with an old device (wanting to change) waiting for some confirmation about the surface phone so I dont go ahead and make a temporary shift to android. So more and more articles coming up about surface phone without an official confirmation of the device even being real just causes frustration.
  • Well, it's the kind of news that MS and WM fans want. So.....
  • For a huge part of the Windows Phone run Microsoft was charging a pretty penny for OEMs to license the OS on their hardware and also required they have capacitive buttons.  Android, not so much.  So, from a business aspect, Android was more attractive. For users who like to spend their lives customizing the phone instead of actually getting anything done with it, Android was also more attractive.  I used to be in that crowd in the old PocketPC days.  Then I grew out of that childishness and decided I wanted a device that was more productive.  Also, I really, really hate not having those capacity buttons.  Constantly having to swipe my screen to get my controls back is just plain stupid, period.  So, Microsoft was not nearly as attractive an OS compared to Android, except to people like me.
  • It wasn't users customizing their phones that was important. Manufacturers having control over their phones is the important part. Windows phone was not more productive either. It was less productive, just the app gap made it that way. The locked down UI also didn't help in that regards.
  • I think major thing is - Google had platform comparable to iPhone before Microsoft did. Once OEMs have chosen it, it is strategic decision that will not be changed overnight. Just as OEMs haven't ditched MSDOS for other emerging OSs, not because MSDOS was better - it wasn't, in most cases - but because ecosystem was already building around it, beachead into corporate segments was established - so would OEMs not switch from Android to Windows Phone, it was simply more risky. Re users: it is word of mouth, really. Not always but in many cases. With modern smartphones emerging, consumers did not know much, and recommendation from friend/relative was worth a lot. Confidence building. Being able to play with someone's phone which is real in-use phone, not just turned on (or not) item sitting on store shelve.
  • @nikon133 "... word of mouth...". 100% on the mark.  But not necessarily from friends/relatives, but from the carrier sales clerk.  They are the front line.  I remember going to the Tmobile and Verizon stores and ask about a Windows Phone and they would quickly try to upsell me to an Android or iPhone.  This was and still is the place where Microsoft should invest ALL thier efforts.  Because when someone walks into a store and is not quite sure what they want they ask for a recommendation.  And if the sales clerk don't recommend a WP device there will be no change. 
  • Yes, right, why all OEMS didn't marketed wp phones?... Don't make me think about they got money from someone to boycott ms..
  • You don't think Samsung is more motivated to market THEIR OWN Touchwiz phones instead of MICROSOFT'S Windows phone?
  • Most OEMs were not fully into it. Since number of them are already Microsoft partners, one way or another - making desktops and laptops, monitors, PC components - I would expectt hat many were under some sort of contractual obligation to release Windows Phone. And they did. But hardly anyone really stood behind those products. They were more, like, checkboxes. Done, and move back to selling Android to customers. And then, little and big sabotages served by Google didn't help. No YouTube app, anyone but Google forced to write them in inferior HTML5; why original MS YouTube app was blocked. No Google Maps, 3rd party clearly inferior.  Eventually, biggest mistakes were made by Microsoft themselves. In situation where PC market is saturated and Microsoft cannot grow much further - they are, what, 10% short of having it completely, give or take? - they should have really focused on mobile market. Give OS for free. Give OEMs more flexibility. Aggressively pay devs to port popular apps to Windows Phone. And market it like there's no tomorrow. Other thing MS hasn't done successfully was tying WP to whole MS ecosystem. With almost everyone having Windows PC, they should have found a way to make Windows Phone must-have for Windows computer users. Offer better WinTunes and Store (iTunes are crappy on PC, but still big part of iPhone success). Buy YouTube before Google did, and invest heavily in other media. Make WP a champion of enterprise world, with unseen integration with Exchange SharePoint and other MS products and services. And market it like there's no tomorrow.
  • Because Google/Android allow OEM's to modify their OS to add new features and fit their own design language, while Windows doesn't. With Android, Samsung can include and market features that make their device stand out, whereas with Windows it'd look and act the same as any other Windows device. 
  • When Samsung was on board ..the WP ecosystem was lacking so much and if they did ads for both Android and Windows Phone..Windows phone didnt have much to show. Due to restrictions from MS, OEMs such as Samsung couldnt add any features to boast about in an advert or differentiate themselves. Whereas on android, they they needed to show what their devices' could do that devices from other OEMs couldnt ...there was features and UI to compete for. ...and had they advertised both device's it was only going to make WP look worse. As much as I loved it back then, Android was feature and app rich.
  • and the few unique features that Lumia was able to get was due Nokia literally hacking the OS to put features onto it.
  • Kick win-mo users in the face, then kick winphone 7 users in the face, then kick WP8 users in the face, all the while let Verizon and ATT screw you over with insane exclusives, custom handset requests, dragged out updates, and retail employees who go out of the way to dog your devices. Top it off with an ecosystem that was constantly lacking the key headline apps users wanted. I would not call that something "Marketing" could have corrected.
  • Sadly, this seems to sum up MS' strategy for phones. I get the idea of dropping Windows Mobile 5/6 - it was no longer competitive once the iPhone took off and seeing what would have been WinMo7, it would have died as it was more of the same. WP7 was a decent start, but then telling all 7 users they were on a dead-end device when they announced WP8 was horrible, especially to any who had recently bought a Nokia 900.  The "partnerships" with the carriers may have been somewhat necessary, but the employees didn't care about WP devices unless you specifically asked for one.  I think if they could have built up better mindshare and not messed w/ their fan base, more apps would have followed. (Obviously not Google's apps, but others....) Whatever they do now they need to stick to it and commit to their customers/fans. No more huge annual changes and dropping support for the current generation or they might as well just stop now.
  • They also didn't improve anything with WP8. It was the exact same interface and strategy​ with a different kernel, as if the kernel was the issue with WP7.
  • Tons of improvements in 8.1 over 7.8. Too numerous to list here though. You are in left field on that comment..
    Same interface? So what were you expecting? Seems like you want it be like android.
  • There were no meaningful changes between WP7 and WP8. They certainly didn't change their strategy in the market. Android was massively successful, Microsoft made a huge mistake not learning from Android. They needed to open up the UI and make Windows phone compelling for manufacturers and carriers. Instead they did basically nothing and their fate didn't change.
  • I use a ZTE Axon 7 as my daily driver now, and I do like how you can customize Android, but I don't think it was a "huge mistake" to not "open up the UI".  Apple's doing pretty swell with iOS, the least customizable UI of the three. 
  • Microsoft didn't make an iPhone. If they created their own single high end device and were just looking to sell hardware at a huge markup, then a locked down device with limited customization would be fine. That isn't what Microsoft. Microsoft's​ customer is the manufacturers, not you. Their strategy requires them to sell Windows Phone/Mobile to OEMs who then have to sell them to you. A locked down platform is a hard sell when Android hands OEMs all the power.
  • Great article Jason Ward. Back in the day, i remember Lumia 930's great commercials. It was very good. 3 friends making a weekend trip. Using 20mp great camera, using here maps and onenote... It directed me to buy one. And for surface phone, they must do something very good.
  • Thanks Redsun9. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I hope that MS puts their best efforts behind marketing their ultimate mobile device. :-)
  • I feel like MS has painted themselves into a corner.  I don't think a Surface Phone even exists.  Even if it did, the expectations are far too high for a company like Microsoft, that has had so many mobile failures, to release a device that meets expectations.  Plus, far too many bridges have been burned. Even if that device existed, the amount of marketing and reassurance they would have to provide to the public isn't overcomable in my opinion.  The only way for them to gain consumer confidence is to display some themselves.  They should start releasing phones, 1st party apps, 1st party games, and keep even current users interested.  I understand they want to put everything on hold (at least on the hardware side) but that was their worst mistake.  Keeping at least some new devices in the low range and mid range category would have brought SOME attention to the platform now that people are starting to be a little more open to the Windows 10 OS.
  • I agree 100%. A foldable phone that runs Windows x86 apps on ARM would be really cool but it would be so out of the ordinary that we definitely would have heard about it by now. I think Satya's plan is to go after enterprise since that's where Windows is the strongest and they really can't afford to lose that foothold. They're positioning HoloLens in that space too, and I'm sure if it's successful there we'll see a commercial release the same way we saw computers slowly creep into every home, we'll see HoloLens do the same thing. My best guess is that MS continues to develop the mobile platform simply because they really want Windows to run on ARM but I would be very surprised if we ever saw another phone from MS again.
  • Unfortunately, if the apps are not there from day one, nothing will change. People want to send dick pics using SnapChat and run into busy roads using Nintendo apps. The business route is the one to go down. Use Bluestacks to allow Android apps, or create a seamless way of doing it. Having a mini PC in your pocket is tempting, but if apps are not there, then your non-business consumer won't be interested.
  • At this point...Business users use apps as well.  travel, hotel, resturant, even booking, etc all done easily via app,  not easy via moible website.  Plus the convienience features you get with apps that are not available on mobile websites for professionals is something to look at as well.
  • @Steve Adams  Precisely, business users are also consumers. How is a phone attractive to a business user if he doesn't have airline apps, hotel apps, or a halfway functional Uber app? I believe Microsoft knew that marketing might not have worked well anyway. Apple and Samsung back up their marketing claims with products that deliver. Microsoft's product was questionably worth marketing when comparing it with the competition, and I believe Microsoft knew it.
  • Well they are not targetting to replace phones, they have left that market, what surface mobile will be is a pocket computing device, that can make calls, but you also still need to carry your phone, I'm sure it will targetted at a niche set of users just like the surface studio.
  • Another failure!  simple.  If its not able to do what I can do with my iphone now,  or any android phone...its dead.  Running win32 / arm programs will do NOTHING in a mobile space...Failed once already with contiuum crap!  I am buying a 950xl so I can recreate parts with 3d printer...but it will not even have a sim installed because it's pretty well useless for everything else mobile.
  • "Use Bluestacks to allow Android apps..."
      Please, no. No user is going to want to launch a virtual machine to get Android applications when they could just as easily buy an Android phone. 
  • No offense but aren't all these articles speculation? One might ask "where's the beef?"
  • All I see is shady hazelnut spread :( but still have hope.
  • Well written article but yes, speculation. And really, it is hard to get excited about ANY Windows Phone news anymore. Can't even get them, especially on Verizon. 
  • Educate your own store employees. In my experience, majority of MSFT store employees don't know anything about the products they are selling. There might be 1 or 2 guys showing off new products who actually know something, others are completely oblivious.
  • Doesn't that tell you the product sucks?
  • It tells you something about the employee. The to collect a check without working for it.... Good for nothing young kid who doesn't really want to work anyway! There's lots of them today lazy whiners probably working to support a pot habit ; )
  • Does Apple have that issue?
  • That's coz Apple has only 2 products..lol.. yeah they make a lot of money off just one product!!
  • That's coz Apple has only 2 products..lol.. yeah they make a lot of money off just one product!!
  • Yeah, that is why Apple doesn't have an issue finding excited, knowledgeable employees.
  • Agreed. But it doesn't mean the product sucks, it means the employee does. Is this how you base your purchase decisions?
  • If your employees aren't excited about your product, how can you expect anyone else to be? How do you blame that on your employees!? A good product wouldn't have that issue!
  • Microsoft doesn't have a clue when it comes to marketing. Band is the latest example of a great product dying because nobody knew it existed. I've done surveys where 2/50 people in a room knew what a Lumia was. Microsoft has superior tech, yet Samsung, Apple, and Fitbit dominate markets 100% due to marketing. Xbox is the only exception when it comes to TV time well spent. Even the NFL commentators don't know what a Surface is 3 years into that deal. The best Microsoft ads are only ever on YouTube and only existing fans seem to notice... Sad state of affairs
  • Exactly, ms is allmost zero in marketing stuff
    Ms pay too much money to their CEO s....
  • Yep. If they want to steal spotlight, they need more enterpreteurs and less corporate executives. They need more Panays, or Jobses, or Musks... or all of them together :) They can do tech, but they also need to do cool.
  • I have to say that the WP commercials that ran two years were great! They were touting the camera abilities and I found the ads to be very good for the would be customers. Sadly, the ads only ran for about two months and I have not seen one since.
  • Sporadic and not on all tv channels like Samsung does...
  • So they had a tv ad for the Lumia 1020? I didn't see it, but that would explain why it was so popular. Any other tv ads for other models? No...and it's reflected in how well It's sold and known in the general population. As for targeting enterprise...do you know how long it takes enterprise to adopt to new hardware? The company I'm working for is still using some hardware from last decade, and has only recently seen new technologies starting to be used, like servers running ssd hard drives, and even Windows 10 on a few test PCs...people passing by the PC ask, is that an IMac? Otherwise its still Windows 7 in the office, and cash registers using Windows XP POS edition in the stores (which I assume and hope is still supported by MS), again last decade stuff. We are using more of Microsoft's cloud technologies as our old servers running Outlook and Office break down (I guess it's cheaper than buying and maintaining the hardware and software updates). But phones are hardware, and half of the phones used are Samsung S4, the other half is the S7. So if Microsoft is hoping our company to adopt Windows phones, it won't happen until at least 2020 when we have to replace half of the S7s that we have. On the other hand Consumers will adopt new technology either now or next year when the price drops to 50% of what it is this year. If they have to wait longer, it's already forgotten in favor of the next cycle of technology. Unfortunately, Microsoft has chosen to "retrench" their phones just outside that window of consumer consciousness and so its been forgotten by all but the fans...which will probably only hold for another year, tops, before the rate of dropout for fans reaches almost 100%
  • Yes, the 1020 ad focused on the 41mp camera. Had people taking photos of a concert I believe. Maybe that's mentioned in the article but I didn't read it.
  • The 1020 ads were actually quite good and I saw them frequently.  That was the peak of Microsoft's ingenuity of ads...and it died after they bought the devices division of Nokia.
  • Nokia already did the work and it was perfect with amazing results. At least here in Europe where Windows Phone had over 20% of market share in many countries and was ahead iPhones.  And Microsoft destroyed it all with just two corporate decisions: buying out mobile department of Nokia and killing Lumia brand with releasing crappy-plastic 650, 950 etc. Without distribution channels like Nokia had, relations with telecoms and massive advertising powers - Windows 10 won't be any near its last success :/ We're doomed :/  
  • Amen.
  • I think I just hit the spot. This is exactly what happened. If they had acquired Nokia they would have not at least pulled down their manufacturing genius.
  • Ouch, I'm a Microsoft fan, but you described just how it was.  Poor management decisions made Microsoft to loose the battle against Google and Apple in Mobile.  Its not too late, there is still a chance to fork Android OS and finally invest on distribution channel like Apple and Samsung do today and have Microsoft become the third OEM globally on shipments. Of course if Microsoft isn't investing in hardware and logistics and mass production to make their devices globally as Samsung and Apple, then its time to say goodbye to Surface Phone for me, I'm not going to spend $700 on a phone that doesn't have international support and works on carriers oustside US.
  •   Absolutely right. They had a very good market share in Europe that they could have continued building upon. Apps would have come as developers recognized growth in WPs share but MS threw it all away.    And sorry Gabriel but it is too late.  
  • It's not, if Microsoft can sell Xbox hardware, they know supply chain and diatribution business, it's just a decision that needs to come from CEO
  • Sad, because it is all true...
  • Microsoft was forced to buy Nokia because they were switching to Android. Windows phone failed them, they were already moving forward with the Nokia X. Nokia was out. It never hit 20% anywhere. It hit like 15% in Italy because the L520 was so cheap and good at the time. But really, 15% in Italy doesn't get them anywhere, especially since none of the high end devices sold at all and sales dropped soon after as the Moto G and other Android phones caught up on the low end. Windows Phone never broke 3% worldwide. It was the wrong product for the market and Microsoft never made any meaningful changes even after if failed miserably. Microsoft's mistake was Windows Phone itself. Not the marketing or the app gap or whatever excuse you want to make.
  • Pure lies or just lack of knowledge, sorry but you need to stop. MS bought mobile department of Nokia just because they changed CEO (Nutella) so he had to show some strong actions in front of board members and MS had hugh amount of untaxed money in Europe. That is why they overpaid for Minecraft and many smaller companies, bit after that they bought out Nokia and thrown it in to their 'basement'. Also, just in Germany and Poland it was over 20%. On over 30 markets WP was bigger than iOS.
  • I'd rather keep the Polycarbonate "crappy-plastic" for durability and Qi wireless charging over having an Aluminum phone. If they were to go metal, I would rather it be a stronger material that can take a drop and not become dinged or scratched. Aluminum is a soft metal.
  • Previous Lumias with metal body had wireless charging to - I'm still using it in Lumia 830. Only back is plastic and not at whole surface.
  • You describe it perfectly. Windows Phone were gaining numbers outside the US, but that didnt matter for Microsoft. In our organization almost 90% of the employee phones were afforadable, solid and easy to use Windows Phones. Lumia 520, 720 and 920 were widespread and most people were satisfied. I thought we were such business that MS said they would focus on then they "retrenched". What happened? I Norway we now cant get any new Windows Phones except HPs X3, but thats too expensive for widespread use. Until a month ago some suppliers had some Lumia 650s in stock, but not anymore. Our biggest city deployed 3000 of Windows Phones for use in nursingcare, but now they switch to Android because they cant get any new phones. There are other similar cases. I have not many hopes yet for this platform if not some serious action are taken.      
  • That Note is one phone that I would buy that's an android phone. I wish we had something like this on Windows 10 Mobile, I would buy it ASAP and love it! 😁
  • Surface Phone is supposed to target at enterprises.  The marketing would be different than the phones targeting at consumers.  If Surface Phone comes with a foldable screen, all you need to show in ad is that can be unfolded into a 8" tablet which can run W10 apps and web apps efficiently.  The enterprise users care most about the productivity, functionality, usability and efficiency.
  • Enterprise's create apps and uses cloud vendors who only have ios/android apps. That alone makes it a non starter in buisness. And if you think a enterprise user does not care about all the apps they are used to on their last (ios/Android) phone you are crazy.
  • Total lack of effort. They purchased Nokia then dumped it. I think I saw 3 Lumia Icon ads, that was it.
  • I was a Windows Phone trainer for 4 1/2 years from 2008-2012.  Microsoft had by far the superior device with Windows Phone 7, but there was NO marketing strategy.  Blue badges decided to get involved in 2010 and were so condescending across the board they were kicked out of Verizon corporate trainings and after hiring Market Ambassadors, they got us locked out of AT&T before Windows Phone 7 was even lauched at the "premiere" carrier of AT&T.  I still believe the Windows Phone OS is the best, but how they think they can compete with no applications?  I was hopeful when there was a rumor that they were going to allow Droid and Apple apps on the phone.  Mircosoft canceled the contract with our team in 2012, right before Windows 8 was released.  Retailers were asking for training and there was no one left to do it.  I have worked in Telco for almost 15 years and Microsoft by far was the most unorganized company I have ever worked for.  More money was spent on deciding which logo to use than anything else.  I still hope than can get their act together.
  • Agreed, Windows phone was dead when Microsoft failed to realize the importance of having the AT&T and Verizon store sales people on their side. When Window Phone 7 came out many peole where still getting their first "smart" phone and would have considered Microsoft, but the phones were in a dark corner of the store and sales people would actually talk people out of buying them. If they had acquired a customer base early on, the apps would have followed.
  • They have only one chance, to build an incredible hardware and convince consumers to buy the hardware and not the software. And this is difficult, especially in an era when everything is based on the ecosystem.
  • Great article Jason.  It seems that the 1020 was the last major marketing push.  Windows phone was the only smart phone I ever owned until last year, all the way back to the BlackJack.  Sold the 950 on Ebay, and bought a used Galaxy.  I became so frustrated with Microsoft's apparent lack of care for my loyalty, that when Belfiore used the iPhone to tweet, and my continual begging of my bank to develop a Windows app was finally answered with a resounding "No", I gave up.  Ironically, it was about a month before Mary Jo Foley gave up on her phone.  Why did I leave? I felt like they left me first.
  • I think we can all relate.
  • Thanks John! I hear your frustration. Hopefully Microsoft will do something that will draw more developers to the platform and draw people like you and others back to the platform you love. :-)
  • Jason, me and my family definitely loved the platform.  We still own the 1020 for the great pics.  If they do come out with a new phone, I'll verify three things: Are they advertising phone, my banking, and SiriusXM.  If they're marketing phone, and have both apps that work on phone, I'll switch back.  If not, I won't.  Personally, the Galaxy doesn't compare BUT I can do my banking, I can listen to SiriusXM, and I know they care about selling their phones because they market them.  Can't say the same for my old Windows Phone. :(
  • My own opinion?...
    Nadella retrenched just to favour apple in the mobile market
    Iphone is about 75% of apple income
    If Apple fail with iphone is the end for them
    And Apple is a big MS customer This is money
    Period
  • What's your source that Apple is a big Microsoft customer? And what's wrong with diverting money from a failing business (mobile) to one that's actually growing (cloud infrastructure)? 
  • Short term gain, but for MS to remain relevant global entity, they need strong presence everywhere. Long term, they need to compete with Google and Apple, because whatever comes next for mobile devices, both Google and Apple will have much better starting point. If they are satisfied only to be one of software vendors - even very strong one - than it is their decision.
  • I don't think there is a "next" for mobile. It is what it is at this point. Look at a desktop today compared to a desktop from the 1980's. There are new ports and a definite jump in capabilities, but the form factor is the same. Same with laptops; they aren't fundamentally different from the earliest laptops. The same thing will happen with smartphones: there will be new sensors and accessories that will make the phones of tomorrow better than the phones of today, but the form factor is set. It's still going to be a 5 to 6 inch device with glass on the front, camera on the back, speakers, etc.  Some thought watches or Hololens type devices would take this space over, but I don't that's going to happen for a variety of reasons. I can't read a comic book, watch Netlfix or flip through Facebook photos on a watch. I could on a Hololens and it'd be neat, but then I have this thing on my head all day long. 
  • Well... depends on how you look at tech. I think that laptops were next to desktops, once tech improved to a level where it can be portable. Tablets and convertibles were next to laptops. That said, having new format does not necessarily kill old one - it branches out, sort of. As you have said, at some point existing tech matures to a level where improvements are incremental within same form factor, but new form factors are made possible by tech improvements. I think there is next for mobile. There are wearables. Augmented reality. Phones actually capable to replace computers in meaningful way, easy to carry around, used as computer in office, plugged to full size peripherals through docking station. Convertible phones? Microsoft and partners have given us a glimpse where mobiles can go - Continuum dock for 950/950 XL, desktop dock and laptop "shell" for HP Elite X3 (with cloud-virtualised desktop apps)... ... but, in order to go further in these new directions, Windows Mobile has to be strong. Branches need to be healthy in order to grow, metaphorically speaking. Otherwise they wither and fall off. Kind of like what is happening to current Windows Mobile branch, sadly. In their infancy, new formats need that initial value before new ideas they are built on take off and mature; compatibility with previous format, strong ecosystem (even if legacy one)... a beachead. Who would buy, say, Playstation VR, if Sony has released it with new console, with no marketshare and very few games available? But as it was released into existing PS4 world, with big user base and many games available (legacy games with no VR support) it has much easier job to grow. It has identity. Visibility. A chance, I think.
  • If they want their platform to be taken seriously they need to stop the nonsense such as "we go where the people are...", this just pisses off the fans. If your going to go where the people are then why are you starting a brand new mobile OS? People are not going to be there for sure. You need to support this platform with your own dedicated (and preferably exclusive) offerings until you get more people. But they went through with their strategy anyway. They released software for Apple that didn't make it to the phone until way later, they released useful apps like the authenticator for Android first and in the meantime gave their fans essentially a place holder of an app until way later.
    Then they started changing the UI of the phone to be more friendly to those who use Apple or Android systems, cutting off features that made the OS fresh and unique. Trying desperately to please everyone from other platforms while stripping away everything that made Windows on phone interesting, more functional and different from the rest. Thus ******* of the fans further. So what did the fans do? They went "where the people are". And that wasn't on Windows Mobile. Now they have to work real hard to get new users and get past all of the negative rhetoric from those who, at one point, were their loyal fans.
  • While I see tons of Microsoft Surface commercials, I don't think I've ever seen a Microsoft phone commercial on TV. And I can't tell you how many times I've been told by Verizon (I finally dumped them) that there is no such thing as a Microsoft Mobile/Phone. Even when I worked for MSFT, there didn't seem to be much interest by the company to market the product.
  • You are mistaken, it was far worse than "not much interest" Verizon was out to actively screw over Microsoft. How else do you explain the antics like forcing Nokia/Microsoft to make custom versions of handsets? It was like a game to see how far they could push it. Verizon: “Make us a custom phone, the same as the standard model but with rounded corners” Microsoft: Why? Verizon: Because Reasons! Microsoft: OK   Verizon: Take Visual Voicemail out of the OS Microsoft: That’s a standard feature and iOS has it Verizon: We’ll charge your customers for it Microsoft: OK   Verizon: That standard phone (930), We’ll take it this time but change the name and then never update the OS. Microsoft: OK
  • They did kinda nail the Surface Studio commercial
  • That's the point. They're doing magnificent job with surface line stuff, but not anything great for Lumia, which is now dead.
  • Did 950/950XL even get a proper tv commercial at all? I still love the phone but it was nothing compared to the love I had for 920. Not that a commercial would make all the difference, but just seems like MS is not very interested in promoting at all anymore
  • LOL, yeah... 920 was special, wasn't it? :) I had mine in screaming yellow. Actually still have it around, fully functional after, what? 5 years? Such amazing device for its time. But I do love my current 950 XL as well. Yes it does not have wow factor of 920, on a first glance... but... I see a lot of value in additional storage, killer camera, performance increase and screen real estate. I actually just purchased it (after using Lumia 830 for a while, mostly because 920 never got Win 10 upgrade) fully aware it could be my last Windows Phone - if I have to leave platform, at least I'll leave it with one of best Win Phones (short of HP X3). Going with a blast! ;) I don't see myself going back to iPhone (after having iPhone 3Gs back in the days) but I could do something like new Nokia, with stock Android. My work phone, Nexus 5X, behaves well, even if I still prefer WP as a platform, by far.
  • Agreed. Lumia 920 was just like the powerhouse of everything when it was released, I think it might be the most buzz-worthy windows phone ever, and people even considered that's the phone to put on the battle grounds in a sea of iPhones and Samsungs. 950 and 950XL were nothing like that when it came out, even though they were still very powerful and I was still very much excited. I enjoy the removable back (I got 5 back covers to rotate the look), external storage, and the usual great camera. There are also drawbacks though that sometimes do give me headaches, such as the subpar speakers, grainy front camera (I'm not sure if this is just me but selfies don't look great at all under darker lighting), and of course the random reboots here and there (obviously I've signed myself for that when I step onboard with Windows 10 mobile, INSIDERS FAST but still..). I too thought about this being my last Windows Phone, but I think I'm willing to give Surface Phone a shot, if it ever become reality, otherwise I will probably go for something like a Oneplus 3T or whatever Pixel there will be. 
  • My only real issue with 950 XL is Bluetooth. Phone randomly connects and disconnects, sometimes doesn't connect at all (until Bluetooth option in phone's setup is turned off and back on, or whole phone is restarted). I have two BT devices, Jabra Tour and Jabra Classic... both behave the same. However, both work fine with 920, 830 and Nexus 5X, so I cannot blame them either. I was starting to worry that my phone might have faulty BT, but then it seems to work fine with FitBit Charge 2 and - ironically - with my old BT headset for Playstation 3. Luckily, I don't require BT much on my personal phone... still, it is disappointing that one of basic phone features nowadays somehow has managed to devolve, and on flagship phones. Heard somewhere that incoming Creators Update should bring some fixes to BT, but mostly being whispered in forums, nothing official from Microsoft... hopeful but not holding my breath.
  • Before marketing this so called "Surface Phone", they have to make it first. In other words: another click bait article. it's understandable, as thanks to Micorsoft strategy, there is nothing else interesting to talk about that the updates of windows 10.
  • Hi fox hound. Did you read the article?
  • Yes and ?
  • Its like an old game. Egg first or the chicken. ☺ what about current devices we have now. MS must satisfy its current consumers. then consumers will further invest on next product line. The killing and ignorance strategy of MS will good enough to flop the ultimate device. Major question: what you want from your money? answer is good value out of it. If you think buy and replace in short time you will go for the cheap. And for high priced device you will keep it. But Windows high priced devices were dead learn from the history. My 4 years old cheap 256 mb android phone is still connecting to the play store and apps are available while MS rebooting again and again. There are lots of WP8.1 devices that will no longer supported by ms and other apps.
  • Nice article as always, Jason. You're an optimist, all too rare these days... Oh, and don't forget to find time to sleep, these stories must take some time to write!  :-)
  • Thanks djross, I appreciate that. And yes, they do take quite some time. My wife would love if I followed your advice and slept more. One, maybe two more articles this week. :-)
  • stories! correctly called ;)
  • Still on 925 (arguably my best and most resilient phone ever) in the hope of surface/new phone coming out soon.
  • You are not helping MS or other OEM's by using that old of a phone.
  • Freebies! Give away the cheapest WP you can with the purchase of say a Surface product. For example they should have given away the 6xx series with a Surface just to get them into people's hands. Make an actually flagship device that just blows the 6xx series out of the water and their next phone choice will be that because they're get accustomed to the WP system. Microsoft knows it, it's the services that are making money. Get them in by losing on hardware, and maybe make some back when people upgrade to your flagship.
  • It could also work the other way. Give people that might have an Android flagship or an iphone a 6xx might backfire fanstatically. Do you really think people will switch ecosystems after using a budget phone withouth the ecosystem they are used to? 
  • What about new consumers? These who purchase a smartphone for the first time
  • That's irrelevant. The smartphone userbase is complete. MS needs to change the mind of existing Android/iOS users to switch to WM. It's a next to impossible mission IMO.  
  • Surface Phone aka. Snuffleupagus Phone
  • No one believed Big Bird when he told them that Mr Snuffleupagus was real, until everyone saw him for themselves. He, of course then became a regular and visible character on the show. Are you saying that you believe that the 'Surface Phone' will be proven real in like manner and the naysayers who don't believe it exists, like the doubters on Sesame Street, will be proven wrong? ;-)
  • Good point and perhaps they are on the same path.  He was imaginary for 14 years before everyone was able to see him. That should put the phone around 2029. :)
  • Getting a little ahead of ourselves, aren't we?
  • Curious mind wants to know how many employees of Microsoft use their own Windows. Mobile. I guess that will be less than 1%. LOL 😆 they all uses other platform or they don't actually knows what Facebook live is. Such a shame for a company that lives in others pocket. Marketing through facebook now powerful.
  • None at the last developer event that I went to. 100 people in a room who all develop software, 3 of us had W10M phones. The Microoft employees all had iPhones. The MVPs that were present had a mix of iPhone and Android products.
  • Two questions 1) Is Microsoft going to make Surface Phone available in Mexico?  2) What is the price. I'm not getting a phone which doesn't sell in the country where I live and also I won't pay more than $700 for this device, instead I'll probably get a Sony Xperia XZ with Android and disable Google apps and services and use Microsoft ecosystem instead.
  • This battle is far from over. the Form Factor is the next main arena, and here Microsoft already has estblished its technical prowess.
  • Great article Jason and quite rightly highlighting the multi faceted nature of marketing. Back in 2012 & 2013 I was quite happily recommending WP to friends and family and recon I got at least 4 people on board. In 2014 as things started to go wrong I just told people not to bother and soldiered on myself. The Enlist section is where I think MS is currently squandering their capital. Essentially they've lost my trust now and I think I'll be out after my L950 hits EOL. I severely doubt their ability to attract back anyone they've managed to disengaged enough to force them to switch to the competition and they lose these "enlisters" at their peril.
  • Thanks Mars2003! And you're right that MS is damaging the relationship wit fans. Hopefully, they get things right with the ultramobile Surface.
  • There's no Surface Phone tho same rumor for 5 years
  • @Sedp23 Maybe. Maybe not. We'll see. ;-)
  • I want a phone, not a phablet, I want a phone. I want a phone that will do all the cool stuff, but I want something small enough to comfortably carry or wear on a belt. I also want an operating system that is NOT droid or iOS. So, that leads us to a Windows device. Call it anything you want, but don't forget that mobile can mean lots of things to different folks. To me it means phone. To have one device with decent battery life that is rugged, waterproof and has good sound volume and runs Windows 10 Mobile would be great. I love my Verizon Lumia 735, but would never carry it on heavy equipment with greasy hands. Microsoft has developed/made fantastic phones (as well as plenty of other stuff). Marketing of their phones was slack. For years I went into different cell phone stores asking for a Windows phone, only to get laughed at or told "why?" when I told the sales associate that I wanted a Windows phone. More ofthen than not they had them in a back room in the store and rarely on display. What will fix that? Demand, incentives and training sales staff  to beome proficient on a Windows OS. I truly hope that Microsoft will not just focus on enterprise. They should continue to offer a low end Windows phone for those who cannot fork out 700 bucks for a phone.
  • This^
  • I don't think they want to learn from the past!  Nor do I think that Nadella really cares if the mobile product succeeds -- if it fails then, oh well, it was started before him therefore not his fault. Sort of what the republicans are saying about Obamacare!  The problem is that MS doesn't really know how to market these products.  I think the problem was that Windows 8 was so hated by the critics (even though it was a solid OS) that they skipped on trying to point out how you could make all your devices work in a very similar way!  That marketing might have save the RT by the way.  Just like the tablet and desktops, it showed an issue with their marketing that popped up with (I think) Vista.  Previous to that, all major OS release came with tremendous fanfare as well as ways to not only show off all the new features, but also to teach the people the basics of how to use them.  Unfortunately, I think for whatever reason, be it budget, personnel, or a combination of them -- either they are not capable of selling or truly do not care.
  • Microsoft did pretty well at Windows Phone product placement on television shows and movies.  They continue to do the same with the Surface brand.  However, the problem with product placements is that all the marketing is subliminal and most likely not processed by the viewer.  Product placements are only effective when pared with compelling advertisments that raise purchasing interest. When a consumer sees a product placement after having seen a commercial for the same product, only then does the affirmation for the brand occur and the desire for purchase reinforced.  If Microsoft continues to invest in product placments then they also need to develop high intrigue consumer ads in order to make those product placements effective and cost efficient.
  • Hi All!  Sunt un fan al telefoanelor care utilizează WP. Am avut lumia 800, 610, 920 și 650. Păcat ca partea legata de marketing nu a funcționat, dar din punctul meu de  vedere are alte cauze. Dacă compania Microsoft va mai scoate noi telefoane, nu se știe,  eu îmi doresc, poate nu anul aceste,  dar anul viitor ar fi ceva timp ca sa se pregătească sa se reinventeze. Ar mai fi multe de spus, dar esențialul este ca fani rămân fani. O seara buna tuturor! Cristian.     
  • 🤣🤣🤣 that Lumia 1020 ad meeehn... One of my favourites
  • Hi All!     I'm a fan of phones using WP. I had lumia 800, 610, 920 and 650. Too bad the related marketing has not worked, but my view has other causes. If Microsoft will out new phones, do not know, I wish I can not this year but next year would be some time to prepare to reinvent itself. There would be much to say, but essential It is that fans remain fans. Good evening everyone! Cristian.    
  • All, I've probably been at this longer than most, having started with WindowsCE on various devices. I've gone through WinCE, Palm, Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia Lumia 1020, and back to iPhone. Functionality the 1020 was the best but as companies, like Delta, began dropping support for the OS, my experience became tedious. As far as connections are concerned, Windows still provides me with the best experience. My desktop, laptop, and Lumia were seamless, even more so than is my Apple system. I know I'm whining but I like my apps. My 1020 worked flawlessly with my Toyota Entune system,  even allowing me to respond to text via voice recorder recognition. My iPhone has never done that! But where did my apps go? I really like live tiles and could rearrange them to suit my travel needs. The dedicated camera button was amazing. I never missed a shot fumbling with my phone and never needed to carry a travel camera. But I missed my apps. I guess MS never saw "Field of Dreams." If you, Microsoft, build it, they will come. 
  • Where is the proof that MS will ever actually release a Surface phone. After two years of retrenchment, what difference does it make.
  • Too late, IMO. They've already let it fall out of the minds of customers. They've delayed it too long. They've allowed the 950 and W10M make even their most devout follwoers doubt Microsoft's commitment. Marketing is going to be meaningless if there's no tangible proof of commitment. For the customer base Microsoft has a shot with, marketing isn't the key. IF it were about marketing, this site would have died long ago, as we would have left for iOS and Android. Enterprise customers will want to see what it can do, more than hear what it might be able to do someday. Marketing was the failure point of WP7 and WP8. Since then, it's been less about marketing and less about production. Why am I likely to (at least temporarily) go Android in 2017? It's not because Microsoft hasn't marketed to me well. It's because they've fallen totally silent, allowed mediocre hardware to be the only option, and shown very little progress on mobile software, thanks to kicking the mobile can down the road both at RS1 last summer and RS2 this spring.
  • Its honestly much better to widen the gap between Windows Phone and the Surface Phone, they dont want it to be saddled with the failures of Windows Phone as it wont run that OS. They need to continue knocking it out of the park with the Surface Brand itself so that people equate it with their Surface Family more than the Lumia Family. The wider the gap between W10M and this device the better. Windows Phone is being killed off in favor of Windows 10 on ARM thankfully. As much as i have loved every one of my WP devices they never caught on at all, time to drop the dreams of it magically catching on now and reinvent the mobile space completely to play to Microsoft's strengths.
  • I know for a fact here in Australia WP is non-existent, when i mention to people Lumia, WP i get this strange look on their faces like what are you talking about?? No one here even knows what a WP is or a Lumia device is, no marketing efforts went in at all for this country which is why it failed from day one here miserably and will continue so if no $$$ goes into marketing it correctly here.   The rumored Surface Phone can be a 100 Mega pixel device running iOS & Android apps side by side but wont mean anything if its not marketing correctly. 
  • What ever happen to Ben? His Windowsphone comparisons to Android and iPhone were great!
  • Who said a Surface Phone was in the works?
  • An ultra-mobile surface device? Overreaching again? Wasn't the 950 supposed to be that? How'd that work out? All descriptions of what a new surface phone could be points at an enterprise device not for the average consumer. The masses have no clue what OS their phone has. Without multiple manufacturers creating window phones and why would they want to any future surface phone will to put it bluntly fail.
  • Whilst I agree with many points in this piece, there's the usual elephant outside the room: This piece and Microsoft continue to miss the fact that there are markets and customers outside the US. MS can have the best product and marketing in the world, but if they keep to the same policy of excluding most of the world then they may as well not bother. In fact, it's counter-productive: in this global age potential consumers get to hear of products wherever they are launched, but potential MS customers then always find out that MS aren't making stuff available in their territory so they head off to see if there's any alternatives that are available in their market.
  • You nailed it brother! Microsoft really only put effort in marketing these devices in the US, globally minimal to none.  Like i mentioned above in my post, i live in Australia and a WP here is non-existent, try mentioning to someone Microsoft has a WP and watch the look on their face, plus you will get teased if you DO own one. It surprises me that a company like Microsoft cant make a foot print in a country like this in the year 2017 were people are waving money around for a phone but Microsoft ignores them. Which is why everyone here either ownes a iPhone or a Samsung.  I am the minority :( 
  • In Greece the marketing was pretty good!
  • Cortana. It has been out for quite a while, and yet it is still only available in a pathetically few countries.
  •   For me windows phone 7 was a successful marketing with the public stunts and press attention of the building light shows with Deadmau5 show music. In my country bus and train stations were filled with Lumia posters. Put Lumia in public view. Cortana has I think always failed in marketing. Because the marketing in all markets suggested it would work for all languages, which never really came true, and is still a problem. For many markets I think windows phone because of this, got a negative image of false promises and would look and feel like a half baked product. Marketing is tough business. I don't think there is a golden solution, and a lot is still luck. I think word of mouth is still the best marketing. So the fans and wi dows mobile livers will remain a valuable group. I think what would help the most if microsoft could show fans and lovers for windows mobile and 10 a a well rounded build for once. Granted windows 10 is still an ever evolving OS, but I do believe there is such a thing as a polished and "finished" version within that model. So farI haven't seen or experienced a build that met that criterion to date. I think if microsoft could wow the fans with that I believe the adoption rate and satisfaction and install base would increase greatly.
  • Lumia 1020 not a phone. It's a camera that just have a mobile operating system. More, Lumia is good because of it's scarcity. Becsuse of scarcity, It has better security, and long life use.(Still using Lumia 950 XL Haha)
  • Every second advert has logos for the Apple & Android app stores, because they're the only apps being built. This reinforces the notion that there are only 2 mobile options.   Not only that, but Microsoft's ads are too quirky to make sense. Apple & Samsung promote beauty, Microsoft promotes difference. The masses don't want to be different, they want to be trendy and carry something beautiful. Surface was not successful during the "click dancers" advert era and the camera fight Lumia ad was fun for us die hards, but no-one else saw anything bar a lot of Apple & Samsung phones.
  • +1020
  • To quote Bill Murray from Meatballs, "It just doesn't matter".  First off, Microsoft never really marketed the phones.  Yes, there were commercials but, according to a couple of sources, Microsoft decided to let the phones market on their own merits.  What did that mean?  Well, no commission incentives for phone retailers.   Telll me, if Apple or Samsung have high end phones and sales people not only get a commission on selling the device but also incentives from said companies, just how hard are they going to promote a $150, heck, $400 phone with no incentives?  What cellular carrier is going to go out of its way to ensure every model available is displayed at every kiosk, when there's no incentive to do so?  So what did we get, salespeople who maybe knew about the phone, the minialist display of models, like pay as you go, or maybe a mid range phone, or perhaps a pseudo high end device, but marketed at the back of the kiosk. Microsoft will NOT change their ways now. They've realized they messed up in almost every aspect of marketing the phones, from the model selection, to the carrier selection to the sure you can upgrade - sorry you can't.  They spent, what $13 billion dollars on... something. They are not going down that rabbit hole again.  Sure, a Surface phone could be marginally successful and stem the bloodloss, just like Bing when it started out against Google, but Microsoft is not going to spend billions doing it.  The other reason, it's not a phone.  At least that's what the indications point to.  It willl be a multi-function communication and computer device, ergo, the old way of marketing just won't work.  Microsoft may try some new angles.  Maybe they'll follow in HP's footsteps and just cater to enterprise and the remaining hard core fans. Microsoft may learn from it's mistakes, but, like the Band, or heck, even the Zune, we know, it will always be around to make more of them. There will be a smattering of mobile devices.  Die-hard fans will swear by them.  Microsoft will continue to develop new and wonderful things, but what we know now as Microsoft mobile and your traditional smart phone, that ship has sailed.  In the end, "It just doesn't matter". Micorsoft mobile will never be as popular as Android or Apple.  That's not a bad thing, just an inconvenient truth. 
  • @mongo46; Microsoft's failure happened because they didn't have the mobile market at heart because of their entrenchment in the enterprise world and make a boat load of $. They had the product line(920,1020,1520 and later 950) and a very good Nokia staff that actually had the market growing but I believe insiders at Microsoft warred against going after the mobile arena which also is very progressive which is not a fit in a slowed conservative habitat inside of Microsoft's managerial heiarchy which Balmer had to fight against something I don't think alot of folks recognized and that is what capsized the mobile strategy. This infighting is what lead to the Vista fiasco of releasing a new OS after the busiest shopping season of the year rather waiting which would have allowed time for drivers development for products  which made no marketing sense. The new CEO let a lot of them go something perhaps Balmer should have done instead of dealing with those stiff conservative minded executives who had to much power which led to disaster and a company having to rebuild a positvie image.
  • if at all ms needs to make phone os popular, they need to collaborate with chinese makers like xiaomi, oppo etc and bring windows ten roms for those phones.  that will make atleat the people in countries like india use wp. now there is virtually no phone in market at all.. its virtual harakiri by ms. nothing short
  • Enjoyed reading that. Insofar as advertising, I cant say I seen anything in NZ but I dont watch much TV. The ads on YouTube I seen are amusing but not very good at grabbing a market in my view. All those compare mine to yours, mine does the same as yours but better just seems a bit school yard. Why compare yourself to a lesser product when you can go in guns blazing, proud as punch saying look at what I got, I have this awesome tech and I can do this and this, and this is how I use it to make my life so much easier, I dont know how I lived without it, you should try it.
  • Nope.
  • When there is an official word about a phone from Microsoft called "Surface", I'll cheer.
  • Repeating the phrase "ultramobile Surface PC" multiple times and leavening it with "category defining device" is delusional magical thinking.  In the consumer space a "Surface phone" is exactly that.  The term smart PHONE is still the most salient aspect of such a device.  The vast majority of consumers have little interest in Win32 programs on their phones and the first question they will have (other than the assumed premise that it will sound good on a call), is does it run applications like I have on my iPhone or Android. ​Windows on ARM is a long term play.  It will not gain significant market share among consumers in the beginning.  Windows on ARM will create  some degree of interest from enterprise.  Whether or not Windows on ARM in the mobile segment will be successful in the LONG TERM is significantly dependent on how Microsoft executes.  It's far from a certainty.
  • Don't misinterpret me, if my lung cancer doesn't kill me before the release of a Surface phone, I'll get it to replace my Lumia 950.  I'm not leaving the platform, I just don't like to lie to myself.
  • Microsoft, take the chain off your engineering staff an give them the freedom to go after the mobile market which is valued in the trillions of dollars and let them create, design and build products they are itching to build supporting their efforts. Let them breathe a bit and allow creativity that has been bound up for so long some liberty. You have the stores to move these product lines and it would really spark the partners who did and are doing excellent with those 2 in 1 product lines of which I see more than I do Apples if you can believe that.
  • Nicely said
  • While I do agree on many principles you highlight, what is to be done about the active attempts by other platforms to saboutage Windows as a third party.  Carriers have been hostile as well.  There are back office deals being done that are difficult to defeat with simply advertising.  I say that and yet I do agree they need to "bring the message".   But do realize that windows phones are in the hands of police, major corporations and in movies and TV shows.  More can be done and should.  But the current political environment is unlikely to curb the monopolies who are working their antagonism and quiet phone calls and handshakes.  There is a lot unsaid that is going on here.
  • I'm sorry but I always took note of seeing my favorite devices in multiple places, the best of which were always thecw as well as various film and television productions. I have THE Batman's phone, Lumia 950...you can't go one episode of SHIELD w/o seeing a Surface and how is that not an effective use of marketing??? If you didn't see Microsoft's interest, you weren't looking ppl... 😒
  • I don't watch it anymore, but I think The Mindy Project still uses Windows phones, but that's only availible on Hulu and I don't know how popular the show is.
  • Honestly. I think windows 8 nailed the coffin in the phone. The bad taste that people had, right or wrong, prevented concerts imo. That and awful update schedule and leaving units behind each update.
  • That chart needs to be updated. Things are more connected and have different names.
  • I've said it before, and I'll say it again. MS needs to bring back the Android bridge for Windows 10 mobile to be successful. With out this one thing it will have a very difficult time getting any traction due to the app gap. Get the users with the Android bridge, THEN concentrate on the developers getting native apps. After this they need combine Xamarin and UWP to make UAP (Universal App Platform). Many will say that Xamarin is already a free part of VS and what ever. The problem is there is too much difference between Xamarin and UWP especially in the GUI. It needs to be truly write once, and deploy to multiple platforms or at least as much as is feasibly possible. Write platform shims for the different operating systems that can then be targeted by a single .net code base. There is some indication that MS is going this way, but it feels like it is taking forever and we don't know how deep this consolidation will go. This is possible. Additionally they need to bring Java and swift as native languages to .net to compliment C# and VB. This will go a long way to attract developers that don't want to go to the bother of learning a new language. Further more they need to create a compliment to UAP that is aimed at native development that covers C, C++, and objective C. Much of this is already there they just need to develop the platform shims that will translate base commands to platform specific commands. If MS does all this, it would crazy not to develop FIRST on Windows then port to other platforms. To further attract users MS needs to flesh out its eco-system. They need to bring Windows holographic to mobile, they need to get more echo competitors to market, they need to get car-play compatibility and if possible get some car companies to adopt native versions of windows in their in car systems. They need to have a better smart home integration possibly even a built in MS developed app that integrates with 3rd party systems. They need to have a cheaper alternative to the xbox for TV, to compete with the roku, amazon fire, and android tv. They also need to work with television manufactures to offer a version of windows built in to a TV. Next thing is MS services need to become platform agnostic. Things like Edge, Groove, Microsoft Video, and Ebooks need to be on all popular operating systems. They need to be the best in their respective classes. They need to extend each of these platforms to third parties so that they can be enhanced by plug-ins and extension to become platforms in their own right. This will inspire platform loyalty through cross platform availability. MS needs to ensure that they service the rest of the world as well as they do the US. They need to know, where ever you are Microsoft will be there too. Basically ecosystem, ecosystem, ecosystem
  • But there is no hardware to run the ecosystem on. And without that there will be no devs which makes the Android bridge pointless.
  • No
  • As well as listening to what users are mainly complaining about, some of the changes they concentrate on are cosmetic (eg changing from square picture to circle) instead of sorting out what the users are pointing out in the feed back.
  • Marketing! They need to create stunning ads to show their product, to show that they care! Using fans to spread the word is NOT enough!
  • Great article but I'm surprised that Jason didn't touch on the many mis-steps Microsoft made with carriers, internationally but mainly domestically.  The slow traction of reachability to the public was in part due to the stranglehold that Microsoft yielded to the carriers.  Being so late to the mobile party, they made bad exclusivity deals with carriers with poor or disjointed marketing, little or no shop floor presence, no staff education and limited promotion beyond the bare minimum that the carriers could get away with.  On top of that, there was the usual problems of delays in carrier approval for updates and upgrades that stifulled innovation and frustrated the userbase.
  • Spot on!!! I want to vote this down so I can vote it back up again!
  • You also nailed it spot on!  Its a mixture of bad marketing, not reaching out to all carriers in differnet countries, just plain to slow to act in my view anyway. 
  • my thoughts are if microsoft mythical phone does come then it should have three levels eg high end mid & low.The form factor should be a 5" inch or 5.5" no more than that msft must keep in mind that it has to be a mobile not desktop the way things are going we can assume that msft try to run full desktop experience on mobile no one needs that if you talk about mobile polish the win10 mobile more for mobile dont loose focus on mobile we seeing it now   in terms of specs for high end must be snapdragon 830 or 825 ram 4 or 6gb for mid end snapdragon 635 or higher would be really pleasing ram 3gb less 2gb and apps also
  • The world's best advertising couldn't have salvaged the shittily designed 950 & 950 XL, iPhone & Galaxy's advertising works because the phones are good looking. Advertsing is the last piece of the puzzle. You need a good Product, it needs to be Packaged right, Positioned and Priced right too. MS has a different product (W10 OS), lousy packaging (compare 950 to any other flagship) , ok price but no developer support and a totally confused positioning so advertising can do nothing much in this situation. Apple & Google have better products and models. Just accept it and move on. I have owned all the flagship Windows phones and currently use the 950 but the software just doesn't feel stable. And, no, I am not wedded to MS that I have to have a Windows phone. Advertising is not going to sway me, more apps, more stable platform will. I used to recommend Windows phones to others, not anymore.
  • The dual screen tablet patents microsoft has gotten may be for devices that may or may not have a Windows smart phone within them. the size of the dual screens compared to human hands shown in the last patent tells me it wont be a smart phone . it looks to be the revival of the Surface MINI tablet microsoft killed just befor the debut of the liumia 640/640xl smart phones. This time the Surface Mini will no doubt run Windows 10 for ARMS CPU's and be able run Decktop PC Programs and Windows 10 store app. it will be nice if it can run Windows 10 mobile smart phone in the same case as the Dual screen Tablet uses Hmm anybody want a Tablet Smart phone hybrid device. for it  to sell well Microsoft has to step up to the plate and make it known to the whole world. Such a device is a rare one but enough people will buy it to make it worth have Manufatured and sold in the market place
  • Microsoft killed the windows phone on its own. They were doing well in India and suddenly they stopped. Almost 2 years of no news is too much. It's only some die hard fans like me who are a tool ridicule from the droid and iPhone owners to throw my phone away. Microsoft just took an axe and cut its own leg.
  • MS focused on high end non mass devices like Holo lens etc the whole of 2016 and didn't touch the windows phone in the roadmap only to find Google releasing Pixel. That was the nail in the coffin. Now just wondering how will they catch up.Even apps support has dried up except for insider fans they don't have anything in hand now.
  • Finally. Great story. The biggest problem with microsoft is marketing. They don't have marketing sector!
  • Dont fight. Switch Nintendo Switch are you there?
  • I would really love to see them more proactive pushing Universal app development, especially iOS and Android developers.  Create the foundation of your app using the Universal  format then have the option to make that app available for many different platforms.
  • (In valley girl 👧🏼): Oh my gosh, did you see the new Surface... It is a reeeeal computer that can, actually, replace your phone! I don't believe it... It can actually make phone calls! This! This is exactly what I need!
  • Nice article! My beef with MS is not working with/strong arming the carriers more effectively. I have anecdotal evidence that the "wedding" spot in particular was driving traffic to the carrier's storefronts. I had more that one service rep tell me with a sigh what a pain it was telling all of those folks who wanted that cool yellow phone with the awesome camera that they really didn't. End of story.
  • If it doesn't have VR/AR, 3D, biometrics, 4k capable, mobile payment, Qi, then its DOA regardless of marketing...
  • I never bought into the argument that Microsoft launched Windows Phone too late. Plenty of people still had yet to buy their first smartphone, and ecosystem/app investment simply is vastly overhyped since we all know more people who have owned a smartphone from more than one ecosystem, than those that have only owned a device from a single ecosystem. Windows Phones had great ads, such as the "The smartphone beta test.. " or the "Smoked by Windows phone". So I don't believe it was marketing. Not was carrier salesmen ignoring WP isn't actually a marketing issue either. The problem, like with many other Microsoft products, they simply failed to follow through. MS expects third parties developers and hardware manufacturers to carry their products to market dominance without a full commitment of first party development beyond the first year or two. Sounds a lot like what happened to W10M, right? Granted, Windows Phone, in particular, died from the constant OS reboots, that killed off over half it's userbase everytime.
  • No.
  • Nice article, but I'm not even the slightest bit convinced there is ever going to be a Surface Phone. Windows Phone/Mobile is over.
  • Honestly after seeing the Galaxy S8 commercial, Windows 10 Mobile is dead to me. It's biggest differentiator was continuum and it seems like Samsung beat them to it in terms of functionality. You will have access to the play store, which Microsoft unfortunately doesn't have the access to. You will get a premium handset with great craftsmanship. I know someone is gonna say "lagdroid" but honestly those people probably haven't touched an Android phone since 2012. My S7 edge flies in comparison anything Windows 10 Mobile has put out. To add insult to injury, Microsoft themselves are helping Samsung by developing software for their desktop experience. SIGH, what a time to have a Windows 10 Mobile phone.
  • Excellent article Jason! Love your writing style and passion, never boring ^_^.
    Microsoft needs to strongly focus in advertising their coming line of "surface phone" or ultra mobil pc within the professional/business market. As a counselor, I rely on Windows to get all of my work done. Whether is progress notes at the office, using my surface tablet for demonstration of relaxation techniques to my patients, or doing extra work from my 950xl on the go, such as finishing notes on word or sending my weekly invoice to billing using Excel.
    I have used pixel c tablet and nexus 6p...true, they are capable of doing what I can do on windows but they lack the raw power of getting things done the way it was meant to be. With apple, same story.
    People these days have accustomed to the routine of a phone device that has a nice camera, an app store (which 90% of the apps are garbage, money stealing, spyware, and waste of time) and has a brand name that "makes you cool owning one". It is a sad reality and perhaps there is nothing wrong with it. However, Microsoft has so much to offer, why try to compete in such world? Their focus should not be a common mainstream but a professional and reliable mainstream... How? By not comparing it to what is already out there. It needs to advertise it as a category of it's own. As a powerful machine that nothing else out there could be compared to it. By giving productive people a reason to think twice of the capabilities.
    Also, I came across an article about the future of apps. It seems like applications are expensive to maintain to companies likes Bank of America, etc. And so they prefer people to use their mobile version of their .com. In a near future, not too far away, perhaps apps will truly disappear in favor of mobile version with quick access, no update required and doesn't take space in your memory. In a world like that, the ultra mobile pc or "surface phone" will truly shine.
  • Excellent article Jason! Love your writing style and passion, never boring ^_^.
    Microsoft needs to strongly focus in advertising their coming line of "surface phone" or ultra mobil pc within the professional/business market. As a counselor, I rely on Windows to get all of my work done. Whether is progress notes at the office, using my surface tablet for demonstration of relaxation techniques to my patients, or doing extra work from my 950xl on the go, such as finishing notes on word or sending my weekly invoice to billing using Excel.
    I have used pixel c tablet and nexus 6p...true, they are capable of doing what I can do on windows but they lack the raw power of getting things done the way it was meant to be. With apple, same story.
    People these days have accustomed to the routine of a phone device that has a nice camera, an app store (which 90% of the apps are garbage, money stealing, spyware, and waste of time) and has a brand name that "makes you cool owning one". It is a sad reality and perhaps there is nothing wrong with it. However, Microsoft has so much to offer, why try to compete in such world? Their focus should not be a common mainstream but a professional and reliable mainstream... How? By not comparing it to what is already out there. It needs to advertise it as a category of it's own. As a powerful machine that nothing else out there could be compared to it. By giving productive people a reason to think twice of the capabilities a true mobile device can do.
    Also, I came across an article about the future of apps. It seems like applications are expensive to maintain to companies likes Bank of America, etc. And so they prefer people to use their mobile version of their .com. In a near future, not too far away, perhaps apps will truly disappear in favor of mobile version with quick access, no update required and doesn't take space in your memory. In a world like that, the ultra mobile pc or "surface phone" will truly shine.
  • Excellent article Jason! Love your writing style and passion, never boring ^_^.
    Microsoft needs to strongly focus in advertising their coming line of "surface phone" or ultra mobil pc within the professional/business market. As a counselor, I rely on Windows to get all of my work done. Whether is progress notes at the office, using my surface tablet for demonstration of relaxation techniques to my patients, or doing extra work from my 950xl on the go, such as finishing notes on word or sending my weekly invoice to billing using Excel.
    I have used pixel c tablet and nexus 6p...true, they are capable of doing what I can do on windows but they lack the raw power of getting things done the way it was meant to be. With apple, same story.
    People these days have accustomed to the routine of a phone device that has a nice camera, an app store (which 90% of the apps are garbage, money stealing, spyware, and waste of time) and has a brand name that "makes you cool owning one". It is a sad reality and perhaps there is nothing wrong with it. However, Microsoft has so much to offer, why try to compete in such world? Their focus should not be a common mainstream but a professional and reliable mainstream... How? By not comparing it to what is already out there. It needs to advertise it as a category of it's own. As a powerful machine that nothing else out there could be compared to it. By giving productive people a reason to think twice about what a true mobile device can do.
    Also, I came across an article about the future of apps. It seems like applications are expensive to maintain to companies likes Bank of America, etc. And so they prefer people to use their mobile version of their .com. In a near future, not too far away, perhaps apps will truly disappear in favor of mobile version with quick access, no update required and doesn't take space in your memory. In a world like that, the ultra mobile pc or "surface phone" will truly shine.
  • If I were in charge of marketing the Surface phone... 1. Skip TV ads. Go digital with ads on facebook, linkedin, instagram, pinterest, snapchat, and twitter. 2. Put a free Surface cell in the hands of every Microsoft and carrier partner employee. Theirs to keep. 3. Hire secret shoppers and let all retail employees know they're out there. $50 cash on the spot to employees who ask if they've seen the new Surface phone. Another $50 if they post on social media about getting the bonus (so other employees will know it's real). 4. Co-marketing. When I go to ATT's website, I see big slide show images of the latest Samsung or iPhone device they offer. Where's the Surface phone? This is co-marketing. Microsoft pays the carriers to feature their phones. It's not a concept with which Microsoft seems too familiar. 5. Discount volume purchases. If a company has decided to kill BYOD and issue phones, offer discounts just as is done with volume licensing for Microsoft software. 6. I don't know if it's a US thing or a California thing, but here, you have 14 days to return a phone and cancel the purchase. Microsoft should announce they don't think 2 weeks is long enough to fall in love. Offer a 3-month "we'll buy it back, no questions asked" guarantee that you'll love the Surface phone. I spotted a Surface 2-in-1 in Matt Czuchry's hands on the 1st episode of Netflix original Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Obviously paid placement. But episodes 2-4? All Macs and iPhones. Who dropped the ball on this one? Same goes for early seasons of House of Cards. Frank Underwood had a Windows phone. This is product placement. Microsoft should learn more about it.
  • the issue is company focus.  If apple lost iphone they would be devestated.  samsung is only hardware.  microsoft has so many billion dollar businesses and mostly on the software side that it doesn't make as much of an impact to them.  it's still all about the shareholders after all
  • I'm surprised that there are any Windows phone fans left out there. Microsoft have treated them with complete contempt.
  • Microsoft was easily able to make pen and OneNote integration work in Samsung Android phones but didn't bother to even try with Windows phones.