Former and current Microsoft staffers talk about why Windows phones failed
Windows on phone failed. That's clear. And some former Microsoft employees recently shared why.
The downfall of Windows on phones is a tale that has been told and retold by observers, enthusiasts and Microsoft haters time and again.
Though Windows 10 Mobile's demise is undeniable, Microsoft's mobile strategy has arguably always included a transition from a mobile OS on phone hardware to full Windows on context-conforming Pocket PCs. That vision is materializing as Windows Core OS and Microsoft's rumored "Project Andromeda" story unfold.
Had Windows phone succeeded, Microsoft would have likely still pursued the post-smartphone pocket PC vision it's currently pursuing. It's a natural evolution of connected computing and a realization of the company's decades-old goal of bringing full Windows to pocketable hardware.
It's within this context of what could have been and what may yet be, that exiting Windows Chief Terry Myerson and former Developers Relations Head for Windows Phone Brandon Watson have shared their thoughts on why Windows on phone, not Windows on mobile, failed.
Windows 10 Mobile's death may be a good thing
Microsoft staffers on Windows phone's failure
Myerson, who's leaving Microsoft and who once led Windows phone efforts, shared his experiences on LinkedIn:
In response to the challenge, Microsoft innovated in phone user experiences, with Live tiles, social network integration, Hubs, Rooms, and the fluidity of the OS. Still, Myerson said Windows phone failed because:
- Early Windows phones were founded on an incomplete Windows CE platform, designed for small embedded systems.
- The industry moved forward faster than Microsoft could keep pace.
- Android presented an enormous disruption in the business model.
Watson added insufficient OEM and carrier support to that list of reason for failure:
Windows Phone died because it would have been almost impossible to beat Google or Apple without carriers and handset manufacturers embracing it. We got second string devices and almost no support at the carriers. They couldn't keep burning money to please Sisyfus.Windows Phone died because it would have been almost impossible to beat Google or Apple without carriers and handset manufacturers embracing it. We got second string devices and almost no support at the carriers. They couldn't keep burning money to please Sisyfus.— Brandon Watson (@BrandonWatson) March 30, 2018March 30, 2018
Finally, Joe Belfiore, Windows Division head, suggested the app gap and limited hardware choices are among the causes.
The argument that Microsoft isn't investing in mobile, because it gave up on smartphones, is an erroneous assessment. A mobile device doesn't have to be asmartphone, though a smartphone is a mobile device. This point must be understood before you can grasp how Microsoft's mobile investments and Project Andromeda may address the challenges that contributed to Windows on phone failures.
Incomplete Windows CE foundation
Incomplete Windows CE limited Microsoft's ability to bring the power and versatility of Windows to a mobile form factor.
OneCore unifies Windows across form factors, and Core OS enables a context-sensitive OS that conforms to device types and device states. Microsoft's rumored Project Andromeda's OS will potentially shift between mobile, tablet and desktop modes seamlessly.
From Windows CE to Windows 10 Pocket PCs
Industry moved faster than Microsoft could catch up
Apple and Google had developed carrier, developer, customer and OEM (Android) relationships years before Windows Phone 7 arrived.
As connected computing becomes increasingly demanding and the slate-shaped smartphone market stagnates, Always Connected PCs and subsequent Project Andromeda-inspired OEM devices may be Microsoft's and Qualcomm's preemptive step into the next phase of connected computing.
Why eSIM may be a game changer for Microsoft
Android's disruptive business model and caring for carriers
Though Myerson doesn't identify Android's "disruptive" business model, he may have been referring to the OS as free and customizable for OEM partners.
Microsoft ultimately made Windows free to OEMs on smaller devices. Additionally, Core OS lets OEMs include only the Windows features they want on their devices. Windows 10's breadth of features from inking, gaming, mixed reality and more combined with creative OEM hardware may inspire PC and smartphone makers to embrace Andromeda-inspired devices.
Furthermore, always-connected devices will allow consumers to buy data from the Microsoft Store and switch between carriers almost on the fly. This gives carriers an incentive to carry cellular PCs to make their data and voice packages more competitive.
Why always-connected PCs may give Microsoft the upper hand with carriers
The notorious app gap
Microsoft is collaborating with Google on Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and is treating them as native apps in Windows 10. Simply, put these app-web hybrids will behave as native Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps.
Using a web crawler, Microsoft has begun to slowly populate the Microsoft Store by merely pulling PWAs into the Store PWAs. Furthermore, PWAs are easier to build, maintain and are cross-platform.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) - the great equalizer for Microsoft, Apple and Google
No guarantees but it's a plan
Microsoft appears to have a mobile plan that addresses the issues that doomed Windows on phone. No one knows how this will play out, but past failures don't dictate future outcomes.
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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!
I don't understand why today we cant have a quality made and supported MS device, aimed at the corporate world but also supplying those of us that want a quality WM niche product.
2) Dump C# in favor of Java/Kotlin/Swift.
3) Drop the Windows name for an OS that basically has no Windows
4) Give it off for free.
5) Back it up with great applications
6) Let the community drive it
7) Leverage the services, not the OS
8) Support every SoC available and every feature available. Basically turn Windows Mobile 10 into Android Peppermint Patties.
I setup my fathers new android phone for him yesterday, what a god awful UI
If MS can launch something better, great. But they could have kept Windows Phone alive until such time comes.
For them to ignore their mobile platform seems like a bad decision for many reasons. I get the fact that they want their stuff on droid & IOS.....but I'm not going to download a Microsoft account on one.
I hope that whatever they launch (if anything) is very successful and works on cdma!
An April released i think.
So I think this manager have not very influence to this question, seems someone other people who does not know enough about IT, but good know money and only money.. Just check how many fans of Windows Phone 10 and try to check how many apps gap to you?.. So why it's still not popular... Just ask someone who still in Microsoft...
They always blame the others but never look in their infested garden.
1) They had no previous "cool" factor with the general public, and were primarily known only for PCs, and not always good ones at that. And even if they were good, they weren't necessarily fun or cool. Please note the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" commercials, and them just coming off the debacle that was Vista.
2) They failed (as they always do) to EFFECTIVELY market to the public the benefits and unique features of Windows Phone. Particularly how it interfaced with the Windows PCs that many in their potential market pool already owned and/or used at work. They should have done FAR more on that front, particularly given point #1, and that they were late to the modern smartphone party and needed to lure consumer heads out of the figurative butts of Android and iPhone. Three and four years after Windows Phone hit the market, it was quite common for me to talk to people who didn't even know Microsoft/Windows MADE a phone, much less had about a dozen different models on the market. Had the CONSUMERS been more aware of the platform and learned of it's features and benefits, everything would have fallen in place.
Consumer demand would have:
1) driven developers to develop for the platform, thus fixing the app gap.
2) kept the AT&T and Verizon stores from putting the product and related marketing materials in the back corners of their stores. .
3) probably gotten some fans on board who WORKED at those stores and guided the public on which product to buy. Several times I literally saw customers in an AT&T store ask about Windows Phone, and the salesperson almost IMMEDIATELY said, "No, you don't want that. What you really need is an iPhone" and then steered them to that part of the store. As with most things marketed to the public, if you fail to effectively market and teach your potential customer base, you'll fall flat. I work in an industry that deals with that regularly, where the manufacturers historically spend a lot of time and money advertising and marketing to industry insiders who already know all about their products, but fail miserably at marketing and advertising to the general public who would then drive market trends. Only in the last two years have they realized that mistake and begun investing in places that the average consumer bothers to shop at or in publications they already read. Singing to the choir won't cut it.
All I need is perfect phonebook + event calendar - these things was in every phone, but done bad way. Smartphones changed nothing - same sht, but with finger.
And last but not least, BATTERY. Nobody need piece of sht, which lasts... ONE DAY, CARL! It's ridiculous. One month of regular use - that's the minimum, after which phone become REALLY USEFUL EVERY DAY HELPER. If phone can fail at any minute, I just cannot put there important info.
But I agree, "Indian dancers" are not players, just "imitation of programmers". I try to be not racist, but nowadays we have TOO MUCH "so called developers" from India who past 2 weeks course and today they already design software!
Windows 10 on ARM will be a success, but at same time I have hopes that Mobile carriers also offer standalone great LTE USB type C modems that can be used on Windows Intel based devices like my ASUS 2 in 1.
Step 2: ??????
Step 3: Profit.
I do have intentions to pay for a 1 year Mobile Plan, but instead of using my phone I want to use my 11.6" 2 in 1 with Windows 10, I'm going to use Whatsapp for Windows, Skype and other apps for communication, but the important thing is I like Mobile Internet and this time I don't want to use it with a limited device like a smartphone.
Just my 2 cents.
I do not dwell on why Windows smart phones failed. The best form factor for the Andromeda device I think wont be pocket able. the original MS "Courier" was not a device you could not put in pants pockets. I have seen video's on the MS Courier and want that device more than I want any smart phone despite the fact it's not pocket able. years ago MS CEO Ballmer showed it to Bill Gates who went against it because it lacked certain Windows software Ballmer should have just gotten Microsoft programmers to add the software Bill Gates wanted in and brought it to the market place. it was far superior than a Ipad or Android Tablets. I read Microsoft is not making native soft ware for it's products. That's a big mistake because Andromeda 2 screen devices need special software to make them useful. Microsoft in the past has failed to get many 3rd party developers to make apps for it's devices that is one of the reasons why Windows smart phones were not popular. A non Pocket able 2 screen Courier Type device using a Intel core "M" CPU is the best NEW device for Microsoft to make. WHY!= Because it will run Full Windows 10, Some Old Windows PC programs, The Windows 10 store apps and the new PWA apps. without win32/X86 32/64 bit emulation soft Ware to slow it down and that is a real BIG DEAL !
Win10M could win if MS wasn't too lame.
This is why Google refused to allow their services to be native on WPhone. They demand that ALL Google Services use Google Search/advertising and with MS demanding that BING be used instead, Google then refused to let anything run on WPhone, which, frankly, is why it failed.
EVERY SINGLE REVIEWER was expecting Google services on WPhone, just like they existed on both Android and iOS (where Google pays Apple $2 Billion/year to be on the iPhone) and when they could not run GMail, GMaps, and any of the other Google services in a NATIVE APP they trashed the phones, which, at the time were FAR superior to the crap of Android 3 at the time and the tiny, walled-garden of iPhone 4s.
But, it stayed that way and MS never let Google take over the search functions and WPhone died because of it (as way too many apps in both the Apple Store and Play Store depended on Google services to even work in the first place, thus they could never work on WPhone.)
Reviewers were pretty positive on the hardware, performance, and fluidity and integration of the Wphone OS, but the "app-gap" killed it at a time it desperately needed to be able to run all the "Standard" apps users had come to expect on Android and iOS devices, and no, the 3rd-party apps didn't really work as replacements.
By the time W10Phone came around, 8.1 was starting to get some traction, but MS screwed the pooch on that transition, killing way too much of the integration that was present on 8.1 and that was the final nail in the coffin.
RIP WPhone. We hardly knew ye'.
There are three devices
1 the new device that I'm counting a tablet phone
2 it will be smartphone was two screens on the front one in the back.
3 smartwatch will be small cell phone. Just show off what the new software can do in the mobile space.