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Viewing Windows phone in the proper context

Editor's note: In light of yesterday's earning report and the less-than-ideal revenue numbers for Windows Phone, we are re-running this earlier editorial and analysis from November.

Sure Redmond is still making smartphones. And yes their mobile OS will be continually improved and utilized on first-party and partner OEM hardware. And let's not forget Redmond's cross-platform app deluge. Yes, Microsoft is everywhere.

However, despite these commitments, Microsoft is no longer pitting its mobile phone efforts head-to-head against its rivals. Microsoft has strategically withdrawn from the mass market and is no longer targeting general smartphone consumers with its devices. Given that for the past five years, general consumers have by-passed Microsoft's mobile offerings a more refined approach toward a clearly defined audience was determined to be appropriate.

"In the near term, we will run a more effective phone portfolio, with better products and speed to market. We'll bring business customers the best management, security and productivity experiences they need; value phone buyers the communications services they want; and Windows fans the flagship devices they'll love." – Nadella July 8, 2015

Indeed, things are different now. The context for Microsoft's smartphone story has changed. To remain in sync with this current stage of Redmond's mobile strategy, how we writers, industry watchers, and enthusiasts narrate that story, moderate the discourse, facilitate a dialogue and measure success must change accordingly.

We can't continue with business as usual.

Same old story

The year was 2007. The place was San Francisco. The product was the iPhone. The target: consumers. This was the first strike in what would become the smartphone war for the consumer space. In 2008, Google answered with Android and the HTC G1. Three years after Apple's initial strike, in 2010, Microsoft re-entered the fray with Windows Phone 7. This lightweight, touch-friendly, Metro-style OS and UI relinquished the weight of its stylus-dependent, enterprise-focused predecessor.

Unfortunately, this refresh brought little success to Microsoft's mobile endeavors. Still, it was the early days of Windows Phone, and Nokia/Microsoft were confident. In 2012, Nokia/Microsoft introduced the Lumia 900 with the tagline, "The smartphone beta test is over." This was a snarky "in your face" attack on all rivals in the space.

Like leaflet propaganda during wartime, this media blitz was designed to alter consumer perception of rival smartphone options in favor of Microsoft's offering.

It didn't work.

The war raged on, and Windows Phone still has not grabbed mass consumer appeal.

Furthermore, despite the presence of most core apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, the lack of popular apps like SnapChat or poor support for existing apps have kept consumers away from the platform.

Consequently, Windows Phone has never claimed much more than 3% of the industry's global share. Additionally, the ever-present "chicken before the egg conundrum" has kept much-needed developers from helping to resolve this app-gap issue. Thus, reviews and analysis' have echoed the same mantra since 2010; Microsoft has been fighting a losing battle with Windows Phone.

This is the story writers, analysts, blog post commenters and forum participants have told and retold over the years. This was the narrative surrounding Microsoft's efforts as they strove for relevance in the general smartphone consumer space. Assessments of their success or failure have consequently been tied to measures such as market share and units sold per quarter in comparison to rivals in that space.

They are, however, no longer in that space. Therefore, we need a new rubric.

New Measures

As a former educator, I used a scoring rubric, which is a standard of performance for a specific population. Because there are different expectations for fifth-grade and third-grade classes, the rubric applied to fifth graders would differ from that applied to third graders.

Because Microsoft is now focusing their smartphone efforts on three distinct markets, we must apply a new rubric that reflects accurate measurements of success or failure based upon goals set within that new context.

Microsoft's refined markets are:

  • Fans
  • Enterprise
  • Value Consumers

To complicate things just a tad, Microsoft will likely re-enter the mainstream market with a convergent phone/tablet device that could be the highly anticipated Surface Phone.

With these two factors in mind our new paradigm for assessing Microsoft's smartphone success should consider the following:

  • How is Microsoft performing in relation to satisfying the needs and expectations of its three target markets?
  • How are the development of the Windows 10 platform and other aspects of the Microsoft ecosystem progressing toward the company's likely goal of a late 2016 debut of a convergent device?

Old measures such as comparing units sold per quarter and market share percentages between rivals are no longer directly relevant. The direct rivalry is no longer the context in which Microsoft's efforts exists. Its new focus will yield a decreasing market share as the firm's target market is smaller. This same fact will, of course, yield a smaller number of units sold.

A closer look

As we endeavor to continue telling Microsoft's story, we now have the responsibility of aligning our minds with what measures would now denote success for Redmond; while keeping an astute eye on the mainstream smartphone war where the measures of success for those players has not changed.

Some writers may find it challenging to speak on both particularly within the context of a single piece where inclusion of multiple platforms is common. But to maintain the integrity of the narrative, it is necessary.

Below are some quick thoughts to consider when evaluating Redmond's streamlined approach. Note, Microsoft's success is evaluated in relation to measures associated with their specific targets.

Under this new paradigm, comparisons to rivals are less relevant.

Fans

  • Are fans receptive of the new devices?
  • How have fans responded to purchasing phones off-contract through Microsoft retail?
  • How are fans reviewing the devices?

Enterprise

  • Are enterprise customers adopting Windows Phone?
  • Has there been enterprise growth since the shift to focusing on this demographic?
  • How well are Windows Phones integrating into existing enterprise infrastructure?
  • Are users acclimating well to Windows Phone?

Value

  • Are budget consumers responding to Microsoft's offering?
  • Are consumers retaining their low-end Windows phones?

Road back to the mainstream

I believe that Microsoft will be re-entering the general smartphone war with a convergent device by Q4 2016. The firm's progress toward that goal is a measure of success that should be considered. Thus, analysis, device and OS reviews and general dialogue in forums and blog comments should take this point into consideration.

One major factor in the realization of that convergent device is Continuum. Moreover, the Lumias 950/XL are Redmond's first phones to showcase the potential of this platform feature.

"Many countries are mobile-only countries. I don't want to be mobile-only. I want to be mobile-plus. This is a mobile-plus device to me. It will really help us expand even what is considered today mobile." - Nadella October 6, 2015.

As I shared previously, Redmond is attempting to shift the industry toward a convergent device paradigm. Nadella's admission that Continuum on a phone will help to expand what is considered mobile supports this claim. The Lumia 950/XL are an iterative step toward a convergent mobile device that will be a phone, mini-tablet, and a PC via Continuum.

Thus, how the industry assesses Continuum's place in Microsoft's current story toward convergence is an important point to evaluate. Questions to consider over the next year as we talk about the new Lumias, Windows 10 and Microsoft's ecosystem are:

  • How is Continuum being utilized?
  • Is Microsoft taking steps toward bringing Continuum to value phones? (Important for emerging markets)
  • How reliable is Continuum over a wireless connection and why isn't Microsoft marketing the wireless connection?

An additional point to consider is Microsoft's relationship with OEM partners. These partners, though few, are still players in the mainstream smartphone space. How Microsoft nurtures these relationships over the next year will be critical to Redmond's presence in the broader space in the future.

Finally, Microsoft's success or failure with winning developers to the App Bridges is critical to the platform's success. Assessments of the firm's efforts in that regard are indeed relevant.

The pen is mightier than the sword

Professional writers have a special burden. There is an inherent level of respect given by most readers in deference to a writers specialized knowledge, analytical abilities and ability to communicate complex issues effectively.

Type Cover with Fingerprint ID

Type Cover with Fingerprint ID

Tech writers must, therefore, be cognizant of industry shifts that affect how we will analyze the industry as a whole or a component thereof. Failure to do so may result in our telling the "same old story" when the paradigm has shifted.

Information presented in the incorrect context could lead readers in the wrong direction.

For example, any review of the Lumia 950/XL should in my opinion, present the context in which the device is positioned by Microsoft. It is a device for the fans, not the mass market. The provision of that information gives clear context for any additional dialogue that a writer may add regarding the devices potential or lack thereof to entice users of rival platforms.

By being given the proper context, a reader won't be unintentionally led to conclude that the Lumia's failure to entice non-Windows fans is a result of Microsoft's failed attempt to lure them. That's the old Windows Phone story.

The 950/XL fit within the paradigm of how they appeal to fans and, as representatives of new technologies, how they affect Microsoft's multi-layered track back into the mainstream.

The measure of success

On October 6, 2015, Nadella shared the following during an interview with the Verge.

"…a change in Microsoft where we no longer talk about the lagging indicators of success, which is revenue, profit. What are the leading indicators of success? Customer love. There's actually a way to measure it. It's called NPS, Net Promoter Score."

NPS is a customer loyalty metric. It is this measure that Microsoft is applying to determine its success with its fans, enterprise and value consumers. Nadella stressed that getting an entire organization to fall in love with these indicators is the biggest driver of success.

Microsoft's CFO Amy Hood reiterates:

"I think we're not focused on what that growth will look like and should look like. We're focused on doing it in a smart way. And we're focused on the people who love our products and our experience."-Hood November 18, 2015

As writers, analysts and industry watchers I believe it prudent that we embrace that these are the leading indicators for success driving Microsoft within their new approach to the smartphone space. Whether the content we produce is Microsoft, Android or iPhone focused if Microsoft's smartphone story is being told it should be told within its new more refined context where the old measures, for now, no longer apply.

Out of Sync

As a kid, I was a fan of the Saturday afternoon Kung Ku Matinee. My family and I would watch incredible feats of beautifully choreographed martial arts. The dialogue, however, was not as artfully rendered. The English voices that were dubbed over the original dialect were comically out of sync with the action.

If we in the industry embrace the new position Microsoft has in the smartphone industry with all of the inherent changes that entail, we can all realign our rubrics and continue the narration of Microsoft's tale on one accord.

Failure to do so, however, can result in a narrative that is horribly out of sync with what is actually happening in the industry. Readers who are trusting our analysis deserve better than that.

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!

567 Comments
  • Thanks for reading! It is important to consider that Microsoft is no longer competing directly in the smartphone war against its rivals. So as we engage in dialogue about the new Lumia's and Windows 10 Mobile on phone we must be careful not to draw on old measures of determining Microsoft's level of success in mobile. The company's new position calls for new measures. This I believe is a temporary position. As previous pieces and this piece indicate this period of retrenching is providing a foundation for a powerful re-entry into space with what I believe will be a convergent device. At that time measure involving comparisons to rivals will again be relevant as Microsoft will have re-entered the space. Let's talk!
  • I agree it's the right move to stop targetting the mass market by pitching Windows 10 Mobile simply as "another Android/iOS" and I agree that Microsoft seems to have realized that. I'm glad about that. Microsoft needs to find its niche for the mobile OS and build on that and try to make that succesful. They did with this Surface, even after many people thought the tablet market was more or less firmly in the hands of Apple and Google and of course after people thought Surface would remain a failure.
  • The difference was that even with the almost 1 billion writedown, MS did not give up and kept introducing new Surfaces withe one better that the last one in all respects and it always looked premium... With Mobile, after writing down the Nokia acquisition, they fired most of the team, the same did not happen with Surface. They are producing less of it and pricing it expensive but the phones don't look that premium. and couple that with the the consition of the WP10 beta software, its a bad deal all around... I am sure they would love to get more marketshare, but they have given up the fight and will look at just enterprise to keep them relevant. If they can give great deals/bundles on Xbox while reducing the prices, why can't they do the same with WP. Reduce the price and increase the bundles... hopefully it increases the marketshare... Or atleast keeps it there...
  • The Nokia team was much larger than the Surface team. I think with Panos Panay now in charge we will see changes to the look and feel of the phones. The Lumia 950 (XL) are not ugly, though, they just don't look very special. If I had the money and was interested in them, I wouldn't mind their average look. As for Windows 10 Mobile, while it works fast and smooth now (at least on my phone) I agree it lacks some final polish it should have. However, it's not like there won't be software updates. Of course there was a time where all that seemed to matter was market share but I think Microsoft has realized that for now, fighting for market share alone is a lost battle. So, in that sense, they may have given up that fight but I think it was the sensible thing to do. Though I do think they should make efforts not to lose the higher market shares they have built up in Europe.
  • A lot of Nokia people who were let go were in manufacturing, and other efforts not directly related to designing phones. The surface team is made up of people who just design tablets, they don't have app makers, manufacturing process, or factory workers.
  • Doesn't all this mean that Microsoft may have just one device for a phone? Like lets say, a Surface Phone. That will be it. A Flagship device.
  • No. Just like there isn't really one Surface 4 or Surface Book, there won't be only one Phone. They may share the same name (like all the Lumia phones share the same "name"), but there should be different variations between the phones, there just won't be as many variations as before (the number of low-end phones pumped out by MS didn't help themselves or Windows Phone, and that shouldn't have happened... You don't win a war by flooding the market with "trash"...) With MS's focus on three categories of users (fans/enthusiasts, business, value users), there should be 3 equally relevant phone categories (high-end, mid-range, low-end/value), and only one phone for each category. I'd personally name them something like 7xx as low-end, with specs to match, 8xx for the mid-range, designed with business in mind, and 9xx for the high-end, designed more like a phablet, with enough similarities and differences between the 8xx and 9xx to drop the XL moniker. They could even do away with the current naming scheme and come up with something new for the new phones.
  • Satya chose the worst possible time to announce his mobile strategy retrenching right before the launch of W10M.  The message he sent to industry is confusing and sounds like an admission of defeat.  'MS has given up' message has been quoted from many writers.  Users and developers were all discouraged and started to look for way out.  There were basically no phones, except L640, for sale during the good part of last year.  Now we see the result.  Tom Warren's 'Windows Phone is Dead' article concluded the industry's feeling for WP. The industry and users are careless about MS' mobile strategy shift.  They will continue evaluateing the WP performance by the reported results.  I doubt that Jason Ward can change their minds to re-measure things differently.  The important things are depending on what MS would do.  Will they continue to release advanced phones to satisfy fans?  Will Surface phone matter?  Will they indeed release phones to satisfy business/enterprises?   How fast can UWP apps grow if it grows?  Will they bring the Continuum support to the lower ranged phones?  What is the definition for 'value' customers?  Will mid-range customers count?  These are the things how I 'measure' MS' mobile strategy.  I'm a fan.  If they quit releasing new phones based on SD820 or SD830, I won't be satisfied.   Surface phone sounds like a phone designed for business/enterprise.  The so-called convergent device is a big unknown at this time.  It creates more questions than answers.
  • But in ways he had to. The 950 and XL could have been released in May 15 with 8.1 on board. But then they would have run into a dead end for Continuum etc. These new phones, supposedly the last of the Lumia line are just as much placeholders a anything. Frankly, I love my 950. As Windows 10 Mobile grows, so does the performance of my phone. Windows Phone fans are passionate, if not patient. I ask sticking it out because I love the platform. The Windows Phone is dead articles miss the point. Plus, they have all been written before. Yawn.
  • Sorry, but Satya's new "strategy" is no strategy at all--it's surrender. He never wanted the Nokia purchase, and has seen to it that it fails. Let's just be honest here. I mean, if Satya thinks that developers are going to develop for a platform with 1% market share in phones, then he's delusional. It's just not going to happen. Windows Phone is dead, and Satya Nadella is the assassin. He killed it through neglect.
  •     Its not dead, its on life support. Will be another blackberry, same strategy- Less trow **** at the ceiling and see if it sticks!  when they first released the 9xx and 1020 phones, people were excited, the phones were nice, diferent, reliable and durable, the software was for most part ok-- but no apps. They promised the world and people bought the phones. Fast forward to today- phones are nothing especial, outdated if anything, software still same, still unfinished, they managed to remove features while adding very few the masses need/use, and apps are the same or worst, first party apps basic compared to other O/S, they own apps work better and have more features on the other O/S's compraed to wm10. Still missing MAJOR apps like wechat and if wasn't for one amazing developer woul dbe missin many major ones. Cortana was a great idea, was cool to use when first came out, but they managed to screw it so badly was the main reason i left and bought droid phone. Having the stupid thing on a server and not on the phone for even basic things was just stupid decision. No internet or no/bad cell network- no bluetooth commands!!! WTF that does one have to do with the other? Oh,  if you happen to travel outside your country, it will turn itself off and wont reactivate unless you change all your phone setting to that country-- oh yeah, i forgot its only available on a few select countries. Dumbest thing i have EVER seen on a phone. Surface phone will be just another phone with million promises and nothing to show. I hope im wrong, would be great to have 3rd O/S, but if history any indication of the future, we know where thats heading.   Dont even get me started with only selling phones at stores or .ca, who the F*** comes up with this stratagies?    
  • To streamline the WP operation with refocusing is a welcomed move, but to break WP's back is not.  He could have gone ahead to outsource manufacturing, to streamline the phone portfolio, to reduce work force and to re-balance the focuses, but he didn't have to write the whole thing off for WP.  He should give W10M a serious chance.  But his announcement has killed the WP momentum which took years to build.  It was the turning point that reversed the trend from spiralling up to spiralling down.  The dwindling WP sales will drive users and app developers away.  Tencent just announced to stop developing for W10M for the exact reason.  You can change your strategies all you want, but you still need the user base to carry you through.  Now we are entering a very unsettling phase with unknown future.  Frankly, I think that UWP is the only hope for W10M.  That is the only thing we need to measure.  If there are tons of UWP apps coming, there is hope for W10 mobile.  Othewise, No.  It will all up to MS to figure out ways to build up the UWP library.
  • Even if developers go to the trouble to develop these apps... without market share... they won't stay with it long. In other words, Satya's strategy is no strategy at all. It's stupid. It's clear he wants Windows Phone to fail.    
  • Users could care less about what the media says. We know there's a bias to approve anything that Apple does. Posted via the Windows Central App for NES
  • Users SHOULD care less what the media says. But in truth it's unfortunately different. Here in the Netherlands Windows Phone isn't popular. At all. Cause there is no advertising, no product awareness and phone shops don't know much (if anything) about the platform. Windows Phone has always been 'dead' over here. And now people here read the headlines about WP being dead (those stupid Dutch so called tech bloggers literally copied iVerge's headline saying "Windows Phone is dead"!) and going: "see? WP sucks!" For me, I keep using WP until the end of days, no matter what people say.
  • As a fan, you're paying for the bleeding edge tech. The phone has the first iris scanner, unlikely a cheap endeavor.  It uses a vapor chamber for the 810 chip.  It has triple led, all these little things do add up.  Not to mention the crazy screens.  
  • Totally agree. I just wish people could focus more on these positive aspects instead of focussing solely on the negative. But that's the tech-world-state we're living in now. And it sux ballz.
  • No it does not have the first iris scanner. There was already an Android phone out with one.
  • The fujitsu was a prototype while ms already had it planned as per news. There's was also huge and clunky. And it went nowhere with release.
  • Wow, this is a lesson in how to spin bad news. You actually attempted to change the criteria for gauging success when the current one didn't work. What? Lol
  • Are you talking to me? I'm not changing criteria for anything, just saying that success can be measured in different ways for different contexts.
  • He's talking to Microsoft.
  • Success is relative to the strategy applied, whether the strategy is good or not is another story
  • There was a strategy?
  • Yes. MS told us exactly what they were going to do. Now we see the result and we act surprised. Writers have been penning WP obituaries and hit pieces for 5 years. Recent reviewers have said the new phones are great hardware, but like drunks in the liquor store they can't help but toss in caveats that become self-fulfilling prophesy. Guaranteed there will be companies buying bulk and utilizing programs such as the Microsoft SIM and using skype and other p2p calling to do business. Remember the carrier landscape is changing, too.
  • All this wishful thinking.... For years we questioned the way MS handle mobile, and now that they failed, and we were right, we're supposed to be like "let's look at things another way"" to make ourselves feel better.. We're adults, and we shouldn't be looking for a false sense of hope.... I call BS, and that's getting besides the point, and getting is nowhere....
    .......
    The point is that MS has failed it's fans, shareholders, and itself.. We should not make excuses, nor sympathize, with them for their bad business.. That's soft, and naive..
    .......
    MS should be shunned, and held accountable, for their shortcomings.. And, at the time that MS finally makes a worthy product (and market it properly) should we show any faith, or excitement, for their efforts.... This pathetic, overly hopeful, sympathy makes me sick, and it's been going on to long, This community has lost it's edge!
  • +++++
  • Microsoft has not failed its shareholders. You have no right to tell others whether they should be excited about something or not or whether they should sympathize with MS or whatever. That's people's business, not yours.
  • Yes he does and you have the right to ignore it. However, that won't alter the fact that both Microsoft and Blackberry have failed to launch new smartphone platforms to compete with the iPhone as did Nokia and Palm before them. No Smartphone platform that was established before the launch of the iPhone has survived.  Google did not have a legacy platform to hold them back and have won the battle for market share (but not profits of course).    
  •   I love reading this article and would be a good article for all those writers up there who are trapped on the past of windows phone. :D God bless sir. :D I would love to see entry level phones with continuum feature and windows hello. :D
  • That's another issue MS needs to deal with. How many people that might consider the jump to WP will do so having to shell out $600?
  • Fans wont care and neither will business customers.  Also they are still making a budget phone it just wont be able to run continuum. The budget phones are for people who want to test the OS without making a huge investment.  
  • That's just it. They won't lure new users with high end phones when people can just stick with Android or iOS. So if the intent is to draw new people,which it should be, it will be an epic failure. People already know that the OS lacks apps. So new people won't waste money buying even $75 phones to find out they still lack apps. If WP is to succeed they need to get in house devs to create apps people want and need. Not hard to tell what apps are popular. Instead MS leaves it IP to independent devs that create nothing more than web apps that generally suck.
  • I don't believe this is the way to get new people. The best way to get the general public (I believe) is through marketing and having something shiny and new. It feels like Microsoft truly is gearing up to release something special next year and when they have this shiny, new product, you better believe Microsoft will market the hell out of it. And by then, the hope is that a lot of devs will have made a lot of Universal apps or use the bridge tools to port apps from iOS that will be available for this shiny, new product that will have a marketing push behind it in the way most Surface products do. 
  • Let's see what will happens
    That's interesting, but without strong presence in the marketing, tv, radio online etc.. I doubt they can succeed
  • I'm sure they know that too. If they make some mythical Surface phone, Microsoft knows it will be their hail mary and do everything they can to make it successful.
  • Amen  
  • The fans have been wishing and waiting for last 4 years...
  • Doesn't it feel like we're always waiting for something for the next MS phone?
  • I would say that's been more of a recent thing for me because I was pretty happy when Nokia came out with the 920, 1020, and 1520.
  • Sure and that got MS 3% market share. Lol
  • I never said it increased their market share. I was only speaking in terms of waiting for the next thing from MS.
  • Samsung and iPhone users are always waiting for the next one too. You can find articles speculating about the next iPhone the day after the last one was announced, it's universal to be talking about the next gadget. The difference is that Windows phone fans are very vocal in what they want - and narrow minded. If the phone doesn't have the exact features they wanted, if there is any compromise to make someone else happy too, then it's a failure. See 950, many people said they have to have a removable battery and SD card, but then when the phone has a plastic removable cover, people complain about that too.
  • Coming soon syndrome
  • Did you even read the article? He just said the intent ISN'T luring anyone in but keeping the fans where they want to be. Luring will happen with apparantely a convergence device, a Surface Phone - but I guess it will take up to Surface Phone 4 before we see anything different between 2010 and 2020.
  • Thats hardly true as the best apps are third party and MS have tried to add others and offered to fully fund the dev costs. Bob you need to read the article again.  
  • I'm a fan and I care, I desperately want to get the 950XL on contract with EE in the UK, they won't stock it and carphone warehouse won't do early upgrades so I'll have to wait until July to get the phone I want. I just picked up the 640 when my 930 was stolen last week and only then because it's the only Windows Phone EE had in stock. Microsoft should be pushing these phones harder to carriers regardless of if they are just for fans or not.
  • I think Microsoft needs to come up with financing for them.
  • Just an idea - I have previously "bought out" my contract to get a new phone - say you have 6 months left, you can offer to pay off the 6 months but ask them for 33% discount, which they do accept - it's an option to get out at a lower price.
  • And if buy from anywhere else other than EE you won't get WiFi calling!!
    I was hoping for visual voicemail with the 950 on EE but doubt it will be available.
  • O2 has WiFi calling through their TuGo app. Works perfectly with my 640. OK it's separate from main texting and calling apps but still great.
  • O2 will be doing them in UK
  • As the article alludes to, a phone of that cost is probably going to fit in the category of being for fans. It would be a flagship phone that isn't aimed at someone considering Windows mobile as an option versus iOS and Android.
  • $600? http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-iphone/iphone6s I would ask who would pay $649 or $749 to jump to an iPhone 6s (starting at 16gb, and no microsd slot). On other non-iOS front, similar can be said about sepcs vs cost. $600 is not a concern for a device wtih these specs. If you only want to experiment with Windows Phone (cautiously), there are plenty of cheaper devices that arleady run the preview and thus will likely run the final version of Windows 10 let alone lower end options that will come with native 10 on release day of the device.   As others said, fans (much like iOS or that other platform) will no doubt look past the $$$ amount. Business/enterprise, any one big enough will be able to test out one of these devices before considering converting everyone to them. Even at prospect of unlocked direct from MS devices, place I worked for had a 950 non-XL from ATT in the first few days to start testing and had already had plenty of time with earlier 8.1 test devices running Win 10 previews.    
  • There are at least a few good Android phones with similar specs for $400. Windows Phone isn't competing with iPhone. iPhone users are not going to switch to Windows. They compete with Android and as such they need to compete on price. They cannot compete on features or apps, the only chance is price. They need to bring it aggressive. $299 unlocked would have been a good start. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • People who like software support and ecosystems that aren't even more fragmented than the bloody Android will pay $649. The only people who should buy WP are people that WP will make feel fuzzy inside. If that's you, by all means, go for it. We all have our guilty pleasures and it's still better than listening to vinyls. I am sorely disappointed with what I got from it. Not only are there fewer apps, but even the same apps that are there, work considerably worse. Then again, I have nobody else to blame but myself.
  • Now, now...I listen to vinyls. . Seriously, I agree with you about everything else "Not only are there fewer apps, but even the same apps that are there, work considerably worse".  Even worse, I am still waiting for a top tier window phone for my carrier in the US.
  • What about the price on iPhone, people buy this sh.t
  • This is a very complete article and I am very happy to see it written.... I am glad that MS is pulling out of the smartphone war... And my biggest reason is that tech writers and some fans cant seem to realize that wp is not ios/android. They judge the platform by Ios/android standards...and not as WP.. MS has always follwed their own way...whether bad or good.. And with WP it seemed that they were trying to hard to follow what was popular for ios and Android... Now that they stop competing ... They can focus on their ecosystem and hone their vison of what WP really should be for the fans...and give us some truly amazing phones...other tech writers can continue to babble on about WP... And users who cant seem to understand the difference between ios/android and wp can leave to one of the other platforms...and wp purists and fans can now enjoy wp without having to really care about the comparisons....
  • So, the question I have is why has Microsoft given up on their own vision of what the OS should look like and feel like? Other than the Live tiles WP10 is just a hamburger laden and less useful than the original Metro, pivot, functionality. I realize some who come from other OS's don't see or recognize the difference, but it's huge. Microsoft isn't really leading. They've recapitulated. They've given up. They probably will focus on enterprise and hope they can get their devices in the hands of the masses that way. It's a shame they had such a beautiful concept and OS now other than the Live tiles its just like everything else but with less apps.
  • Actually, the pivots were removed because people hated them on the desktop/laptop/tablet, so many complaints about them. I actually like them though. Remember, with Windows 10, the user experience is to be the same across all form factors(devices).
  • This has already been discussed multiple times on this website, both within the forum and via articles by the writers. It isn't that Microsoft is giving up; they had to reinvent the vision to work as a universal platform. Metro is a touch-centric navigational system. Since Microsoft's majority of customers are still mouse-and-keyboard, a Metro-style layout would not work as it wouldn't be intuitive nor friendly for those customers. Personally, I was against the change like you and many others. I felt like it was another blow to Microsoft among so many in the market. Despite that, having used Windows 10 for over a year now, I can honestly say I'm glad they switched. I am predominantly a mouse-and-keyboard user, even with my Surface Pro 3. The apps in Windows 10 feel more natural to me with the new navigation scheme. The system works for both touch and mouse-keyboard. Metro would never have worked (look at Windows 8 as an example). I'm glad Metro is not longer the predominant paradigm; though, I still shed a tiny tear when it is brought up.
  • @B Hammer I hear your point. And I too have read on multiple forums and articles from those who claimed that 8.1 was not user friendly with mouse and keyboard. I have a 23 inch all in one desktop touchscreen enable computer and in the 3 years I've owned it running 8.1 I've touch the screen probably less the 10 times. So, conventionally I have zero idea what is so difficult using a mouse and keyboard with 8.1 Metro style. None. I don't understand it. And I use my computer almost every day. I have upgraded one of my older laptops to Windows 10 only to get a feel for it. But after that I realize I would not upgrade my SP3 nor my all in one Sony Vaio desktop. 8.1 is simply better for "me". As for the phone however, the functionality with pivots to me are supremely better. I remember when Microsoft was doing the testing on how you can utilize their OS faster than on other OS's I would be willing to take the same type of test with 8.1 vs. 10 on the phone on their Mail, Music, People Hub, etc.. I would venture to say I could get around 8.1 functions quicker than on 10. I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But here's just one example. In windows 10 Microsoft in their infinite wisdom wanted to put the "search" bar on top on IE. Why the hell did they want to do that? When an infant can tell it's easier to use at the bottom when using IE on the phone. But Microsoft is so weak in the brain, they think because their phones aren't selling well they would simply give up and do the same thing as other OS. But oh well, Microsoft have given up on their original vision.
  • I agree with the context of your argument, however I do no believe that MSFT gave up on its vision. IMO, they acknowledge that they were not winning over the consumers from Apple and Android, and to make matters worst, the faithful (based on numerous commnts here on WC) were demanding features and likeness to the competition. Therefore, MSFT relaxed on their own vision in a desperate attempt to hold on to their "fans" and to gain market share. Hence the W-Insiders, which was great way to get feedback  and give the "fans" some of what they want. Moving forward, I am pleased that MSFT is back to building on a "unique experience", after-all most of us purchased WPs because they were not cookie cutters. A final note, I enjoy reading Jason's articles, it's another reasonfor me to keep in tune with WC. 
  • But Windows Phone is cookie cutter. Every phone looks exactly the same like they all came out of a cookie cutter. There are over a billion Android phones and they are all different and the user has the option to make them unique. Windows Phone and iPhone are the definition of cookie cutter. Every single one is exactly the same. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I am yet to see anyone with a Windowsphone with the same home screen setup and background as mine. Granted I don't see a lot of people with Windowsphone but I do see some. Also don't see as many 930's as other ones. I certainly wouldn't call it cookie cutter.
  • I have W10 on my phone, build 10586, and the search bar is at the bottom using Edge.
  • @2tomtom
    Yes. It's there now. But when they first released W10 for phone it was not.
  • Well, thats goes to show that Microsoft is listening to its fans.
  • I whole-heartedly agree with your first point. I am a professional video editor and teacher, and I used Win 8 exclusively on a desktop with a mouse and keyboard and found it to be very friendly. I especially liked how you could go to the start screen and just start typing the name of the application you were looking for. In spite of what tech sites said, it was a well though out approach to an OS for desktops and tablets.
  • You could do that in Windows 7 and it didn't take up the whole screen or interrupt your workflow. Windows 8 was just a bad idea and the market certainly spoke. People hated it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The very reason I left w10m.
  • W10M and Windows 10 is an attempt to lure Android and iOS users and developers through familiarization. Nothing to do with fans. Thus we get the universal approach. Basically you don't need W10M to get all MS experience, besides the live tiles. That's MS's hidden agenda.
  • Like so many others who have commented, I too am a longtime Windows Mobile guy. I then got the Samsung Focus when Windows 7 launched - and stayed with my Lumia 920 till now (waiting for MS to develop a new flagship).  Sadly, I came to the conclusion that I need to jump to an iphone 6 plus for now. Windows Phone just has lost too many critical apps - in addition to not having some of the work related apps that I need.  I have been a great believer in what MS was trying to do with their phone OS - and I hope to one day return when some of the current challenges have been overcomed.  In the meantime, ios is a bit boring, but it's sure nice to finally have good apps.
  • I'm right there with you. I just went back to iPhone as well with a 6S Plus. Though I don't think iOS as a whole is boring... Yes, the Home Screen doesn't have all the customizable Live Tiles and all, but it makes up for it everywhere else.
  • First, the pivot is still in the developer toolkit for Windows 10.  it just doesn't have the awkward partially-off-screen-huge titles that it did in Windows 8. Run Money in Windows 10 on the phone or PC, and swipe left and right.   It's interesting that there are folks who miss Windows 8 so much.  It was a solid operating system, no doubt, but the PC experience was a jarring change from Windows 7.  Microsoft really should have done Windows 10 after 7.  A Windows having non-windowed (full-screen-only) apps is a contradiction in terms, to say the least.  Ditching the start menu was pure designer hubris.  Again, I loved the solidity and under-the-covers improvements in Windows 8, and, being a keyboard shortcut power user, didn't miss the Start menu.   Finally, regarding the metro design.  It was a (I'll say it again) hubristic design exercise that never should have shipped.  It's not for nothing that metro started on the Zune, which then died, moved to Windows Phone, which almost died, and did huge damage to the Windows franchise when Microsoft made it the design for Windows 8. Metro?  Good riddance!
  • Great article really. Ms's new strategy will surely work and in a few years target audiences would have their Lumias right. Lets just not care about the average user who uses any phone but prioritize the audience who uses the phone.
  • One of the things I find most interesting about your article is talk of a convergent device. I was just talking to someone last night about Microsoft and their state of affairs as it pertains to smartphones. Because I read an article about how this year Black Friday was dominated by people making purchases on their phones instead of their desktops, I was saying that I believe the next thing people will want is a phone that could legitemately be used as a pc AND a phone. With an Intel chip, the possibility is there to have a phone be your computer, so my question is what size do you think such a device would be? Last night I was thing either 7" or 8", but now I'm starting to think the sweet spot for a device like that would be either 6.2" or 6.5". What do you think?
  • Another viewpoint is those having easy and immediate access to a phone and, in my case, a Surface Pro.
    The Surface is very portable but has the PC power and W10 already. I use my phone for some things and my Surface for others. If I have only my 930 with me I manage. Predictions have been made recently that the Surface range could take 18% market share, this will be added to the overall MS footprint and for us fans, phone and tablet, as portable devices on W10, are giving us an awesome choice. I connect my SP3 to my phone a lot and wonder if I make a purchase on my SP3 whilst connected to my phone, would this be recorded as a purchase though the phone or SP3?
  • I do pretty much all my browsing and purchases with my laptop connected to my phone for a mobile hotspot. I can tell you that the statistics where they show how many used phones for purchases or PC for purchase is broken down by what "browser" the websites are seeing visiting the site to do the shopping. If it is a "mobile" version where you get the mobile version of the site, then it is counted as a phone. It you are using the desktop version of a site, your considered non-phone. That means if you configure Edge in W10M to use Desktop version of the site, you'll be counted as a desktop visitor and throw off the numbers. 
  • I can see how that would be, but based on the large amount that seem to have been making smartphone purchases this year, I doubt that the majority of them are doing what you mentioned. They are just average people that tie their debit/credit card to their phone and make purchases. I personally don't make purchases through my phone, but I can definitely see how it would be common for most folks.
  • Thanks for reminding me about work by mentioning NPS. Lol :(
  • Good article, but the way you write about the 950/XL compared to Daniel still confuses the heck out of. Are the 950 & XL "fan" phones or "enterprise" phones? Because the impression I get from you is that the 950/XL are "fan" phones while the rumoured Surface Phone will be for enterprise, whereas I get v the v complete opposite impression from Daniel (though I don't believe it will be easy to convince the enthusiast that "enterprise" phones aren't for them as they're likely to be flagship phones too, unless by "enterprise" phones they mean "mid-range" which I can't see the Surface Phone being).
  • I agree. What is Microsoft's distinction between an enterprise and fan phone?
  • Seriously, which enterprise gives out window phones to its employees?  My company has 8500 employees world wide, we were given the choice of iPhone, Samsung and BB (which of course, no one wanted anymore).  As a reminder of the App gap problem, airline apps (those that are still available) for WP8 are half baked at best, while others have pulled theirs all together (American Airline).  Definitely not useful for business users.
  •   I originally thought of the three tiers as high-, mid-, and low-range devices, but I don't think this is the right way to generalize.  All of the statements coming out of MS clearly indicate that the enterprise segment is going to go extremely aggressively on security and focusing on what is most important to enterprise users.  Camera performance, for example, is probably not going to be of the highest priority in a mobile device for most enterprise customers, but it is critical for Windows fans.  They may sacrifice a Lumia camera sensor for a more Surface-like feature such as TPM chips etc for the added security. Thus, I think the "fans" and "enterprise" levels are probably both going to be fairly premium devices, but I could see more bells and whistles be crammed into the "fan" device simply because consumers usually want all of the extra features that enterprise users may not care about.
  • A "fan phone" is a failed "successful product", which is why they are "fan phones". Stop kidding yourself that there is some secret club that is making any of this financially viable and that MSFT will continue to cater to your "fan needs".
  • Microsoft's new "strategy" isn't a strategy at all.  It's surrender.  I know it's Christmastime, but let's save the sugar-coating for desserts.  Satya Nadella has quit on Windows Phone, but just isn't man enough to tell us.
  • No, he is not quitting - people said the same about the Surface range and the Surface now sells well and gets very good tech reviews - only a matter of time for WM to achieve similar success. Phone, Tablet and PC/Laptop are so important that Microsoft will not and can not walk away - that's just common sense!
  • I agree. Let's not beat around the bush. Microsoft's ambitions collapsed. This is major wrote off and failure. Having said that, they need to move forward with a replacement strategy.
  • Yup. Agree +920
  • All I know is that yesterday I saw a 3metersx3meters add in the shopping area of my town (around 500K people town) with the 950XL on it. I think they are not for fans or businness. And you should also notice that in many EU countires windowsphone had as much marketshare as iPhones. This whole strategy thing looks like bs to me.
  • I knew this long ago, Microsoft is not targeting smartphone market at all, and happy about that. I need something different to start with, i don't want to catch a selling boat but want to be part of a new era. I am young and will do new thing. Something which i believe, and i like without any outside influence.
    And not only me and Jason believe this but all the windows fan who log to this WC website. Kudos to all windows FANS. We are young we are the future with our own paths.
  • In a few days I will turn 56 and I am with you ;-)
    ​Somewhere in the 90's I used a Philips Niño, a Windows CE handpalm device with Outlook.
    In 2004 I bought a T-Mobile MDA. A phone made by HTC with Windows Phone and a pen. I have used it for 6 years.
    So, in 2010 I bought an HTC Windows Phone 7.
    I have owned and used a Lumia 710 for while.
    In November 2013 I bought a Lumia 920.
    I am a happy owner of a Lumia 1520 since June 2014 and am getting rid of my traditional  cameras.
    I am likely to skip the 950XL as I have already spent my money on a camera to capture spherical images in one shot.
    But, I am looking forward very much to what is beyond the Lumia 950XL. I fancy a near 6" phone that I can slot into a 15" display unit to have a large tablet. Add a good kickstand, a keyboard and a mouse and I will have a small desktop. For some work I fance an even larger display. Moving forward is for all ages :-))  
  • @joscelin, I like your idea of plugging into a display...not this wire shit like continuum (Miracast blows so don't go there...but, but, it's wireless, yeah, and it sucks, phooey).
  • Not so original that idea of mine to slot a phone into a dislay to have a tablet. I think it was last year that ASUS introduced such a combo. The weird thing to me was that the phone was running another operating system than the combo. I think it were Windows Phone and Android.
  • Being able to chose new paths is what it means to be young in true sense, Age is just a number. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • That is bs man! Windows phone is lame, and we are deceiving ourselves over and over again with articles like this one. There is no silver lining, no happy ending and definitely no parallel worlds like the writer is trying to sell us... It just like saying to WP fans you guys didn't lose ... You are just the last winners... Smh in shame for being blind....
  • Pretty sure he's keeping it in the same world. It makes perfect sense. Microsoft are basically waiting on Intel to get their stuff in order and make a great phone cpu. Won't be long before we say bye to ARM and then we'll see how MS fares. I'm buying a 950 XL and I'll hope to see a Surface phone later in 2016. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Very well written. This article needs to be reposted on all tech review sites. I for sure will be retweeting.
  • "period of retrenching is providing a foundation for a powerful re-entry into space with what I believe will be a convergent device" I agree with you Jason. MS has it's eye on convergence and success will be measured differently. Market share still needs to increase and MS needs to continue to promote just how powerful and integrated their new flagships really are!
  • Another great article Jason, and your analogy with the "Kung Fu theatre" is spot on! 
  • Personally I don't care about Microsoft 'competing' with their rivals as I judge things for myself and go where I want to which is one of the reasons I have a Lumia 735. It does what I wanted it to for the money I had and I think the visual aspects of Windows Phone are much nicer and easier to use than either Apple or Android (although Apple is not an option for me for a variety of reasons). My concerns however are based on Microsoft's future judgement of where they are going, and where they want to go with Windows 10 Mobile and it's future. I am concerned that the high end devices (yes I want to compete with the rivals on that front) just won't turn up as in terms of W10M's version of 'high end' being mid range from Apple or Android. I am concerrned that unless they see increases in revenue from the mobile segment over the next year or so that Microsoft will backtrack and W10M users will be left high and dry... With the way things stand I am awaiting the release of the 950 and 950XL to play with them for myself before deciding whether I want/need to upgrade. I am willing to give Microsoft another 12-24 months of my support but I do fear that unless they change things within this time... My 'next' Windows phone may just be my last...
  • -
  • You could re-run this article for thousands of time but it won't change the fact that Windows mobile is failing and that it is Microsoft's own doing.
  • Game Over!
  • Spot on Jason..
    Microsoft has truly seen the next 'bend around the curve' and is moving towards it.. regardless of ever changing quarterly-annual profit loss equations and we must respect the change in attitude!! and the hunger for innovation.
    Fans have responded with high demand for 950/XL.
    Great article as always. Thanks.
    Am already loving my 950 XL and we know that the party's just started and it will get better with "WAAS"!
    So what's cookin... smells like Redstone already
  • Wow, you are truly delusional. There is no "High demand" for the Lumia 950 line. Have you completely failed to read Microsoft's own financials? Windows Phone just had its WORST QUARTER EVER.
  • As frustrating as it may be in the short-term, Microsoft’s retrenchment in the mobile space is a natural and logical step in the advancement of the “OneCore” operating system. Microsoft started the convergence journey with Windows 8 and continues it in full force with Windows 10. Windows 10 is a completely new paradigm with regards to operating systems. No other OS maker in the world has the capability to do what Microsoft is capable of doing with Windows 10. Again, as a fan it’s frustrating in the short-term, but the longer-term view is exciting and the possibilities are pretty incredible.
  • Hey Jason are you trying to convince us or yourself?
  • He's a rabid fanboy only trying to convince himself. The rest of the world outside the blindered nitwits who actually buy this drivel sees reality for what it is: Windows Phone is dead, and MICROSOFT killed it. Bad marketing, glacial pace of development, complete failure to court developers in a meaningful way, totally inconsistent direction that changes at seemingly random intervals with total or near total reboots of the platform, extraordinarily long waits between product releases, and then, lackluster products like the 950 and 950 XL, are just SOME of the ways in which Microsoft itself has hobbled Windows Phone. WP used to be a great platform. Now it's a cheap Android knockoff that's been stripped of all originality and design continuity. Way to go, Microsoft. You had something great that COULD have been a success if you'd put forth a tenth the effort Apple or Google has, but you destroyed it with your own hands.
  • Well said!
  • I wish these A$$holes would have said this 2 years ago. Then I would have left this OS alone. Waste of time
  • Complete fanboy BS, dude. Windows Phone is dead, and Microsoft is primarily the responsible party.
  • Microsoft was able to win me over from being an Android fanboy, and my best friend just switched to WP from Android. We both have the Lumia 1520 and agree that it's the best phone we've owned. But a lot of people see me playing with Cortana are like, "Oh how cool!". But I am going to stay with MS until the very end, I have always hated IOS, and Google has absolutely NO control over the OS.
  • And Cortana is on Android too!
  • Yeah ... Windows phone in my eyes will live a bit longer while right now windows 10 and the new politics by MS wont do the Plattform any goodm at least not right now.
    Windows is not dead but it sure will be if nothing amazing will happen. Like microsoft actually investing into getting us the support and apps.
    For example why is Instagram still in beta ? - because they dont care and make no money of it.
    Why is there no snapchat ? - well basically because the snapchat devs being dicks and not making that app because it wont hit the 100mio download bar. But if microsoft simply would fight for that ? Where the problem, if you want your plattform to be successful invest into it !
    And right now it feels like ms is doing nothing at all. They should invest into win10 mobile as much as they invested into the surface line or windows 7 .
    Just make the devs work for our plattform.
    Or hire Rudy to make all the other apps and buy the rights to distribute those through the store. Seriously. Its pathetic when you think about it. Rudy is doing everything for windows phone/ 10 mobile right now app wise Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • I believe the missing link has always been advertising. As I walk through Best Buy, WalMart, and Target, I don't see a Windows phone right up front in the nice displays. I hardly see a Windows Phone at all. I don't see alot of tv spots. I don't see the phones placed along side the surface tablets in stores. I just don't see it advertised. Get these devices into some peoples hands! That is what the developers are looking for! A market! Make a push for these devices! People still don't know about them!
  • Iagree with you. Microsoft should focus on marketing. In my country people thinks that windows phone is not user friendly, just because of its UI is different from IOS and Android. People thinks that Windows Phone lacks basic apps, but they are not aware that windows phone have substitues for most of the apps that are avaiable on IOS and Android.  
  • I have to disagree with posters like taimmas who push the idea that WP has most of the apps or equivalent third party offerings available to iOS and Android users. I've been a stubborn WP user for years now, and the app gap continues to smack me in the face at every turn. This is MS' biggest challenge by far, IMO. More aggressive advertising may indeed help, but it's the demonstrated lack of developer interest, I think, that drives people to the alternative platforms.
  • And yet millions of us are satisfied. I understand that some have needs for apps that don't exist (the thing that tickles me is that eight years ago no one had any apps, and yet now people act as if the world will end if they don't have some particular app). But many of us have everything that we "need" with WP as it exists.
  • I think you are missing the point. The App complaint is not focused on users such as yourself who are 'happy' with what WP has to offer, but rather at the commercial perspective that there is a lot that you can't get through WP. I also believe that this argument does have it's justifications that some 'satisfied' users just seem unwilling to admit to or engage with. For example: Many potential WP users know and use Instagram from Android or Apple. Is it available on WP? Yes but it is still in it's lacklustre BETA stage and lacks many of the modern features that are available through the other two OSes... So it is flawed.
    Yes, you can use a comparable App such as 6tag but the average sonsumer won't know and doesn't want to know about third party apps like that... they want 'official' apps with all the latest bells and whistles and this is where Windows Phone is let down. The next issue is that many users play games on their devices and the vast majority of the TV/Media advertised games are not available on Windows Phone. Yes there are good games available but these users don't want those games, they want the ones on TV and that everyone else has. When someone asks them 'Have you played xyz?' they want to be able to say 'Yes', not 'No, I can't get it'. Microsoft has also made this situation much more difficult for those even in the know as most of the Microsoft WP apps such as Office are now fully available on both Android and Apple meaning there is even less reason to use WP. It is not only the situation that needs to change... but the commercialised public perspective that needs to change as well.
  • Do they really play games though? I've got loads on my 930, but hardly ever play them, the same with my 920, 800, Nokia N8 and Nokia 5800. Did use to hammer my Atari Lynx though back in the day. Must be something to do with being 56 and from the Pre App Era:)
  • I remember the Lynx but never had one... Neo-Geo Pocket Color was my baby. :) As to answer your question, next time you are on public transport, take a look around you to see what others are doing. Most are messaging but many are playing games and apart from the likes of Candy Crush there aren't many of the mainstream games on WP or W10m. You can also look up the sales and user figures for the top ten apps and games and the numbers don't lie. People ARE playing and spending vast amounts of money to do so.
  • Hear, hear!
    Same sorry story. I had a succession of WinMo phones, from HP iPaq through MDA, Mio and Tytn, then a Mozart, an 8X, and now a 930... so you can say I'm not exactly a stranger to the Windows ecosystem. And yet for some apps I had to get an iPad mini. Of course I would have preferred to have the 930 as my first and last go-to, but having been burned so many times does bad things to one's enthusiasm...
  • So sad, but so true. And when you find a Windows phone hidden in a dusty corner a rep will turn you around.
  • Honestly for Best Buy the only phones they ever have up front are Samsung and Apple.  The windows phones are in the back or with the other phones. Microsoft is in charge of their BB windows store front and they're just not ready to push the phones up front, becasue they're focusing that space on what is selling now like Surface.  I'm sure the Surface phone will be up front...whenever it's ready.
  • But this didn't work before. There used to be a lot of ads for Windows Phone. Like a lot. When it launched the ads were everywhere. Nokia had this gigantic Nicki Minaj thing in NY for the 900. The 920 was marketed very heavily across the U.S. And none of that managed to make a dent in the market. There are no ads today because they haven't worked in the past and Microsoft's current crop of phones isn't different enough from the past to justify spending ad dollars on it. Why waste money on Best Buy flagship space when no one is going to buy the phone anyway?
  • Did they market any feature of the phone like Apple and Samsung do? Not really
  • They did. The 1020 ads caught my sister's attention and she really wanted to get 1 but she was on T-Mobile and didn't want to switch just for a phone.
  • There goes another brillant MS marketing strategy. Limting device availability by having carrier-specific WPs. How is that going to help popularize their products and expand their market share?
  • That was just television ads. And when someone sees the ad, they need to see them at the store too when they step out. You still never saw one when browsing the store.
  • I remember at the launch of the 920 that AT&T had multiple units on display front and centre in their Michigan Avenue store in Chicago. That thanksgiving it was literally the first thing you saw when you walked into the store. When the original Windows Phone 7 launched every single carrier had a phone available for purchase. Sure some stores showed less than stellar treatment of Windows Phone, but rep after rep has said that they have the highest return rates for phones sold by carriers. Why would a carrier waste shelf space on phones like that? Why would Microsoft spend money buying shelf space when those that do buy their phones return them overwhelmingly?  Regardless of what you may think Microsoft advertised their phones early on. And they courted devs. And they built apps for those services that allowed them to. None of that worked. You don't keep throwing away money on a losing strategy. It's bad business. 
  • I never remember Windows Phones being displayed right up front with the support of the retailers.
  • Pretty much every major store in Greece has Windows Phones in seperate stand with setted up and fully working demo units. On the other hand Nokia was a huge brand here and Microsoft branding only seems to brings more interest for the famous "lumia" devices. To give you an example, the majority of people here know what "lumia" is, in the same way that they know what a "galaxy" and "iPhone" is :P And on top of that, the reception of WP here is great! I've red somewhere, that the marketing effort of MS is targeted at the US because they think that if it picks up some momentum on US, the rest of the planet will follow (domino effect). So it is pretty weird seeing that they put more effort maketing their phones here (11 million people country) than they do in the US! But again, comparing Windows Phone market shares between US and Europe, you can clearly see that the efforts of MS here are fruitful afterall!
  • In the UK I see a lot of Windows phones in phone shops and I'm sure it's pretty much the same in a lot of European countries. For some reason the USA has a problem with Windows Phone and that where the biggest problem is.
  • +1
  • +1 Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Strangely enough patriotic Americans buy korean and Chinese phones. Times are changing
  • But Apple is an us company, just like Google is. And even the 950 and 950 XL are being produced in Vietnam (cause it's cheaper than producing in China)
  • They have to improve the OOBE before they market anything. 950XL with no LTE and no VVM is an epic fail. Customer want a phone to just work. Let's start with that and then it will be worth marketing.
  • This seems true for the US market. Though here in India, where the budget Windows Phones are quite popular, they do advertise a good bit. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Id like to add that I was pleasantly surprised on a recent trip to South Africa that I saw many Windows devices in use there - many more than I see in the states. Granted this could be due to the fact that Apple didn't release to the globe until late, and their product is a premium cost device. But it was nice to see a familiar face overseas.
  • As an individual that is eyeballs deep in the american cellular industry, on the retail side, I absolutely have to agree with this comment - but would like to add that product enthusiasm and training are severely lacking as well. Sure, we in the states see the Surface being used/advertised during the football season, which isn't a bad strategy. Windows 10 was marketed rather well too. Product placement in real world environments is key. Nokia was smart to load up on subtlety, providing their product in film and television. They also were adept at engaging the retail side with device training, sales incentives, and actively being excited about what that had to offer. This is not the case currently - and it shows. I appreciate this articles analysis of the "new state of affairs" of MS mobile vision. As a firm believer and supporter in this platform, I fear they still have not addressed the issue that lack of product knowledge and excitement of offerings will only serve to isolate them from the consumer. Yes, advertising is critical, but all the banners and flags in the world will not help if those whos job it is to put the device in the hands of those willing to purchase have no idea how of why to offer it as a tool for every day use.
  • It happens in Microsoft Stores too. A rep there interrupted my question about wireless Continuum to let me know that this was not currently possible. He even "confirmed" with his manager that ask if see would be a replication of the phone screen down the middle of the TV screen. They aren't even training their OWN employees.
  • Agreed, Poor adverstising and carrier limitation (with training and promition for sales people) was Microsoft's biggest failures here. Microsoft has no one the blame but theirselfes. Millions dollars of people to figure out how to promote it, and they still screwed it up.
  • Well, step one would have been not to call it Windows Phone.
  • Hmmmm get an xl or hold off for an 820 Snapdragon powered device?
  • Get the xl or you will wait forever for the next best thing
  • or get the 820 or wait for the 830 it's never ending.
  • Get Galaxy or iPhone and wait for Surface Phone :p
  • The new Lumias are for the WP master race, not to lure iOS or android people in. And people who are reviewing these phones should know that. ​ ​ ​
  • And those people prefer cheap plastic devices for a premium price tag? I have no issue with polycarbonate, but at least it should be on the same quality level we got used to from previous Nokia Lumia flagships.
  • I think at sometime Microsoft invested in a 3D printer and that's why everything is plastic.
  • No they aren't. They're Microsoft saying "Here, we made you some phones so you can stop bugging us about there being no flagships".
  • That's one of the best articles I've read lately.
  • I've been a "fan" for years now.  I only owned WP devices for 3 years straight and had a Motorola Q back in the day if we want to talk ancient history.  One look at the the 950 and 950XL sent this "fan" straight to Apple with an IPhone 6S+.  The way they gutted OneDrive and ripped away the WP benefits of OneDrive was just an extra bonus slap in the face on the way out the door.  If these are the phones they took ALMOST 2 YEARS to build "for the fans", then they must think "the fans" will accept anything with a new model number as a flagship. And Nathan0774 makes a good point as well - when is the last time you saw MSFT exert ANY marketing muscle behind WP? The days of things like this (when we had some actual HOPE) are long since gone - https://youtu.be/0-U4Yr9UNBo  
  • Yeah the one drive thing relly ticked me off and made me shut down the server for everytihng except documents.  No more photos being sent to the cloud for me.
  • This!!
  • The best Lumias they've ever released sent you over to the competition? I guess "fan" is correct.
  • The best? That's so laughable it's sad. They don't even perform that well. I returned my 950 because it couldn't hold a candle to my 1520 performance and aesthetic wise.
  • Really? Do tell.
  • Really?  I upgraded from a 1520 to the 950XL, which I think is a better comparison to the 1520.  While I loved my 1520 and owned it for 2 years (over twice as long an any phone I've ever had), the 950XL is a worthy upgrade and worth the money invested.  Microsoft crammed everything into this phone.  I can't think of any technology any other phone has that the XL doesn't have--plus Continuum, plus liquid cooling, plus an iris scanner.  Plus while every other manufacturer moves away from removable batteries and memory card slots, the 950/XL thankfully bucks that trend. The 1520 was a beast and is still a great phone.  But the 950XL is an improvement--faster processor, better camera, more RAM.  And I like the design. When I opened the box and looked at the phone, I couldn't believe people were complaining about how it looks.  I guess it's a matter of preference, but I think the 950 and the 950XL look great. Yes, it's plastic.  I prefer it over metal or glass.  And it's the reason I was able to keep my 1520 in great shape for 2 years without a case.  I dropped it a number of times, but the plastic absorbed the shock and still looked good.  Try that with aluminum or glass.  The fit of the back cover is excellent and I like that rounded corners over the 1520's sqare ones. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to design, and if you like your 1520 then keep using and enjoying it.  But it would be a stretch to say the 950 doesn't hold a candle to the 1520 in the area of performance.  
  • "I've been a "fan" for years now.  I only owned WP devices for 3 years straight and had a Motorola Q back in the day if we want to talk ancient history.  One look at the the 950 and 950XL sent this "fan" straight to Apple with an IPhone 6S+." That's EXACTLY how I feel! 
  • Advice to Microsoft....Do you want more market share and sales ? You must focus on Europe.
  • Wxactly Microsoft can easily become the 2nd main player in Europe.
  • Here in Italy wp is second. We are smart people, only the more ignorant/people with less culture and low personality buys stupid iPhones.
    The n.1 phone is Galaxy S6 Edge, a great device, I have to admit....
  • As a well known developer, that is a really poorly judged comment!
  • A wise advice that Microsoft being Microsoft will completely ignore. Because 'MERICA!
  • Because USA still has, by far, the most Windows phone/mobile of any country. Market share percentages aren't the whole story.
  • The WP market share in the USA is below 3% of the total number of smartphones, while in the EU is at about 10%. Here you have an estimation of the number of smartphones in some countries: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/2-Billion-Consumers-Worldwide-Smartphon... In the six main european countries listed (Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Poland), the total number of smartphones for 2015 is higher than in the USA. These 6 countries account for 340.000.000 inhabitants (slightly more than the USA population). The other EU countries, about 160.000.000 inhabitants, are not listed, and some of them are between the most IT oriented countries in the world (Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Netherlands...), so the ratio smartphone/population should not be lower than in the top 6. This means that the number of smartphones in Europe is much higher that the number of smartphones in the USA. In addition, 10% of european smartphones work under WP, while in the USA only 3% of them are powered by MS.  Indeed market share percentages are not the whole story: the real figures are even more strong than 10:3. 
  • Any manipulation of data to support the script. The EU is not a single country with a common language, the same laws, etc. Further, have you examined the marketing budgets for each EU country to support the narrative that Microsoft favors its home country? It still stands that the US has more users than any country. If you want to play the "compile countries no other reason than to be right" game, then English speaking countries likely make up the most users. The bottom line is that Microsoft is not going to stop supporting their home country. In fact, most companies would choose to target the large American market, consisting of a single language and laws as being a rather efficient use of resources, regardless of market share. Data requires some depth of analysis and context.
  • On the commercial point of view, for both sellers and consumers, it's a unique country. The issue with languages is irrelevant for phones: you set your language(s) the first time you turn the phone on, and thats all.  Concerning laws, I read that in the USA you have different operators using different radio systems (Verizon). In the EU the GSM-3G-LTE standards that can be used by phone operators have been defined by a common decision (a EU law) for all member states. So you can buy a non-subsidized phone in any country and be sure you can use it with any operator in any other country. Where the USA are central for MS is on the side of developers. That's the reason why MS cannot ignore their national market, given the lack of available A-grade applications and the need they have to involve local developers houses into WP8/10. By the way, nobody in this thread suggested them to leave the USA: "focusing on the EU market" doesn't mean "closing the shops in the other ones".
  • To focus on something is to aim one's resources and attention.  That implies shifting other resources to the focused one.   While we agree on what is known as developer density in America, I'm not sure you get my point about language and laws.  People in these threads always talk about marketing, promotion and app/service development as the things that Microsoft always does in the United States, first.  Language and laws are important here.   The apps and services (ie. Cortana) get developed first in the language of the coders...English.  The localization happens here first, too, and then get translated out to other languages.  It's not about the phone other than developing and then translating the software on the phone.  The same goes for marketing campaigns.  For the entire American market, they can launch one campaign.  That's just not the case in Europe with each country having it's own language and different networks.  Country specific laws (and private company policies) are also significant, especially for media sales like Groove Music.  There are varying licensing agreements that have to be made in each country. Again, it's not about the technical aspect of the actual phone. I mean, we use GSM here, too, so that's not the issue. Comparing how to conduct business with the collection of independent countries of the EU and the single United States, doesn't really work. There are economies of scale in play and efficiencies that having one set of rules and a one language provides. It's not as if a company the size of Microsoft doesn't "get it" regarding their international presence, but expanding that presence isn't as simple as them saying so.  I'm also not advocating that Microsoft close shops in Europe. I just think that the constant pitch of "don't worry about low market share USA, because Europe is the key to success" is short sighted and doesn't acknowledge certain realities.   
  • **** yeah, forget about the USA.
    Here I've seen WP devices regularly and people don't have any hate for Microsoft either as far as I know.
    The problem is that they aren't well known, you see almost no advertisements for these devices...
    But it seems like whenever I talk to someone from the USA they dislike or even hate Microsoft.
  • Ligeria is almost 80% WP in some parts
  • Wow. One of the few articles about MS Mobile and thier market focus I have seen that appears to understand what is really going on. This is a step above the garbage that comes out of many sites. Thank you for this.
  • Jason always writes very insightful articles analyzinf Microsoft's strategy. Keep follwing him and you wont be disappointed.
  • Confirmation bias. Read about it.
  • Jason, I always enjoy reading your articles. Thanx and bring it more please. Participating in Lumia950 launch event I could play a bit with continuum. It has made me sure that new Lumias are not smartphones anymore. It is a completely new category of devices with a lot of applications for different type of users. Let's hope Microsoft will be persistent in following this direction.
  • What about the lame design and always old processors in most popular Lumias aka Low and Mid range Windows phones?
  • I fully understand your comment but this is a a never ending "battle" if you want to please the "everyone" and MS lost this. So the new direction is the way to go IMO.
  • Only thing I realized after reading the article is that WM is a terrible platform for the developers.
  • So true.
  • I think W10 changes this - on PC, tablet, laptop and phone - as well as the Xbox and IoT's too?
  • So as a consumer it is better to switch or stay..
  • Switch.
  • Switch.
  • Stay
  • Stay - just to balance it out :)
  • It depends. Are you a consumer looking for a good value in a budget phone? Are you a consumer who is also a fan of Windows on your phone? Are you more interested in having all the apps, or the core function of the phone - web browser, email, messaging, etc Ultimately, it comes down to, what do you enjoy using the most? If you find that's a Windows Phone, you are likely in one of those target groups.
  • If your phone does the job fine then why switch, if it doesn't then switch. You can switch back later if the times change.
  • If you're OK with a "smartphone" that only does basic stuff like Office, email, phonecalls well, then stay. If you care about apps and apps with quality, continuously improving functionality without seeing features constantly being taken with the promise of returning "soon"...then switch.
  • If he cares about security and his data not being stolen and sold to every company willing to pay for it, he should stay
  • Also consider the source of the advice you get. Some are super cynics who gain enjoyment from bashing.
  • I see one problem with a lot of apps, most of them now seem to be aimed at making it easier to spend your money at one Retail business or another.
    I said on another site, the best years of my life were as a Royal Engineer in the British Army, I didn't need apps then, even though I have 233 on my 930. I certainly didn't need an app to operate an amphibious, armoured Combat Engineer Tractor that even had a rocket propelled anchor:)
  • Switch for now.
  • You mr ward have my respect
  • Once again MS is missing the point. The vast majority of people are avoiding WP due to the lack of apps. I have had a few WPs in the past. I thought the hardware, build quality, and ease of use were great. However when so many apps I need either end up dying as a beta or just never get a WP version I begrudgingly went back to Android. As for the newer phones I think MS is pricing themselves out of the market. Why would someone pay almost $600 for a WP with far less useful apps when they can go and buy an Android for half the price with equivalent specs?
  • It's called a Lumia 550 for for $140 if that's too much then I have no idea what to tell you. There are apps I mean when I hear people say this they need to be more specific.  There are all kinds of apps on WP and no two people want the same apps.  This is why they're just going to allow IOS apps to run on the OS.  Just to stop all the QQing about apps.
  • Lol with astoria they had a chance but now im not sure if they'll get the right/key ios developers to jump on-board. it seems like Astoria has gone back to just an internal testing. As for their Xiaomi rom its a nice start but id like to see a rom for mi5 sooner rather then later
  • Actually, I think you're getting confused with the bridge for the android apps. The iOS bridge is still live and well. I just went to the portal where you can download it.
  • And, I believe, the Android bridge was for phone apps only. The iOS bridge is for apps on all platforms.
  • What apps are you missing? Name them. I have all of the apps I need. And tell me of a liquid cooled octacore processor powered device that can extend, not duplicate, to a second screen that is half the price. Oh wait! There is NO OTHER device that can do that.
  • 3 Big Apps missing are Game of War (No.1 Top Grossing US game), Clash of Clans (No.2 Top Grossing US game) and Snapchat (100m+ active users). I don't need these apps but they are hugely popular with young American users today who are vital because they get Flagship phones as gifts for Christmas/Birthdays. By ignoring these users, Microsoft are immediately preventing people switching to Windows Mobile. The problem is Microsoft don't know how important these apps are in the consumer world. For these young users age 16-25 snapchat and clash of clans are used more than the calculator, office or even calendar apps. Same with reality TV show apps, like The X Factor show in the UK has no Windows App which mean these young people feel left out among their friends with iPhones/Galaxies. I know it sounds silly, but these people are really important for mass market sales. Microsoft continues to ignore this to its peril.
  • So, apps that waste time are the most important to you.
  • No, editguy if you bothered to read my post you would see I said I "don't need these apps", I'm too mature for snapchat and clans. But your narrow minded view is why Microsoft is failing. These "time wasting" apps are HUGE. Hundred Million user huge. Clash of Clans makes more profit than Microsoft's entire Surface Division. Microsoft, like you, are continuously misreading the consumer Mobile space. We need popular apps to have a popular platform.
  • Yes. Enjoy your dead platform.
  • Which app have you ever seen advertised with a Windows Phone version alongside Android and IOS?
  • I'm a Win-phone loyalist using a still functioning 920 and ready to upgrade.  I want to get a 950, or even an XL; but since Chase Bank eliminted their app for Win-phone I've been forced to consider that my replacement phone may have to be Android or (shudder) iPhone.  It's either that or change banks, which in my case is even more traumatic than changing phone systems. 
  • I don't use many apps but I'll be giving up Snapchat (daily user) as well as the app for my home security camera for a 950XL. Also won't have the Chase banking app which is really handy for check deposits. I'll still keep my Android phone at home just for that. Used to play Clash of Clans but I don't anymore. None of these are deal breakers for me which is why I'm making the switch but for a lot of users it's a deal breaker.    
  • Spiceworks.  Connectwise.  LogMeIn.  GoToMeeting.  These are not frivolus apps, but those are also missing - Snapchat, an actual Instagram client (Sorry Rudy).  Let's not forget YouTube and Capital One and US Bank and Square Register. I'm glad you have all the apps you need on WP.  The only way I can have all the apps I need, much less all the apps I want, is on IOS or Android.
  • The conundrum is that Android would be much easier to skin to look and feel like a Windows phone experience but Microsoft seems to be buddying up to Apple who's phone offers no UI changes. I would have to go with a high end Android phone knowing there are ways to make it look almost to Winmo10. Plus all my Microsoft apps are there so it's really down to look and feel and I can't change the look of IOS.
  • You have all the apps you need, but don't you want them updated? P.S. Check any hardware teardown of 950/XL and you won't find any liquid in there.
  • If MS is missing the point then we all are, so why don't you enlighten us and explain the blindingly obvious way that MS will achieve app parity with other mobile platforms?
  • I'll explain. Microsoft is focused on productivity, which is what I love. But, they have completely misunderstood the consumer mobile space. Not having the top two grossing iOS games (which generate $1B each per year) is preventing users switching. Not having snapchat with its 150 million active users is damaging. Microsoft's priority should be actively getting these developers on board, even throwing cash at them to port. They need to be aggressive the way Apple is. Hell, even Tim Cook got Microsoft on stage to sell iPads because he understands an iPad Pro without Office is garbage. For young influential consumers aged 16-25, a smartphone without snapchat is also garbage.
  • Nice article Jason! However, what will microsoft do if the writers and reviewers don't take in your account of measures? It seems they have not and will not. As a result the general perception still remains same and does Windows Mobile lose then?
  • Easy, people need to come to WC if they want the truth.  :)  
  • My thoughts exactly. Even if Microsoft thinks that the metrics Jason laid out are fair and accurate, it's not like Microsoft has had much lobbying power in the past, nor will they be able to influence reviewers to change their style in the future. For the better part of a decade, phone reviews had the looming "iPhone killer?" question. We are just now starting to see phones from manufacturers other than Apple not held to that metric, but the comparison is still there in nearly every review. So how would anyone convince reviewers (especially of brand "agnostic" sites like the Verge or Engadget) to play along, especially when they know full well that the comparison will get them clicks? A noble effort, for sure, but I'm afraid no one will play along.
    Also, unfortunate that the same metrics applied to other phones might put those scores higher than Microsoft's, anyway. We all know that Apple's fans are quite satisfied, and BYOD has been going strong in the enterprise for a couple years now. With Android having made a significant splash in the low end realm after the Moto E launch to take on the 520, Microsoft is still likely to face challenges of moving product just to be reviewed. It seems that the "fan" class of consumer will have to be included in the other classes - business AND fan, budget AND fan - when there are other options that seem to offer more than what Microsoft can.
  • But, does that really matter if this is the direction that MS is headed? They're not looking to lure in all of those people. They are focused on fans and developing enterprise. The fans are already on sites like WC and they're getting the info they need.
  • It matters if the CTO doesn't find the value proposition of Windows 10/Mobile because the LOB systems and applications they utilize don't have a UWP app that can be utilized by their workforce. And those apps aren't going to be developed if the only people that are using the platform are us fans, who are small in number. My company (albeit a small company) is currently investigating task management systems for implementation. I'm the sole WP user, but do have the ear of the director of this project. However, when the finalists for this endeavor don't have an app (WP or W10M) even under development, the decision on which phone to provide can't include W10. This is anecdotal, sure, but I'm pretty sure it's not terribly unique - except that it's a company with 5% of its work force rocking Windows Phone! It's also the reason I haven't yet bought a 950 - if we land with Asana, I'll just stick with my 925/635 combo until they die and tether an iPod touch for tasks.
  • Mastermind Nadella must GO.
  • You can do it. Just buy the majority of MS stock and then you can fire him.
  • Agreed. People (fanboys) can't seem to realize this guy is the cancer in Microsoft that needs to be removed.
  • Multi $Billion company with some of the smartest people in the world don't get it, but you do.....my money is on Microsoft :)
  • Balmer! Balmer! Balmer! Just no chairs in his new office plese. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Thanks for that well thought out article.  Yes, I am certain MSFT "gets it" and has for quite some time.  It's the fans who are connected on an emotional level who are in denial.  MSFT lost the battle.  They lost it quite some time ago, after Windows 8 was an obvious failure.  That was their last immediate hope to become relevant in the mobile OS war (2012-2013).  They knew it, and it's why they shifted to a strategy, around that time, of supporting IOS and Android with their software and service offerings.  It enraged Windows fans but it was clearly the smart move.   At this point they need to play the long game.  And part of that strategy is to STAY RELEVANT while they look for their opportunity to reengage the consumer.   It will take years, if ever.  But for the fans you can rest assured they will not abandon mobile.  They can't.  It is one of the 3 pillars that holds up the online world.  Worse still, it's the fastest growing of those three pillars.   MSFT owns the stationary desktop world (the first pillar),  They have fought back to be relevant in the tablet markets.   But they need to be present in all three to succeed long term.  Without that third pillar, their empire will eventually fall.  They know it.  They will not quit until they sell their business for parts to Google and Apple.  I'm betting that won't happen.
  • I'm seeing less and less consumers buying PC's (excluding gamers) and more phone/tablets use. It is predicted that the Surface range could take 18% market share and with this added to ALL platforms, including the Xbox and IoT's, guess it is a situation of keep making the phones until they catch on. It's not too long ago that the Surface range was seen as a failure and was a big write-off too......so who knows what changes will occur?
  • Yea, the Surface range was seen as a failure (because it was for the first couple gens), but persistence paid off. However, they were competing with no one else given the new market segment they were creating. Phones are well established - will Continuum and Hello draw the crowd they are looking for, especially if they do nothing else for the next year, giving everyone else the opportunity to add these features in?
  • It is possible that the Surface could have lost out to Samsung and iPad tablets - yes different OS's but still possible people would not get it. Apple have stated they will not combine iOS and OSX and Android is bringing some elements of Chrome and Android together - not sure this will compete with W10 as an OS on all devices and Continuum.
  • Well said sir...well said. Seems like they're going back to basics and trying the same thing they did when they took the OS market from IBM.  Sneak attack FTW!  
  • The Surface thing really does complicate things. I am just holding out because of that alone. The 950 line os decent, but I just feel I wont be happy if in six months the surface line shows up and I'm stuck with the 950. I think a lot of people be thinking this.
  • That's been my fear, which is why I just picked up a 640 and put Windows 10 on it to replace my 3yr old 920 in order to hold me over until Q4 of next year.
  • I know everyone keep saying the rumor is it will be a business device with a so-so phone and not for the consumer...but the problem is, the device itself is a rumor. So any ideas about it are nothing more either. If there wont be a surface phone for some while, they should just come out and say it, because that rumor really is cannibalizing their own sales right now.
  • Yeah, but they can't really do that either cause it would absolutely cannibalize their own sales if they verified its existance. 
  • I don't think the rumor is cannibalizing its sales as much as some would argue. If you're in the tech world long enough you know that there's always something around the corner and if you keep waiting you'll be chasing your own tail forever. A lot of the people who are claiming to pass on the 950 to wait for an entirely (as far as we know) theoretical device would probably say "I'll wait for Surface Phone 2 when they've ironed out all the kinks" if the Surface Phone ever materializes. Most people will just buy the 950 if they like it. I don't think the rumor of another phone will have a significant impact on 950 sales. 
  • Well,for many of us it is two issues that have us waiting. We are looking to replace the 1520. The 950XL is a nice device, but is it that much better than a 1520? Most of us are leaning towards "not enough to drop $700". Then on top of that, there is rumors of the Surface phone, which could possibly turn put to be a device that is definitely better in the hardware department. Microsoft is in a bad position right now. The new devices are nice, but not knock out better than what many of us are looking to replace. Then this lingering rumor is just having us all hold tight.
  • Any Surface phone is at least a year away. So basing current purchasing decisions on a device that far out makes very little sense.
  • Daniel says surface phone is not until at least 4Q16. If being a Surface Phone means it is an Intel based device, I would be reluctant to be an early adopter until Intel proves themselves in the market. ARM has not stood still while Intel has advanced - I would be concerned that Intel will not deliver the battery performance I am expecting even though they will deliver better functionality. I am more concerned getting through the day on a charge more so than being able to run Win32 programs.  I will likely transition to the 950 or XL when my current phone gives up the ghost - hopefully it will have dropped in price some but it provides value at it's current price.    
  • The thing is, with wp now not wanting to appeal to mass market, why would any of the mass apps want to come over?
    That's a negative point, but on the positive, I work in the mobile industry and a Microsoft rep showcased the new 950 & XL and everyone was blown away. They were just concerned about apps. If they sorted this out there wouldn't be as big of a problem.
  • I'll give you one good reason - the millions of people that have Windows 10 running on their pc's, not to mention the possiblitly of running those apps on the other millions of people with Xbox One's and 360's. Why wouldn't they want that revenue for their apps that could be ran on a desktop, Xbox, or tablet? And with a little tweaking, it could be made into a Universal app for phones as well.
  • The trouble is, a lot of cool apps rely on gps and run better on a phone, or in some cases would be unable to run on say, a laptop. So what would lure them over?
  • Which apps are you referring to, and do they already have a third-party equivelant? You talked about why would any of the "mass" apps want to come over... Do the majority of apps rely on gps? I'm asking cause I honestly don't know. If the number is truly that great, then yeah I can't see pc's, xbox's, and tablets being a reason to make apps, but if it's smaller in comparison to all the apps missing on the platform that don't rely on gps, then I would think my thoughts would still be valid as a reason to bring apps over.
  • If I want to use a service in my laptop I use a browser. If I want to use it on my phone I use an app. I use medical apps at work. Mobile apps like lab values, medscape and oxford handbooks have no purpose in a desktop - so why should they develop a universal app?
  • You can't be serious right? You just named some very special case apps that the majority of people won't need. I'm talking about popular apps that are missing from Windows mobile like banking apps, Snapchat, etc.
  • The mix of missing popular apps and niche apps is what killed Windows Mobile. Yes, killed it. According to Nadella it's dead. They only released the 950 "for the fans". To see where windows is now simply compare Facebook on it and on Android/iOS. That will show you all you need to know.
    I really don't see Universal apps being a dev incentive when they already have websites we use. Posted from my Note 5
  • I must've missed it, when did Nadella say Windows Mobile is dead? 
  • Windows 10 uses location services, which is available on all devices, even desktops, laptops and tablets. Developing applications you ping the location services, not specifically the GPS receiver. The OS uses whatever hardware is available. Granted, having an actual GPS receiver is the most accurate, but even without it, it's pretty accurate.
  • The millions of people who use Windows 10 don't give a rat's fanny about the Windows Store or modern apps.
  • I really loved the new idea of measure of success but they shouldn't forget Just by concentrating on their 3 main fields they cant reach a fan or an enterprise or value costumer.
    They should keep track with other platforms also.
  • Very nice article....as i am a student...so,my first phone is Lumia 532 and it is way better than any Android phone and iPhone as I am a blind windows phone fan.....I am always beside of you....i can't think about to leave such a beautiful lagfree platform.....
    And I think all the true friends like me will be beside you all the time.....with patience and happy face...
    Happy journey...keep it up
  • These articles should be titled "Ode to the Fanboys"
  • Yeah
  • At least we admit we are fans, anything wrong with that?
  • After the dismal failure by Microsoft to offer these new phones on Verizon, my family made the switch to Android phones. That will be 6 less Windows Phone users with others to do the same...I am sure. NPS...what a joke. Microsoft has passed off a large chunk of its customers by not offering this phone on all carriers, I am sure that their NPS numbers are horrible.
  • The jury is still out as to whom is exactly to blame for this non Verizon capable device. This has been discussed here to a good degree, if I recall correctly. Verizon has never really been a good provider/supporter for Microsoft mobile products. If you take a good hard look over the past half decade I believe we could count on one hand the devices they've carried. And as until recently, their willingness to play nice in the sandbox has gotten worse, not better. Sure, does this isolate a lion share of the available consumer base from Microsofts new devices - you bet it does! Is this something that Microsoft did on purpose, id think not. The blood has been bad here too long.
  • As a Verizon customer I am fully aware how they treat their WP customers. And because I am an intellectual I can fully imagine how that must frustrate Microsoft. And they were professional enough to disable Verizon CDMA bands so as not to further distance relations because they knew continued talks will bear better fruit then forcing the phone.
  • You're confused. It's up to the carrier to "offer" the phone. If you have read Verizon's statement, it's very clear that they had no desire or intention to offer these phone. In fact, they seemed to not know who the manufacturer was, since they kept referring to Nokia. They've done a pathetic job of supporting the Windows p[hones that they've carried in the past, so it's easier for me to believe that this all rests on Verizon's shoulders.
  • It was proven that Verizon never got a request to carry the phone, someone filed a FCC complant, they showed it on this site. It was not Verizon, it was Microsoft not offering or enabling the bands to work on Verizon.... Not Verizon it was Microsoft
  • As a former PPC and WM user (going back to a Jornada 540) who took a two year dalliance with the iPhone 3GS, and then returned with the launch of the Samsung Focus, I would consider myself a "fan." I've loved the Nokia and Nokia/MS versions (920, 1020, and 520). I have to say that the MS 950 is a great device in form and function. The devices show some great innovation and unparalleled compatibility with my MS based office environment.
  • Interesting article. Since I am a Verizon customer, I've left my beloved Windows Phone behind for a Note 5 and Android Wear watch. I do hope to come back if things improve or my workplace (who pays for my phone) goes to AT&T....
  • Not sure if this strategy will work either. But insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
  • when you really don't believe you can succeed...
  • Anyone that think things progressed much between windows 7 and 10 is delusional. I blame Microsoft. There should of been some radical changes (more so than iOS and android) when your losing is the perfect time to try some crazy out there ideas... Windows phone started off being different. Then it became let's see what made iOS and android popular an try that. I loved pivots. I loved seeing a large profile pics when someone called. Weather tiles with a live radar. Food and drink apps travel apps. The social Zune desktop software. The people tile showing status updates. The me tile allowing me to update my profiles... Even the Xbox one seems to progress quicker than wp. After 5 years I'm moving on. MICROSOFT IS A DESKTOP COMPANY PLAIN AND Simple. Even BlackBerry has tried harder than Microsoft.
  • Excellent article Jason, it's a shame some of these commenters didn't really grasp what you are saying.
    Looking at it with your new paradigm, I would say the new 950/XL is a success! If they were built for the fans and it's constantly on back order, then that means the fans are buying it. I've only used Windows powered devices since 1996, so yes, I'm a fan.
    I'm also a software architect creating systems for corporations and government entities. I'm not trying to make the next silly mindless app for the masses. To me, the platform has always been easy to develop for. And now it's even easier, no more special or different APIs are needed for the different form factors that I'm targeting.
  • If only I after the sudden write-off of surface mini they just chose to not manufacture as many phones(for non-carrier orders) so them selling out just says they broke even on the cost to manufacture the 1st shipment
  • Problem is he has a nee paradigm every other week....
  • Lol add is the term your looking for
  • Even when viewed in the proper context, not making the phone available on Verizon (regardless of whose fault it was) is a crushing blow. I doubt many people are willing to switch carriers just for loyalty to a phone or OS. The only reason I did it, ironically, is because my service has been really poor with Verizon since moving into my new apartment. Had I not moved into what appears to be a dead spot for Verizon I'd likely own a Galaxy right now even though I've owned nothing but Windows Phones since 6.5. You can't not have any presence on the largest carrier in the US. 
  • I agree with you and understand. But, what needs to be understood is that Verizon uses totally different network protocols than every other carrier. So if I were to develop a new device I would target the largest audience first and then add in the different protocols.
    I personally hate Verizon, I was with them for over 10 years and had an excellent plan with them. I was deployed over seas serving my country and asked them to put my account on hold, they said sure thing. I came home and reactivated my account and it was not the same plan, they told me I waited 2 weeks too long. I have them about 6 months to fix it and they refused to, so I left to AT&T and haven't had any complaints.
  • Keep in mind their not the only ones sprint does aswel
  • This is a hugely valid point. VZs network is only good in the US, and while they do have the #1 spot as a carrier in the US that may not, from a manufacturing standpoint, make financial sense to build a device JUST for them. Maybe they took a good hard look at how poorly the last device did made the hard choice. Maybe, as I mentioned above, the bad blood between these two has finally come to a boil.
    Either way, everyone losses.
  • I believe that Microsoft should focus more on what their customers want and not fight with the other OSes. Microsoft should make the people who already own windows phone happy and then slowly other people will be interested in windows if windows owners recommend the OS.
  • They always should have looked at how much do the consumers love the product. That is the matrix that counts most in a product you either hold in your hands or sit in for long periods of time. The negative write ups and comments are what I get from my Applecentric bro in law. What he doesn't understand is I love the phone and system.
    We have two kids in club soccer and are never home and our phones are our main tools for communicating with everyone in our lives and our on the go entertainment.
    With the Lumia 1520's (we each have one) in tow we don't even carry our laptops and tablets on trips anymore. I didn't realize that until writing this and we just arrived back from being away for the last 4 days. WP allows us to receive and send work and personal email, receive and send individual and group texts, do work in the Office apps, listen to music individually or in the car using Bluetooth, have free real time driving directions using Here Maps/Drive,go on the internet and watch live tv events while our kids and friends are playing on the beach (WatchESPN).
    The screens are massive, clear and always have people asking which phone is that? Do they hop on the bandwagon when they find out it's a WP? Absolutely fucking not. No they do not. The lack of a "brand name" (Apple/Android) and the live tiles is just too much for them. You know what they do instead, they pick up their phones they have laying out, put them in their pockets, mumble "I need a new phone" and walk away. Many of them are Iphone 6+ owners. Point is, the phones do what we need as a family, we love how it operates, takes pictures, etc... and can give two shits how fucking popular the system is as long as Microsoft and the main app developers continue to support the system and keep it affordable be cause I'm not going broke for a damn phone because it's popular. My daughters 12 year old friends have iPhones and androids and no of them can honestly do a thing on them but consume the massive amounts of idiotic information they have on snapchat, instagram and Kik. I like those apps, but they don't make the kids more productive and the pre-teen mind is a boggling space of WTF impressed by what they deem important. Her Lumia 535 does all the same crap minus Snapchat for $45 that their very expensive phones do. I'm sure she and her brother will love the new Lumia 640s I bought for less than $100 when they get them at the holidays. That is measurement we use as parents and it's nice to see that as the measurement Microsoft will have for a bit also.
  • Hahahaj wtf faces....
    Also what you said about people do nothing on their phone is true... They barely open other apps...
  • Nice!
    I've asked folks in the real world of retail, when the discussion of app availability come up, "lets see what you have, and how you use it. What do you use most often?" Answers are typically: Text, email, some dumb/trendy game/app (ie snapchat). I show that WM has these, does these things just as well. So granted you need a third party snapchat app. So what? An app is nothing other than an interface.
    Most often, as Addicusbrown stated, their devices are filled with apps they don't use/ haven't used/ don't know how to use. Often folks are unhappy because they have difficulty managing their device storage, of getting things to sync. I explain that WM has micro sd capability, and the cloud restore is SECOND TO NONE, but alas all this falls on deaf ears. Why? Honestly I believe its because MS has done a poor job in its advertising, product placement, and enthusiasm for their offerings.
    Were a fickle consumer base, the US market is. Our devices tend to identify us similar to how our vehicles do. Its a shame really, this narcissistic role these devices play upon our lives - but I digress. To me, its a tool. I don't need the newest, shiniest tool kit to work on my projects, when all im doing is turning a screw - if ya get my drift.
  • I don't think there is a 3rd party SnapChat app. Posted from this here device.
  • There was 6snap, but Snapchat kind of disabled all of the third party apps.
  • I think it's a mistake to think of an app as a mere interface. The reason iOS is so succesful is because of first party support. Now, while it is true that third party apps can be better than first party apps, from a marketing standpoint, having first party apps will make you a winner because it makes your platform appear 'purer'. Apps have become more than just mere interface. For teens, especially, it has become something of a status symbol: having snapchat makes you look cool. Not having it makes you look like a weirdo. And while this is all stupid in and absurd in the eyes of adults, remember that teens make the trends that sell and most adults (& young adults still refer back to teens to find out what's cool to try and recapture an ability they lost when they grew old.
  • I don't have to have Apps. But I always feel like I am missing something like when the gas station has a rewards app or Target has a Cartwheel Coupon App. Some of the App Developers make some neat stuff happen by combining GPS and a Barcode scanner. So I feel like I might be missing the daily coupon if I don't have the app. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I hope Microsoft will continue to develope Windows 10 Mobile in the manner of the most creative to mobile is not mobile-only, but rather mobile-plus.
  • I'm happy to be counted as a fan (I swapped from iPhone 4s to 930). But the 950 needs to be at a £349 price point before I see value-for-money
  • The question is how long MS keep making and supporting Windows phone for the fans if the general public doesn't start buying its devices by the end of 2016?!!!
  • At least two years
  • If MS shrinks Lumia sales to lower then 8-10 million per quarter, then even existing apps and devs will live and continuum or whatever future features won't matter. Whatever strategy shifting moves they execute, that minimal number should be maintained.    
  • You're thinking of the benefits of continuum backwards. The idea is to have the developers build for tablets/laptops/desktops/Xbox, in which there are over 120 million devices running Windows 10, and have those applications already compatible for the phone.
  • These articles make me think of someone who is given a mission to succeed, but when they fail they try to make it sound like it really WAS a success by speaking 10,000 words with only 10 words actually meaning anything.....kind of like a politician. If you don't go for market share you will fail and the competition will win. Other than the fans (I am one) market share won't increase until people can have the quality apps they need. Offering more of a color assortment and sexier design wouldn't hurt either.
  • So Mac is a failure? Don't criticize the article and then put forth your perspective, fueled with false logic and a complete misunderstanding of what the writer is saying.
  • Financially the Mac is a failure, 90% or so of Apple's revenue is from the iPhone. False logic...I don't think so...Microsoft has relegated itself to not trying to gain market share and without it developers will not waist time developing quality apps as is happening. Everyone I speak with and/or show my L1520.2 to is impressed but say "but it doesn't have the apps I need." They complain that their iPhone or Android is problematic or doesn't have features that the WinPhone has but because of the lack of apps put up with it. To market a phone that eventually could end up being productive in only making calls, texting, email and such would find a small market indeed. I sincerely hope I'm wrong...I love my L1520 and have loved Windows Phone since Windows Mobile 7, I have a Band2 and Windows 10 PC and tablet but unless Microsoft truly wants the phone to succeed (at least be on par with iPhone market share) it's doomed to be a niche device.
  • You lost me when calling Mac a financial failure. They make a nice profit for Apple. XBox makes a profit for Microsoft even though it doesn't have the sales that Office and Windows do. Niche/boutique/etc can be profitable. That can also setup sustained growth. The best way to encourage failure is to aim to overtake the volume leaders, in the short term, no matter what. It won't happen and you'll spend (waste) a lot of resources in the effort. Posted from this here device.
  • Apple dropped the profitable xServe line. Profitability doesn't mean as much as we'd think. MS is on the right track with Continuum and the merging of operating systems. I had hoped Win8/WP8 would get there first while MS had some excitement in the market. Now it's going to be an uphill battle to get wide acceptance.
  • I agree. This article sounds like an apology for the Lumia's shortcomings and failures (also a fan, btw).
  • Wait, so now the mastermind has given up on competing in smartphones? Whatever happened to his master plan to win by luring people in with low end devices? Another soothsaying albeit well written article from someone who I basically guessing as he doesn't actually work for Microsoft making these decisions.
  • Just a couple of observations:
    On October 6, 2015, Nadella shared the following during an interview with the Verge.
    "…a change in Microsoft where we no longer talk about the lagging indicators of success, which is revenue, profit. What are the leading indicators of success? Customer love. There's actually a way to measure it. It's called NPS, Net Promoter Score."
    NPS is a customer loyalty metric. It is this measure that Microsoft is applying to determine its success with its fans, enterprise and value consumers. Nadella stressed that getting an entire organization to fall in love with these indicators is the biggest driver of success.
      I have had, because of the awesomeness of the Surface Pro 3/4 and Windows 10, several people ask about Windows Phone. Yay - NPS goes up!  But also, because of the Verizon debacle - they are now pissed.  I mean absolutely pissed. So NPS you could say is at absolute zero and is not likely to change for another cycle or two, if ever, of what Microsoft can throw at the wall.     Next:
    Because Microsoft is now focusing their smartphone efforts on three distinct markets, we must apply a new rubric that reflects accurate measurements of success or failure based upon goals set within that new context. Microsoft's refined markets are: Fans Enterprise Value Consumers
    They need to tread very carefully here.  Particularly in the Enterprise market.  The days of carrying multiple devices are gone (except for government users perhaps).  The Enterprise device is also the fan's device is also in some cases the budget device.  In short, there really isn't an Enterprise device segment of any size to speak of.  Trying to create one, let alone rely on it for any meaningful segment penetration, I think is a fool's errand - particularly when an enterprise can't get their hands on it - the Verizon Debacle again. And yes, I know a US carrier like Verizon is just a small segment of the overall pie; but US enterprises are precisely those that can afford and integrate these devices in the manner of Microsoft's vision.   I also just realized, typing all that out, that trying to define the market and success in two different ways is also a fragmented and short sighted approach that is somewhat opposed to each other.  
  • Great article. I think we even need to have a more detailed breakdown when we look at what we call fans.
    In my opinion, there are two types of fans: Those who want Windows mobile to be like Android or iOS and those who don't. I read many comments of people here complaining about not seeing enough marketing, about MSFT getting rid of unlimited storage on OneDrive, about lack of apps and whatnot. I also read those users leaving (or threatening to leave) for Android or iOS. I consider those the fans who have the typical consumer point of view. I suspect that MSFT will lose many of those fans.
    But there is another group of fans: Those who look at their phones as pure productivity devices. Those who value the the simple fact that it is windows running on a phone. I consider myself part of this fan base. I don't use many apps. I have no use for snapchat. I don't even have a YouTube app installed. I need news, I need 3 email accounts to work on my phone, I need office on my phone, I need OneDrive for only the documents I need to have in sync, I need Lync (or Skype for business) on my phone, I need OneNote, I have to have integration with exchange. In a nutshell, I need and want exactly what Windows mobile offers and does exceptionally well. And it all comes in a stable OS. Now, pair that with the Band and continuum (which I don't use extensively, but enough to make a difference for me) and you have a winning proposition. I see this split of fans every day. My folks at work show much more interest on WP than my friends in a private setting. There is a fundamentally different way of how those groups look at a phone. I believe it is this second groups of fans, the productivity fans, Microsoft needs to focus on. Those might lead the way back into mainstream.
  • Until they ask 30% to developers, it means Ms still does not understand a s*** about how the world spins....
    Look at Tizen, Samsung leaves 100% to devs till 2017, and what was the result ? Tizen Store is growing faster then ever, with COMPANIES developing apps, not (useless) students/hobbiest (that only s*** the Store). It just surpassed BB, and WP will,follow soon. #respect to Samsung.
  • Is it like Samsung Kies or whatever they called it - the worst piece of junk software I ever used, well tried to use!
  • That was hilarious
  • Whoah, haven't heard about Tizen in a loong time, does it already ship in a phone?
  • The convergence path will be Enterprise To Consumer. Not, the other way around. Devices that definitely work in Enterprise that an average consumer would appreciate and love. It really was how it went with the Surface Pro line.
  • Excellent article... Nicely explained
  • I think this strategy will give Windows 10 Mobile time to mature within the fans, by the time 'surface' phone comes, it will be ready for everyone. Ask yourself if they had made a surface phone now with magnesium body etc, only to run on windows 10 mobile beta and to wait to the app bridges, it was going to be a great failure, just let the fans mould the OS now and wait for 2016 for the surface phone
  • Do the editors speak with each other..? I mean, I agree with most of this article and this being a "fan" site ... Why is it that Dan's review doesn't reflect ANY of these views and has an underlying negative tone..?
    Maybe you guys (Jason and Dan) should confer before rushing it a review that targets and influences the fans' buying decisions ...
  • Honestly I think Dan must go to Android central or iMore and Jason be the Chief Editor here. That guy says whatever comes into his head, he gets very emotional at times.
  • Rubino's review considered the device on its own merit AND within the context of the market AS A WHOLE. Sorry if the device doesn't measure up but it isn't his fault: This is Microsoft and their doing. They need to do more. They are. Perhaps in the future things will be better, but for now his, and the general consensus, stands. Also everyone has an opinion and not all will agree. Besides, Microsoft know their offerings don't measure up. Yet. It's up to them to convince consumers to buy their products - as they have done with the surface line. Writers can write what they want, unless they're paid shills. I don't believe anyone on the wc staff is a shill, unless I'm missing something, so they can all differ as they will. Frankly, I prefer Rubino and his frank view on the situation to Ward's overly optimistic prose - though it is extremely well written as always, and I'm a fan - and that's my opinion.
  • In what way do Microsoft's offerings not measure up? The camera? No. The processor? No. The RAM? No. The screen? No. The iris scanner? Not available on any other platform. Continuum?  Also not available.  The 950 and 950XL are the most advanced phones on the market.  They didn't leave out anything I can think of that is currently available, with the exception of pen input, which I had on my Note and never used. Daniel criticized the look of the 950, among other things. I have the XL and assume, other than the camera ring, that the 950 looks about the same.  I love the look.  It comes across to me as simple and elegant at the same time.  Classy is the word. And I feel the build quality is excellent.  I honestly don't understand why all the hate. I agree the OS needs work. I've had a couple of little issues, but overall I've been very happy with WM10.  And I'm optimistic it will improve.  It's in its infancy.
  • MS does not measure up in many things! Win10 OS is a total crap! Customer Service is the worst I've seen, customer respect from MS is ZERO! Quality Control is ZERO!...want more? fanboy...
  • Yeah, Dan's review was pretty darn good. It's all fine and dandy to talk about new metrics, but your average consumer, fan or not, is still going to compare the devices and platforms when considering a device. Enterprise might have different metrics, but that is yet to be seen (and really depends on the organisation). Besides, metrics such as these are something you consider after the fact, not when something launches. P.S. W10M still feels like 5th class citizen in MS, the buggy release after huge delays just enforces this view (I know others have bugs as well, but rarely on release devices, and frankly they can afford to have them). I'd rather they have waited with the 950/XL, put a SD820 in it, and released it when both the platform and the bridges were operational in spring.
  • More like I not only allow but encourage differing opinions. We're not a monolith.
  • They are both honest in their own way. Jason seems more like a dreamer and I don't say that to be taken negatively; it's more a long term optimism. Dan has recently (to me) has taken more of a realistic stance, but with a measured assessment. And Dan is still not as critical as much as I would like. But I understand this is Microsoft centric site so they should take a more optimistic and measured approach while extolling the better virtues of Microsoft and WP as a whole. I wish both would have taken a stronger tone on how much Microsoft has ruined the beauty of the original WP OS by moving away from the original functionality of the previous iteration and now we are saddled by hamburger menus. Because now, other than the Live Tiles I don't see why people will gravitate towards Windows Phone aka mobile. Just my opinion.
  • I agree Microsoft needs marketing here in the Philippines and a service center too
  • Jason should start angling for a job at a PR firm
  • Maybe Microsoft should squire his services :)
  • Squire.  Nice.
  • And it still amazes me how can someone describe the loss of fight as a change of philosophy...i mean i know you are a windows stuff portal but come on guys....and yes,i have 3 laptops,2 pcs,920,930 and i love windows,but please can you just say,ok ms lost the market? Or is that too much to ask...
  • Overall we need better app quality and system to be way more optimized...everything is really smooth but people are avoiding Windows phones for now because they don't have apps they want and they can only choose between Lumia models...which is a lil bit dull sometimes. Personalization is the problem for OEMs and I think that's the main reason why Microsoft will still have to work on it's system. Uniqueness in Android is that that the OEMs can do whatever the F they want with the phones and that also the good thing and also the bad thing for Microsoft. They can produce more quality phones and optimize every single model in its own way to look nicer which Win10 can't but Win10 phones can get software updates more regularly which is a very good thing for consumers (app updates is the real problem here). So Microsoft has to make a balance with how many phones OEMs release and to which phones they will deliver updates...still a lot of work to do in almost every single area of Windows mobile and I think Mr.Nadella is very well aware of that.
  • A good thought provoking article. As mentioned in other comments posted here, is the importance of apps. This, along with lack of marketing is one of the reasons why the os has not gained traction. It would be interesting to see why wp has a higher share in certain countries, particularly in Europe. Whether that was down to Nokia brand? I just hope MS don't lose sight of the fundamentals of the os. The fluid ui, and security which was what first brought me to wp7. Having both windows, ios and android devices in the household. Windows wins hands down in usability, but when you start comparing each respective app stores the story changes. Also some of implementation of some of the software elements e.g. groove still need work.
  • If you can't win a race, then you invent a new category in which you are the best. Now all you need to do is convince the public that your category is somehow relevant.
  • Like the surface.
  • Agree - my 930 and Surface Pro 3 are awesome. They are both with me during the day so I can just tap WiFi hotspot on the phone and the Surface is connected to a 4G network - beats iOS and Android hands down!
  • Try and record a video on your 930 with win10 mobile installed :))) and check if you have any audio...
  • If shit gets worse I'm getting an iPhone and a mac
  • Thus ensuring that your experience will continue to get worse.
  • There is always a silver lining somewhere - like putting Office on the iPhone to make it look pro and put Windows 10 on the Mac, as most do.
  • "and put Windows 10 on the Mac, as most do."  -> do you have any numbers to sustain such comment? Putting windows 10 on a mac would be the wors thing anyone could do! maybe windows 8.1 or 7, not 10
  • When in India
  • When in India .
  • ..do as Indians do
  • An amazing alternate viewpoint of Windows Phone. I would like to call these phones as WP, irrespective of the number of name/version changes. Let it be iPhone, Android Phone and Windows Phone. Why to get so confused about even about a name. Are we so bad that we cant even sustain a name we decided when it was (re)launched with 7. I agree with the iPhone apps porting part, making those dev doing it themselves by realizing the potential of being a universal app with convergence will be a nice carrot to have. Q4-16 is far, will 950 duo sustain with only fans till then? Ok lets add 650 and 750 also to it. If we don't market these devices well with their existing capabilities in various media, we are not gonna get new customers. There is q possibility that existing people who has newer versions of devices stick to the same till they see surface phone. Let me add a few who will say bye to new phones by looking at the price when they get launched across the world. Can Microsoft take all these and still make progress on Surface/Windows phone. I could see a name change coming again! Hope Satya does some magic here with surface lead/team to produce a stunning world class product at the right price, and prepare the store with as much apps as possible by then! God bless. Looking forward for my white 950 XL till then :)
  • When people say what phone do you have I say Windows Phone! Wish they would just stick with this name too :)
  • Wowwwwwwww
  • When in India.
  • When is always in India these days!
  • .
  • Excellent article, Jason. It denotes a thorough analysis on your part, and high professionalism as a tech writer. Your article clearly states that Microsoft's success should no longer be compared to that of Android and iOS. Microsoft's approach is now different, and although they might end selling even less than now, they can still, and hopefully will, be highly successful and achieve a profitable business. I'm not a Business major, but I understand that success and profit not always mean volume, and if not, ask Goyard in France, totally unknown to all, but to their exclusive customers.
  • In political parlance this sounds like the person who is going to lose all the primary contests and still expect to win the general election with 3% of the voters who really, really like the candidate.  Not exactly sure I see how that is going to work out but I’ll readily concede that MS knows far more about the tech market than I’ll ever know.  I’ll buy the 950XL, if ever becomes available again, but I do wonder if someone misplaced a decimal in the cost benefit analyzes when analyzing the “refined markets.” 
  • Like Apple sell a tiny amount of Mac's but it would be silly to just stop selling them as they don't sell as many as Dell.
  • You know, i hope Sony actually invest in both Android and Windows Phone. They have been losing money on Android over the years but has been keeping up producing new phones to stay on the market and waiting for the next big thing. And when i think about the next big thing, i believe it's this! Continuum and Windows 10. Also, having a powerhouse like Sony will definitely draw customers to try out WP because of it's brand name and quality. Think about it, i think Sony could have made a turnaround on its laptop,mobile and TV by incorporating UWP platform to all devices. Just imagining it gives me a WOW! It's a good read and i hope many more companies invest in Windows Phone as it's UWP is very promising too.
  • Microsoft should actively work with struggling Android manufacturers like Sony & HTC again. We're beginning to maybe see this with Asian manufacturers now such as the Xiomi ROM news. As for Sony, their earlier Z2-3 handsets have seriously damaged their reputation on both Android and in general mass market even though the Z5 Premium is now a great device. Sony could also scrap their existing Experia branding and also their 6-monthly new Z-model and create a whole new Windows Series brand (like Samsung did with 'Galaxy'). It's wishful thinking however, unless Microsoft put some big incentives in place.
  • I think it's short-sighted of Sony to ignore the potential sales from a WP model. They do need the sales.
  • If there were potential sales. HTC basically had the only flagship Windows Phone last year and then they couldn't make it work. They didn't even make a new phone, they just threw Windows Phone on their Android phone. The sales were so bad they couldn't even justify the minimal effort they put into it. There is a reason you don't see them doing it again this year. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I've been saying this on here for months, that there has never been a better time to jump over to iOS/Android for a year or two. Get the best "consumer mobile experience" while Microsoft work on Surface Phone and Windows 10 universal app store improves to included missing apps. I'm leaving next month for either the 6P, 6S or S6 but still will visit windows central for Windows 10 news and still plan to get a Surface Book. But for consumer mobile fun, there are better options on iOS/Android unfortunately.
  • Am doing this myself. Have a nice "red/gold" Ironman themed Droid Turbo 2 coming via Motomaker.
    Also looked at the LG V10 and thought "This is what the 950's should have been...."
  • Nice. Right now over here in the UK the Samsung S6 Edge & Nexus 6P are both cheaper off contract than the 950, so its a no brainer. The 950 has been reduced in price 3 times during preorder so it would seem that British Fans are also finally losing faith.
  • That's probably due to yet another Galaxy coming soon. No doubt it will be 'almost' identical in spec as well. Not too long ago, Samsung, like Sony and HTC ( who acquired the nickname of Horrible Taiwanese Company) were losing money hand over fist in the mobile sector. I don't know how people keep falling for Samsung's persistent reinvention of the damned wheel. At least the 950 / XL are a serious jump in specs, and pretty much a complete overhaul from the 930.
  • Samsung have "re-invented" by excluding the SD Card and installing a smaller battery on a super power hungry OS and screen.
  • Funny, I thought the same thing of the V10 myself. :/
  • Nice
  • So much for mass markets. Well, from my believing, I believe that MS will somehow, eventually, would be competitive with androids and iphones or else I wouldn't have brought this lumia. Cheers.
  • People tent to think of smartphones as if they will be here forever, when the smartphone will cease to exist as we know it at some point. If MS can't get into the mainstream smartphone market in a few years, it may not matter any more. What will have replaced it, and when will it happen? I don't know, but it will be more important for MS to be there at the moment when a new technology completely disrupts the smartphone industry, rather than get into the smartphone game at the 11th hour. I'm not saying they should give up, but at some point, it may make sense for MS to stay on the sidelines, keep their fans satisfied with niche products, milk their cash cows, and work on creating the skillset that will allow them to pounce when the time is right.
  • While maybe long term I agree with you, but for at least the next 5 years Smartphones are not going anywhere. The problem is the Smartphone was just a massive upgrade to the regular mobile phone which have been hugely popular since the late 1990s. Smart watches are struggling and VR is still a long way off. The masses need to communicate/ social media, data, information and take photos/play anywhere somehow. Wearables/IoT is the most obvious way forward but waiting 5-10 years is a long way away while rivals like Apple continue to profit and brand their mass market consumer tech so successfully.
  • Im going to guess that part of the reason WP has greater traction in Europe is two (maybe three) fold:
    1) Apple didn't make its appearance until later in the game (they fo used on US domination - and got it).
    2) Apples product is a premium offering - too expensive for many.
    3) -this is a real stretch - Apples product is seen as too pretentious, thus sending the wrong message to those seen using it. I think, besides the marketing of lower cost devices, many folks, NOT in the US have a different requirement for their devices. I may be redundant in my posts, but in the states a persons device, in many ways, is a status symbol, not just a tool for communication anymore.
  • They were here first and they are at a premium price - even the contract insurance is higher than every other brand - well, being over priced mediocre devices they are loved by the pretentious who judge their personality is better because they have an iPhone. But, they do have an elegant design and all the apps people need/want. I don know why WP is better selling in different parts of the world, maybe culture, maybe anti-pretentious or we like the "oneness" of Windows on all devices or maybe we just have good taste :)
  • Windows Phone doesn't do that well anywhere. Maybe some small areas where price is very important. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is all over analytical rubbish,Microsoft have failed in the mass phone market and so are trying to rationalize their failure.
    It's simple,the 950/XL are stop gap phones to provide hardware for continuum et al.It's now all down to the Panay inspired Surface phone when it's launched on a more mature Windows 10 in six months time.If Microsoft can hit a home run with the Surface phone everything will fall into place.
  • 1.) Microsoft is changing their strategy.
    2.)Writers will stop comparing Microsoft to the iPhone and Android. Why not just say Microsoft is taking a break from Mobile Phones? Because they will still be releasing them. They are just going to stop being as competitive and concentrate on what they do well. Until they start competing again. Quite confusing article. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Good article, like a manifesto to writers, journalists and bloggers on how to go about a subject not with their countertransference already on, but with a clear view of what is at stake for their sake of their professional values and not for the the most clicks.
  • Writing for clicks is dumb I agree. I just don't like the idea of limiting writing to a certain focus group. A Windows Central writer needs to be pro Windows Phone for sure, I understand that and to be Microsoft endorsed as well. But I think a writer should be free to take on Apple or Android in an article. This sounds a bit like censorship...You may only write what is in line with Microsoft's current Marketing Strategy. I understand a writers career is important, but still I question the change in focus. Windows Mobile was a great OS. It never took over with general public but always existed for fans. It did its job well. Is this the kind of toning down we are looking at? Maybe smartphones are now a commodity? Maybe the desktop operating systems are becoming a commodity too. I did not think Windows Phone is quite done yet, but maybe a bit of a breather will help Microsoft regroup. Will the Surface Phone be announced to great fanfare? I would spend lots of marketing dollars on it. I hope it is a premium quality phone. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • ....oh and by the way this article probably isn't doing to bad for clicks either :) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • it's pretty much clear that Microsoft's crusade in the mobile wars were hampered by those who don't see Windows phone in proper context. (I'm looking at you, the Verge, CNET, BetaNews, Gizmodo, etc.)  
  • The context that it is a mobile phone and it competes with other mobile phones? In that context they are quite right. Microsoft is behind in many areas of Windows Phone and it becomes quite clear when you use the devices side by side. Windows Phone is great for my grandmother. She only needs basic, easy to see buttons and Facebook. The 1320 has been perfect for her, she cannot screw it up. Using the device myself is maddening. It is so simple and limited it is hard to get anything done on it. The web browser is abysmal, almost unusable. Apps are tough to find and I don't just mean in the market. The single column app drawer is a frustrating waste of space. There are so many little things, it adds up to a poor experience for anyone with some technical knowledge. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Really it all boiled down to Live Tiles and the death of Windows Phone and Windows 8. Nobody liked Huge checkerboard of Live Tiles on the phone or Windows. It was Microsoft's insistency to not amend or concede any of the UI properties that led to the huge fail. Now they keep refining it to be less of what it was in hopes that people find it appealing now. The hardware has never been the issue. It's always been the UI and it still is. It will continue to be watered down from the original Metro design language until its vaguely distinguishable from Android. Then what do you have?
  • I was looking at the new Sony Z5 with a friend who wants to buy one and tried flicking through the OS and apps. I said it looks like Android has copied W10 with the hamburger menu and layout.......mmmmm
  • IMHO Microsoft should drop the Microsoft tag and revert to Nokia, or is it too late for that, especially if a rumoured surface phone were to erm...surface? A worldwide renowned mobile company, with years of history. People know the name, and for many, that damned ringtone is recognisable the world over. Lol.
  • Microsoft only bought the Nokia phone hardware division/patents and Licensing of the Nokia name for 2 years (though they own Lumia forever). There's already reports this weekend in the Verge that Nokia (remaining company) are going to be making/licensing new Android devices next year. I always said it seemed a stupid deal to me. Microsoft should have only signed the deal if they 100% owned the Nokia brand or at least 30 year lease. I think Microsoft got ripped off and wouldn't be pleased if I was a shareholder. They got crap terms because they were desperate.
  • Agree with wplee, nokia as a competitor of ms after 2 years is really terrible, could create a lot of troubles to ms since a lot of ppl still know the nokia brand
  • Good luck convincing the 20,000 Nokia employees who lost their jobs that Microsoft is the one who got ripped off in this deal.   Ballmer really wanted that cow, he pushed and pushed and got the board to go along with him.  Then he left and Satya said "This is OUR cow, right?" and then he walked it out behind the barn and shot it in the head. As we sit here, the future of WP is rotting somewhere out behind a barn in Redmond.
  • NPS is a good, but sad joke. Back in 2007, every .net dev was trying Silverlight, asking them to be capable to run outside the browser. MSFT hesitated for two years, delivered and just wondered why Silverlight as a platform was dead. Remember, WP7 was a Silverlight-OS, and having standardized on this multi-language environment would have been quite easy. Bringing the WP start screen to W7 as a desktop gadget would have certainly been no problem. Windows and Office division killed this environment, because the server and development guys invented the stuff. 2012 MSFT was finally ditching Silverlight. A new app model was created, but you needed W8 to develop. Nobody in the corporate space wanted W8, so no apps. The idea of portable libraries was the best sign for a ill-conceived strategy. Fast forward 2015, MSFT is trying a mix of both strategies. WP 8 apps, of which there are far more than Windows apps, are now outdated. Universal is has to be. I cannot tell how disgusted most developers are by MSFT's poor UI story in those years. This is the reason they stick to Win32. It was starting over, again and again. All those redundant tries need support, soaking up a lot of resources. Following Redmond's UI extravaganza has proved to be a painfully work intensive and costly task. I really hope, Universal is the last try. Either this, or it will be official that MSFT has no longer a clue how to build an ecosystem.
  • Yes I understand the win32 thing. I really liked Windows 8 and thought Microsoft should not have given up the concept. I originally liked how Microsoft took everyone's ideas and put them in Windows 10. The issue I have with 10 is that there is no genius design behind it. It is just what folks were asking for and nothing more. They gave the people what they want. Don't do anything too disruptive or clever. And for that matter I think the end users are not overly thrilled, nether overly unhappy with it either. I only use 1 or 2 store apps anymore. Sticking with win32 for now, except for Office 2016 which maybe is the exception and seems to very nice. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Jasan bro, Wonderful article. Came back to read an article on WC after quite a long time. You have excellent Writing Skills. Loved reading everything. I still am a Windows Phone user, and will be until it dies on me. I wanted to buy a 950 but then thought I should wait for the Surface Phone - if the rumors are correct. Nevertheless, im still supporting Windows phones, as it was my first ever smart phone. And now I have come to a point where if a phone doesnt have interactive live tiles, it just doesnt seem like a phone to me. C'mon Microsoft, hope to see S.Phones (or they might name it something else as it coincides with the name; SP2,3,4) in Q4 of '16.
  • They already did that but it just lead to other developers saying they didn't want to develop and app because Microsoft is doing it free for others.
  • Good writing skills sugar coating MSFT failed strategy on mobile platform and ecosystem. It's not that windows 10 mobile strategy is focused on fans but the mobile strategy had failed that only fans will stick it out at this point.
    If Microsoft is truly focused on fans only, then windows 10 mobile is dead. Your previous article saying the mastermind had it planned out how we get more apps. But how do we get more apps if developers know the market is just for fans and not the consumer market?
  • I can definitely live with slightly less apps if I have a good browser. Still retail store and banking apps are a welcome addition, because they add convenience. I just don't get the slow flagship release cycle. The Lumia 1520 is the best phone for three years and no replacement flagship. I think the yearly iPhone releases are working a bit better at drumming up the publics interest. Or even Samsungs continuous changes to its Android line, even if some of them are silly. I think at the bottom of this is some need for Microsoft to stall for time. They may still be smarting from the Nokia deal or don't have anything ready to go yet. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yes, browser need extensions, also need to import password from other browsers like chrome... Edge is wonderful in my 930 and my surface, but it is taking tooooo much time to import all passwords
  • Charismatically conveying your observations, as always, makes a great read and pushes us to evaluate the big paradigm shift occurring here - thanks Jason
  • Heh - Thinking about a fan base and watching the NFL. Who are two of the biggest sponsors on the NFL? Verizon and Microsoft. Just think of the opportunity if these two could work together. XLs along with Surfaces on the sidelines (I know there's a prohibition by the league against cell phones). Studio announcers with XLs. The exposure opportunities would have been really almost endless...
  • ...talking on their iPhones with XL laying idle in front of them on the news desk...not sure if that would have the intended result. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Ehh...there's nothing, absolutely nothing, in those studios that appears on camera that the league hasn't approved.
  • Thank you Jason for a wonderfully thought out narrative. Great read with information that was exactly on point! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • My compliments Jason!
    ​I feel Microsoft is the only company which has all the ingredients for maybe close to a decade to pull this cloud centric convergence transformation off. I am happy that they are finally on to it. Microsoft is changing its business model also. Microsoft is reinventing itself. Hats off.  
  • Translation: "Everyone, please drink the Kool-Aid"
    WinMo has four problems:
    1) Microsoft's well earned reputation for not making things people love, but rather things they have to use.
    2) Microsoft's well earned reputation for treating consumers with casual disregard (ahem - WinMe, Vista, and the ever-shrinking OneDrive)
    3) Their absolute, resolute, total inability to market to Consumers. (has can they not have broomed their Marketing Dept and poached Apple's to try and fix this?)
    4) Sub-par App ecosystem. There is no reason evidence that MS is serious about doing anything about the first three. So far we have seen little improvement in #4, as Universal Apps haven't had a target market in terms of handsets, and as for the ' bridges', well over of then had already fallen down. Keys stop stroking Microsoft and listed start clamoring for them to get serious about solving all four of these critical issues, because unless they do, imprints in one or two of them will be just wasted effort. Like WinPhone has, sadly, proven to be.
  • So I have been trying to figure out how Microsoft could have worded their change of focus better:
    1.) We are taking a break from Windows Phone. Bad for all kinds current WP users.
    2.)We will no longer compete with iPhone and Android. That sounds like giving up.
    3.) We are refocusing on three target groups. Equally confusing, because as a fan I wish everyone had a WP, not just enterprise and ascending countries.
    4.) We are toning everything down. Bad because it sounds like there will be less investment. I think I would have said,
    "Due to Microsoft's emphasis on delivering the best productivity tools to everyone, we will be renewing our development efforts, redirecting our marketing budget and partnering with hardware providers to release the best smartphone ever. This intensely focused effort will require us to have a delayed 2-3 year release cycle. Between Flagship Phone releases you will be kept up to date with new apps and frequent feature updates." Just saying it would be less confusing. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Walking the streets in Cuba with my Lumia 1520 in my hand shooting photos this year, I have frequently heard with admiration "hey, is that a Nokia!, Lumia!, Windows Phone!". A musician / sound technician judged that it is worth its $600 to him, after seeing and hearing my Lumia 1520 recording of his bands performance.
  • I waited patiently. My 1520 shot craps, had to get an insurance replacement HTC One M8. The m8 never did work right, but I just kept on going because the Lumia 950 was almost here. So the 950 finally arrived. And I went back to Android because the 950 just wasn't worth all the waiting. Nothing there to make me want to stay. Went through one side by side with an LG V10, and I brought the LG home. I will look at WP again in 2 years. Maybe it will be ready for prime time then, or there will be a Surface phone that is worth the cost. The 950 certainly isn't. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Same here. That is why I got a Note 5 because of uncertainty about Windows Phones. Was also considering the Blackberry Priv because of its Enterprise features. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Been a windows user and never used an android or iOS phone. But I am under pressure to change phone next month. The only question I have in mind that I don't want an answers is, do you have to have a google account to own an Android device?
    The LG V10 looks enticing.
  • Wow, good question. You can make a really nice Bingified Android using all the available Android Apps. Outlook, Excel, Remote Destop, One Drive with Photo Upload, Word, Microsoft Authenticator, OneNote and Here Maps. These and more are available from Microsoft and Android. The problem is the App Store is from Google and requires a Google account.
    If you wanted to really steer away from Google you could install the Amazon App Store. Anyway you should be fairly safe with Samsung not requiring a Google Account. I am not sure about LG and the others. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Microsoft are a massive player in the Enterprise market they are also a massive player in the Gaming market aswell as a Major player in the student market all these groups use mobile phones! IMO they have never tried to get into the 'high end smartphone market' instead they have went about actually making a smartphone instead of just calling it one. Their existing customers that own pc,s tablets xboxes are their target by making a phone that will sync with their existing tech and giving them extra functionality than they can get on competing devices. I have never owned a windows phone but the extra functionality with my other windows devices i get from my 950 has sold it to me, I imagine a kid with an xbox sees the extra fuctionality will be tempted as well as a student knowing they can produce/edit coursework with their phone will surely tempt them. So Microsoft has the future students covered the future enterprise customers covered and acustomed to their devices and on and on. So for me the only market they are misssing are 25-35 existing 'high end smartphone users' whom i,m sure will be tempted down the line when the intel x86 win phone arrives. Apple have stated that they have no intention in unifying its operating systems, that will be the biggest mistake that company has ever made...
  • 2016 will be a very important year for Windows and Microsoft. I am optimistic about a major turnaround and I think that W10M will have gained around 10% market share by the end of 2016.
  • It will always be 'The' next year  
  • An amazing article! Enjoyed reading it! 
  • I do not quite agreee. If Microsoft does not command a certain percentage of market share
    in terms of sheer units sold they will not be successful - no matter what rubric may be applied.   Espcially in the mobile space economies of scale
    are simply and absolutely ruthless when it comes to producing hardware.
    If the volumes are not there the production and distribution
    of those mobile gadgets cannot not be sustained for an extended period of time. MS (and/or partners) either sell tons of Windows 10 powered phones
    or
    MS have to subsidize W10 phones to keep things above the waterline. Nothing beats market share. Not really.        
  • Jason, you are a brilliant writer. I loves reading your article, no matter how long it is.
  • They may have kept more developers interest without rebooting the OS 3X. They lost fans and developers this way. Maybe if they see Win 10 is here to stay they may actually invest time and money into the platform.
  • Agree
  • I agree with this article whole heartedly. I definitely believe MS is reinventing itself. Like a previous article, MS WILL make a convergence device. I also believe MS is the ONLY company that can think ahead. They are proving themselves now and still shows that MS is the leader in software and soon to be in hardware. As long as MS continues making pc software/OS and mobile devices I will continue being a fan of MS. No other company struck me as innovative with their software or hardware. We will definitely see a push in both areas in the time to come. I'm rooting for MS to pull it all together. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "Readers who are trusting our analysis deserve better than that." Both of them?
  • Actually, I think Nadella should've been honest on the targeted demographic for the new phones: Hipsters ... A phone for those who refuse to live in the real world... It's not a phone for fans or enterprise, its a phone for the cult. A small and ever shrinking cult... I mean seriously, most apps that matter are abandonware at best, and the promise for the situation to get better by Universal Windows Apps is delusional: Windows 10 apps are pointless, limited in function, and I don't see the added value for supporting them in a phone. I believe MS should cut the chase, do the decent thing and officially announce death of WP... It had a vibrant and loyal cult following all those years and its their right to be told the truth rather than continuing to deceive them.
  • Windows Phone, buy it ironically....
  • You're article seems to imply that Windows phone will not really be worth buying until 2020. Even if they make s great phone that eventually can replace your computer, it will take a couple of iterations before it is mainstream. Even the surface want considered great until the 3rd try, and I'm one who still use the original surface as a secondary device. The problem I have is should fans of Windows mobile be treated like beta testers until things are ready to go next year or a couple of years down the line. I'm pretty much ready to leave. I was one of the first people to get a 950xl, and one of the first to return it. It isn't fair to take advantage of course users with an incomplete device with a high end price tag; not even considering lack of functional apps in the store. When something isn't working, it isn't the best idea to just change what's being scored. Success should be measured by function (including what apps are available), stability in software, hardware, profit, and number of users. You could say Microsoft is loading ask of these. Windows mobile games don't need gimmicks and rose colored glasses, we need success on at least one of these measures. Microsoft is pushing users away, so you can expect less app development and less functionality. The software being released its incomplete beta releases. The fans have to pay a high price tag to experience it, and it doesn't even work ask the way. It is very similar to Apple's Macintosh strategy but at least they were stable.
  • I consider myself a Windows fan and I really want to like the platform but I'm finding it incresingly hard.
    ​I live in Canda and I can't say I've ever seen any marketing for Windows Phone. When I bought a phone in August 2014 I had a choice of exactly one phone at the time, the Lumia 635 which I still use. The last high-end Lumia I've seen available in Canada was the 1020. The 930 or 1520, I don't think ever were released here.
    Marketing and availability aside, the lack of is a problem for me. My bank doesn't have a proper app, it's just a websit wrapper, and I was a Mint user too and am very disappointed by that app's removal.
     
  • Mint was removed? Will it be brought back? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Doesn't look like it - they have no plans at the moment. Huge disappointment.
  • Jason, Excellent article with a wealth of fact based reality. This objectivity is rarely found in today's tech media landscape. Today's landscape of polarizing click-bait blogosphere with no foundational "factuality" is the norm... I do think Microsoft could have eased the price burden for Lumia "fans". The 950 series are top notch and Windows 10 Mobile is as well. Unfortunately the overall ecosystem experience still has some areas desperately needing improvement. If Microsoft does bring an Intel based Surface Phone to market in under 18 months, it effects the longevity relevance of Lumia 950/XL. This effects its cost and value. Give the true ecosystem supporters (fans) a loyalty incentive and find a way for 950 to be $250 and 950XL $350. In this scenario purchasing a new premium Surface Phone in a year doesn't hurt so much. This opportunity has presented itself numerous times and Microsoft has never given back the "love" they now desire from their customers. The Lumia 900 was selling under 3 months when the announcement that Windows Phone 7 was a dead end. Hopefully an Intel based convergent device will not lead to more desktop legacy stagnation as a stopgap for true UWP mobility development. Regardless of the tiresome rhetoric, ecosystem content gaps are what killed RT and has hurt Windows Phone from outset. I think the entire enthusiast userbase wants to see UWP truly bring the premier mobility of experience to provide the content in the Windows ecosystem. We want the ecosystem to be contextually optimized via Continuum for the delivery device, be it 5" handset, 10" tablet, or dual 27" desktop. In essence we want the past 5 years of potential to finally become reality.
  • For me, in my opinion, the only way Microsoft can convince people to jump to Windows Mobile is to completely change the game. What Panos unveils next year, completely and utterly needs to blow everything else out of the water, onto the beach and into a grave yard. I don't know what that might be, a hologram phone or something but it needs to be phenomenal. If that's not the case, they need to drop it, seriously, it's been a long 5 years and they haven't gotten any further, just focus on PC's/Office and be content with developing on iOS and Android.
  • Word up! Hopefully MS will read your comment! They really need a slap on the cheek to wake up.
  • Microsoft made a strategic mistake in 2007-2008 to ignore that market , they started simply too late , by the time WP8.1 came out in 2013-1014 (WP7 lagged many features and was only out in 2012 anyway ) IOS and Android had built their customer base , their app store , and had gone though many iterations . Timing is everything . But WP8.1 is gorgeous , fast , easy to use and extremely robust . Not many IOS users are changing but some Android users are moving to WP , here in SE Asia where Android has a huge market share . Even on WP8.1 . And WP10 will offer many more aps I believe . This is a long term proposition . Microsoft stay the course , and inch by inch you should increase your market share . As for me, I just replaced my Lumia 925 by a Lumia 640 dual sim LTE , the phone is really great and very affordable . No other OS for me but WP ....
  • I'd buy some unlocked 950xl's or any flagship WPs for my company today if it would work on Verizon network... But how does MS plan on making that a reality? Verizon could care less; I know because they wouldn't even try putting the unlocked 640xl on my biz plan... They barely support my 928 anymore... Especially when I'm overseas...
  • I remember when all the apps were only on iPhone. Then after some time, they slowly started porting over to Android. This just isn't happening for Microsoft and I would say the reason is that they were simply too late to the party. Whereas before, when smartphones were starting out, sure apps were alluring but not in the same way they are now. People are stuck in their ways and we can only hope the iOS > Windows 10 mobile port takes off, otherwise with MS going less mainstream the app gap may grow again with devs leaving the platform. Me on the other hand, I'm stuck with Windows and will continue to 'make do'. I dislike - a lot - the Android OS, always have. I tried an iphone the other day for 24hrs and actually missed things that I can do on my Lumia. So, as long as MS keeps making them, I'll keep buying Lumia/Surface or whatever they call it. This is the best platform, without doubt...imo ofc.
  • My wife was on a walk the other day, my phone was in the bedroom and I had my laptop on the dining room table while I fed the baby.  She called and I didn't hear the phone, but a notification popped up on my laptop letting me know she did.  It just did it automatically.  I'm sticking with Windows phone.
  • Microsoft needs to play up its strengths. I love pulling out my Surface on a lunch break at work and having people passing by do a doubletake when they realize I'm running steam games on a tablet. People actually stare jealously while occasionally glancing at their ipad minis. Imagine if that could be done on a phone. The solution to the app gap isn't in making a new market. It is making full use of their existing one in the PC realm. Regrouping is probably the best think Microsoft could do at this time.
  • The best article I have ever read here on this site , and you've nailed it.
  • Nice write up Jason!!! You are right in pointing out how MS may be trying to reset the rules of the mobile computing space. It is evident that contra their competitors, MS is not looking at the mobile space in terms of specific products (devices and even apps), rather they are looking to institute a continuum of experiences, which is a smart move. Whether it succeeds or not in the short term is of course another question. Thanks for the insightful piece!!!
  • So what will happen in Q12017. MS releases a kick ass phone, which will be bugged by numeorous problems and as usual the promised third generation will be stable so which means until 2020, MS is gonna struggle and by then they would have ditched the mobile strategy.
  • Hello iVerge.
  • I am a very loyal Windows Phone fan. But, I am also a Verizon customer. Fortunately, my Lumia 928 is running Windows 10 quite well, but I'm not happy at being shut out of the 950/XL. I don't know who to blame, but could Microsoft and Verizon please support your loyal fans?!!! Thank you!
  • Verizon and Sprint are not real quick on Windows Phone. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Excellent article
  • Wish Microsoft would buy Blackberry... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Reads like you're concerned that writers aren't propagandizing properly on Microsoft's behalf. Your Skinnerian rubric approach to coercing the reader's attentive and attitudinal states to look at Windows Phone in the "proper" context is ignorant of end user experience, end-user cognition while mobile, and lifestyle habits; that increasingly seems to be the Microsoft way, not writers' conclusions about Windows Phone that in your (and only your) opinion are in the improper context. I have participated in nearly every Windows-related beta since Windows Vista (Longhorn) and have witnessed fellow beta testers who have been critical of Windows development (or underdevelopment) be completely ignored while the FEW people who are fans of having their concerns ignored are propped up in media spots to portray Microsoft as doing something revolutionary or innovative under carefully staged conditions. You can wave that "It's all the writers' faults that people don't like Windows Phone" flag all day, but at the end of the day, even with Windows Insider for W10M, Microsoft has failed repeatedly to listen to END USERS.  Offering its own vision is important, but when that vision is proven and spoken about by Microsoft's own employees to have been short-sighted and is also shown to be non-inclusive of constructive feedback that the left over Sinofskyists can't stomach reading, Microsoft is the one with the problem of understanding end users in the proper context. If they want to keep chipping away with Continuum, fine, but trying to shift the context has been tried before (i.e. Motorola Atrix, Ubuntu One, etc.), but no one was interested. They still aren't. Get the basics down first and stop rebooting what developers need to do to contribute to the Windows "ecosystem".  Writing propagandist crap like this isn't going to correct this context you write about when the behaviors of the manufacturer (Microsoft!) of the problem isn't even addressing users' mobile technological habits and how Windows Phone is lacking at a basic level during beta testing.
  • Amazing how you put my thoughts into words. A true tech writer should give Pros and Cons and not write through some weird three focus group filter. Of course if you write about Windows Phones you should be in the Windows Camp, but then be honest tell Windows Fans how it really is! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • One doesn't need to be in the windows camp, just honest. Unbiased.
  • Poirots Progeny   One doesn't need to be in the windows camp, just honest. Unbiased.
      The author is neither.
  • I completely missed this article during the holidays.....but Thank You for such a great post.  You pretty much nailed it (jdgtl).
  • Very well said...
  • Absolutely agree. These propaganda write ups are getting farcical, especially given the financial report just tendered. Wake up man.
  • If the author's vision of where MS is going is remotely correct then MS's mobile division is in far deeper trouble than I had estimated and I say that as a dedicated WP user.
  • Thanx Jason for the article and I'm so happy Microsoft chose Satya to turn around the mess and challenges Balmer created for the company. This move was very clear in Satya's previous mail where he said tough choices will be made. This is all about keeping their fans and market share till the expected unifying Surface phone which completes the puzzle of array of other surface devices. The 950/XL is not for everybody and it's only for us. It's such a complete device with matching OS that you hardly notice the app gaps. I for one don't miss any app from iOS or Android, I'm contempt with the array of app selection present. The bridge need to come soon to quench the thirst if some other fans but that will favor the Surface phone more. I can't cope with boring iOS and I can't move to Google services especially since it's continually ignoring Windows. I'm happy to pick up the 950 XL here in Nigeria and the fan base is increasing day by day. To be honest, people are getting bored of smartphones and what else they cannot do. Microsoft timely strategy change is well primed and should be leading in the next 2 years with Google about to merge Android and Chrome which leaves out Apple. I'm a happy fan!!
  • So basically, this article, that is out of the author's ass, because the websites benefits somehow from Microsoft, or hope to do so in some way, so has to defend Microsoft's failed OS, says Microsoft FAILED. Period. If you are developer invested 3-4 years in education yourself programming apps for WP you are screwed. If you are consumer giving money for apps that sucked and now you want to move to another OS and buy those apps again, you're screwed. Basically if you were with Microsoft and planned to continue you are screwed. No matter how dumb argument the author tried to pulled out, Microsoft FAILED. Period. Hands down. This article is irrelevant, pointless and pathetic.
  • Well said Jason, thank you
  • If the article is based on facts, it still sounds like a child losing a game and then telling he wasn't competing, so he didn't lose. Or changing the rules, telling he was playing another game etc. Targeting business is the opposite of what Microsoft has always been doing with office, targeting students because they are tomorrows business users.
  • Great read, and great in depth analysis.  I have to say that I'm not on board with MS's strategy much. I've been a devout "fan" for quite some time now (only owned Nokias my entire life) and then got the Lumia 900, 920 and 1020. I was eagerly awaiting the new phone line and was met with a lackluster lineup in a weird keynote (felt like thugs were presenting the phones to me)! You can't assume that fans will buy anything you throw at them; MS are not Apple!  I also feel that Contiuum and Windows 10 universal apps are being given a lot more credit than they deserve. I don't see why app developers would put in the effort to support yet another platform even if there are millions that have Windows 10 desktop. Why bother? They've already optimized everything for their website use, and don't need another platform to support. I work in a software development company and to our clients, the apps are headaches that need continuous maintaining and upgrades and costs. It's much easier to worry and deal with a website which already gets a lot of attention and effort than create a new app.  And Continuum... I really like this feature (to call it a feature is an understatement) but let's face it, how many people will dump their iPhones or Samsungs for this? Not too many I presume.  And a common theme I found in the comments was the exasperation with having to wait... There's always something coming that'll revolutionize and we just keep waiting..  It's been tough being a Nokia/MS fanboy and I feel like the time has come to switch to the dark fruity side until something major comes and can pull me back to Windows Mobile. 
  • I'd like to touch on a topic brought up in the article. I think the snarky attack ads during the Ballmer years were a huge marketing mistake. In hindsight, it's easy to see why the media blitz didn't work. Apple was playing a schoolyard-like game of bait and switch (or more appropriately, bait and embarass) when it launched the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" campaign. They knew this kind of bullying would irritate someone like Ballmer to no end. And irritate it did. When Microsoft launched those attack ads, it was seen as desperate. It 'confirmed' in people's minds that Microsoft was the underdog flailing around trying to land a punch at the 'superior' Apple. So what, you say, was Microsoft supposed to do? They couldn't just ignore Apple's mockery because they'd look weak. The answer is to look at Apple's behaviour. After the attack ads, all Apple had to do was maintain the high ground and with very little effort, dismiss the competition. Defend from the high ground - that's the key. It's elementary really. When Panos Panay declared the Surface Pro was being copied by everyone, he did just that. Everyone agreed too because it is easy to see it's true. To give you an example of what I mean, look at the way Apple fans have responded to the iPad Pro being unfavorably compared to the Surface Pro. Their tactic is to dismiss any notion that the iPad Pro is being marketed against the Surface Pro (despite claims by their CEO and obvious common sense, duh) and then assert that it is Microsoft who is trying to draw comparison with their toy. By doing so, Apple is trying to claim for the iPad Pro the high ground and trying to paint the Surface as the imitator, wannabe and underdog to make it look weak and undesirable. That is what MS should be doing in it's commercials: Defending from the high ground. Tim Cook actually gave MS an opportunity to do just that when he directly attacked the Surface Pro by calling it "diluted". That was a PR mistake on Cook's part because it made him look desperate - it was an attack no different than Ballmer's commercials. MS could have capitalized on this by releasing a commercial touting the benefits of the Surface line then weave in (without dwelling on) a clever snarky dismissal of Tim Cook's claim of 'dilution' by pointing out the Surface doesn't need to sacrifice capability in order to gain performance like it's imitators. And then move on to other ways the Surface can improve customer's lives. That points out a self evident flaw with the competition without coming across as an attack but a defense while maintaining the high ground. It sounds stupid but it works when you've got the high ground. Just like it worked in the schoolyars, it also works in real life. I think MS should be employing these sort of marketing tactics with the Lumia as well. It is important to remember that if you act like an underdog, you will be treated like one.
  • "any review of the Lumia 950/XL should in my opinion, present the context in which the device is positioned by Microsoft. It is a device for the fans, not the mass market" What absolute garbage! It's either a flagship or a midrange phone. There's no "fan" market and it certainly wouldn't make any sense to target it, even if there was. 
  • So basically, they can't compete, so why not spin it as they aren't trying to compete in the first place?  Come on...