Conversation starter: Why do you think Microsoft failed with mobile?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Conversation starter: Why do you think Microsoft failed with mobile?
As many of our regulars—and perhaps even the irregulars—will know by now, Microsoft's smartphone division was pretty much pronounced dead yesterday. And I only say "pretty much" because there's a valiant effort from fans of the software giant to lead others to believe that what we're witnessing isn't an end of the road so much as yet another wipe-the-slate-clean initiative from Microsoft. An initiative that will, somehow, some day, yield superior products that will finally truly challenge the status quo (cue in the Surface Phone rumors).

I know this because as I prepare myself mentally for a ton of digging and analyzing in a bid to deliver an in-depth editorial on the rise and fall of Microsoft's mobile OS, I've been spending a lot of time going through thousands of responses to the above news from across all the corners of the web. And my read of the situation is that even the Windows-faithful have a number of explanations as to why we now find ourselves in a seemingly cemented, two-player industry as far as mobile platforms go.

And now, I'd like you to join the conversation. Take a step back, think about this whole ordeal, and let everybody know your thoughts on the matter. Why did Microsoft fail with mobile? Was it the oft-cited "app gap"? Insufficient advertising? Perhaps it was a question of software and hardware design? Did Microsoft lack the strategic partnerships required to raise above other, still operational, but hardly mainstream OSes such as Sailfish? Or was the cause something else entirely or perhaps all of the above combined, and more?

FEATURED VIDEO

67 Comments

1. Diego!

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

I am so disappointed at Microsoft... Of course they never invest enough money or time in making Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile profitable. I won't ever trust them anymore. I'm switching back to Android for good but I'm even considering going to the dark side of Apple. I am really angry

6. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

'Two' is the magic word for operating system, just like airplane manufacturer, Boeing and Airbus. No one else. Competition bound to be on this level. 'Three' is the magic word for mobile carrier on most country. AT&T, VZW, T-Mo

15. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Microsoft cannot rely on reputation alone. Plus they promised things and never delivered. It's like our customers can pay for our learning pains. When it should be the other way around. I had Windows Mobile, and they were left high and dry. Then I got a WP Lumia 900 and less than six months later found out that WP 7 had no upgrade path to WP 8. Then Microsoft announced that all WP 8.1 devices would see an upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile. Look how that turned out. Don't make promises that you are not going to keep. Customers should never have to pay for Microsofts problems or mistakes.

40. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Agreed sgodsell..... I've said it time and time again, Micro$oft'$ mobile problems are problems of their own making by overpromising and underdelivering.....If you cant do something don't tell people you can.....

56. phonearenarocks

Posts: 606; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

The biggest turn off for consumers from aesthetics standpoint is their Tile UI. At the first place, most of them never liked it and haven't even bothered about giving it a shot to look at how phones are functioning and how the app ecosystem is. Again, since consumers aren't willing to buy it, developers never bother about developing the apps causing a vicious circle. This theory applies even for phones that have got launched post windows 10 era where every phone gets updated to latest version. It is this egotistic nature of Microsoft which believed their innovation of Tile UI is the next best thing and being so reluctant to change it led to its downfall.

61. illiad

Posts: 132; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

VERY true.... have a look at everyone else's UI.... android, apple, even the ancient Nokia, even the ancient samsung etc before it used android... what size are the icons?? :P (I mean *relative* to the size of the screen....:P )

59. xq10xa

Posts: 808; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

They kind of have a reputation for releasing buggy software and ugly designs. WP7, Zune, Xbox, etc.

60. raky_b

Posts: 384; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Their flagship devices ware to expensive for someone who is trying to fight for markets hare, and mid-rangers did not offer nothing better than low-enders for to big price. only entry lever devices ware ok, but they cold not "make a name" for their OS. So, how i see it, MS was wrong wanted to be Apple, earnyng money on devices...and not as Google with giving free OS to everyone, and trying to earn some money on selling Apps, Adds and other stuff.

2. TheStanleyFTW

Posts: 252; Member since: Feb 20, 2013

They failed to catch the devs Attention, which cause few quality apps = A less appealing OS. That and their recent phones were too expensive compared to their competitors phone in specs and features. I'm not some sad WP-hater, but this is the truth. Had a Lumia 920, then upgraded to L1020 but in the end I couldn't handle the app-gap and switched to a Google Nexus 6P.

3. bokimaricu

Posts: 89; Member since: Dec 21, 2013

Lack of apps is the main reason some of my friends stuck with Android, but my thought is that unintuitive design and slow release of flagship models destroyed them. Also, there was no interest of the xda and other communities because it's a closed system and all you can do is change icons (and wallpaper, of recently). I actually wanted to buy a WP device at some point but Android prevailed.

49. Phonedingo

Posts: 399; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

Yo. The fact that you couldn't change your wallpaper was beyond stupid. I knew alot of people that never bought a windows phone because of that.

4. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

It failed because of a myriad of reasons. But I'll list the most important. 1. It was around before Android and IOS were even a thought. With this much of a headstart, it should have never let it's competition improve to the levels they have. Period. 2. Apps apps apps and uh apps. 3.Windows Phone and Mobile weren't open source. This may have worked wonders for IOS, but that's because it made the IPHONE. It was revolutionary. Windows.... not so much. 4. My most important reason personally is because it destroyed Nokia. Literally. Stephen Elop, Microsoft, and Windows destroyed my beloved Nokia. This made millions of Nokia fans steer clear of WP just cause. Windows failed without a doubt because it let Google make the mobile OS it should have made from the start.

5. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Apps, apps, apps and apps....

45. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

why want to flood your small screen with unnecessary apps ? Lot of apps are fake or with ads are trash. All you need is the most common used apps.

58. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

Well newuser1, if it's one thing I've learned from being obsessed with smartphones and more specifically Android, It's that you never ask why. People used to say over and over again why do you need 32GB on a phone?What good will 2k resolution do? What do you need 200 apps on your phone for. Other than the obvious answer, that we all have different use cases. It's because it can. Because I want it to. Because it's possible. There are 1,500,000+ apps on the play store. So of course there's bound to be fake apps with ads...

7. wattabulb

Posts: 13; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

(Lack of) DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!! DEVELOPERS!!!

65. PenTiltoKet

Posts: 552; Member since: May 18, 2016

That sweat... It's dirty looking

67. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Micro$oft charges $13,000 for a one year subscription to Visual Studios 2013 Ultimate. Enough said.

8. WPX00

Posts: 511; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

They were unwilling to sacrifice their partners to make the 950 succeed. Reportedly they didnt want it too expensive so their partners wouldnt be angry (but hell there are practically no OEMs behind WinMobile anymore), but instead customers got a phone with no developer support and nearly identical hardware to the 349 dollar Nexus 5X. It shouldve been at 299 no matter what: Microsoft had to lose money to have any chance of making it, and they blew it.

9. Mikele

Posts: 137; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

They failed woefully because of Nokia Devices the y bought instead of using Nokia as their platform changer!!!!!

10. ameran

Posts: 344; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Microsoft failed because of lack of innovations. They just wanted to copy others, with a new interface. They could have been successful, if they would have figured it out how to have a seamless connection between mobile devices and PCs. But, they could not figure that out either. The thing bothers me a lot is, that they took a great innovative company like Nokia down with them.

62. illiad

Posts: 132; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

WHAT?????? They did not copy anyone! (unless it was a another one that failed???? do tell..) If they copied the 'general stuff' on phones (NOT tablets!) , they would have looked more like apple, android, whatever...

11. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I can't wrap my head around that Elop and Balmer get paid millions upon millions and could not addressed simple things to steer mobile division to success. I don't understand reasoning thinking motivation behind that chain of fatalic decisions that brought MS to knees. Although the answer must be simple. G R E E D They should have taken some spice to make it or break it ( Dune)

63. illiad

Posts: 132; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

yes, carried away with their ego, did you know it took MS SIX MONTHS to find out that WIN8 was not selling????

12. SIGPRO

Posts: 2815; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

No where MS stated that their smartphone division is dead! PA do some research the lay off's that was announced this few days ago was on the planning for while now. So it was nothing new!

17. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The last quarter Microsoft's global mobile market share fell to just 0.7% of the market share in sales. If that doesn't say anything than what will.

23. SIGPRO

Posts: 2815; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

As long MS does not announce it i call it BS! Yes sure the market share fell, but they can recover.

55. TerryTerius unregistered

Combined this with their previous layoffs and announcement of losing billions of dollars due to the acquisition of Nokia's phones, and they have nearly laid off 10,000 people. Those are is in no way shape or form signs of a company that is doing well. I'm sure that's the same thing Microsoft has been telling themselves for the past decade. The smartphone market is mature. The war is over at this point. And if Microsoft throwing literally billions of dollars at the industry only to have their marketshare decrease every single year doesn't prove that, I don't know what will. Sure, anything is possible. That doesn't make it probable.

64. illiad

Posts: 132; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

yes, over dramatic... BUT what would you think if your boss said 'we are restructuring' would you think 'my job is safe' , or realize the true meaning??? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36378082 "Microsoft has announced plans to cut up to 1,850 jobs as part of efforts to scale back its smartphone business."

14. villagerguyz

Posts: 96; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

Maybe i should refrain myself from buying WP devices just for fun... hmmm

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.