"Microsoft could potentially keep the phones going forever, given they can subsidize the products with profits from other operations," Gold said. "But it is going to be very difficult to make the phone business profitable, despite comments by Nadella."
To be taken seriously in the phone OS space, Microsoft has to make it attractive for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to build appealing devices, Gold said.
"Some of that will be done by having a unified OS strategy across product categories. But there is a lack of momentum behind Windows Phone right now, and it will be hard to rebuild that. I'm still of the opinion that Windows Phone as a device manufactured by Nokia/Microsoft does not have a bright future, and a spinout or selloff of the Nokia business is likely."
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