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Just give up on mobile already, Microsoft

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | July 13, 2015
With no market share and everyone who was connected with Nokia laid off, it’s hard for anyone to take Windows Phone seriously.

Here's what I can say.

Between the two layoffs, Microsoft will have gotten rid of almost all staff with any clue about phone hardware. The software side has also been decimated.

Microsoft also finally got around to throwing former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop out the door. About time, since the only thing he did for Nokia was to drive it into the ground. When Elop went to Nokia from Microsoft, Nokia had 34.2% global smartphone market. In a mere three years, when Microsoft bought it, Nokia's global smartphone market share had declined to a lousy 3%. Now, that's management at work!

Still, when Elop was shown the door, he was executive vice president of the Microsoft Devices Group, a.k.a. Nokia. In short, he was the guy in charge of Microsoft's Windows Phone hardware. Devices are now under Terry Myerson at the newly minted Windows and Devices Group. It seems to me that Myerson, busy with the Windows 10 launch, is going to spend a lot of time cheerleading the disheartened remnants of the Phone team.

Last, but hardly least, Microsoft has recently been porting its own applications to Android and iOS. It's even moving its mobile "killer app" Cortana, its intelligent assistant app, to those rival operating systems.

What does Microsoft offer its third-party Windows Phone developers? Not much! The company is, on the other hand, encouraging Android and iOS developers to port their apps to Windows Phones.

What were those market-share numbers again? Hmmm. I don't think if I were an ISV I'd be wasting time on porting my apps.

So, you tell me. Is there any reason for Microsoft to even be in the business of creating its own mobile devices, or even operating systems, by this time next year? I can't think of one.

What I can see is Microsoft encouraging customers to use its apps and cloud services on devices from other vendors. There's profit for Microsoft in that. But to continue to throw good money after bad the way it has with the Nokia bust? I think Ballmer successor Satya Nadella is too smart for that.


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