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Windows 10: Microsoft lays its smartphone ambitions to rest

Preston Gralla | Aug. 20, 2015
The company wants us to believe that Universal apps — usable on all Windows 10 devices — will save the day for Windows Phone. It’s already clear that won’t be happening.

Even more to the point, you won’t find new, knock-your-socks-off apps from third-party developers built into Windows 10. And you won’t find them in the Windows Store either. That’s because they don’t exist. Even though Windows has hundreds of millions of users worldwide, and is by far the dominant PC operating system, developers haven’t flocked to write what were once called Metro-style apps (and are now called, among other things, Universal Windows apps). That’s not about to change with Windows 10.

If Microsoft were serious about using Windows 10 to save Windows Phone, the company would have made sure that there were plenty of new apps available for Windows 10 at launch, to drum up interest in Windows Phone when the Windows 10 update comes to mobile. That didn’t happen.

The few Microsoft-created apps and applications that might draw people to Windows Phone are available or will soon be available on iOS and Android. Office already runs on those operating systems. The digital assistant built into Windows 10, Cortana, will as well.

If you want to see the future of Windows Phone, follow the money, not Nadella’s public Windows 10 pronouncements. In early July, Microsoft wrote off $7.6 billion in losses because of its acquisition of Nokia — almost the entire value of the Nokia purchase. Last year, Microsoft laid off 18,000 employees, mainly related to Nokia. This year, it’s laying off another 7,800, primarily from its phone business.

That’s $7.6 billion and more than 25,000 layoffs. And that, more than vague hopes that developers will hustle to write Windows 10 Universal Windows apps, shows the future of Windows Phone.

 

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