Again, this is not the ideal scenario. A future built upon mobile apps would be another step down for Microsoft in terms of revenue and reputation. A phone’s app drawer is a mosh pit of software competing for your attention, and Microsoft would find itself competing directly with the likes of Adobe or Polaris Office. But think about it—Microsoft’s already laid the groundwork for this strategy, too, embracing platforms like the iPad with widely admired mobile versions of mobile Office for iOS and Android. This bears repeating: Microsoft has already won itself a sterling reputation for productivity apps on Android and iOS.
At this point, Microsoft doesn’t have to commit to any particular path. Maybe Lumia claws its way back into the consumer market, evolving into the phone platform for work and play that former CEO Ballmer always hoped for. Maybe it doesn’t. The point is that Microsoft has several options.
This is realpolitik, Windows Phone style. Microsoft’s consumer phone business may die. Windows phones for business may die. But Microsoft will endure.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.