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back to article Windows Phone 8: Microsoft quite literally can't lose

Should Microsoft's mobile operating system Windows Phone 8 bomb, the effect on the software giant's sales would be negligible - but the same could not be said for its prestige. According to one estimate, sales of WinPho handsets added a mere $736m to Redmond’s coffers in its last fiscal year – that’s just under one per cent of …

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perception, respect and reputation

I've upvoted you for amusing use of self-destructive irony. Well done!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: perception, respect and reputation

And I've upvoted /you/ because you've noticed the irony. I was about to downvote the OP and write a "not sure if ironic or moronic" comment.

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Re: perception, respect and reputation

You are now getting the Youtube feel!

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Anonymous Coward

Correction

The first word of this article should be changed from "Should" to "When".

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Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

If WP8 bombs, Microsoft might be able to absorb the fallout, but it's unlikely that Nokia could (in its present form, anyway). Remember how Nok's CEO (a former Redmond man, no less) ditched the company's two homegrown OS "burning" platforms and threw Nokia squarely into the Windows Phone dinghy?

Unless Nokia's been holding out on us, there is no Plan B - if its WP8 handsets aren't a success, the stakes for Nokia are high indeed.

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JDX
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Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

Nokia may have dumped any plans to do Android at the same time as Windows, but if it does bomb they can still switch and rebuild.

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Windows

Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

The "Dinghy" is surely Jolla - (Finnish for dinghy) based on Meego. Go on, Google. I know you want to....

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Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

"Nokia may have dumped any plans to do Android at the same time as Windows, but if it does bomb they can still switch and rebuild."

Who knows what their contract with Microsoft allows? They may have to repay part of the money from Microsoft if they switch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

Carriers don't want this, they want a credible alternative to iOS, Android and RIM. Nokia being another Google customer does nothing to help things.

It's called competition and keeps prices down for everyone.

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Windows

Orlowski!!! Where are you when our commentards are out in the (Finnish) cold ?

Plan 'B' - I sent you a piccie of the Oulu Peltola building, adorned with a huge Nokia N9 poster.

Time to publish, methinks...

Plan 'B' exists, but it may be Jollamobile*. Elop, I think, won't be welcome on this liferaft. Let the bugger drown, like he has to thousands (Much more than the 10,000 he announced, there are loads of 'spin-off' companies affected.**

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jolla

**http://yle.fi/uutiset/nokia_sub-contractor_ixonos_cuts_staff/6273980

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Stop

Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

Everything goes according to plan: that utterly clueless beancounter Elop was parachuted to Nokia from MS, he then proceeded to

1. destroy over ~40% of Nokia's value over a 3 day period by

2. announcing 18-months too early that they are killing off everything and switching to

3. MS' then-yet-to-be-surfaced new mobile OS version

4. then released new phones with limited success which

5. was killed very quickly by MS stating Nokia's new phones won't be able to run WP $VERSION_NEXT_NOW_REALLY_BLOCKBUSTER

6. so even current Nokia phone sales were quickly killed off...

7. and the meantime MS persuaded HTC, Samsung and others to join the fray and compete with Nokia

...I expect to see Nokia burned down to the ground in ~12-18 months, Elop getting a HUGE bonus/goodbye check and MS quickly picking up Nokia's excellent hardware division and distribution channel, for little or no money at all.

In short: Elop is either an utterly stupid, incompetent fool or a truly spineless, unscrupulous disgusting Ballmerian life form.

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Anonymous Coward

I think it has been fairly established over many years that Microsoft don't worry too much about making a profit on these kind of things right off the bat.

Would be a shame to see Windows 8 on mobile and tablet fail if it handles as well as it does on the desktop though.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, I think I see what you did there. Ha ha.

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Mushroom

@ AC 9:21

Not at all, happily using Windows 8 Enterprise RTM.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ AC 9:21

And all the down voters are still stuck inthe last decade!

Thanks for an enlightened post, and not the same ole whinging like a girl posts from the majority of commentards.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ AC 9:21

Like everyone else, I must now downvote you for happily using an operating system that the Register's commentards don't like.

Baaaah.

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WTF?

Re: @ AC 9:21

Hang on!!! How come people are downvoting you for happily using an OS?! You're not asking them to use it, you're not even saying how great it is, you're just saying that you are happy using it, and WHO can argue with that??!

I for one am happy that you are happy.... upvote given!

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Re: @ AC 9:21

@apjanes It's a tribal thing, don't worry. I knew what to expect.

Windows 8 fits with my way of working. That's all. I boot up, I look at the main screen, tell with a glance if I have mail, messages, social network notifications etc... I hit Windows Key + D then I go about my business. If I feel like procrastinating I hit the windows key and repeat this process.

The change in the start menu makes no difference to me because I use this one in the same way as I did the old, I opened it typed the first few letters of the application and press enter. In fact, this one seems faster if not generally better at doing that.

This method of working wont be to everyone's tastes. And the fact that it works for me certainly wont be.

"It's all very well being open providing your hinges are on the same side as the majority" - Arrogant quote by unknown author. Nah, just kidding, it was me.

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FAIL

Re: @ AC 9:21

The only people stuck in the last decade are those that run Windows on any of their hardware.

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Stop

Re: @ AC 9:21

Because he couldn't be one of the shills MS employs to make the image of Win 8 better.

Uhm, no, it's not possible.

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Big Brother

Re: @ AC 9:21

@Tomato42

Oh dear, "shill" is the word of the moment it seems. Alas, no, Microsoft don't pay me money. I wish they did given the fact that I'm out of work at the moment.

I love those magnificent 1-X robots!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: @ AC 9:21

@ David Simpson 1 17:52

How can you say "only people stuck in the last decade are those that run Windows on any of their hardware" and truly mean it?

OK you have your preference but can't always express it.

My Nephew wanted a new laptop for college and wanted a Fruity branded product but it was out of his price bracket so he bought a laptop running windows.

I doubt he is stuck the last decade for many reasons but 2 that spring to mind are 1) he is very computer literate & 2) that would make him less than 13

Disclosure: I run various OS including windows & have an iPhone

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ AC 9:21

Seriously? So anyone who doesn't irrationally hate Windows 8 because of the minor differences the UI makes day to day in an otherwise moderately improved operating system [i]must[/i] be a shill for Microsoft? There's no other explanation for that in your mind? Wow, the Windows 8 hate bandwagon is even more moronic than I thought.

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Anonymous Coward

Litigation

If it's a success, will Apple then bother to see if Microsoft are infringing on the same Patents that Samsung were ? I doubt it will be a success unless Microsoft throws a lot of money at advertising and, importantly, the developer community.

Nokia is toast. I feel sorry for the guys working there, they once were way ahead of the pack - I still fondly remember my 6310i

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Litigation

I would presume that the unified UI over desktop, tablet and phone is there, amongst other reasons, so Microsoft can tap it's substantial developer base. That will help give them a foot in the app marketplace door. Means the mobile and tablet stores benefit from people hoping to make a few pennies from Windows apps.

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Re: Litigation

Apple and MS have a cross licensing agreement so Apple will be unlikely to sue MS. MS has many patents, standards based and not that apple need (standards based ones they could get via frand) and want (ones not used in standards so not actually required but attractive enough to play nice over) and the same is true the other way around so they license each other.

Apple and MS have been in the mobile space for a long time, since way before windows mobile (wince for example or apples newton). Google is very new in relative terms and doesn't (or didn't pre moto) have the grunt to force an agreement.

Even Intel and AMD cross license despite the fact that outside the cellphone marketplace they are pretty much (since dec \ cyrix etc died or went niche) each others only competition.

Partly apples gripe with android is how unsettling it's differing revenue stream is compared to how the market had been. I have no doubt that grossly upset Apple.

I wonder how much better those phones would sell if at&t didn't spend the advertising money and just gave folks $50 a month off their bill for 6 months?

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Re: Litigation

sorry i should have added and pocketed the other $100 (after making the phone free).

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Re: Litigation

I doubt it, much as I loathe Microsoft they made a visibly different device. Look and feel it's nothing like iOS. "Come on, Samsung even copied the icons"

You can tell Windows phone 8 not iOS from across a room. I still would not have it for free, but its not an Apple clone. But I doubt it has either Apple or Android shaking in their shoes.

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Re: Litigation

They copied the business model, not the phone.

Not that Apple are beyond going after some dead obvious thing, but I don't think they would try it on Microsoft.

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Re: Litigation

Nope, Microsoft and Apple have cross licencing deals, they're unified against Android.

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FAIL

Re: Litigation

I have yet to see any Windows phone devices in any rooms I've been in......

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Litigation

I have yet to see any Windows phone devices in any rooms I've been in......

Don't worry, one day you'll be allowed to leave Mom's basement.

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Re: Litigation

MS and Apple already have arrange licensing agreements for all of the patents involved in their competing products. That's why everyone is a little more bully on Winphone after the lawsuit. That's not to say that Apple couldn't find a reason to sue but if you look at all of the recent IP stuff MS got just about everyone to pony up a good chunk of change without ever going to court. MS' legal unit is supposedly legendary. I don't see apple wanting to open up that can of worms also.

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Re: I have yet to see any Windows phone devices in any rooms I've been in......

At work I have seen two lumia (What's the plural, or aren't they common enough to need one?). One soon after launch, which was sent back for having a rubbish battery life and poor choice of apps, the owner of the more recently acquired one, came out with a few expletives about NoWin, when I told him that MS weren't going to provide an update to WP8.

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Ballmer

Contrary to the subtitle, I suspect that if WP8 does bomb then Ballmer may well be worse off. There's already disquiet amongst shareholders about his leadership of Microsoft, and whatever one's personal opinion of both WP8 and Windows8, there's a greater-than-zero percentage possibility that they both tank. Microsoft has a lot at stake for both of those and Ballmer's credibility rides - at least in the eyes of the shareholders - on the back of both. Regardless of whether they necessarily lose Microsoft lots of money or not, people will question the leadership in that scenario.

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Re: Ballmer

agreed. if win 8 in all its forms isnt a success, balmer has to walk. if he is pushed or jumps is another question tho.

microsoft will be in for the long haul. win 8 can tank, and it wont effect MS too much. They are hoping that eventually the seeds laid by 8 will flourish, look at the xbox, when the whole company is behind somthing it usually works, eventually. On the flip side look at zune, it wasnt really pushed to a massive degree, and has now all but died. But if it is a long slog, balmer wont be there to see it.

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Re: Ballmer

Shareholders are never known for thinking long-term. They typically want everything and want it now. What MS are doing is a major and impressive shift. I think the coming year for MS is going to be a great one. They're coming up with new products that are different and interesting and work well. The buzz I'm getting off most people is that they're really interested in it.

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MS Kin

I won't be taking bets on MS repeating the Kin One experience. Killed about 3 months after launch when it failed to sell more than 500 units. This time they can't afford to give up so easily, however poor sales are.

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Go

Re: MS Kin

Kin tanked. No doubt about that. What was awesome about Kin -- that sucks big fat hairy donkey balls on Windows Phone -- is the desktop client. Wish they'd replace Zune with Kin Studio.

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gone

win phone 8 is going to bomb,even enterprise boys and girls are ignoring it.

it will sink nokia,part of the deal flapple/ms have in place was to get rid of nokia,forever.

ms + flopple are trying to tie up usa market between them,by fair means or foul,would make business sense if american economy was not going to collapse,but when it does they will find them selves cut of in markets in the rest of the world.hoping this will sink both criminal firms,forever.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: gone

How do you know about enterprise IT shops when you can't even use capital letters?

Still, back to school on Monday, isn't it?

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Windows

Bitter day...

Isn't that company that used to be an innovator of mobile networks and mobile 'speaking telephones' now known as "Flopia"?

5 years to the day (almost to the hour), I waked out of the door of Nokia (Siemens) Networks, one of Beresford-Wylie's casualties. Funny how it feels to be 'collateral damage'. Felt different to me than the supid manager who pulled the trigger, and still had the nerve to put on a 'leaving party' for me...

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Microsoft will just keep throwing money at Windows phone even if they are making losses as they cannot afford to not be in the mobile arena as PC sales are declining and mobiles are doing more of the things we traditionally did on PCs and they don't want to see Apple and Google taking all their customers. Look how they are spending money to advertise IE9 even though they wont get a penny from you using IE9 unless you use it to search on Bing.

Although there are no figures for what the OEMs are paying for Windows phone 8 licenses i bet its peanuts at the moment to get the userbase up and then they will increase the prices to OEMs when they can't afford not to take Windows phone.

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In the case of Nokia, Nokia are paying full price for the WP7 licenses and then getting some kind of "marketing support" from MS that is set up to magically counterbalance the cost of the licenses. So MS can report revenue on WP7 while hiding the subsidy as marketing expenses. (See Nokia financial results for a glimmer of how the deal works).

Win-win for both companies, MS gets shipments & revenue, Nokia gets free software. No wonder it was a no-brainer for Nokia to go for WP7 rather than Android.

A side-thought there - given the history if internal feuding at Nokia, it's very likely that any Nokia Android would have taken a lot longer to get to market that the WP7 phones - the hardware spec of the latter is so locked-down that it leaves no room for turf wars over what the hardware will be and how much of a classic Nokia personality it should have.

Ironically I think this time round WP8 is probably in the spot where OS/2 was in the PC operating system wars, with Android 2.x/4.x in the role of Windows 9x/NT respectively.

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@Mark H

" Nokia gets free software. No wonder it was a no-brainer for Nokia to go for WP7 rather than Android."

...um...Android is free...as in cost and free to change/alter.

"WP8 is probably in the spot where OS/2 was in the PC operating system wars, with Android 2.x/4.x in the role of Windows 9x/NT "

...um...horrible example if meant for an analogy! OS/2 was at least a 7 year predecessor to Win 9x and 5 years for NT. Look how late to the game WP8 is!

Of course, if you mean that WP8 is as viable a candidate now as OS/2 was in its day, you missed the mark there, too.

wow, just wow

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Re: @Mark H

Android isn't free to OEMs who want to offer the Google stuff - I guess the store is particularly important here.

Probably still cheap compared to the offical price for WP licenses.

What I'm getting at with that is that maybe WP8 is technically better than iOS or Android (as the MS fans on here would have it, but my guess is that the three will be very much of a muchness in terms of quality/stability).

I chose OS/2 anaolgy because, back in the days, OS/2 was technically way ahead of the MS offerings, was well thought through, had the might of IBM (then the 800lb gorilla of the IT world) behind it, and still failed to gain traction in the market because Windows was "good enough" and already there (for a fairly small value of "good", admittedly). I wonder how OS/2 sales compared to Mac, though?

So even if WP8 turns out to be significantly superior to the competition, my guess is that the same combination of "good enough and everyone knows it" and "expensive comfort zone" competitors will not leave any room in the market for it.

But if WP8 is truly based on the traditional Windows kernel I have a horrible feeling that it will suffer from traditional Windows problems.

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> the hardware spec of the latter is so locked-down

That, of course, is part of the reason for its failure. The specs were locked down 2 or 3 years ago and it was not developed to allow it to use later and better processor, screens, or indeed anything else. It was last decade's technology. Of course they tried to counter this with 'why would you need a quad core on a phone' and 'our OS is so efficient it only needs a single core', but this just shows they do not understand the market. Buyers do not just want a phone, they want bragging rights, and WP doesn't have that.

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