Re: provide Nokia with the basis for some excellent phones
But shippable & good/desirable aren't the same and you need willing buyers as well as a shipping product.
I think Microsoft have managed "good" twice in the world of mobiles. Desirable not so much...
Windows Mobile 5 was good, back in 2004. It wasn't wonderful and you mostly needed a stylus, though you could peck through making phonecalls with your finger. You had barely acceptable emaill, OKish satnav and a reasonable phone, in one package with reasonable battery life. I seem to remember they were up to 50% smartphone share, as a disappointed Sony Ericsson P800 owner (UIQ Symbian that was imcompatible with Nokia's Series 60 Symbian) I'd played with both sides a bit. We had some O2 XDAs (or similar) for work.
MS just failed to update it. Was it crap management, disinterest, or the desperate attempt to get Vista to market consuming all their programming and management resources? Or a combination? Or had Gates been pushing mobile, and Ballmer didn't care as much, so it died in the transition? Anyway, they were singularly unprepared for the dawn of the iPhone and the arrival of lots of devices with capacitative screens. No sylus any longer, and a much, much nicer UI required. It took 2 YEARS for Windows Mobile 6, which was a no-man's land that they'd already announced was a quick-and-dirty update to be replaced by the incompatible Win Pho 7.
That was nice, but incomplete. I bought it, because I got an OK smartphone for £120, when the cheapest usable Android was about £200 for last year's model that was no longer receiving updates. And my HTC Wildfire was a shit slow processor and crap memory in a beautifully designed case, and required reboots a couple of times a week, and Android 2.2 was sometimes quite flakey.
Work foisted an iPhone on me, which was OK. But I've got an iPad for apps, and so when that died (our batch of 5s had all failed within 30 months - 2 with 2 years - and 2 were replaced under warranty before that!), I tried Win Pho 8.
So MS scrambled, rather painfully slowly to Win Pho 8, a year late, which was pretty damned good. A bit of polish and some apps were all it needed. But two years later Win Pho 10 still isn't ready.
They got to 10% marketshare in Europe. There was potential for improvement. But not enough resoureces, either marketing or OS programming, have ever been committed. Management seem to care just enough to waste billions, without doing enough to actually succeed. And this has been consistent now for over a decade. Androids at the £100 are now fine to excellent, and Nokia/MS only had one top-of-the-line phone that was truly outstanding, with a super camera, and barely marketed it. Plus MS were too cheapskate to license or buy the tech off Nokia, and so lost any chance of a unique top-of-the-range phone, so no obscene profits for them. While Apple and Samsung can happily charge £500 for flagship phones that probably make them twice as much profit as tablets, where prices have actually fallen, using identical parts.
It's a shame. At least, when I go back to Android, I'll be able to customise it. I resent having to work to get a decent phone UI, but on the plus side I'll have the use of a decent App Store. Sadly the advantage of a company that cares about keeping the software up to date is wasted, as Google commit the resources, but then fail to force the manufacturers to actually distribute the updates.