back to article Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

Steve Ballmer as Microsoft chief executive bought the handset business of Finnish former smartphone giant Nokia in 2013. Satya Nadella, who took over from Ballmer in 2014, sold what Ballmer had bought just two years later. That sale came nearly a decade after Ballmer laughed off the thing that promoted Microsoft's decision to …

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  1. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Lack of "cool"...

    Ten years ago, in the pre-iPhone/Android days, Windows Mobile was "the most popular smartphone software in the US"... but it was still Microsoft; it wan't cool.

    Had Microsoft done the same thing as they had in the console market and dropped the "Windows" branding, they might have had a better chance... but I guess that was far too sensible an idea.

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Lack of "cool"...

      I agree with RuokuMas comment, They shouldn't have dropped the Nokia name to brand them as Microsoft phones. The Microsoft name doesn't have the cool factor to attract the consumer buyers.

      They would struggle to ever come back now, what app makers are going to give them another shot by porting their apps over to the platform after the train wreck that was Microsoft last attempt.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: Lack of "cool"...

        I long ago lost track of how many different Microsoft technologies were dumped for something "New from Redmond." So don't be too sure that something Mobile based will spring to life only to crash and burn just a few years, no, just a couple of years later. I'd like to know how they encourage such sado-masochistic behavior in others.

    2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      Re: Lack of "cool"...

      I agree also. Regardless of how good or otherwise people think Microsoft's desktop products are, it's clear they are market leaders (certainly in terms of sales volume. Product quality may be debatable) but with that gives them an appearance to the general public of enterprise and business focused. Dropping Windows from the product title and gone with Nokia branding and maybe another name for the OS could well have gone a long way to mitigating the "cool" problem. XBox Phone anyone? Maybe not, but maybe had they named their mobile OS Cortana instead of giving the moniker to an iffy faux-AI assistant / irritant, they could have got somewhere.

      Or not. As the article noted, there is more than just the name which was a problem with this whole programme.

      1. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Lack of "cool"...

        Perhaps Microsoft could have lead the market by making the phone have a voice interface via Cortana. Forget fancy screens, the phone should be worn on your ear and you should not need to touch it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lack of "cool"...

        "appearance to the general public of enterprise and business focused."

        I don't even know if that is the case. Windows was never designed as an enterprise product. It was made into an enterprise product, painfully, through decades of bolt ons. It was originally the system that people used at home in the early 90s, late 80s... then it just spread into enterprise because it was the only game in town and PC, client-server had some flexibility advantages over mainframe or big iron in general.

        MSFT now claims that stuff like Windows and Office is uniquely suited to the enterprise (read: Apple and Google are not, according to MSFT). That isn't true though. Enterprises just move slowly. They are always using generation old tech just because it takes them forever to move. No reason a company could not replace MSFT with Apple/Google... they just haven't, in broad scale at least, done so thus far... for no apparent reason other than inertia behind the status quo.

        I think this is very much like IBM vs MSFT in the 90s. MSFT was the cool thing that everyone wanted to use in 95. IBM was the status quo for enterprise. People didn't wholesale remove IBM when MSFT became the it thing, but they started moving to MSFT at a glacial pace. Likewise with Google today (and Apple). Google is now the cool thing. It is what everyone uses at home, would like to use at work. MSFT isn't going to be wholesale replaced, but stuff will start moving in the Google/Apple direction more and more... but nothing moves all that fast in the enterprise.

    3. Doctor Huh?

      Re: Lack of "cool"...

      As an unfortunate soul who used a Windows Phone for a month in 2012, when I was still using a flip-phone (I know. I should be ashamed) and 2 years before I would finally buy an iPhone, allow me to explain what the lack of "cool" was.

      The user experience sucked. Hard. The phone required the stylus for fine control. Any given task seemed to require several more clicks to perform than it should have. The phone was slow. Microsoft may have optimized the experience for certain apps, but they optimized the paths that THEY wanted users to take, not the ones that users actually take. I recall the calendar functionality being a special form of torture, and I rely on my phone's calendar heavily. Just entering the settings menu was annoying.

      Perhaps they deserve points for trying to push cheap hardware to its limits; the phone I was using certainly didn't cost anywhere near what an iPhone costs. But the central problem with Microsoft is that they view the Windows UI and user experience as the apex of engineering. That perspective warped their approach to the phone, where they seemed to believe that employing a familiar paradigm was more comforting to users than employing a new approach that better conformed to the constraints of the mobile device.

      The phone experience should have been a warning that Windows was proceeding on inertia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The phone required the stylus for fine control."

        It looks you were using a Windows CE/Mobile phone. Windows Phone never required a stylus, and no Windows Phone was ever sold with one.

        Entering the "settings" menu in Windows Phone in the Calendar app is "touch the three dots and then Settings" - and still there's nothing much you can do in Settings that needs to be accessed so often.

        So it looks you're actually talking about the wrong product...

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          get a foothold in the market - money talks

          Lets get a foothold in the smartphone market.

          Ok , how shall we do that .

          Easy - we'll buy Nokia

          ok yeah , that should do it......

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: get a foothold in the market - money talks

            Certainly the appstore did the platform no favours.

            And the hardware was capable, but lacking in zing (although my Nokia 920 always felt like a premium product).

            But where MS totally missed the bus was in providing a long term upgrade path. Having to throw away 3 year old hardware is fine if it's landfill Android, but lethal if you've previously stiffed the punter for a couple of hundred quid. This is something MS could have managed, especially for their own (ex-Nokia) hardware. They didn't, and frankly they deserved to fail.

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: get a foothold in the market - money talks

              "Certainly the appstore did the platform no favours."

              you mean CRAPPstore (and that's the point, yeah)

      2. Michael B.

        Re: Lack of "cool"...

        Stylus? Were you using an old Windows Mobile 6 phone that was 3 -4 years out of date by then? Post Windows Phone 7 you didn't need a stylus and as far as I can remember no phones came with them as they used the multi-touch capacitive display instead.

    4. JohnG Silver badge

      Re: Lack of "cool"...

      "Ten years ago, in the pre-iPhone/Android days, Windows Mobile was "the most popular smartphone software in the US"... but it was still Microsoft; it wan't cool."

      Cool or otherwise, in it's day, Windows Mobile/PPC was the only game in town and the likes of TomTom grew on that platform. Microsoft managed to go from 100% dominance to effectively nothing, in a relatively short period of time. Their acquisition and destruction of Nokia (the world leader in terms of handset numbers supplied) came several years later.

      1. Johan Bastiaansen

        Re: Lack of "cool"...

        Indeed. I remember having an Ipaq 3970 15 years ago. With the GSM/GPRS sleeve and TOM TOM it did exactly what any smartphone does now.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Lack of "cool"...

        Cannot see why you mention TomTom as they use Linux. I believe Ballmer simply got obsessed with Nokia. He came twice to Helsinki to persuade them to produce MS phones to no avail as Ollila, the boss then, refused. He was asked on the Finish TV how he felt about it. A rather pissed off looking Ballmer said "I just have to try harder". It's almost like he managed to get his revenge eventually. A sad story, but MS is alive and so is Nokia all the same.

    5. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: Lack of "cool"...

      "Had Microsoft done the same thing as they had in the console market and dropped the "Windows" branding..."

      Wouldn't work. How do I know? Well, I hold in my hand a Microsoft phone..

      I stood in a datacentre, showed it sadly to a contractor, dialled the office, then showed him the unexpectedly ironic reboot logo. Sometimes when I receive phone calls, it stutters and lagdeaths because there's something spinning in the background. Sometimes when it gets an SMS it crashes.

      I installed the Lumia camera app, and then lost control of the camera, because it fought with the default camera app, and different triggers started different apps. I had to Google to work out how to switch on the flashlight (download an app, naturally) and how to reset the Exchange plumbing.

      It's not the Microsoft *LOGO* that's the problem. The problem is that if you removed it, you could still tell pretty quickly that this is Microsoft-quality software.

    6. Steve Channell
      Windows

      Re: Lack of "cool"...

      "Cool" had nothing to do with it, Windows Mobile for the Motorola MX200 was better than a nokia feature-phone, but the "pro" version was stupid.

      Steve Bollocks insisted the pro experience followed the failed Pocket-PC and required a pen to click through the start menu like a very small PC.

      Windows Phone 7 was fine, but trashed by switching the kernel in an attempt to be a better games phone than iPhone.

      There is still an opportunity for a very secure smartphone running iOS or Android apps in a sandbox, but there is lots of work to do in Visual Studio before considering whether an NT Kernel can sit at the bottom of the stack

    7. enormous c word

      MS Never wanted to get into Mobile - they were forced

      MS have seen the writing on the wall.

      Linux is chipping away upwards into the premium Unix space and downward into the commodity Windows space), Cloud based Apps are available across all Desktop and handheld platforms.

      Android (which is really Linux in a pretty frock) and iOS (which is really BSD in a pretty frock) dominates the typical users experience of IT - MS is becoming increasingly niche.

      Of course it's true that today the vast majority of business users are working from a Windows laptop (as am I) but the next generation of professionals will have grown up with Android or iOS and will continue to use what they are familiar with in business.

      MS obviously hoped to retain their place in the server space (which they care about) by retaining a position in the mobile space (which they really don't care about). That hasn't happened, so we will see an increasingly rapid decline of Windows as they have to share the server and desktop space between Windows, MAC, iOS, Linux, Android, Unix, and Mainframe.

      I think it was Sun MicroSystems' John Gage who said "The network is the computer" in the 1980's - it was complete nonsense then but after 30 years it finally came true.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lack of "cool"...

      "dropped the "Windows" branding"

      True. I think dropping Windows would definitely help as people associate Windows with 1995, constant disruptive patches, bloat. I doubt they will ever do it though as Windows is still the core of the company. Difficult to move away from the foundation of the company.

  2. Whitter
    Unhappy

    What the market wants...

    It's always tricky to reliably determine what "the market" wants, particularly if your own job relies on a getting specific answer.

    In my spectacularly unrepresentative case, I'd like a phone that doesn't spy on me.

    So Google? Hmmm...

    Apple? Hmmm....

    Windows to the rescue? What's that? "Remember Windows 10"? Hmm......

    1. Permidion

      Re: What the market wants...

      if you want a 4th alternative, Jolla is releasing his Sailfixh X OS the 11 october: https://jolla.com/sailfishx/

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: What the market wants...

        Jolla is releasing his Sailfixh X OS the 11 october

        Interesting idea of selling a supported image for selected phones at €50 a throw. I hope I'm wrong, but I really can't see this selling in sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile.

        1. Permidion

          Re: What the market wants...

          there is a base of people who dont want to have anything to do with apple or google (or MS but that's not a option anymore anyway) and for these people it will be alright to pay that price,

          I know I will at least

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: What the market wants...

            and for these people it will be alright to pay that price,....I know I will at least

            I do soooo want it to succeed. But €50? And even if you're willing to pay the cash, that has to be for a supported phone, of which there is only one at present. Now, got to start somewhere, but when app makers struggle to persuade people to part with a couple of €, what's the chance that a viable number of punters will pay €50 to replace an OS on a phone that already has one, and then how many different phones can Sailfish support? Personally, in their situation I'd look to build a sizeable presence in the Chinese mid range market, just to get the volume and to interest Chinese phone market leaders, but those customers won't pay anything near fifty euro.

            You can of course root your device and load a community image of Sailfish for free - with no guarantees that it will all work, and the risk of bricking your phone in the rooting process. Great for tinkerers, for the rest of the world this (sadly) has as much relevance as Cyanogenmod and LineageOS. And even then, you have to use third party app stores, like Yandex. Now, would any sane person load software found on Yandex?

            1. Wayland Bronze badge

              Re: What the market wants...

              @Ledswinger it depends what you mean by success. If you mean become the market leader in phone operating systems then you could be right.

              However success in business does not depend on being number one. The man running the corner shop could be doing fine in spite of Tescos being bigger. Let's list what would make Sailfish a success;

              1. A decent alternative to the current offerings

              2. Happy users

              3. The business making a solid profit and growing

              4. Happy investors and workers.

              Pretty much in that order because plenty of Open Source projects are not profitable but because the software is good and the users are happy then it's successful.

          2. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: What the market wants...

            I did not know Sailfish was taking this route. £50 to transform your phone sounds good. They need to get the phone shops on board so that people can pay someone else to do this.

      2. Permidion

        Re: What the market wants...

        why the thumbs down? I dont undertand

    2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: What the market wants...

      > It's always tricky to reliably determine what "the market" wants, particularly if your own job relies on a getting specific answer.

      Some good analysis in the article. I can't help being reminded of the early 90s, in fact, when Windows 3 came out. At that time Lotus was king. In fact, they were so crucial to the PC platform they could not envisage a future that they didn't dominate. When Windows 3 looked like a step up from DOS, and knowing the backward step Lotus 123 v 3 was, we went to talk to Lotus Development about how they saw the future. Could be DOS, could be Windows, could be OS/2, they said, we don't care. We had the same discussion with Microsoft (yes, customers could indeed go to talk strategy with these companies in those days...) We're throwing everything at Windows, said MS. We know we have work to do to get beancounters to trust Excel, our bought-in spreadsheet. We think we can produce something as good as Wordperfect or Multimate.

      On the basis of those discussions, we moved from the dominance of Lotus to a Windows strategy, and were pleased to have such a clear idea of where we were heading. Within 5 years, MS were starting to deal with the failure of success, like Lotus had. By the late 90s, MS strategy amounted to a mere marketing flavour of the month. The foray into phones shows they have still not learnt the lesson of what gave them their dominant position 27 years ago.

      Makes one wonder about humanity's capacity to handle true power.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: What the market wants...

      I went down pretty much the same line. Android Phone, Google spying on everything I do so they can plough me as a field to grow their adverting business- no thank you.

      iPhone, over priced fashion lead walled garden with seriously dodgy manipulation of specs, so that a slightly better model costs an arm and a leg more,again no thanks.

      So I went with Windows phones. But it was always a bit unsatisfactory. The phones were nice to use, but the models weren't right for me. Some much too cheap with stuff they needed missing (compass, front camera etc). Some too expensive for my needs. My second phone, the 640, was much better - but by then the writing was on the wall. And even though I didn't much want the largely useless "apps" that come with Android, there were some that I did need and couldn't get, especially towards the end. The organisations offering an app to support my interaction with them were offering iPhone or Android only.

      So now I have a One+ 5.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: What the market wants...

        "So I went with Windows phones......."

        I could have written the same post. I wanted Windows phones to work. I liked the interface, etc. But I never got OS mapping software that was any good.

        I haven't got a 5 yet as my OP3 is fine.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hand up...

    who remember all the Windows mobile adverts? The cool product placements, the bloggers over-keenly promoting them, the billboard posters, the online adverts, the non-stop articles promoting the platform?

    ..

    No me neither.

    I do remember the, yes we are committed, sort of, maybe, yes defiantly, no actually we are not making them, or are we?

    Indecision and lack of commitment killed it, not the OS /Hardware.

    1. Zippy's Sausage Factory
      Meh

      Re: Hand up...

      I, do, however, remember how some "research house" (Gartner?) said Microsoft would be 20% of the world smartphone market within 2 years, ahead of the iPhone.

      Yep, that prediction sooo came true...

      1. fredds

        Re: Hand up...

        Yes, I remember that, and documented the whole sorry episode.

        Windows Phone 7 is set to outgrow Android and IOS over the next few years

        IDC forecast puts Microsoft in second place by 2015

        By Dean Wilson

        Thu Jun 09 2011, 15:16

        WINDOWS PHONE 7 (WP7) is set to outgrow the rival mobile operating systems over the next few years, according to a report released by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

        Microsoft’s late-comer smartphone OS is expected to grow its market share from two per cent in 2010 to 3.8 per cent this year, a downward revision of IDC’s previous forecast in March of 5.5 per cent.

        That’s a relatively tiny share of the market, particularly for an OS that many people would consider a potential third rival to join in the battle between Google’s Android and Apple’s IOS, but the real strength of Windows Phone 7 will appear during 2012 to 2015, the report predicts, when IDC expects to see WP7 market share increase significantly to 20.3 per cent.

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Hand up...

      Indecision and lack of commitment killed it, not the OS /Hardware.

      Au contraire, EVERYTHING killed it:

      - Microsoft didn't have a plan, didn't know or care to find out what customers really wanted

      - Microsoft pissed everybody off by repeatedly abandoning older mobile platforms

      - MS/Nokia didn't help themselves by abandoning everything that had gone before in Nokia

      - Microsoft were spending huge amounts on acquisitions that they didn't understand and then struggled to integrate - between 2008 and 2016, they bought about 76 businesses. Microsoft's purpose was nothing more nor less than buying companies, and hoping for the best

      - Buying a hardware maker when you know nothing about hardware is a big bit daft

      - The hardware was mostly crap - particularly the low end stuff bought by IT departments, and even compared to similar priced dogs like the Samsung Galaxy Ace models

      - The OS and UI followed the failed Windows 8 look, and were different for the sake of difference

      - MS failed to understand and offer the Enterprise segment what they wanted, and that was the one area where MS could have profitably owned a worthwhile segment without needing to be a major force in consumer phones.

      There's plenty of other things, many known, some that we can only infer, but I think its clear that when it came to phones, MS made every mistake that was available to be made, and not just in phones. Even today, they're buying up more companies like Altspace VR, which looks to be more of the same "if it moves, buy it, if it doesn't move buy it". And Altspace VR is yet another crap distraction - worth doing a search to see the 1998 educational software graphics.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: Hand up...

        I'd say the OS and GUI or hardware spec was not a problem as such... but for what price point? That would be a problem. People would not mind a Windows phone for £30/$30, but if it's £150/$150? They might just get an android instead, if it's more? They will get an Apple. They needed to find a niche or do very well at one market point.

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hand up...

        - Microsoft were spending huge amounts on acquisitions that they didn't understand and then struggled to integrate - between 2008 and 2016, they bought about 76 businesses. Microsoft's purpose was nothing more nor less than buying companies, and hoping for the best

        3Com, towards the end, did the exact same thing, with varying success

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hand up...

      I remember this one:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-mo_Qpy6eM

      because it seemed to show how much you could get attached to your Blackberry and iPhone. I never understood how it was supposed to make Windows Phone cooler when it showed how devoted people were to their existing phones. Most people I showed it to thought it was an advert for Blackberry right up until they mentioned Windows Phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hand up...

        Hmm

        Less than 30,000 views in 7 years. Didn't attract so much attention

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Microsoft is suffering from a desperate mind-set of locking people in

    As stated in the article, we already have two lock-in vendors who remain steadfastly incompatible with each other. The difference with Microsoft is that Apple and Android are actually useful and, generally speaking, perform adequately.

    If a new ecosystem is to rise, it will have to be open. Not necessarily open-source, but open. That is the strength of Linux, and the reason why it endures. If another closed-source OS maker tried to enter the market today, it would be a doomed effort from the start.

    Microsoft, with its many, many billions in the bank, could have been the sugar daddy for this kind of phone, but it couldn't imagine not locking people in and Windows-ing the whole thing. Microsoft has the money, but not the intelligence. On this, Nadella was right to scrap the whole thing.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft is suffering from a desperate mind-set of locking people in

        I think Microsoft should have persevered. Stuck with mobiles and slowly create the brand - but they seem too petulant.

        Looking at their market share in new sales, how could they create a brand when they've got no differentiation now, and when this news merely confirms what everybody else believed years ago, that MS were not in phones with a long game? In the consumer and enterprise markets, they'd need some utterly compelling new feature that Apple and Google haven't thought of, and can't easily replicate, and in all likelihood, the enterprise and consumers wouldn't be captivated by the same USP, so they need two stonking new features.

        In the enterprise space, Continuum was going to be that USP, except that it was never clear that the enterprise customers wanted it, and it hasn't delivered. Microsoft also undermined that potential market with its business tablets. In the consumer space...well, there's nothing. All the old Nokia USP's (better audio quality, better maps, better cameras) were dropped other than for a couple of "show off" models, and now every phonemaker is trying to carve out some profit by focusing on those quality hardware elements (including the reborn Nokia) so doing it now would be too late and undifferentiated. Microsoft could have tried to differentiate on (eg) hardware durability, battery life, enterprise security, consumer privacy, but they didn't, they just made "me too" handsets that offered nothing new, nothing novel, and carried an OS that nobody really wanted.

        Nadella is right, but deserves no kudos for that - all he's done is admit what the rest of the world knew years ago. After spending what, $10-15 billion, MS achieved 0.1% global market share of new phone sales in Q1 2017. For every Microsoft phone pushed largely onto unwilling corporate users, 800 Android phones and 200 Apple phones were sold. I can't see that they'd ever rebuild a brand with such low sales figures - even basic stuff like manufacturing economies of scale are out of their reach on those sales figures, so all the hardware has to be sold at a loss. All the overheads of R&D, marketing, software maintenance all spread out over fewer and fewer phones. Third party phone makers won't touch the OS now, so they are and would be limited to what they could make themselves.

        1. Philip Lewis

          Re: Microsoft is suffering from a desperate mind-set of locking people in

          I haven't been here for a while ... retirement does that.

          Anyway, where are all the Microsoft shills from back then. You remember them, the ones who always had a statistic or an anecdote or some strategy play that was a guarantee that Windows Phone would absorb the world?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nadella is right, but deserves no kudos for that -

          He is in my view part of the problem - sniping on the sidelines from the word go, helping to create the complete lck of confidence that undermined the progress of Windows Phone at every step

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft is suffering from a desperate mind-set of locking people in

        You missed the Zune, Kin, and depending on how you look at it the Sidekick.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft is suffering from a desperate mind-set of locking people in

      Microsoft, with its many, many billions in the bank, could have been the sugar daddy for this kind of phone, but it couldn't imagine not locking people in and Windows-ing the whole thing.

      Yeah locking people in is not always a winning solution.

      It buried the death its Groove Music subscription service under an ostensibly chipper headline announcing a partnership with Spotify.

      Does this mean that I will finally be able to get rid of the Groove Music entry on my Win10 start menu?

      On the high end, Microsoft's slowness in adding support for the newest technologies meant that OEMs would never be able to get the specs they needed to be competitive with their Android counterparts. This was made painfully clear with the Lumia 1020, which despite its amazing 41MP camera, came out with a slow dual-core processor, and a 720p HD screen at a time when flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S4 were pushing quad and even hexacore processors paired with full HD screens.

      A good friend of mine had a Lumia 1020 that she was given by her firm. She hated how slow it was but absolutely loved the camera. She now has an iPhone.

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Awwww shut up and quit your whining.

    Windows Phone was a completely viable contender for a mobile device OS.

    As someone who was forced to use it by his "Microsoft Everywhere" IT department (yeah, hows *that* working out for you now, guys. Boo fucking hoo, you can't force your users to use IE anymore) I actually found it quite a decent OS.

    If it could have boasted the apps of Android/Apple, it would have been perfect.

    Microsofts ludicrous insistence that very increment required a new app is what killed that.

    I am annoyed because the lack of an alternative non-Apple alternative has effectively gifted the mass mobile market to Google. And nobody wants that.

    1. Thought About IT

      Re: Awwww shut up and quit your whining.

      Surely it would have cost far less for Microsoft to pay the most popular app developers to port their apps than throw away their investment in Nokia?

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Microsoft to pay the most popular app developers

        I'm sure I recall that happening (at least the offer to pay, nothing really happened)

      2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Awwww shut up and quit your whining.

        That strategy assumes that app developers are rational actors. It is not a safe assumption to make.

        Famously, the owner of Snap, Inc refused point-blank to port Snapchat to Windows Phone, even when Microsoft themselves offered provided the necessary engineering. When third-party clients appeared on the platform, they were threatened with legal action. For an application that required a wide user-base, the decision was bizarre.

        Google also refused access to YouTube via an app on Windows Phones; but at least here there's the explanation of a company engaging in anticompetitive practice to protect its marketshare. The Snapchat decision was purely "I don't like Microsoft".

        Now, I have no use for Snapchat, but it's a "must have" app for a lot of users, and its absence from the Nokia/Microsoft phones prevented their combination of low price and smooth performance gaining traction with younger buyers at a time when Android and iOS could not offer this.

        1. jaduncan

          Re: Awwww shut up and quit your whining.

          In fairness, it does rather appear that Snap have gone on to quite some level of success...unlike Windows Phone.

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