back to article So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

Microsoft isn't used to being the underdog, but the company which owns the desktop is losing its grip on customers' wallets. While buying Nokia is an audacious move to redress that, to make it work Microsoft needs to understand some of Nokia's history. Of course, Microsoft has been the challenger before, with varying degrees …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A slice of the app pie for EE, Voda, O2 or Three?

    "It has, in effect, pulled all the applications revenue out of the hands of the operators and into those of Apple. And in doing so, it has made huge enemies of those customers."

    Will Google give a slice of the app pie to the operators? Will Microsoft? Somehow, I don't think so. SMS and MMS are being replaced with IP based apps that do it better. No one uses voice mail anymore. At the moment, I don't see a way for the operators to increase their ARPU, other than by putting up the monthly cost of a contract. That too is going to be problematic, as users increasingly avoid the smoke and mirrors of the network subsidy, instead opting to buy phones up front.

    The way I see it, there is little new, the operators can do, that startups in places like Silicon Valley and Bullshit Roundabout can't do better, other than perhaps handling segmentation better (smart analytics, automated decisioning systems and so on).

    Anon, I'm afraid. Both my employer and some of my customers wouldn't appreciate some of what I wrote above.

    1. Bob Vistakin
      IT Angle

      This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

      It really sounds intriguing. Let us know when it launches so I can check it out.

      1. xperroni

        Speaking of myths...

        I love when people tout Microsoft as a company others could partner with and not get raep'd then thrown under a bus at any moment. I mean, look at how they treat their customers – and that's because they need them. I shudder at the thought of what they do to those they consider redundant...

        1. Bob Vistakin
          Facepalm

          Re: Speaking of myths...

          Lemme help you out with that.

      2. Robert Grant

        Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

        The new version does have separate volume controls. Just for your FYI.

      3. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

        It's been around for a while...

        ... it's this Linux on the desktop that I'm curious about, when's that going to hit the high streets?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

          That'd be Android 7.0.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

          >... it's this Linux on the desktop that I'm curious about, when's that going to hit the high streets?

          If the only USP of Linux is that it can be bent to the will of the power-user, then it won't be adopted on the high street - the power-user will always just install Linux themselves.

          Instead, to compete with Windows/OSX on the high-street, Linux would have to offer the average Joe something that Win/OSX doesn't... ease of use, perhaps, or a lower price, whatever.

          Chrome OS is a recognition of the need to offer the average Joe something useful - maintenance-free computing. Even though my mum has been happy to use a word-processor for over thirty years, she will be confused by some pop-up notification box in Windows about updating something or other. She doesn't know what this something or other is, and why should she?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Linux on the desktop

          Increasingly, the desktop will be about Cloud services consumption and less about traditional shrinkwrapped PC software and client-server applications on the desktop. Windows PC sales have fallen from 350 million in 2011 to an expected 290 million in 2014 (I have subtracted Apple Macs from the figures).

          I think Chromebooks are making good progress with Linux on the desktop, and the first few Android desktops are emerging. And Android and iOS in tablets seems to be doing quite well, too - I believe together they overtook PC sales in the last quarter of 2013 - 80m tablets v 40m Windows desktops v 40m Windows laptops. As techopedia says: " If you have an iOS or an Android device, it's based on an operating system called Unix that was developed at Bell Labs."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Linux on the desktop

            "If you have an iOS or an Android device, it's based on an operating system called Unix that was developed at Bell Labs."

            sure, but by that standard we've had fairly widespread desktop unix since the release of OS X (not just iOS is based on BSD).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It’s easy to compare the phone industry to the computer business, where currently two players are visible to the users: Microsoft and Apple"

    Either I'm going mad or this statement is complete bollocks

    Edit: confirmed, it is complete bollocks. These words initially failed regular forward parsing through my logic analyser and only made sense when I realized the sentence had to be read backwards.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      It looks you read just one sentence, got angry, and forget to read the rest " Linux and Chrome are OSes that Register readers think of as being important, but the general public, which is not quite so tech-savvy, does not."

      Face it. Nobody enters a shop and asks for a "Linux computer". The Linux market share for end user desktop and laptop computers is less than 2%. We're not talking about the server market, we're talking about "personal computers". And there Linux is almost irrelevant but for a subset of tech users.

      Enter any shop and you will see only two players visible to users: Microsoft Windows PC and Apple ones.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Three, actually.

        Android tablets are all over the place in "computer shops" now. And what does Android run on? Oh, is it something Finnish and open-saucy?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Android tablets are all over the place in "computer shops" now. And what does Android run on? Oh, is it something Finnish and open-saucy?

          Try asking people what underpins the OS? As far as they're concerned, iOS is iOS, Windows is Windows (even Windows CE is Windows), MacOS X is MacOS X and Android is Android.

          The fact that iOS and MacOS X are both based on Darwin and that this is a different OS completely to Linux, is irrelevant. There are people on this forum who claim MacOS X is Linux based.

          I've had people look at my machine, and when I comment that I'm not running Windows, they instantly ask "Is it a Mac?", despite "TOSHIBA" being clearly emblasoned across the front of it. Since when did Toshiba make Macs?

          The Windows bit is more or less invisible, they consider it as whether you've got a "PC" or a "Mac", completely ignoring that the Macintosh is just a personal computer manufactured by Apple. So if they don't see Windows, they instantly think you're running a Mac, and confuse matters by the thinking that Macs are not PCs, which they are (what they weren't was IBM compatible PCs until very recently).

          So yeah, the author is quite right by pointing out there being only two visible OSes on the desktop market, with Android and ChromeOS being visible in tablets and lower-end netbooks.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          When speaking of the "computer business", I'm sure he was talking about the "personal computer" business - laptops and desktops, not the tablets. Still tablet can't do a lot a computer can do. Anybody asking for a "computer" surely isn't asking for a tablet. Than you can twist whatever you like in the desperate effort to show the average consumer wants Linux, but that's not going to happen. Still, when it comes to consumer PCs, the choice for the average consumer is between Microsoft and Apple.

          Also if they're going to ask for a tab let, they're probably going to ask for an Apple tablet or a Samsung one or whatever brand, not an Android one.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            "the choice for the average consumer is between Microsoft and Apple."

            Actually, in the non USAian rest of the world, the choice is generally "Which BRAND of Windows PC will they be getting?"

            Even with Apple stores popping up all over the place, the average punter associates Apple with iPhone, iPod, iPad and pretty much nowt else.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Face it. Nobody enters a shop and asks for a "Windows computer".

        A few might ask if they have any without windows 8, most don't care, or don't think there is a choice.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Right. If the ask for a "computer", they mean a MS Windows computer. If they ask for a "Mac", they mean an Apple. Sadly, there's no word to mean "a Linux computer" :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Sadly, there's no word to mean "a Linux computer" :)"

            Server?

            1. DrGoon

              Re: "Sadly, there's no word to mean "a Linux computer" :)"

              When the mass market for personal computer users vanishes and almost everybody is using next years landfill fondleslab, the term for a Linux computer will become 'computer'.

        2. James Pickett

          "A few might ask if they have any without windows 8, most don't care, or don't think there is a choice."

          There is? Where..?

  3. CheesyTheClown

    Lots of great info... But...

    Let's be brutally honest here. Nokia and many others lost their asses because they sold phones and operating systems and platforms.

    What I mean is simple. Nokia never understood that Apple and Nokia kicked their asses not by making a better phone. The phone part is easy. They competed on fashion and media. The phone and OS simply wasn't relevant.

    Apple started with music. Then movies. Then apps. Then books. They learned how to profit by becoming an international media distributor. They sold first on their terms and delt with the legal fallout after and just crushed all the other distributors in the business.

    The phone is no more the core product than a purse is the core product to women who buy stuff to put in them. The phone is simply a fashionable way to put their stuff in. While profit on the sale of a phone is nice, it's all about what it is carrying. That's why apple is so focused on guaranteeing their profits on sales of media.

    Samsung succeeded on Google's back. Ask Opera and Mozilla who have almost completely financed their desktop profits on peddling Google searches. Samsung made a phone that served as a fashionable tool to have the power of Google at their finger tips.

    What has Nokia done? Sold phones. When they sell you one, they'll work to sell you another. Windows Phone could have happened, but even now, you are stuck with Bing, Internet Explorer and other substandard tools. There is no incentive to developers to deploy on Windows Phone either. Symbian and other Nokia platforms were worse.

    So... Why do writers keep thinking the phone is what matters? I hate my iPhone, but thanks to services and media, it simply sucks less than the other options.

    1. OrsonX
      FAIL

      Re: The reason Nokia lost

      For me the answer is very simple. Yes, obviously the iPhone, but specifically how long they took to bring out a worthwhile competitor handset, must have been >3years, by then they had already lost.

      This was a clear lack of vision. Even before the iPhone came out I was longing for a full screen phone (this design was bleeding obvious to me and to most people with half a brain), in 2004 I was seriously considering the Moto A1000 which had a full screen (tiny now!), then LG Prada in 2006, which was shortly followed by the iPhone. In the end I got an iPhone3G.

      Surely, I mean SURELY when Nokia saw the Prada they should have thought, hmmm.... that looks kinda LIKE THE FRIKKIN' FUTURE!!!! NO?!

      They deserved to lose.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: The reason Nokia lost

        I'm curious, why did you want a bigger screen? None of those phones until the iPhone had a full browser. What's the point of a big screen if you're limited to WAP, and a handful of useless Java based apps?

        When I saw the iPhone, I thought "why the hell would I want to have such a goddamn huge phone?" When I tried one, I thought the full browser is nice, but the performance was so crappy (via wifi, I'm not talking about 2G limits) that I figured I'd wait until it didn't suck before I considered it. When the 3gs came out, the the suckiness of the performance was reduced enough I was finally willing to buy, though it took a while to get used to then ridiculously large phone.

        Before that 3gs, every phone I owned was chosen because of size - small size, and I had to pay for it. Especially with my first phone, a Nokia 8860 that cost me $500 after subsidy! Now some people won't consider an iPhone with a 4" screen because it is too tiny...amazing how needs/tastes change over time.

        1. Bob Vistakin
          Facepalm

          Re: The reason Nokia lost

          "None of those phones until the iPhone had a full browser."

          The Sony Ericsson P800 from 2002 did.

          1. Dinky Carter

            The P800 ..

            ... was of course a Symbian touchscreen smartphone with a full browser which appeared five years before Apple invented touchscreen smartphones with full browsers.

    2. gurugeorge

      Re: Lots of great info... But...

      Reply to: What I mean is simple. Nokia never understood that Apple and Nokia kicked their asses not by making a better phone. The phone part is easy. They competed on fashion and media. The phone and OS simply wasn't relevant.

      While I agree with some of what you have to say, Apple basically made a better product. I was a dedicated Nokia fanboi, only owning Nokia's, from the Nokia 2110 back in 1995 to 2009 with N96/7. I ran a tom-tom GPS software on the e series Nokia, I ported a Fortran interpreter to Nokia, and did things like receive and send faxes with Nokia's 20 years ago.

      So I'm the ultimate nerd, but with the last N-series I purchased, the interface was so bad to the point of almost being faulty... They got so up their own asses they released a beta product and charged £600 for it. Nokias rise to fame was because its interface was just perfect, better than anyone else's. Thier interface became unusable, because they focused more on hardware than software. I volunteered to work for them for three months, for free, and fix all the issues. I could have done it in less.

      I really didn't want to leave Nokia's and was forced to. I purchased an android HTC desire.

      I hated apple with a passion. I hated the lockdown system, I hated them taking the piss with prices, overcharging for what shit they produced, I hated the fact that I couldn't change my own fucking battery, on my own fucking SD card.

      And I used an iPhone. What surprised me most was the fact that my android had double the speed, on paper but was slower... It reminded me of an Archimedes RISC system where I was watching perfect video, while an IBM with four times the speed couldn't do the same thing,

      Actually faster than my computer to love the Daily Mail website. Upon my iPhone, and the truth is, as much as I hate apple, I love iOS. It just works. Specifications are almost irrelevant now, it's faster to load the page and then on the latest Samsung. The fingerprint just works. If my phone gets scratched or damaged, Apple replace it in minutes at the Apple Store for free if you're nice to them. I lost my phone, and the replacement has every message and contact, all the crap and I drew and fingerpainting crap... It's basically the simplest thing in the world, the cloned disk, like a backup of the hard drive off the cloud, but it's instant. While there are alternatives to face time and iMessage, neither what's up on Viber can compare. While I still hate apple, after two years I have nothing but praise for them. Even now I dictate on an iPad. It's insane, but the transcription is actually better than a paid secretary after a few months of dictation

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lots of great info... But...

      "you are stuck with Bing, Internet Explorer and other substandard tools"

      I can only assume you havn't used IE11 on mobile - it is faster than Chrome and with no inbuilt spyware and far fewer security holes. You can easily switch Windows Phone to use Google instead of Bing if you prefer The Borg's results.

      I note that Windows Phone is now ahead of Apple's idevices in 25 markets now, so it is highly likely that Microsoft will take at least the #2 spot at some point in the not too distant future.

      Microsoft are ahead of the curve in being the only vendor with a unified strategy across server, desktop, tablet and mobile, and the only vendor to support the future of touch and gesture across all of those platforms.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Bull crap.

        "the only vendor with a unified strategy across server, desktop, tablet and mobile,"

        Yes, just what a want on my server, the interface for a 5" phone screen.

        "and the only vendor to support the future of touch and gesture across all of those platforms."

        The servers are locked away, I only touch them maybe once a week, and they don't even have a monitor connected to them unless I wheel over the terminal cart. WTF would I want with touch and gesture shit?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bull crap.

          Hence why the default on Windows Server is NO GUI. But it's an optional install if you want it.

        2. Goat Jam

          WTF?

          "wheel over the terminal cart"

          Have you heard of a KVM switch?

      2. Zane

        Re: Lots of great info... But...

        I'd really like to know which 25 markets you are speaking of.

        Maybe you should read The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/29/microsoft_nokia/

        Windows Phone is starting losing on the US market - that's quite an indicator they will lose in most other Western markets as well, the US is just a little ahead.

        And even if Windows Phone increases market share, there's quite a way to go in some markets.

        /Zane

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lots of great info... But...

          "I'd really like to know which 25 markets you are speaking of."

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2014/01/21/here-are-24-countries-where-windows-phone-outsells-the-iphone-and-why-it-does/

          http://wmpoweruser.com/add-hungary-to-the-list-of-countries-where-windows-phone-outsells-the-iphone/comment-page-1/

    4. John Sanders
      Facepalm

      Re: Lots of great info... But...

      """What I mean is simple. Nokia never understood that Apple and Nokia kicked their asses not by making a better phone. The phone part is easy. They competed on fashion and media. The phone and OS simply wasn't relevant."""

      The OS is quite relevant, it has always been relevant, in this day an age dare to sell a phone without a decent OS. The OS wasn't too relevant in the 2000s when all phones more or less just sent SMSs and made phone calls.

      If the underlying OS is barely ok for the current hardware generation, but hits a barrier on the next one (Palm, Blackberry, etc) You are fine for a generation or two of hardware, then (as always happens with technology) once the market dynamics allow the competition to develop more powerful devices for less, the company gets steamrolled by the competition.

      Everybody can tell the company is doomed, but no one can pin-point why, it is all downhill from there, all that is perceived is loss of more and more momentum (IE: Blackberry)

      iOS or Android are not great OSs because they are technically brilliant, (which they are anyway), the brilliance in the marketplace and sales comes from several obvious facts:

      The OS can take advantage of the hardware and use it well.

      The user can use that hardware advantage to his benefit, movies, games...

      The Vendor does not restrict (too much) the user from getting those advantages allowing them to install whatever they please.

      Now Microsoft problem is very different than the likes of Blackberry or Palm or even Nokia.

      Microsoft is an arrogant poisonous company that produces poisonous products. Everything they touch they ruin because they do not allow anybody but themselves to eat cake.

  4. jonathanb Silver badge

    I disagree in part

    The two major players in the mobile market are Apple and Google, not Apple and Samsung. Samsung is very strong in the Google part of the market, just like Dell is/was in the Microsoft part of the PC market.

    Secondly, while things have changed in the past in the mobile market, it is different this time. Previously, phones were appliances and you could switch from Nokia to Ericsson or whatever without any issues. Now they are portable computers, and if you switch between Google and Apple, you lose all the money you have invested in apps and so on, whereas if you get another phone in the same camp, you just need to supply your app store account details, and all the stuff you bought is available for you to re-download.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: I disagree in part

      "Now they are portable computers, and if you switch between Google and Apple, you lose all the money you have invested in apps and so on"

      For most people, all they have invested is a few quid on games last played months ago. It's no hardship switching.

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: I disagree in part

        For a considerable number of us it's a whole lot more than 'a few quid' and it ain't on games. I have an iPhone and an iPad... and an Android phone. The Android phone gets used as... a phone, 'cause I don't download a damn thing on it. The iPhone and the iPad have music, and movies, and, most especially, _books_. Books from Apple. Books from Nook. Books from Kindle. Books from other sources imported via calibre (converting them to epub format) and then by iBooks (the only reason to use iBooks on a Mac is to import epub files so that they can be synced with the iPad/iPhone...). I have several _thousands_ of pounds worth of books on my systems. Text books. Reference books. Stuff to use at work. Lots and lots of them. (And, of course, lots and lots of books for fun...) The vast majority of them don't have DRM, either because I used calibre to import them or because they didn't have DRM in the first place, some book vendors have Seen The Light and for the others there's USENET. Or my own scanner and OCR. They're _mine_, and cannot be evaporated due to the fiat of Apple, or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. (That last one looks to be going bust Real Soon Now...) I didn't used to have so many books outside of calibre, until I got an iPad... and I got the iPad instead of an Android tablet due to price and saw how useful it was for reading books. Yes, the iPad was cheaper than an Android tab which could do what I wanted; there are far cheaper Android tablets, but the cheap ones simply couldn't do what I wanted them to do. Sorry, but there it is. And then there's the fact that the Android phone has been misbehaving, so much so that I'll probably dump it for something else. Right now the iPhone 4S looks like the frontrunner. Yes, there are better e-book readers... but they're tied directly to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and can't do anything _except_ read e-books. And as the books are on _both_ the iPad and the iPhone, I _know_ that I can get hold of the required text at any time. Including when I'm not carrying a tablet, much less my laptop with calibre installed, which was how I used to read e-books.

      2. Sander van der Wal

        Re: I disagree in part

        Android users invest far less in their app than iOS users. Which makes switching from Android cheaper.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: I disagree in part

          > Android users invest far less in their app than iOS users. Which makes switching from Android cheaper.

          You seem to have some odd ideas about spending.

          Buying apps is _not_ an 'investment', it is just spending money: ie a cost.

          Android users spend less money on apps for several reasons:

          * Many Android phones are used only as 'feature phones' or just 'phones'. The users have no need for apps, they are not addicted to Twitter or FacePalm. They buy inexpensive Androids because they are not much more than dumbphones.

          * Many Android apps are free (see F-Droid) where equivalents for iPhone or WP would cost.

          Your conclusion that "Switching from Android would be cheaper" is complete nonsense. If the Android user had free Android apps that would cost money elsewhere then that is not 'cheaper'.

          1. RyokuMas Silver badge

            Re: I disagree in part

            You missed out:

            * Pirating Android apps is a breeze

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: I disagree in part

      > all the money you have invested in apps

      It isn't an 'investment', at best it is a cost.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange analysis

    What I read of this is that Nokia, which was destroyed (losing over 50% of the market to end at 4%, according to IDC) by switching to and sticking with Windows phone, should drop Android and keep trying windows phone, and Microsoft, which is now Nokia's owner, never was cool, should now be all on being cool and attractive?

    So, keep doing what didn't work, and insist on a mobile OS that is despised and derided by many (colloquially called the "fisher price" OS)?

    Remind me again what is the definition of madness...

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: Strange analysis

      It would be fun to see where Nokia would be if they hadn't switched to Windows. At least there would be no 'stab in the back' legends being invented.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Strange analysis

        At least there would be no 'stab in the back' legends being invented.

        S'truth. It was actually aliens. Aliens allied to the Justified Ancients of Zeon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Strange analysis

          That graph interpretation is deeply misleading. The graph shows how, by the end of 2010, Apple's share was increasing much faster than Nokia's and, in terms of %/% rather than absolute numbers, very much faster.

          Returning to my favourite analogy, in 1941 the Soviet army looked an awful lot bigger than the German army, but it turned out that size was irrelevant - it was under equipped and badly led. Nokia at the end of 2010 had a large market share based on old technology, and they had no answer to the new and fast growing contender. The trend in their share - the second differential if you like - was negative, a slowing of growth. With Android a still newer contender which was also ramping quickly, Nokia was heading for the doo-doos despite units shifted.

          Because some of us have spent a lot of time learning to interpret graphs and question the background behind them.

          1. Paul 75

            Re: Strange analysis

            > Nokia at the end of 2010 had a large market share based on old technology, and they had no answer to the new and fast growing contender.

            They had Meego, a Linux based OS, which Elop also cast onto the fire, but did spawn the N9 in 2011. So I don't agree that they had "no answer", but WP became the smartphone platform instead of Meego.

            I can only assume the other Directors on Nokia's board were threatened with the firing squad if they disagreed. They should all be put against the wall today in any case.

          2. Getriebe

            in 1941 the Soviet army looked an awful lot bigger than the German army,

            But we know what happened.

            Pragmatic view of men and weapons meant that the Red Army ended up with battle and war winning tanks, planes, guns and strategies.

            They did cross the Oder and end up strolling down Unter der Linden.

            Things can change dramatically - which is the point of the article.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Analysis missed the elephant

      Nokia used to have the highest market share - double the second place player (Apple) and four times the third place player (Samsung). Elop set fire to that achievement with his burning platforms memo. He dissed the existing products (a classic Ratner), and promised that the next generation would be spectacular (a real Osbourne).

      That move alone would have only gutted Nokia. The thorough nuking was done later by Ballmer when he purchased Skype. Purchasing Skype coincided with a sudden increase in the rate at which Nokia lost market share. The carriers lothe Skype. They hated Skype on Android because it took away call revenues. They only good thing the carriers saw in Skype was its financial problems could easily have caused it to implode. Then Microsoft stepped in with the money to keep Skype going indefinitely.

      Skype carries 34% of international calls. The only way Microsoft could get the carriers to take their phones would be to leak a memo saying that Skype will be discontinued because it is a burning platform and Skype 2 will be really great when it is ready in 2016.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strange analysis

      "Nokia, which was destroyed (losing over 50% of the market to end at 4%, according to IDC) by switching to and sticking with Windows phone"

      No - Nokia's loss of market share from it's legacy platforms had nothing to do with Windows Phone. Choosing Windows Phone has helped save Nokia from going bust.

      There is no real money to be made by Nokia from Android - Only Samsung turn any sizable profit from it.

      "(colloquially called the "fisher price" OS)?"

      Can't say I have ever heard it called that; I think maybe only amongst childish commentards.... I note though that Windows Phone's tile format has since been largely copied by Apple. WP has since taken over 20% of sales in the UK enterprise space too which is a good indication of it's maturity and growing momentum.

  6. SuccessCase

    Starts off well, but then collapses into facile and shallow trope "what keeps Apple revenues flowing is just fashion"

    But no, fashion is suddenly this incredibly powerful beast (true) that for Apple has become a perennial, because, er, suddenly the theory trips over it's own laces.

    For a better insight into one of the main reasons Apple succeed, this article is a good read:

    http://rampantinnovation.com/2014/05/13/design-is-about-intent/

    In summary Apple have design intent to their core. They avoid falling foul of the three design evasions:

    1. The first design evasion "Preserving" - Apple have always been prepared to rip-up the blueprint for a previous design success where their competitors do not. Microsoft clearly have suffered badly from this evasion, and as this The Register article points out, where they have ripped up the blue-print (e.g. Windows phone) the result is much better.

    2. Copying - Apple are perfectly prepared to copy but only after they have evaluated it is the best solution. They don't abdicate on the responsibility to place the design effort first and evaluate it is the best solution in the current context. Samsung have too often taken the copy first / think later short-cut. Their shameless equivalent of the Apple passbook is a good example of the level to which they are prepared to go in not thinking for themselves. It is pernicious because it can appear to help the company, but it also places an upper limit on user expectations as to what to expect of that company. It's a bit like saying I'll compromise my reputation to achieve scale. It can be done, but it's an existentially limiting trade to make. In life we all have to decide how we are going to live in that regard. If for example I become a photographer, and want to be taken seriously, I can't make a quick buck by shooting porn, or even doing low value magazines, and hope to easily recover my reputation as a top photographer.

    3. Delegating - also pernicious because it dresses in the garb of reasoned scientific method. Microsoft fall foul of this problem (the office ribbon bar being an example). This is where design direction is surrendered to the uncoordinated masses through delegating the process to the results of focus group and user research. The abdicating "designer" always has an excuse to fall back on "our research showed..." Steve Jobs would give the Henry Ford quote to illustrate the problem of this third evasion. "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

    Apple will fail if they start to diverge from their drive to put design first. Which brings me to their Beats purchase. I've been puzzled by this for some time and concluded Tim Cook had slipped up (I wrote my feelings up here and they seemed to be well received; http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/09/apple-looks-set-to-buy-dr-dre-beats-electronics#comment-35409955)

    However, now I think that conclusion was wrong and it has suddenly clicked. Apple like to own the full stack. The oldest and most low-tech connector on a mobile device these days is the headphone jack. And we are heading for a new level HD audio. Apple like to be thought of as the technology firm who "owns" music.

    Given they rarely allow themselves to fall foul of design evasion 1 - I predict they are about to go all in on HD audio. In Apple style they will simply wholly remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from all iOS devices coming out this year and moving forwards. In 2 years it will be near as dammit a forgotten connector. If they do this, there will be one hell of a user base purchasing new speaker/headphone tech with a new connector standard (possibly lightening and/ or a new higher throughput low power wireless standard / upgrade to low-power bluetooth). They have been losing some of their lustre as THE tech music company. By buying Beats, and going all in on HD Audio, they reap the profit from the inevitable Tsunami of consumer upgrade behaviour, and fully establish themselves as design leader amongst their peers.

    1. SuccessCase

      By HD audio BTW, I am of course using the loose term that has come associated with the new ultra-high def audio standards brought into focus by Neil Young's PONO player Kickstarter project. It's hotly contested as to whether this new standard will bring real discernible advantages. For the leading tech companies, regardless of the relative merits, they will have to be seen to be adopting the newer "higher quality" standard. This is where "fashion" can genuinely be said to play a role, because I suspect blind audio testing will establish no one can actually reliably tell the difference anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      EDIT- saw your own reply to your article. Give you credit for clarifying. :)

      "Given they rarely allow themselves to fall foul of design evasion 1 - I predict they are about to go all in on HD audio. In Apple style they will simply wholly remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from all iOS devices coming out this year and moving forwards. In 2 years it will be near as dammit a forgotten connector. If they do this, there will be one hell of a user base purchasing new speaker/headphone tech with a new connector standard (possibly lightening and/ or a new higher throughput low power wireless standard / upgrade to low-power bluetooth)"

      A forgotten connecter? HD audio? High definition audio? I feel you buy into too much marketing hyperbole about how stupid you think consumers are. Look at 3D television and video calling. They didn't really add anything new. HD audio is worse because it is a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist. At least HD TV was there to improve on pictures.

      'HD' audio is sloppy term that tries to piggyback off the success of HD television. (I was using Higher res than 1080P on my computers years before it was 'invented'). Buying Beats was more about a a strategic alliance and a marketing tactic, nothing more. Beats doesn't do anything fancy, in fact they butcher the normal sound profile to compensate for the overly compressed stuff that exists. Decent sound digitally has existed for ages. It is just there has been no mass market for these consumer devices because it suited companies at the time. Memory has become very cheap allowing the use of lossless codecs which mean you can show up your 128kbps mp3s if you use a decent ADC converter with a reasonable pair of headphones.

      All of a sudden they invent 'new technology' to show how cutting edge it is. In reality, all Apple are doing is creating a licensing market to charge firms who make audio devices to sell to the public, in order to make them Apple compatible.

      I hate Apple for oh, so many reasons, (I converted most of my family to Macs, btw), but Jobs was good at running them. Now? They are your typical profit led business that will try to produce things that tie in markets. Not surprised in any way, I mean this is what businesses do. But at least Jobs was visionary. Apple are now equivalent of Microsoft in the 90s, and IBM of the 80s. Google will go that way. It is the nature of that particular beast.

      1. SuccessCase

        I respectfully disagree with your opinion on Apple, but wholeheartedly agree with your view on this "HD audio" trend. I suspect Apple and other tech companies will have been shocked by the massive level of support the PONO Kickstarter project attracted. Regardless of the actual value of PONO, no leading edge tech company will be sitting back and risking being seen as stick in the mud, no matter the real world merits and the public perception on this being ahead of the tech world, will have given Apple an opportunity I expect they about to seize with both hands.

      2. SuccessCase

        "Buying Beats was more about a a strategic alliance and a marketing tactic, nothing more."

        I disagree with this point, not because I think it is anything other than a marketing tactic, I have to agree with that point if HD Audio is no real advantage. I happen to think it is a marketing opportunity Apple didn't particularly define but now don't want to be seen to be playing catch up. I'm guessing they will have reviewed all the iPhone connectors and the need for each, as they do from time to time, and will simply have concluded, in conjunction with the evidence of the PONO project, it's time to lead the pack in ditching the 3.5mm audio jack. They will probably get the device down to having just one connector.

        There are a billion iOS device users out there. Everyone upgrading who wants anything other than the stock headphones is going to need a new set of cans. People will upgrade, even if they have existing expensive cans, because they will want latest tech, reason "I can use the stock headphones" and will do so but will soon miss their over ear phones and purchase new ones.

        I also agree on your point about base heavy Beats headphones. I personally wouldn't touch them and will stay with my very unfashionable looking Bose's. But that said, I think for that, they are actually very good quality if simply preferentially heavy on the base. Many users are very happy for that and agree with that emphasis. Where Apple will gain is there will be a massive wave of upgrades and Apple will have control over the position of the headphones in the stores where 1/2 of all iOS device purchases take place. They are colourful, made of high quality materials and are a brand with Street cred. Just imagine Apple own brand headphones and its clear their brand wouldn't quite be right. If I'm right Apple are in a position to engineer a massive revenue boost for Beats and they figured they may as well own the company and reap the profits.

    3. joed

      no way

      While Apple likes to piss off their customers/believers (e.g. switch to "lightning" connector) I doubt they would go so far as to drop the audio jack. They got themselves into disadvantageous position by not offering bigger screen and now they are backtracking. Audio jack would be the selling point for any other competing handset not even they can afford to create. Apple may be arrogant but probably not stupid.

      1. SuccessCase

        Re: no way

        You are right that is a risk. If this is the right scenario, you're reasoning has lead me to think they will have an audio jack convertor connector. Users will want the latest iPhone and say to themselves I can just use my existing high end cans with the convertor. But then, once they have got the latest device, will dislike the fact their cans appear to be second rate because they are plugged into a lump of a convertor, so they will ask for a new set for Christmas anyway. I fully admit that in this case it will be fashion, or at least image at play over real benefit. But it will be highly lucrative nonetheless.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: no way

          I really cannot see why they would change the 3.5mm jack. it is Analogue. A supposed 'HD Audio' connector, if it was analogue also, would be laughed out of the way by the press and generally more aware consumers. Apple wouldn't be so stupid. Remember ADC for displays? No? good reason for that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: no way

          HP tried that with the Veer, shortly after which they abandoned phones altogether.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      " I predict they are about to go all in on HD audio. In Apple style they will simply wholly remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from all iOS devices"

      Weird. I had that almost exact same conversation with colleagues just last week with the same conclusion.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        wireless vs wired and analog vs digital headphones

        The obvious problem with wireless headphones is that they must be charged. I can't see Apple dropping the headphone jack and not replacing it with something for this reason alone.

        So the alternatives are:

        1) invent a new connector

        2) use the Lightning connector

        3) use 3.5mm connector

        Inventing a new connector seems pointless, since it could be made to plug into the Lighting or 3.5mm, so I discount that.

        The problem with plugging into the Lightning connector is that then you can't charge your phone/iPod while listening to music without some sort of splitter, so that seems unlikely as well.

        So you're left with the 3.5mm connector. It is analog today, but there's no particular reason a 3.5mm connector can't be used to pass digital data. More to the point, it would even be possible to create a digital 3.5mm standard that fell back to analog operation if the other end wasn't digital. 3.5mm connectors are already used for serial ports on some devices, it would be similar technology with a bit more speed than their 460kbps max.

        Apple already uses a TRRS 4 conductor connector for their 3.5mm port, some sort of signalling protocol to tell it "go to digital mode" would be simple to implement. Then you use the left/right audio for differential signaling and the 'mic' (tip) to power the headphones.

        I don't see any movement towards higher quality in audio however, as people have been happy to take a step down from CD to MP3/AAC and even though Apple does ALAC (lossless) they don't sell many compared to lossy. But even if only 10% of iPhone/iPod owners wanted to upgrade their music experience, that would be one hell of a lot of Beats headphones sold.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: wireless vs wired and analog vs digital headphones

          Agree 100% with DougS, good points.

          Also, let's think about this "HD audio" scenario... so you output a digital audio signal over this hypothetical new connector... and then what? It still has to be converted to analog at some point. You're just moving the DAC from one side of a wire to the other. What's the point? Plus, it would eliminate a competitive advantage of the iPhone, which is its excellent, audiophile-quality DAC.

        2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Audio-in is dead already

          "So you're left with the 3.5mm connector. It is analog today, but there's no particular reason a 3.5mm connector can't be used to pass digital data."

          If you look at Apple's computer line up only the Mac mini is left with a 3.5mm audio in connector.

          For output the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac have this:

          - Headphone port

          - Support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone

          - Support for audio line out (digital/analog)

          The new Mac Pro has what is described as:

          - Combined optical digital audio output/analog line out minijack

          - Headphone minijack with headset support

          Am I the only one who sees the lack of audio-in combined with a move to digital audio-out a move towards preventing the consumer from copying audio from one device to another?

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Audio-in is dead already

            > In Apple style they will simply wholly remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from all iOS devices coming out this year

            Will give you points for imagination. However, the wide support for iDevices by 3rd party (Philips, Sony, Sennheiser, Klipsh, B&W, i.e everybody!) headphone manufacturers is something that I, as an Android user, envies. I might think that Sansa, LG, Cowon or some Samsung offer better audio quality, but really, I just want in-line remote audio controls.

            Again, Android vendors could have got together to develop a standard headset remote control protocol, but they haven't. Google never bothered taking a lead on this, either. Heck, headset remotes are even implemented differently across different Android models by the same vendor (Sony, I'm looking at you).

            It really doesn't seem like a hard thing to get right.

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Audio-in is dead already

            >Am I the only one who sees the lack of audio-in combined with a move to digital audio-out a move towards preventing the consumer from copying audio from one device to another?

            It would appear so. Here's why:

            Most people use laptop mikes for Skype or dictation. The Macbook's built in mikes are fit for this purpose.

            Most people who want to record high quality analogue audio use an external ADC.

            These two scenarios cover the vast majority of users' needs.

            Since most people's audio is in a digital format these days, it can just be copied. Software solutions can be used to sidestep any lingering DRM. Its best to avoid Digital > Analogue > Analogue > Digital workflows.

            If you do have a stack of audio on, say, cassette tapes, that you wish to transcribe, a USB or FireWire ADC can be had for not much money. Certainly for far less than a decent cassette deck.

            >- Combined optical digital audio output/analog line out minijack

            Has been around on laptops for years. Don't panic! As has the opposite - optical digital in combined with an analogue line-in 3.5mm jack. Certainly my c1998 MiniDisc recorder had it. This is why one end of your TOSlink 'cable' is mechanically compatible with 3.5mm audio jacks.

        3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: wireless vs wired and analog vs digital headphones

          The obvious problem with wireless headphones is that they must be charged.

          An obvious advantage is that the wires don't get tangled and you can keep the phone somewhere convenient/secure. I've been using Bluetooth headsets for this reason for years and only use a cable when I want to use the FM radio.

          Most of the headsets have pretty good battery life. My Sennheiser MM 200 was the best but the buttons stopped working and they discontinued it. Currently got a Jabra which is okay if susceptible to interference. So, Apple pushing wireless headsets is conceivable but not really worth shelling out a couple of billion for.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        What drives this is likely the soon to be implemented EU rules about standard charger connections.

        Apple need to invent a new lock in method. A proprietary audio interface sounds like just the thing...

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Some good points, but…

      The retrospective justification of Apple's success based on theory X has the bias of hindsight. Extrapolating it for the future is, therefore, somewhat unwise.

      Regarding Beats - I think it's best to see whether there will be a deal and if so, exactly what the terms are. I'm not really convinced by either the "move into wearables" or the "move into streaming" arguments. But such a purchase hardly fits into Apple's purchasing history: they tend to buy smaller companies with good IP portfolios. Or partner. Do we have any figures from the ITunes streaming service to indicate whether it's a Ping-type flop or not?

  7. roselan

    strange article

    Two points stands wonky.

    1. xbox one coolness shall be leveraged for nokia phones.

    To what i know xbox still looses money, it's coolness is debatable. And most customers don't care about it (out of the US at least). Finally, a xbox phone doesn't need Nokia at all.

    2. " however people get horribly religious about OSes and having the Google interloper in the Microsoft camp will never work".

    This is a direct contradiction with what was said a few paragraphs earlier (People don't care much about technology). Imho, CheesyTheClown nailed it perfectly: A channel phone would kill it. Only in emerging markets nokia has the lead, but this can change fast.

    Meanwhile, net usage still show ms mobile os hovering at 1%. I have a feeling Nokia is the new Moto.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: strange article

      "To what i know xbox still looses money"

      Xbox has been making money for several years, and profits are growing in that division, even during the high cost period of launching a new console...

      "net usage still show ms mobile os hovering at 1%"

      That's pretty meaningless statistic. It also shows Apple as much higher than Android. A more useful observation would be that Windows Phone had 3-4% of the global handset market last year and is growing faster than any other platform.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: strange article

        > A more useful observation would be that Windows Phone had 3-4% of the global handset market last year and is growing faster than any other platform.

        """In Q1 2004, Windows Mobile accounted for 23% of worldwide smartphone sales."""

        While there was growth, in particular 2013Q3 was well above 2012Q3*, since then the volume _and_ market share has dropped. 2013Q4 was less than 2013Q3 and 2014Q1 was less than 2013Q4 and less than 2013Q1.

        As for 'growing' faster than _any_other_ this is simply wrong. FirefoxOS and Jolla's Sailfish went from nothing to something which is way more growth.

        * 2012Q3 was a particularly low point when WP7 was deadended and WP8 was not in full production. 2013Q4 was particularly a high point because bargain bin WP7s were still being sold off cheaply and the low end WP8s were being sold at a loss to try to gain market share. Projecting those points, as you do, shows that you have zero understanding of the market and grasp incompetently at figures that are obsolete. Even Nokia acknowledged that their volumes and market share have been in decline for half a year.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: strange article

          """"In Q1 2004, Windows Mobile accounted for 23% of worldwide smartphone sales.""""

          So a different OS a decade ago had different numbers. What a surprise.

          "FirefoxOS and Jolla's Sailfish went from nothing to something which is way more growth."

          No, thats a starting position in the market, not growth in sales from previous sales. Clearly you are a moron. Tell us when the year on year growth in sales is over 100% like WP?

          See also the latest figures from May 2014 which cover Q1 2013 - Q1 2014: - http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-phone-sales-double-marketshare-barely-moves

          "As we mentioned Microsoft’s platform now sells 119% more devices compared to Q1 of 2013."

          Growth should accelerate again from June onwards as a number of new flagship devices are imminent as is the release of WP 8.1

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: strange article

            > So a different OS a decade ago had different numbers. What a surprise.

            It shows the decline of Microsoft's phone from 23% to 3%. This has been _in_spite_ of replacing the OS twice (WM -> WP7 -> WP8) to get more features and possibly _because_ of dumping the old developers.

            > See also the latest figures from May 2014 which cover Q1 2013 - Q1 2014

            The report claims that WP have sold more units YoY Q1. It also shows that the WP _smartphone_ market share declined. Your reference includes dumbphones (which declined) in order to diminish the problem that WP unit sales % increased less than the total smartphone market % increased.

            """Nokia writes in the Q1 2014 results:

            "The year-on-year and sequential declines in discontinued operations net sales in the first quarter 2014 were primarily due to lower Mobile Phones net sales and, to a lesser extent, lower Smart Devices net sales."

            """

            So Nokia itself states that YoY Q1 had _lower_ net sales in 'Smart Devices'. As Nokia is 90% of WP the figures in your reference may be questioned. Perhaps thay added in the Android-X pre-sales.

            http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/.a/6a00e0097e337c883301a511ad1f30970c-pi

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: strange article

              "It shows the decline of Microsoft's phone from 23% to 3%"

              Very different OS, vastly smaller market, irrelevant to Windows Phone's current position.

              "The year-on-year and sequential declines in discontinued operations net sales in the first quarter 2014 were primarily due to lower Mobile Phones net sales

              Mostly legacy Asha and Symbian devices.

              "and, to a lesser extent, lower Smart Devices net sales.""

              Because they stuffed the channel for Christmas - pretty normal for Q1 to drop slightly versus the quarter before. Year on Year, WP sales are up over 100%!

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: strange article

                > Very different OS,

                Actually both Windows Mobile (including its ancestors) and WP7 were the same underlying OS: Windows CE. WP8 may have a different kernel but is indistinguishable from WP7 to the casual observer (or potential customer).

                > vastly smaller market,

                Yes, MS did well when there were no competitors.

                > irrelevant to Windows Phone's current position.

                Windows Phone is irrelevant to the current market.

      2. roselan

        Re: strange article

        Meaningless maybe for you. I sell apps, not phones.

        Well, actually, I give them away for free, but that's another story.

        on percentage:

        http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2014/02/paging-mythbusters-again-did-microsofts-windows-phone-really-grow-more-in-2012-than-android-or-ios-h/comments/page/2/

        It's no more trollish than MS PR.

        MS need phones for 2 things:

        - Not to be seen as a pure patent troll when they sue/negotiate license fees.

        - Have things that actually make use of their (financially) fast deprecating cloud.

  8. Slx

    It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

    I agree with quite a few of the posters here, the world has changed enormously since the days when Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson/Sony-Ericsson ruled the mobile phone market. Those companies essentially sold 'feature phones' which were just consumer electronics much like digital cameras or MP3 players. They competed with each other on specs and user experience, but they didn't create complicated ecosystems like Apple and Google have done.

    I realise that Nokia understood the concept of an app ecosystem and it tried with Ovi, but it never really got the software just right. Symbian was too clunky as a platform and the UI was pretty bad and then they seemed to lose their direction with Maemo and Meego which showed a lot of promise but sadly never went anywhere.

    I think what you're seeing now really is Google taking the position that was occupied by Microsoft in the desktop market and Microsoft possibly going to become a bit more like IBM (i.e. infrastructure, servers, background technologies rather than consumer-focused).

    I also think that it's a little naive to compare Apple with other handset manufacturers on a like-for-like basis. All of the other companies are essentially OEMs for Google at this stage and Microsoft-Nokia is struggling to gain market share due to eco-system lock in and an unfamiliar UI.

    I think for the likes of Samsung, but more so for HTC, Sony and others they face some very serious challenges as they will not be able to differentiate themselves from other emerging OEMs, particularly the likes of Huawei and others from China.

    While I'd single out HTC Sense as quite slick, most of the other OEMs' attempts at customising Android have produced user experiences that fall far short of stock Android and I think what you're going to see over the next few years is people seeking out non-modified Android because Google provides a better UI and also because of a history of poor update support from OEMs and carriers. That's going further weaken the position of the likes of Samsung, HTC, Sony etc and ultimately they will simply be reduced to the role of today's PC and laptop makers i.e. pushing hardware that essentially runs someone else's software and app ecosystem.

    Apple is in a very strong position and comparing like-for-like hardware sales really doesn't make any sense. It owns pretty much every aspect of the iPhone, iPad, iPod ecosystem and it gets cut of every App Store sale and has enormous customer loyalty. I think provided Apple maintains a big enough user base, it will just continue to make a hell of a lot of money.

    With regard to Microsoft-Nokia, the problem is that they need to actually convince people to move to a different ecosystem. That's not just consumers, but also developers. The majority of app developers still concentrate almost exclusively on iOS and Android. Microsoft's mobile platform is interesting, but it doesn't have the user base to generate enough sales to make it worthwhile for an App developer to spend a lot of time and resources coding for it.

    Lack of a very wide variety of apps means that people won't jump ship from Android and iOS.

    It's a catch 22 for Microsoft as you need to get the customers on board to get the developers on board and you need to get the developers on board to get the customers on board.

    I think basically Microsoft's joined the party far too late. If they'd been in this position in 2007, they'd have taken a big chunk of the market, in 2014, they're nearly a decade too late. The app ecosystems are fully established and people are too heavily invested to jump ship.

    I'd also add that I think Microsoft's well known name, but it's a weak consumer brand. It never really pushed its own name as a consumer brand and instead fragmented itself into Xbox, Windows, Office, Hotmail, Windows Mail etc and also that attempt at a media player : Zune.

    Microsoft's only potential hope is to get into the mobile device sector thorough a migration from laptops to tablets. Although, that doesn't even seem to be going all that well with a huge dominance by Apple and Google despite Windows 8's best efforts.

    So, I'm not really sure what's going to happen. Microsoft could end up very much like IBM, big but in the background.

    1. ARP2

      Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

      I would agree with the developer/consumer paradox and would add the following:

      1) Where WP does have an app that achieves the functionality you want, it's often not the popular app. It reminds me of going to dollar stores in the US (I'm sure you have an equivalent across the pond), where brands aren't quite the same- Pume shoes, Tidal laundry detergent, etc. Instead of Run Keeper you have Run Tracker, etc.

      2) Lock-in. I would estimate that I have about 50 GBP worth of apps on my phone. So I have to add this amount to my cost when considering a MS phone. Also, I would need to figure out how to play and manage my existing media on a WP. Yes, there are tools to do this, but that's another investment.

      3) Media Store. MS doesn't have a good media store like Apple and Android. Again, there are work-arounds.

      All of these elements means there's a lot of additional investment (time and money) by the consumer to get the ecosystem where they were when they had an Apple or Android phone. That means that WP needs to offer something compelling to cause people to switch- they haven't done that yet.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

        It's more or less like using Linux then, instead of having Microsoft Office you have LibreOffice, instead of having Adobe Photoshop you have Gimp, etc. etc...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

          "It's more or less like using Linux then, instead of having Microsoft Office you have LibreOffice, instead of having Adobe Photoshop you have Gimp, etc. etc..."

          Yes, but that's like saying instead of toilet paper you have a flat stick.

          1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

            Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

            Yes, but that depends on what it is you are trying to achieve. Wipe your defiled anus, or paddle your way out of the sh1t creek MS left you in?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

              In this case you would use those replacement tools only for a specifc purpose. And those named as replacements are clearly vastly inferior to the originals.

              1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

                Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

                No one said anything about there being restrictive terms and conditions of use. Oh.. no.. wait a minute.. sorry.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

        "It reminds me of going to dollar stores in the US (I'm sure you have an equivalent across the pond)"

        Somewhat equivalent, but not quite. US Dollar stores have some decent quality stuff for cheap prices, whereas absolutely everything above 1 euro in the "1 euro" stores is rubbish.

      3. Neil Alexander

        Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

        "3) Media Store. MS doesn't have a good media store like Apple and Android. Again, there are work-arounds."

        I don't know about Xbox Video, but Xbox Music is perfectly fine.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

        "MS doesn't have a good media store like Apple and Android. "

        Microsoft's store has more songs available than either Apple or Google !

  9. OrsonX
    Pint

    The Winning Team shall be the first team to Win

    Once you start winning then you keep on winning*

    *above a certain threshold, in MONOPOLY once you own Mayfair and Park Lane then unless you are very sloppy it's hard to lose. In a nutshell, Apple could just buy ALL the opposition right now and be declared the winner.

  10. ScissorHands

    When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

    I'm sorry - no different volume for ringer and apps? On an OS that has been around for four years? That's falling on the first hurdle out of the gate and I would immediately return it to the shop being "not fit for purpose". Nokia made phone first, computer second. My N9 is a wonderful phone. It just so happens to also have a very nice UI as well.

    1. Sgt. Pinback
      Linux

      Re: When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

      I think the reg needs an n9 icon.. tux will stand in for now

      That's the big question of the MS-Nokia buy, can the culture of Nokia's superior design chops improve Windows Phone? I kind of doubt it but it's probably somewhat possible now that there is finally a new (less sweaty and monkey'ish) MS CEO.

      (I have a feeling all the decent designers at Nokia may have already left though, not ideal)

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

        Nokia "superior design" was in hw, not sw, and especially in the phone look and feel. although in the old days of mobile phones Nokia sw was usually better than competitors from an "user experience" perspective - but it was far simpler sw.

        With the advent of smartphones, external design became far less important. If turned off, all phones now looks the same, a black glassy rectangle, and nothing more. Gone are the days when you could spot a model even if turned off.

        Nokia never understood what a smartphone is , it's not a phone that can do something else also, it's a small portable computer that can also place phone calls. This paradigm shift was never fully understood in Finland, and Maemo went probably the opposite side too much, it was an interesting exercise in putting a Linux OS into a small portable device, but it was an ugly unfriendly device for most users who weren't interested in running an SSH shell.

        Apple found the right balance of ingredients, something that can work good enough as a phone (antenna issues aside), and offer those bunch of applications the average user wanted - media, games, and little more - while using a lot of PR to make media, especially the non-tech ones, speak about its product as the "fashionable one".

        1. ScissorHands

          Re: When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

          The N9 sticks a torpedo through that battleship. The N900 was still too much of a "mobile computer", not the N9.

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

          > Maemo ... putting a Linux OS into a small portable device, but it was an ugly unfriendly device for most users who weren't interested in running an SSH shell.

          You appear to know nothing about Linux or, especially, Maemo. Contrary to your dogma it never required an SSH shell.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

            Re-read what I wrote. Maemo was very appealing to Linux hardcores who liked the idea of being able to run an SSH shell on their mobes. But 99% of the Nokia users didn't care. In turn, for example, it could not have separate ringtones for callers, which is a feature 99% of the consumer users care of.

            When the N900 was out, I had several colleagues pre-ordering one, all of them long time Nokia users. They are all developers and sysadmin. Although they liked the OS and hw capabilities, they hated soon the device as a (smart)phone, and got rid of them very soon. Probably the N9 was a better attempt, but it came too late - people already switched to Apple or Samsung.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

              > In turn, for example, it could not have separate ringtones for callers, which is a feature 99% of the consumer users care of.

              There was an app for that: http://www.crochik.com/mycontacts/

              > Probably the N9 was a better attempt, but it came too late - people already switched to Apple or Samsung.

              While the N900 was primarily a small tablet (following on from the N770 and N800) with phone capabilities added, the N9 was designed primarily as a phone that could run similar apps to those of the N900.

              The only thing that held back the N9 (and the N950) was that Elop stomped on it because it made WP look poor by comparison.

    2. JC_

      Re: When Nokia teaches Microsoft about phones

      I'm sorry - no different volume for ringer and apps? On an OS that has been around for four years? That's falling on the first hurdle out of the gate and I would immediately return it to the shop being "not fit for purpose".

      WP8.1 does have separate volume controls (finally!) but you're absolutely right: a single control was a poor decision* and keeping it for so long in the face of user-feedback was simply obtuse. Maybe the change is a sign of MS listening more in the post-Sinofsky and post-monopoly era.

      *With my Lumia 800 I'd turn the volume up to watch videos on the tube; if I forgot to turn the ringer off then when the tube went above-ground any SMS alert would deafen me. A simple UI can be too simple.

      1. Squander Two

        Volume controls

        To my mind, proper volume controls are a problem no-one seems to have solved satisfactorily yet. On Symbian phones, muting the volume applied to calls but not alarms, which could be a right pain in the cinema. I like the fact that, on Windows Phone, whatever you set the volume to actually is the fucking volume, across the board -- but I recognise that the solution has a downside too, as mentioned above. Meanwhile, on IOS, I mute my iPad and certain apps start blaring at me at full volume -- because, it turns out, the devs have specified some sounds as alerts instead of mere noises (or something) and I have to go into the damn settings and turn off all ringtones even though it's not a phone and never rings. Honestly, you'd think volume was a pretty simple thing to get right, but apparently not.

        I can definitely confirm that this part of the article is just plain wrong:

        > Worse it switches to vibrate when it is all the way down and so if I remember to turn the volume back up I need to explicitly switch from vibrate to ring.

        I'm on my second Lumia, and this simply is not true.

  11. Tyrion
    Meh

    > to the success of Xbox

    If you call losing $2 billion a year a success, yes. The loss is hidden by Android patent royalties.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      How much Google loses in giving away Android for free - it still have big R&D costs? Of course those losses are covered by the huge advertising and data gathering revenues. If you can establish a brand even with losses, and you have enough revenues to cover that losses, it's fine, it works.

    2. Charles Manning

      ... just give Microsoft a chance...

      "Just give MS a chance" seems to be the general theme of these MS-will-rise-up-and-eat-them-all articles.

      MS have been in smart phones since 2000 or so - twice as long as Apple or Google. The "give them a chance" routine is bollocks.

      In 2001, they basically had corporate smart phones sewn up.... then they pissed it away.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: ... just give Microsoft a chance...

        In 2001 the "corporate smartphone" market didn't exist. True smartphones were just then starting to appear, and some of the best ones were running PalmOS, not Windows CE. But they were unknown to most people who weren't using a PDA before. Most people, including most upper level managers and executive, wanted the latest fashionable phone, which usually wasn't a smartphone, but a plain high-end Nokia one (at least here in Europe). When I got my first smartphone - a Treo 270 in 2003 - most colleague dismissed it as a "curiosity". I told them that kind of device was the future, but they didn't believe me and kept on for a while chasing the latest fashionable plain Nokia, the model that was that year "status-symbol".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If you call losing $2 billion a year a success, yes. The loss is hidden by Android patent royalties."

      Xbox was making hundreds of millions before Microsoft earnt ANY Android patent money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Xbox was making hundreds of millions before Microsoft earnt ANY Android patent money.

        Microsoft might get paid Android patent money, but I doubt they earned much of it.

  12. LX51

    Volume Control

    "For instance, I hate the way Windows Phone doesn’t have separate volume controls for different alerts and apps."

    Install WP 8.1 Developers Preview, it has the separate volume controls and a lot more goodies we've all been waiting for!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Volume Control

      Well, it's a developer preview with all the associated issues and risks. Although I hate too the lack of separate volume controls, I still prefer a stable version of the OS than one that is not... after all the earlier version of iOS lacked even cut&paste, and users could live with it.

      1. LX51

        Re: Volume Control

        I've owned a WP using OS's 7, 7.8, 8 and 8.1 (developer preview) and have never ever experienced a crash or freeze and I use my phone quite extensively throughout the day almost everyday. Each to their own and obviously different phones/hardware will have their individual issues. Had a Samsung Omnia 7 and now own a HTC 8X, previously owned a HTC One, Galaxy 2 and a 3GS. I am very happy with my WP and recommend people try it before they knock it, yes they're a bit behind on apps but other than my banking app and Spotify I don't use anything else. I've also found IE on WP is far superior to any other mobile browser, controversial as it's IE but again don't knock it unless you've tried it.

      2. JC_

        Re: Volume Control

        [WP8.1] is a developer preview with all the associated issues and risks

        Not so much a preview as a way to get the update out to users who don't want to wait for operator approval. There's no need to be an actual developer or pay anything, just the mildest speed-bump of filling in an online form. I'd compare it to MSDN subscribers getting the latest Windows release a couple of months before OEMs actually ship PCs with it.

        WP8.1 has been completely stable and a big improvement in my experience; keep in mind that phones are being released with 8.1 installed so it's not a beta.

        1. Squander Two

          Re: Volume Control

          I'm a big fan of Windows Phone. Just upgraded to 8.1 last night. In my opinion, they have completely fucked up the notifications. I know a bunch of unimaginative whiners wanted their notifications to be exactly the same as Apple's and Android's, but could this not have been introduced as an option? For those of us who actually liked the old system, it's been scrapped. And they've actually removed the social media integration from the People Hub, which was surely the whole point of the People Hub. The fact that everything about one person was all gathered in one place and updates displayed on their tile was one of the things that really impressed me about WP when I first tried it -- and tile updates were surely a selling point. Now, instead, it simply offers you the opportunity to start up the Facebook app. Oo, amazing.

          A major downgrade, in my opinion.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Volume Control

      I hate much more the lack of any certificate management in WP8 but through MS enterprise admin tools. Actually I can't manage the certificate I use to protect my own mail., and that IMHO far worse than the lack of better volume control.

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: certificate management

        ...Got a feeling that's why my Lumia refuses to talk SMTP with my mail server.

        The inability to remove a profile picture, or the pointlessness of the Search button pales in comparison...

        1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

          Re: certificate management

          Ah! Just for completeness,Postfix needed "LOGIN" as the auth mechanism. One more problem fixed.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    where I stopped reading...

    "to the success of Xbox."

    2bn a year loss for Xbox (hidden in the financials by android patent protection racket), 50% failure rate and half your customer base ditching you and going back to PlayStation is not really a success by most peoples measurement scales.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: where I stopped reading...

      "half your customer base ditching you and going back to PlayStation"

      Xbox customer base is about 80 million - many of which came from Playstation, - your claim is clearly complete hogwash.

      I have both consoles and the Xbox One is generally the better gaming experience - a better controller and much better online gaming. I play quite close to a 65" plasma and any graphical differences on the 4 cross platform games I own on both platforms are simply not visible to the naked eye, even though apparently the Xbox runs at a lower resolution.

      For those that do care about the numbers - worth noting that to date the Xbox has also reserved 10% of GPU resources for Kinect - that requirement goes away soon...And that the forthcoming Direct-X 12 also provides a significant performance gain.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: where I stopped reading...

      "2bn a year loss for Xbox (hidden in the financials by android patent protection racket),"

      Xbox 360 was making bundles of money long before Android was on the scene.

      Possibly Microsoft are losing money during the launch year of a new console due to significant the surrounding R&D and launch costs, but the launch of Xbox One has been great for them - selling over 5 million in less than 6 months - so any 'loss' is going to be a once off...If they are selling ~10-15 million consoles a year - plus circa 50 million Xbox Live subscriptions - they are not going to be loosing money!

      Certainly Microsoft are doing better than Sony who are loosing hundreds of millions. Again.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: where I stopped reading...

        Corrected for you:

        Xbox 360 was _losing_ bundles of money long before Android was on the scene.

        It seems as if your sole source of 'information' is a brain implant with a direct feed from Redmond's 'marketing' department.

        http://www.gamefront.com/the-ps3-and-xbox-360-have-made-huge-losses-up-to-8-billion/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: where I stopped reading...

          Xbox has consistently been making a profit for over 6 years now:

          http://www.joystiq.com/2008/01/24/the-xbox-turns-a-profit/

          Sometimes into the billions:

          http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/36011/Microsofts_Xbox_360_Division_Sees_132_Billion_Profit_For_Fiscal_Year_2011.php

          "Microsoft's Xbox 360 Division Sees $1.32 Billion Profit For Fiscal Year 2011 "

          All the way to date:

          http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-01-24-xbox-one-helps-microsoft-to-bumper-profits

          "Microsoft's device and consumer hardware division saw revenues rise $1.9 billion year-on-year to $4.7bn (£2.8bn), with the launch of Xbox One and continued good sales of Xbox 360 accounting for the vast majority of that."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: where I stopped reading...

            Carry on believing that drivel. Microsoft are under slot of pressure to dump Xbox as its losing billion a year.

            http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-earns-2-billion-per-year-from-android-patent-royalties-2013-11

            If you believe Microsoft sold 80m Xbox consoles to 80m Xbox gamers than that's even more laughable. Half that number is closer to reality.

            Here is your reality check. Sony pretty much transitioned every PS3 gamer that gone next generation into a PS4 gamer, losing very few to Microsoft. Numbers suggest that Microsoft have lost over half their user base that have upgraded.

            Its so bad for Microsoft they have been forced to ditch kinect, and all their numbers are sad and embarrassing sold to retail numbers. With the retail chain stuffed beyond bursting point with unsold Xbox one stock.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: where I stopped reading...

              "Carry on believing that drivel. "

              I believe Forbes any day over your drivel.

              "Its so bad for Microsoft they have been forced to ditch kinect"

              They havn't ditched it at all. They have simply made it optional now that Xbox One console supply is no longer in constraint. Like is was on the 360. When it was the fastest selling device of its kind. Ever.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: where I stopped reading...

                "I believe Forbes any day over your drivel."

                Not a problem. Here is the Forbes article on it.

                http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/11/08/microsoft-earns-2-billion-a-year-from-android-is-it-time-to-drop-xbox/

                Who do you only believe now in your delusional "only what I want to believe" world?

  14. Flatpackhamster

    Re: Windows phones with keyboard.

    I switched from a Blackberry to a Windows phone, and thought I could never get used to the touch screen and that a keyboard would always be faster. However, I find I can type messages faster on the new phone because the predictive text on the Windows phone is so efficient. I'm not sure a physical keyboard is necessary at all when the predictive text is so good.

  15. Steve Todd

    Management is what killed Nokia

    They had this stupid idea that teams within the company would compete with each other. They also failed miserably to put in management oversight to see what was going on. The result was that much of their effort was wasted in the wrong directions. El Reg has had more than one article on this subject (see for example http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/10/nokia_ui_saga/ ) and it's pretty clear that while they had the technical ability to create an iPhone competitor, the failure of managers to get the troops all lined up and pointing in the same direction is what killed them.

    1. Miss Config
      Holmes

      Re: Management is what killed Nokia

      Once read something by a Nokia ex-insider who diagnosed Nokia's problem very simply :

      Nokia is a hardware company.

      Brutally simple as that.

      1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

        Re: Management is what killed Nokia

        Completely right about how much damage was caused by the "competing internal teams" idea. This is why every Nokia phone I ever owned was 95 percent brilliant yet always spoilt by some horrible carbuncle. Like my 6220c which had a great camera with xenon flash yet there was no VOIP client for the VOIP stack thanks to internal politics.

        Overall Nokia never did themselves any favours and their success was almost in spite of themselves. It was still surprising to see them collapse and it sometimes crosses my mind if they were deliberately pushed over because (à la Qwest) they refused to put the backdoors in...

      2. Squander Two

        Re: Nokia is a hardware company.

        That's really no excuse. The instructive example, as with so many things, is WW2: the USA took a bunch of farmhands and housewives and retrained them to build the greatest, highest-tech military in history in just a year or two. Always worth remembering that whenever anyone claims they can't do something because they don't have the right workers or the expertise. And, of course, Apple had precisely zero experience of making phones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nokia is a hardware company.

          "to build the greatest, highest-tech military in history in just a year or two"

          Utter nonsense.

          The high tech of the US in 1944-45 was designed by long established engineers and scientists. Unlike assault boats or tanks, software doesn't need any moderately skilled workers at all.

          The army that invaded France in 1944 was very well equipped but of poor quality; it wasn't able to make effective use of its weapons. (This isn't the prejudicial view of some Brit but the observation of generals on the ground.) It takes a long time to build a really efficient army, because it takes experienced officers to train NCOs and experienced NCOs to train ORs. In the same way, it takes a long time to build a software capability. Samsung have admitted that it has taken them a long time to get where they are today, and they are still behind Apple.

          1. Squander Two

            Re: Nokia is a hardware company.

            > The high tech of the US in 1944-45 was designed by long established engineers and scientists.

            Yes, and built almost entirely by people who had had, up till a year or so previously, sod all experience of building such things. People can be trained to do new things better.

            > The army that invaded France in 1944 was very well equipped but of poor quality; it wasn't able to make effective use of its weapons.

            Doesn't matter. That army was about a zillion times better than the US Army of, say, 1938. People can be trained to do new things better.

            > Samsung have admitted that it has taken them a long time to get where they are today, and they are still behind Apple.

            Yes, but they haven't said "We weren't already an Apple-like company, so we were doomed from the start." They have, instead, operated on the principle that people can be trained to do new things better.

            For a Nokia engineer to say "Nokia is a hardware firm, not a software firm, hence cannot do software" would be a reasonable assessment of the situation at a given point in time, to which management could react, perhaps by deciding not to attempt software, perhaps by deciding to change the firm so that it becomes capable of software. For a Nokia engineer to say "Nokia was a hardware firm, not a software firm, hence could never do software" is an admission of idiotic defeatist inflexibility.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From cohabitation to wedlock

    Nokia had already been 'gobbled up' by Microsoft since early 2011, when trojan horse Elop was appointed Nokia CEO. Nokia has been the preferred OEM of Microsoft since then.

    A few years on and plenty of money spent later, and the Windows Phone ecosystem and market share are still comparatively abysmal compared to Apple and Android. A few years later and the situation will be the same. But feel free to disprove me by throwing more money on Windows phones, phablets and tablets.

    We are living in the post-Windows or post-Microsoft age: you can get by a day quite comfortably without using Windows or any of the other offerings from Microsoft. Once upon a time not too long ago that would have been unfathomable.

    The gig is up, the Redmond hegemony is more or less finished.

  17. Bladeforce

    The article misses one big thing here...

    ..the amount of times people have been stung by a dodgy OS made by Microsoft for years...it stays in your mind and puts you off their name when there is better choices

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From cohabitation to wedlock

      "The gig is up, the Redmond hegemony is more or less finished"

      Why is Microsoft's share price at it's highest in about 14 years then?

  18. JayKay

    They need to ditch the name

    "Windows Phone" makes no sense. It implies that it's Windows on a phone, which it isn't.

    Something completely different, OhEs or something... anything but Microsoft or Windows in the name.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They need to ditch the name

      "It implies that it's Windows on a phone, which it isn't."

      Yes it is. It's based on the exact same Windows 8 / 2012 kernel as runs on a Windows desktop, tablet or server.

  19. W. Anderson

    A continued tale of Microsoft unproven success

    The overall perspective of Simon Rockman in this article is that of an unapologetic Microsoft shill. Even his statement of "success of the Xbox" demonstrates a purposeful ignorance and/or denial of facts since the Xbox Game console project has never been financially profitable - therefore not successful, and the most recent XBox One has been overwhelmingly eclipsed in popularity and sales by the Sony's Playstation 4, which was released several months later than the XBox One.

    No doubt "any" sales of Microsoft Nokia smartphones and their Surface Tablets swill be hailed as a glowing success, even if again unprofitable and mediocre when compared to Apple and Android smartphones and Tablet exploding sales records.

    Microsoft and it's loyal tech writers, and army of minions seem to know no bounds in fabricating great sales and innovative superiority over all other competitors from thin air with obvious smoke and mirrors tactics.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A continued tale of Microsoft unproven success

      "since the Xbox Game console project has never been financially profitable"

      Xbox has been making hundreds of millions a year for a number of years now.

      "XBox One has been overwhelmingly eclipsed in popularity and sales by the Sony's Playstation 4, which was released several months later than the XBox One.

      Sony have launched the PS4 in ~ twice any many territories - And Xbox One launched on Nov 22nd 2013 versus the 29th for the PS4 - so the PS4 launched one week later...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is also the downside that Microsoft must now face since it owns Nokia. The part of Nokia that Microsoft doesn't own still holds the patents and they are allowing Microsoft to license them. You know things like a HD microphone that HTC used and got sued over, the camera tech, Here Maps, etc. Now that Nokia no longer has a handset division, they are free to license as they see fit. So features that were unique to Nokia and thus to Windows Phone will no longer be the case. Here Maps is on the Jolla Phone running the Sailfish OS. To me that is just the first bit of licensing that will commence. I wouldn't bet against a PureView phone coming from another manufacturer in the near future. Any advantage the Nokia technology gave WP will be gone and the selling point that they currently can use will be gone. I expect to see Here Maps on Andorid and iOS in the very near future. Nokia will want to make money off of it and now you have have maps that are stored on the device, etc.

    I see the Nokia acquisition as the nails in the coffin of WP. I wonder if Nokia is laughing that Microsoft put a trojan in at Nokia and the Nokia board pulled one over on Microsoft. I wouldn't be surprised if Nokia doesn't increase their support of Jolla. One Finnish firm helping another and Jolla gets to license all of Nokia technologies. Jolla could very well be the next incarnation of a Nokia handset division without them actually getting involved directly with handsets. Nokia provided Jolla with N9's so Sailfish could be created and Nokia was already licensing technology to them and this was all under when Elop had the helm but the board said if the Elop plan (plan a) didn't workout they had a plan b. They wouldn't elaborate what plan b and Jolla wasn't even known at the time.

    The death of the handset division at Nokia was because of the management. So the board had to have known this and could have figured that the handset side just wasn't viable anymore. So maybe they welcome the trojan and let him do his thing with the real plan to get rid of the handset division and let others build phone with Nokia technology.

    Time will tell and the proof will be when we see Nokia technology in handsets not sold by Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Microsoft must now face since it owns Nokia."

      As a Nokia shareholder, I can tell you that Microsoft certainly do not own Nokia.

      "when we see Nokia technology in handsets not sold by Microsoft."

      I'm sure we will - and Microsoft won't have a problem with that provided the appropriate license fees are paid and the competition is not unfair..

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tracks PC market better than one might think

    Apple revolutionized the desktop computer market and basically any computer bought since the late 80s has been fundamentally similar to the original Mac, i.e., it had a mouse (or similar) and you interacted with it via a GUI.

    Apple also revolutionized the phone market and any phone bought since the late 00s has been fundamentally similar to the iPhone, i.e., a big rectangle with a touchscreen.

    Before each revolution, there were a bunch of players doing a bunch of different things. After each revolution, there have been only two players doing basically the same thing.

    So if Mr. Rockman wants to draw an analogy between the markets, it seems like it should be that Apple and Google will continue to dominate the smartphone industry for the next 20+ years, and not that Microsoft will swoop in any any minute and eat everybody's lunch.

  22. sandbelt

    Alternative future history

    It is Q2 2016. Top-quality Chinese phones with over-the-counter prices below $200 have redefined the market, and commodity smartphones with 1080p screens sell for pocket change. Apple's mobile consumer base has shrunk to the prestige-wristwatch market and its management promises that never again will the company overcharge for technology.

    Android is still doing well because it makes all its money from Google Apps, and can actually pay manufacturers to stay with it. Microsoft is always playing catchup, Bing Apps being less popular than the Google ones.

    Nobody thinks phones are 'cool'.

    1. James Pickett

      Re: Alternative future history

      "management promises that never again will the company overcharge for technology"

      That seems fabulously unlikely. The rest is plausible.

  23. Adam 1 Silver badge

    >Microsoft should look at how Google took a $6bn bath on Motorola and avoid making the same mistakes

    What mistakes?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What mistakes?"

      Google massively overpaid to purchase Motorola and to get a patent library that they thought they could attack Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, etc. with. Google have failed at every turn to sucessfully leverage those patents, and meanwhile Apple, Nokia and Microsoft continue to monetise Android via licensing fees. And Google are about the get spanked by Oracle for IP infringment too...

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Maybe they did overpay; in the sense that they didn't make enough of a profit as they otherwise could?

        You don't seem to understand that whilst they are losing some money on Motorola DIRECTLY, they gain INDIRECTLY from loopholes in tax law.

  24. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Straw Town

    That Apple isn't invincible has nothing to do with Microsoft's chances of taking them on.

    X-Box aside, Microsoft has yet to show success in a market outside its core Windows+ area. And with Windows Phone it's still not clear whether it is going to go for exclusivity or continue the tried and tested OEM + software route to domination. Until that decision has been taken and communicated it's not possible to say much. In the meantime both IOS and Android are becoming more accepted in the enterprise: taking MS on where it is strongest and beating it; having already whipped it in the consumer space. The Windows 8 own goal isn't going to help much there, either.

    If MS decides to become a services company then it can hope to be a winner, whatever OS is running. MS services on devices could be very attractive and it could ironically call upon competition authorities to enforce market access.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Straw Town

      "Microsoft has yet to show success in a market outside its core Windows+ area"

      You must have just got out of a Delorian. Microsoft have been making billlions for years in many other areas besides Windows - and have recently been rapidly growing many of those revenue streams too.

      "both IOS and Android are becoming more accepted in the enterprise"

      As insecure mobile handset software that needs further bolting down before deployment. Not as say a desktop or server replacement - which is where Microsoft makes a lot of money at the moment.

      "having already whipped it in the consumer space"

      Windows still has an over 90% share of the PC market.

  25. fooooooooobar1

    Microsoft has screwed its user base with Bob, Vista, Windows 8, huge prices, a deliberate policy of bugs to be fixed by paying for next major version and so on. It's a company of the 90's and early 2000's. It's history. Nobody in their right minds trusts them. Only complete techno-ignoramuses would buy a WinPho instead of an iPhone or Android.

    Please, just let the decent thing, don't buy their stuff and let them die like other past titans like Novell, SCO, etc.

  26. James Pickett

    WRT Beats phones, this is far more to do with branding than sound quality. I have some JVC 'flats' (small 'on-ear' phones) that sound as good as, and are vastly more comfortable than, the Koss ESP-9 electrostatics I bought 40 years ago, for what would now be over £2k (I was single then). The JVC's were £20 when I bought them, and since my son has now requested his own pair, I find they are available on Amazon for a fiver!

  27. Goat Jam

    This is an incorrect premise

    "The reason for that mobile-industry-in-a-paragraph history lesson is that there is no reason to assume that today’s Apple/Samsung duopoly is any more enduring than the Motorola/NEC of 1994 or Nokia/Ericsson one of 2000."

    For all intents and purposes, everything up to the introduction of the iphone was based on feature phones. Feature phones, by definition are self contained. You buy a Motorola phone in 1998 and there is nothing to lock you in to changing to a Nokia in 2000.

    These days we have smart phones. Smart phones use, for want of a better word, a software "ecosystem". In the smartphone market a user will (usually) invest in purchasing some apps for their phone and once doing so experience some degree of lockin (to the OS), depending on how much money they have invested.

    For the same reason that the computer industry evolved into a duopoly so has the phone industry.

    Just as with PC's we have apple on one side and Android in the place where MS used to be. Just like the PC industry there are multiple vendors crowding into the Android space.

    The situation is nearly identical. Why you would contend that the results in the phone industry would not mirror those of the PC industry escapes me.

    It is true that Samsung could lose the lead at the top of the Android heap but it far less clear that MS will be able to supplant either apple OR android at the top of the heap any time soon.

  28. Sil

    Availability

    Here is what Msft/Nokia must learn very very quickly.

    Either do it the Apple way and have phones and tablets available as soon as they are presented.

    Or do it the Samsung's way and have products available internationally a few weeks after the announcement.

    A Nokia 2520 tablet still not available in France is a stillborn.

    An alluring classy state of the art Nokia smartphone arriving 4 months after its announcement is just a marketing sink which will be sold at a heavy discount as an also-ran.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019