back to article The Windows Phone story: From hope to dusty abandonware

We stroll down Memory Lane and ask: was this The Ultimate Curse of Fry? Spring cleaning the other day, my wife found a Windows wristband. It was in a box where ten year old 4MB MMC cards went to die, along with paperclips, odd screws and a lot of dust. Keep or chuck? Chuck, I said, before looking closer, and realising that it …

  1. Erik4872

    I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

    Intel isn't making low-end mobile chips anymore, handset manufacturers aren't interested in making phones, Microsoft is killing or selling off their own capacity to make new phones, _and_ no one is writing Windows Store apps to the extent they write Android or iOS apps.

    I'd love to see them just drop the whole thing all at once, say "oops" and get back to focusing on Azure and Surface and software. But that won't happen -- they're just going to slowly let it bleed to death. At least HP had the guts to just shoot webOS in the head and get it over with...not the greatest decision IMO, but it was decisive.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

      Intel aren't making low end chips because ARM do a much better job. They are mature and feature in just about every device going. Look inside switches, routers, phones, media devices, cars, GPS devices etc All ARM stuff. For once, intel had no answer, they are great at the lumbering powerhouses or even moderately low consumption devices but ARM has being doing it longer and can do it better and cheaper (plus with a lower consumption)

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

        > Intel aren't making low end chips because ARM do a much better job

        This is how a formerly great company goes tits-up. They keep conceding the "low ground" until there isn't any more high ground. This is how "oh we're the mainframe people" IBM is now struggling to survive. This is how GM became the biggest bankruptcy ever.

        1. BongoJoe Silver badge

          Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

          This is how a formerly great company goes tits-up. They keep conceding the "low ground" until there isn't any more high ground.

          Ah yes, the British motorbike industry. That didn't fare too well neither, did it?

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

          Well said, Gene Cash. That's exactly how it always plays out.

      2. P0l0nium

        Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

        FYI ... It is perfectly possible to make a power-competitive X86 smartphone and it has been for the past 2 generations.

        http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/mobile-phones/52109/motorola-razr-i-review

        http://www.anandtech.com/show/9251/the-asus-zenfone-2-review

        And the SAME X86 CORES at the SAME POWER LEVELS offer superior performance per watt over the ARM cores in servers - even before the advent of Intel's 14nm server chips.

        http://www.anandtech.com/show/8357/exploring-the-low-end-and-micro-server-platforms/17

        Intel's problem is not the architecture ... its the management.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

          Mobiles seem to be out of Intel's comfort zone, as does ARM for MS. Both Intel and MS have returned to x86 desktops and servers. The world outside that is too scary.

          Now there's speculation that MS will try again in a year or two with some kind of ARM Surface Phone outsourced to Foxconn and praying that the device sells on the back of the relative success of the Surface laptops. That'll make about two decades of failure in the mobile space with the success of Surface Phone to be decided, not guaranteed because of the way MS has screwed up with Windows Mobile/Phone, Lumia, and Surface (RT versions, battery life, wifi, sleep).

          1. energystar
            Holmes

            Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

            "The world outside that is too scary."

            This is childish argumentation Dan 55. This is the people bring the micro to the masses.

            Besides the coming late to the party, should be vectors favoring the actual Status Quo. Not discarding Shareholders' misguided pressures.

            "and [is?] was known for... as well as a struggle with Microsoft for control over the direction of the PC industry." Wikipedia.

            Wonder if a new struggle is in the horizon. As the reason of this HIGHLY UNUSUAL asynchrony.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

            "with the success of Surface Phone to be decided,"

            Consumers will be even less tolerant of crashy surface phones than they're proving to be of crashy $3000 surface pros.

            I don't think Surface will survive long enough for phones to appear.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

          >Intel's problem is not the architecture ... its the management.

          Or perhaps the profit margins.

          ARM gets by on very little. If Intel start producing low power, low cost x86, will it eat into the Windows laptop market, but at very low margins? Would it be hard to justify other products?

          The danger is in whether ARM will be able to move up and eat that market anyway. Or will everything go Cloud/VDI, so that ARM doesn't need to move that far up market for Intel to lose that segment?

          My guess is that Intel want to hold off that day for as many years as possible.

          1. HmmmYes Silver badge

            Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

            Its both - the margin and the management.

            Intel needs good chunk of $300 profit/chip to afford its fabs.

            A highend ARM SOC costs ~$60

            Intel management are so indoctrinated they cannot grasp that Intel are terrible at designing chips.

            Intel survive as they can keep chucking money at a design until it works.

    2. itzman

      Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

      Intel aren't making low end chips because there is impossibly no way a CISC based chip can get away with the number of transistors an ARM RISC does,.

      Intel would have to abandon its whole instruction set..and what would be the point?

      1. P0l0nium

        Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

        FYI ... X86 has been "RISC" since the "Ppro" in 1999

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced_instruction_set_computing

        "While early RISC designs differed significantly from contemporary CISC designs, by 2000 the highest performing CPUs in the RISC line were almost indistinguishable from the highest performing CPUs in the CISC line"

        So your logic disappears in a puff of smoke, no ?? But that doesn't stop you posting nonsense on here, does it ??

        1. oldcoder

          Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

          It isn't nonsense when you remember that the CISC overhead is in translating that x86 instruction set into the RISC instruction stream... That takes a good bit of power, processing, and chip space.

        2. HCV

          Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

          "FYI ... X86 has been "RISC" since the "Ppro" in 1999"

          Why? Because, you quote at us...

          "the highest performing CPUs in the RISC line were almost indistinguishable from the highest performing CPUs in the CISC line"

          That has nothing to do with x86 being "RISC". That has to do with *high-end* chips being possible in either RISC or CISC implementations.

          In the *low* end -- which is what the OP was talking about -- the difference between RISC and CISC is that if you're not lugging around a large instruction set, you can implement a reasonably powerful core (or lots of cores) with a *lot* fewer transistors, meaning significantly smaller size, and much lower power.

          What would be a proof point for this? I would look for a "CISC"-bound company getting out of the low-end chip business. Oh, look at that.

      2. oldcoder

        Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

        The Intel processors already have a high speed, low power RISC processor... The problem is that the x86 translation has had to be layered on top...

        And that extra layering is expensive in power, processing, and chip space. Leaving out that layering would improve things between 15 to 25%. But that would also eliminate Microsoft software that is trapped with the x86 architecture...

        ARM is already without that overhead... and is gaining the high speed.

      3. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: I wonder when Microsoft is finally going to pull the plug.

        That's absolutely not correct anymore. The Intel instruction set is an abomination, but it gets translated into micro operations, and at this point in time (2016) the number of transistors for that translation is small compared to the size of a chip. This also gives Intel speed advantages like combining operations, sometimes not performing operations at all (pushing a value onto the stack doesn't actually adjust the stack pointer but just keeps a note in the instruction decoder).

        After decoding, there is very little difference between an ARM processor and an Intel processor.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

    1) Lack of apps. In hindsight (I know) you could have taken one hundredth of the £1billion *extra* reported here, and paid developers to create a decent enough app ecosystem to act as kindling to spark the interest of the masses

    2) How on earth did Microsoft - who are famous for crippling new operating systems in the name of compatibility (cf.IBM - can you still run VM/360 code on a iSeries ?) end up junking WinCE for WP6 for WP6.5, then WP6.5 for WP7 then WP7 for WP7.5 then WP7.5 for WP7.8 (yes, I have had phones with every variant since WinCE). With every churn you couldn't run previous apps, so developers (rightly) lost interest (and presumably money).

    There are some upsides, in a parochial vein. Our IT department which is running a "Microsoft only" shop, and refused to supply non-Windows phones as a result is now up shit creek. Especially since a lot of the senior directors (who wanted iPhones) were batted away with "you can only have Microsoft because of security" have long memories (well, they do when it comes to not getting their own way).

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

      I understand the radical redesign of Windows Phone couldn't have let Windows Mobile compatibility happen. Windows Mobile tried to put the desktop UI on a phone, and it was a mistake (just like Windows 8 attempt to put a mobile/tablet UI on a desktop/server).

      Windows Phone 7 was unluckily a son of the "everything must be .NET or Silverlight" stance of MS back then. Again, an issue of departments at MS unable to understand there's the right tool for every task, and trying always to use an hammer everywhere is just stupid. WP8 smooth experience was also due to native code applications being smaller, faster and less memory hungry. They are making the same mistake all over again now trying to make the same app work everywhere with an "adaptable" UI and a new framework again.

      It looks MS is still stuck when it had a single OS product, and that was good for everybody. Just, it was 1990 and there were just one form factor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

        At least try to make different products have different names. Microsoft seems to intentionally piss people off by calling things the same.

        "This is Windows Phone. Does that mean I can run Windows apps? Err, no."

        "Ah, but this tablet runs Windows RT. Surely I can run Windows apps on that? No. Bugger."

        "Never mind, my office needs Active Directory. I'll just fire up Azure Active Directory in the cloud. What do you mean, Azure Active Directory is nothing like Active Directory?"

        So when something comes along called "Windows Foo", the savvy technical user knows that this is probably something completely unrelated to Windows, and may well be end-of-life in a year. The less-savvy consumer may be burned once, but is never going to touch a Microsoft product again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

      (cf.IBM - can you still run VM/360 code on a iSeries ?)

      ... Well no, but you can on a modern zSeries.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

      For me it was 2 other keys issues: price and Microsoft's long record of abandonment.

    4. ShelLuser
      Windows

      @ac

      Finally someone who got it... So much that. Apps and features. Mostly decent apps.

      The author mentions stuff such as: "Play to DLNA was included on those launch devices, but there was no clipboard. Businesses wouldn’t get VPN or S/MIME support until three years later." but really, who cared about that? Those launch devices couldn't even decently store appointments, and todo lists were non existent. Synchronizing with Outlook? Difficult.

      Then after the first update we finally got the option to better synchronize data, everything except todo lists. That has never worked on WP7; synchronizing them with Outlook. I eventually resorted to using OneNote, which "worked" but obviously was hardly as useful as Outlook (in Outlook on my desktop I could get reminders about todo's, but not when they were stored somewhere in Onenote).

      SO yah, the author starts talking about VPN's and stuff, the problem was really much more simple than that. The launch devices simply lacked decent applications and support for common business tasks.

      And just for the record: this comment comes from a fan. I got myself a WP7.5 device, eventually upgraded to 7.6 (iirc) and even to this date I actually like it. It does what I need from it, I learned to work around the mishaps, so yah. But I'll also be the first to admit that it had fail written all over it.

      Next: Windows 8. That was a sure way to make people outright hate metro. But, that was metro on the desktop. Now, try presenting those people with a phone and then tell them that it runs metro as well. Do you honestly believe they'll even bother to try? Of course not, not with Win8 fresh in mind.

      I honestly believe that WP could have worked, it could have build a good market share. But it had one major enemy. Not Nokia, not Google, none of those... No: Microsoft.

      1. illiad

        Re: @ac

        IF they had made the GUI like apple or android or ???

        y'know small icons, with a pretty picture behind it, make a 'floating picture' one that can be re-sized, with the small icons round it????

        then it would have 'taken off'....

        1. ChrisBedford

          Re: @ac

          "IF they had made the GUI like apple or android or ???

          y'know small icons, with a pretty picture behind it, make a 'floating picture' one that can be re-sized, with the small icons round it????

          then it would have 'taken off'...."

          Uh, then it would have looked like Android or IOS and it wouldn't have been unique. Nowadays, if you see a smartphone screen you have to look for (small) telltales to know what type of phone you are holding in your hand so you can know how to proceed. The big differentiator with WP was that it didn't look like anything elese.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ac

            You of course can make your entire android home screen have a single large widget that emulates windows phone if you wish..

            It makes your Android phone work like windows phone, and you have apps too....

            There are several apps in the play store..

          2. Dave 15 Silver badge

            Re: @ac

            The truth is I actually WANT a keyboard, I WANT something different, I WANT a phone that doesn#'t look like yet another apple clone.... but it seems I am not the person ALL the stockists are aiming at. It doesn't matter how good a product is, if I can't buy it anywhere then it wont sell anywhere (the Nokia 808 was a great camera but you could only import it from a small number of online sites...)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ac

          I loved the way WinPho8 looked. The fact it looked different. The fact it was designed around how phones were heading with app feedback being key whilst being kept within the confines of a tile. The (fairly) consistent design throughout.

          Its a shame win10 lost a lot of that, and several useful features as well along the way.

          WinPho8 to me looked like it had potential. The problem I think was Microsofts obsession in the last decade or so of ditching development platforms with almost every big announcement. For apps to be incompatible and needing significant re-writes to be fully compatible with the OS between win7, win8, win8.1, win10 was just ridiculous.

    5. energystar
      Headmaster

      Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

      "...With every churn you couldn't run previous apps, so developers (rightly) lost interest (and presumably money)..." [and mind share and clientèle confidence and...]

      Microsoft conduct drove everybody mental sanity over the roof.

      If ever known the honest reasons -beyond pure hubris-, going to be textbook material.

    6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

      I partially disagree with the lack of apps. It is more accurately the lack of good useful apps that users want. The absolute numbers is relatively meaningless since most apps are not that good. On Android, Google has provide a set of solid apps so the phone is useful to users. There are often better ones available but one has solid set to start with.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

      Have a similar story. Recently acquired by a formally large German company that still only buys Microsoft as they get special deals that were in place from way back. All the employees get windows phones, all hate them and all have proper phones too. Their Microsoft only policy is embarrassing them badly.

      Currently having TFS forced upon us from up high, replacing superior existing tools, a project that will only alienate and annoy what remaining developers they haven't yet pissed off..

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

        Their Microsoft only policy is embarrassing them badly.

        Certainly this confirms one part of the comments here - that part of it is about image.

        It's like having been given a company car to drive that isn't the currently cool make.

        Or kids having the wrong brand of trainers. No one wanted to be seen in Adidas when Nike was the trend, and so on.

        People talk about "My iphone". Not just "My phone".

        In reality a phone is a phone is a phone. As long as it has the specification and functionality that people need it doesn't make bu**er all difference which one you have. Except that the cool kids all have an iPhone 6 S or whatever.

        But nothing that Microsoft can do will make the Windows phone " cool" - especially after the car crash that was Windows 8.x

  3. LDS Silver badge

    "OEMs regularly complained..."

    They couldn't put their crap on Windows phones?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "OEMs regularly complained..."

      They could put their crap on, but unlike Android guff, it takes seconds to get rid of it.

      I think I have 1 EE app on my phone and that's it.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: "OEMs regularly complained..."

        Right - they could install just regulars apps, they couldn't "mod" the OS with their crap. And I guess that's why they were complaining. Just, it was one of the reason to get a Windows Phone - no third party crap you couldn't remove.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: "OEMs regularly complained..."

          "Just, it was one of the reason to get a Windows Phone - no third party crap you couldn't remove."

          It's removable if you root. The apps are freezeable if you don't. They're not gone but they don't startup either.

  4. GBE

    "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

    "UWP apps aren't designed for desktop, tablet or phone, but can adapt to each display size. Predictably, this lowest common denominator approach has been an aesthetic disaster,"

    Yup. Over the decades, I've been involved to various extents in a number of efforts to develop a "Universal Something-or-Other. A "universal board set" for use in products with different requirements, a "universal table-driven application generator" that was going to... I'm not sure what... [I only went to a few project reviews for that one]. A universal device API/library that would allow application writers to run the same code on Windows or on various RTOSes. A "universal transmitter OS" that would [blah, blah, blah], etc.

    All were complete and utter disasters. They did nothing well and often nothing at all.

    Development often went on for years and delivered nothing. When they did deliver something the performance was awful, the resource usage was huge, and using them didn't save any development time or reduce bugs.

    They _always_ got their asses kicked (in any and all measures) by application-specific designs.

    But people keep chasing the holy grail...

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

      "But people keep chasing the holy grail..."

      will they get arrested for being 'too silly' at the end?

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

      But people keep chasing the holy grail...

      Lying behind that is probably a mistaken belief that 'we'll get it right even if everyone else has failed'.

      But on the other hand divergence can equally be a problem. Look at Google with Android, Chrome OS and, coming soon, Brillo. There is often no commonality at all bar the corporation or branding.

      Developers would like to 'write once, run anywhere' so it's not surprising some sort of 'universal' crops up time after time.

      1. Tchou
        Boffin

        Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

        'write once, run anywhere' is a marketing fad that have no technical reality.

        Devices have architectures, different uses, ...

        Developers who like the 'code once, run everywhere' fad are by definition sloppy programmers who don't have any interest in their job beyond knowing by heart a set of commands developed for them by a tech provider.

        The one and only interest in programming is the interaction you get with the target platform and the challenges and possibilities that comes with it.

        1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

          The allure of "write once run anywhere" is reduces the development time. But as noted by many others, each device and device class has a set of unique capabilities and requirements. Either one exploits those capabilities or they are ignored. In the first instance, the software is basically crippleware on all devices because it has to run on what is common to all. In the second case one is deliberately providing crippleware and a superior bit suitable for the device will always be preferred.

          The real key is to focus on how the software is going to be used and the best devices for that use.

        2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

          I don't know. Java has seemed to do the job of write once run everywhere to the best degree (IE functional but not perfect) from what I can see. Oh, but that's assuming you don't need gui, controls/input and all the other os/device specific stuff that is impossible to predict.

          1. Vic

            Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

            Java has seemed to do the job of write once run everywhere to the best degree

            Can't agree with that. There's a reason people have coined the term "write once, debug everywhere"...

            Oh, but that's assuming you don't need gui, controls/input and all the other os/device specific stuff that is impossible to predict.

            One of the biggest problems, IMO, is the inability to have much control over different threads of execution - which is explicitly prevented by insisting on this "run anywhere" goal. If you can't dictate the underlying threading model of the platform, you can't dictate the run order of your threads. And in a multi-threaded environment, that can be a real problem...

            Vic.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

        >Lying behind that is probably a mistaken belief that 'we'll get it right even if everyone else has failed'.

        I don't think that was it. Their problem was that there few windows phone apps so they were hoping to leverage their desktop application dev army. Hence, the abomination which is W8.

        They should have gone for security and privacy as their USP, but they shot that idea down with W10 and then viciously stomped all over it with their backports to W7.

        So yes, I'll take the free "upgrade" to W10, but it will sit on a very lonely and under-utilised partition with a couple of games. Another freebie W10 system runs in a VM for customers who insist on that sort of thing. All *my* stuff gets done on Linux. Even my gaming purchases only go forward with that magic little "steamplay" icon.

    3. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: "Universal" anything is always a disaster...

      Great, now they decided to put a bullet in it, please can they also put a bullet in this stupid UI it's inflicted on Windows desktop too.

      Great minimalist designs need a lot of careful though, the newer UI looks like they just shot the design team to save money.

  5. sysconfig

    Shame

    Even though most people evidently prefer Android and IOS, it is always bad news for consumers when fewer competitors remain.

    1. kventin

      Re: Shame

      i'm not sure wp was doing that much for competition -- in the end they mostly competed with themselves.

      now they've turned into another mobile-os-that-might-have-been, they are in distinguished company: qnx, palm, epoc.

      maybe betamax always loses to vhs? (or is this something completely different?)

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: " in the end they [WP] mostly competed with themselves."

        Also worth remembering Android has plenty of internal competition, with every manufacturer trying to stamp their own ideas on it's UI, built in apps and hardware (something the Android haters also tend to bundle into the 'fragmentation' theme). Then throw in all the tweaks, hacks, apps and firmware hackers independent developers create.

        Much of Android's evolution is driven by Google plucking out the best ideas from that sea of experiments. Most of the 'new' ideas in WP were being tried somewhere on Android before Microsoft 'inventet' them. Most failed.

      2. Zakhar

        Re: Shame

        "maybe betamax always loses to vhs? (or is this something completely different?)"

        It is obviously something different because Betmax was superior to the other standards.

        (And lost the same).

        1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Shame

          Betamax's Achilles' heel was that you couldn't fit a full-length movie on one tape. And that was indeed a deal breaker. So yes, Beta would always lose to VHS for all but speciality applications like TV stations using it for shorts and commercials.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: Shame

            Betamax's Achilles' heel was that you couldn't fit a full-length movie on one tape. And that was indeed a deal breaker. So yes, Beta would always lose to VHS for all but speciality applications like TV stations using it for shorts and commercials.

            It appears you're confusing Betamax and Betacam here. Early '90's I had a Betamax recorder, and you could fit three hours on an L750 tape. Furthermore, I doubt that broadcast would be using a home format like Betamax, rather using Betacam or (before that) U-Matic/BVU.

            Betamax losing the video format war is commonly attributed to porn not being available as rental video.

            1. King Jack Silver badge
              Holmes

              Re: Shame

              @ Stoneshop

              I'm more inclined to say that Betamax lost because there were few films in the video rental shops. There was a huge amount of stuff for VHS but nothing for other formats. My mother armed with that knowledge went out and bought a Betamax machine. When asked why, she said the man in the shop told her to. Another reason for Betamax failure was the funny tape lengths used. You could never fill the tapes up. I guess that was a ploy to sell more tapes. What it did was piss off families and made them move on to VHS.

            2. DougS Silver badge

              Re: Shame

              What Betamax could do in the 90s was irrelevant, because it had already lost to VHS by then. What he's talking about with the small tapes is from a decade earlier, when VHS won. By the early 90s when you are talking up a three hour tape, you could get 6 and 8 hour VHS tapes.

              That was pretty convenient for setting a few recordings when you left for the weekend. Three hours isn't going to cut it then, especially if what you wanted to record while you were gone was a football game.

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Even though most people evidently prefer Android and IOS

      Sorry, bollocks.

      I *use* Android, because it's either Android or iOS. But I don't "prefer" it.

      I still "prefer" Windows Phone (v8). However, the lack of apps means it simply isn't a viable choice in 2016.

      Manufacturers need to be very careful of assuming every sale is a committed customer. Personally I think there is still space for something other than Android and iOS (wife uses that, so I can evaluate both). Which means I have no automatic compulsion to make my next phone an Android.

      (UK) Big supermarkets made the same mistake, assuming you shopped there because you *wanted* to. The rise of Lidl, and Aldi shows that was a mistake.

      And whilst it may take some effort to temp a naysayer to your corner (as in my case with Android) it's at least twice the effort to persuade someone to return to the fold once they jump ship ....which brings us full circle back to Windows Phone.

      1. L05ER

        Re: Even though most people evidently prefer Android and IOS

        if more people bitched about the problem instead of just settling for overwhelming mountains of shit apps, MAYBE we wouldn't be here.

        just a thought from another WinPhone user since WinCE.

      2. sysconfig

        @JimmyPage - Re: Even though most people evidently prefer Android and IOS

        I *use* Android, because it's either Android or iOS. But I don't "prefer" it.

        By prefer I actually meant choose for whatever reason, simply based on market share. Should have been a bit clearer there.

        That was a very general and neutral statement. However, on a more personal note, just for the record, I have a Lumia 650 myself, which I think offers fantastic value for money and is a very neat phone altogether. Apps aren't a problem for me, because those which I need, are available and work well. I do not fancy going back to either Apple or Android, either.

    3. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      Even though most people evidently prefer Android and IOS, it is always bad news for consumers when fewer competitors remain.

      I wouldn't be too concerned. Back in 2007 half of all smartphones were made by some Finnish company nobody now remembers. Or remember when Alta Vista was the leading search engine? Or AOL was the largest ISP on the planet?

      The dominance of Google will not last forever. Apple may do a bit better because they lead on brand rather than technology, but even that's not proven. This is the unfortunate thing about being top dog: You can maintain your position for a while, but you can't improve it. And eventually somebody takes your crown.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Where's the room for another competitor?

        You need apps, which pretty much means you need Android compatibility. It has to be better than Android in some significant way for OEMs to want to use it instead of Android. Android is already free, so you can't compete on price. Android runs well enough on bottom end phones now there's no room there. You could totally redo the UI, but is that enough to get consumers to choose it? And if they do, what protection do you have against Samsung or Google copying its essence and taking away your advantage?

        The only way you can compete against Android is to monetize it like Google does. That means you need to be the one getting the revenue from the data collection machine, rather than Google, and sharing it with OEMs to incent them to make phones using your OS. You need to already be collecting a ton of data on people to make this viable at scale, which leaves the usual suspects who already got burned in mobile and gave up: Microsoft and Amazon.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Where's the room for another competitor?

          It depends on what competition there is. Apple is apple, walled garden and all. Android on the otherhand can be tweaked and installed by just about any manufacturer. Competition is in the hardware and device - there is plenty of variation - but the apps remain a constant. There is competition and the windows phone added nothing to the mix (hence why they are irrelevant).

          1. Dadmin

            Re: Where's the room for another competitor?

            "the apps remain a constant"

            And so do the numerous security vulns! Good riddance, Android. You guys keep using it through, and let us know how that goes, eh? I can't be bothered to wait around for Sammy to get his shame...

    4. Vince

      Re: Shame

      I agree with another poster.

      I'm using Android primarily now - but I wish there was a better choice. Windows Phone 8.1 is fine, and my Lumia 1020 a lovely phone. But the app support gap... that's the problem.

      Windows 10 on your phone is a hideous pile of tosh, and doesn't work well at all. It's completely undone the Windows Phone 8.1 benefits and slickness.

      Meanwhile my other preferred choice, Blackberry has the same issue. They've done with the least worst compromise of Android + Blackberry extras (which is essentially what I think Nokia should have done years ago - eg Android + Nokia Software extras + quality hardware).

      ...The result? I'm using Android, but I don't really want to, but sod all else is a viable option.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Shame

        I agree with another poster.

        I might as well. Whatabout everybody else? Have YOU at any point agreed with another unspecified poster? Don't forget to let us know.

    5. dajames Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      Yes, it is a shame. The phone is the one place where TIFKAM wasn't crap.

  6. IHateWearingATie

    Too little too late

    I think that MS had a chance back then, while Blackberry had started their death spiral and Apple hadn't got themselves together on making their phones properly corporate friendly, to carve themselves a proper niche. Colleagues who were using Win phones through choice (I know, a little odd but there you go) really rated them as work phones in a way that I hadn't heard outside of Blackberry users previously.

    If I were a MS shareholder, I would not be best pleased that they ballsed this one up.

    1. Where not exists

      Re: Too little too late

      Yes, the WP is a good work phone. Not quite as no nonsense as a BlackBerry, but close. The keyboard is pretty good, but like all touch screen keyboards lacks the features of a BB, such as uppercase in a single keystoke or direct access to numbers and some special characters. The Apple keyboard is much worse in this regard (I'm forced to use one for work). Live tiles are very helpful in showing you exactly how many messages are pending, and notifications take you directly to the message you select. The only feature of the iPhone that I like better is the alarm clock. Chose a loser again (was a BB user for a decade). I guess I'll keep using my 640 XL LTE dual-sim until it becomes an electronic waste doorstop.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Too little too late

        Thing is, the android based devices are good as a work phone too. You have office apps, HDMI out, DNLA, outlook, VPNs and remote wipe capability. You can install certificates with security minimums too (in fact you HAVE to add pin capability if you install a custom certificate). The lock screen can show you just as much as live tiles - with the scase on note 3 you don't even need to open the phone up.

        Our Note 3's function well as business phones plus they have removable batteries, at the time we purchased them the MS offerings were quite poor in comparison for both functionality and battery life. The DofE guys take one out with a metal waterproof case too, it comes complete with the same mapping routes and maps that the garmin handhelds have too (uses anquet OMN maps as the core) (changing the battery is an arse with the case on as it really is a snug fit with seals but you can pull a sealed trapdoor for a charging brick). WP couldn't do any of that at the time (and there were limited cases too) - maybe this has changed now but who cares, the ship has sailed and there is even stiffer competition now.

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Too little too late

        The keyboard is pretty good,

        In WP7, you cannot turn off autocorrection in the keyboard. This is cursed by all Finnish users, because the method of guessing a word used by Windows is a poor match, and if you don't check the text, you may wind up sending quite lunatic texts... The prediction is also useless in Finnish, because our words tend to be long and have varying inflections. By the time WP7 has a correct suggestion, there are seldom more than 2 letters left to type.

        (Not sure if other smartphones do any better in this department).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too little too late

      Oh Jesus!

      The number one reason no one uses WP is because it is running some version of Windows. NOBODY wants to use a slow, sick, virus-trojen-malware prone device as their smart phone. This is the perception, even if it is not true anymore. Every one I know hates Microsoft software, (even if they like Word).

      H

      1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

        Re: Too little too late

        >>Every one I know hates Microsoft software

        Such a representative sample. You know maybe 300 people at the most. There's a population of over 7 billion. Lowballing it and assuming that there are only 7 billion people and assuming you actually know 300, you know a grand total of 4.28571429e-8 of the population.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Too little too late

          >>>Every one I know hates Microsoft software

          Perhaps "hates" is over-egging it.

          It does, however, remind most people of the 9-to-5 grind. Who wants to take that with them at the weekend?

          Another fail of Universal UX.

        2. Ropewash

          Re: Too little too late

          Sure it's not a statistically valid sample, but that 4.28571429e-8 is still important.

          Each of those 4.28571429e-8 know another 4.28571429e-8 blahblahblah. Word of mouth spreads and eventually one of those 4.28571429e-8 writes a media article and here we sit in it's comments section reading about it and spreading our views to our own 4.28571429e-8 later on.

          If everyone reads/hears that Windows has failed in mobile then Windows HAS failed in mobile. They've failed to influence the market positively and will suffer for it. Whether they really had this coming due to their own hubris is another discussion entirely.

          Side note: If everyone who claims to 'love' this dying system had spent time/money getting apps ported to it rather than ditching it for another system then maybe it wouldn't be such a wasteland.

          Linux wouldn't look so good either if everyone who liked it just sat around and waited for Linus/GNU to write everything for it. (apples and oranges sure, but community involvement matters to any OS)

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Too little too late

        I think it's the app gap that keeps people from Windows phones. That and inertia... it will take time for people to upgrade their existing phones and to get used to MS being in the market, even if they had a good app store.

        I don't think it's about the reputation for insecurity Windows has. Android has one too, and deservedly so, but they have the lion's share of the smartphone market anyway. Most Android phones will not receive timely security updates, and even the belated updates will only come once or twice before the phone is abandoned by the carrier. The updates are actually one of the reasons TO buy a Windows phone.

        It's similar with the alleged Windows reputation for slowness. I'm not sure how prevalent this belief is; I know some people say that, but others (like me) find Windows to be quite responsive. Android, also, has a reputation for frequent stuttering and a lack of smoothness as well as slowness that gets worse over time after a reboot, but again, it's got the majority of the smartphone market anyway.

      3. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Too little too late

        "NOBODY wants to use a slow, sick, virus-trojen-malware prone device as their smart phone"

        Obviously they do as Android phones are still selling...

  7. Andy Tunnah

    Aww

    I *really* like windows phone. Purely because of the home screen, I hate Apple's and Android's way of just splatting icons, the tiles made the phone for me

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Aww

      I always thought the home screen looked nice in photos because of the tiles, but when I played around with one it just wasn't as simple to use as a grid of icons. The icon grid may look boring, but its hard to beat for speed and practicality. Maybe if I owned one and spent the time customizing the tiles for how I used a phone it would work better.

      Here's the real problem though - given that you would only see the tiles or the grid for a split second between waking the phone and engaging with an app, the better appearance of tiles is one of those "plays well in ads but wouldn't matter much in actual use". Now if screens were low power enough to be always on then you'd much rather have the tiles than the grid, but Apple wouldn't show the grid for an always-on screen anyway. Maybe you'd get a multi-way split screen of the most recently active apps, maybe it would look like live tiles, maybe it would be the same lock screen it wakes up to now, who knows but I guarantee it wouldn't be the grid :)

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Aww

        my android screen has the weather at the top bar, next calendar entries on the next line and 4 folders on the next line with all my apps within each folder. Bottom line is call, email, txt, flashlight and all apps. I don't even need to scroll the main screen or any of the folders.

        I press the home button, swipe unlock pattern, then 2 thumb presses for any of my apps. I suppose the next evolution might be an e ink screen on the "case" outer updated slow time.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Aww

          No, e-ink is a dead end only suitable for readers. We'll need iLEDs (inorganic LEDs) before a true always on screen becomes practical. Apple bought a company called Luxvue a couple years ago that claimed to have figured out a method to cost effectively manufacture iLED displays, some think that's why Foxconn bought Sharp - so they can start making iLEDs for Apple...

          I'm not sure there's much value to an always on screen though, other than not having to touch your phone to look at the time or check for notifications/calls/etc. if you step away from it for a bit. I certainly wouldn't want a screen that never goes dark, or I'd have to keep my phone face down when I slept! I think it would be a gimmick, but we'll see it eventually whether it is truly useful or not. Maybe the live tiles concept will make a comeback in some form then.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Aww

          I suppose the next evolution might be an e ink screen on the "case" outer updated slow time

          That's the Yotaphone. It's been quite a slow seller.

      2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Aww

        " it just wasn't as simple to use as a grid of icons. "

        I cannot understand this comment. The Windows Phone homepage IS a grid of icons. You can make some bigger or smaller, depending on your usage of them (according to Fitts's Law: if you want to hit something quickly, make it bigger on screen), and as a plus, those icons can display notification information if you make them big enough to do so.

        The mechansim to customise the start screen is even the same as iOS: hold your finger down on any item. I don't know how this could be "less simple to use".

        I would argue with some of Microsoft's terminology on Windows Phone, and all the "Metro" shells generally: "pin to start" doesn't automatically suggest "put this on main screen" to people, but I think the "Metro" start screen is still the best approach to a mobile-phone launcher we've seen to date.

        (For task-switching, I still haven't seen a more natural mechanism than Maemo-Harmattan's swipe-from edge gesture on the lamented Nokia N9, but that OS's launcher was the fairly unimaginative grid-of-icons carried over straight from Symbian).

    2. dajames Silver badge

      Re: Aww

      I *really* like windows phone. Purely because of the home screen, I hate Apple's and Android's way of just splatting icons, the tiles made the phone for me

      Many Android apps have a "widget" that acts rather like a TIFKAM live tile. With the right choice of apps you can have a home screen that looks quite like that of WinPhone, if that's what you want.

      Personally, I'd rather my phone wasn't chewing bandwidth updating the data it would need for a live tile until I actually open it so -- for most apps, anyway -- I don't use the widgets though the choice is there.

  8. Howard Hanek
    Childcatcher

    Look at the bright side

    In 5000 years archaeologists will puzzle over this variant technology and compare it to the differences between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Look at the bright side

      "In 5 years archaeologists will puzzle over this variant technology"

      FTFY. In technology, time extends exponentially when you look backwards. Two years takes us to the birth of Jesus. four years to the dinosaurs, six years and you're back to the big bang.

  9. bpfh
    Unhappy

    At least I can recycle my Lumia 635

    Car entertainment centre maybe, here maps in offline mode & an MP3 player... at least as long as here maps allow free updates to their maps!

  10. bombastic bob Silver badge

    Windows user “experience” on both PC and mobile has become awful.

    (a quote from the article in the topic line)

    THIS is _ABSOLUTELY_ the case! Win-10-nic is the DIRECT result of trying to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear (as pointed out in the article) that resulted from Sinofsky's "abortion" known as the Windows 8 'tile' look. Microsoft (for some reason) went in with BOTH FEET on that, and it's stunk ever since.

    Nevermind that W7 was successful... "no we have to do something *NEW*". And they're busy forcing us to "UP"grade AWAY from 'successful' to CRAP, because that way they can continue to sell us CRAP in the future: we'll be accustomed to it.

    (I think their reasons for jumping in like that were based on lip-licking prospects of puffing up the patent portfolio, and litigating any competition out of existence, but that's just a theory. In any case, THAT failed and we will NEVER know unless it's part of a bankruptcy)

    And now, my concluding remark: WILL! MICROSOFT! ABANDON! 2D! FLUGLY! AND! UNIVERSAL! NOW! THAT! WINPHONE! HAS! DIED!???

    because... there's NO reason to continue forward in that direction, with the obvious cliff looming ahead. But I bet they'll do it ANYWAY.

  11. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    Windows Phone FAIL

    No one wants a Windows Phone. No one has ever wanted a Windows Phone. Microsoft, please discontinue this product and give yourselves a renewed focus on making the deskop function like a desktop, not like an overgrown phone.

    1. gsf333

      Re: Windows Phone FAIL

      You certainly don't speak for everyone! I really liked Windows phone. Bought myself a Lumia 930 when it was new (after having every generation of the iphone). I still think the setup is far better than iOS and 100 times better than Android. I am annoyed that the Lumia 950 appeared to be a plastic fantastic phone and that the Edge browser still crashes too much. I'm back on a iPhone 6S plus, however really wish it had Windows 8.1/10 or that Apple would make iOS just like Windows phone.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Windows Phone FAIL

        I believe there is a lot of resistance from people who have to sit in front of MS Windows for an entire work day. They don't want more MS Windows following them everywhere they go.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Windows Phone FAIL

          That could be true.And also maybe that the demand for fun apps is a fight back against the workaday seriousness of a WinPC. It's a good point you make.

    2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Windows Phone FAIL

      Speak for yourself. I've owned both a Nokia Lumia 1320, and currently have a Microsoft Lumia* 950 XL. The 1320 is now used by my sister and is still going strong.

      As for the so-called "app gap": this is very much a relative problem. I'm a mild-mannered translator by day, and I've had no problems finding the apps I use in the store. Everything I once used on iOS has its equivalent version on my phone.

      I even use the Continuum feature with the Dock. It's great for media, but also for writing work, using a decent Bluetooth keyboard. I can plug USB pen drives and even proper external hard drives into it and they show up in the file system. (My only quibbles are some inconsistencies in the GUI between mobile and desktop, and the lack of built-in support for networks, but there are apps that can do that too and they're pretty seamless to use.)

      The fact that I can just plug the thing into any HDMI-capable TV and use it for actual work is just mind-boggling given what phones were like just ten years ago.

      Finally, it's surprising how many media pundits insist that failure in the UK or US market somehow equates to failure everywhere, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. After all, Apple used to have a tiny market share for most of the 1980s and '90s, but that didn't stop them trying.

      * This, I think, is why MS decided to cull the rest of their Nokia purchase. The "Lumia" brand is so closely linked to Nokia in most people's minds that it made no sense to keep any of it; even I've occasionally referred to my phone a "Nokia Lumia 950 XL".

      Note, too, that Microsoft already had their Surface department in place before the Nokia purchase and had been building other hardware for decades. All they needed from Nokia was the mobile phone design and manufacturing experience. Now that they've sucked that marrow out of Nokia's bones, it makes no sense to keep its carcass.

  12. King Jack Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Track Record

    Microsoft has a well worn track record of abandoning hardware. They make a fanfare of how good the new <device of the minute> is, then go to extraordinary lengths to destroy it. The Zune was meant to kill the iPod but the fools only sold it in 'merica so nobody had the chance of buying the thing. (I count my blessings). The only hardware that seems to have a heartbeat is the Xbox. Even that is being outsold 2-1 by Sony's PS4. What is running on the Xbox? Windows 10, so I'll never buy one. M$ is just a toxic company who despite their own efforts to commit suicide are still running. Maybe it's because people don't have working memories.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Track Record

      "Microsoft has a well worn track record of abandoning hardware."

      I'd like more examples since the hardware I associate MS with is keyboards, mice and joysticks. And they've worked just fine for the 20+ years I've used them. (well, not the joysticks)

      With Zune Microsoft had an uphill battle against Apple who was already dominant in the MP3 player market. According to Wiki they sold Zune players for 5 years before discontinuing. By that time people were starting to just use their mobile phones to listen to music. Apple had great marketing back then ("it just works", "I'm a PC. - I'm a Mac. Macs are immune to viruses" and people just are used to buying anything Apple, including Watches.

      "The only hardware that seems to have a heartbeat is the Xbox. Even that is being outsold 2-1 by Sony's PS4."

      Windows is outselling Linux on the desktop 90 to 1, what conclusions would you draw out of that?

      "What is running on the Xbox? Windows 10, so I'll never buy one."

      I'm a bit perplexed since the operating system is in the background and AFAIK users are not exposed to it. Does the Xbox work poorly because it is running Windows 10?

      1. King Jack Silver badge

        Re: Track Record

        "What is running on the Xbox? Windows 10, so I'll never buy one."

        "I'm a bit perplexed since the operating system is in the background and AFAIK users are not exposed to it. Does the Xbox work poorly because it is running Windows 10?"

        Attach an Xbox to your network and it will trawl it, reporting everything you have on your network to M$. That is what Windows 10 primary purpose is. It is how M$ in the future will police the web. They are already making noises about stamping out pi(v)racy. How will they know what you have? By using Windows 10. Next year you'll be reading all about it as Windows 10 starts disabling stuff M$ don't like. So not in my house.

        I didn't count keyboards as they are dumb units, just an array of switches. So yes microsoft make good expensive keyboards. Not worth the extra cash over Logitech one.

        1. Vic

          Re: Track Record

          I didn't count keyboards as they are dumb units, just an array of switches

          They're not. There's a micro in there.

          On the 286, the keyboard controller was actually used for context switching...

          Vic.

        2. Sandtitz Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Track Record @King Jack

          "Attach an Xbox to your network and it will trawl it, reporting everything you have on your network to M$."

          I think you should NOW produce some credible evidence to back your claim.

          I'm not holding my breath.

          I'm not really sure why I even bothered replying in the first place since you're constantly using 'M$'. How juvenile.

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Track Record

        Windows is outselling Linux on the desktop 90 to 1, what conclusions would you draw out of that?

        Almost nobody explicitly buys Windows. It comes with the PC or laptop, whether you want it or not. Nobody buys Linux either: Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the like are really support contracts (the GPL ensures this). Any consumers using Linux get it on a magazine cover DVD, or more commonly legally download it for free. So I really don't know what to conclude. Maybe it is that attempting to sell operating systems is a very bad business these days?

  13. Douchus McBagg

    I wanted a windows phone. I wanted continuum or whatever its called. I wanted in on a full Microsoft eco system.

    the only reason my 1520 is gathering dust is the app eco system on the iphone.

    I await the surface phone with interest.

  14. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Major Issue

    Slurp failed to understand that mobile devices serve a very different need than a PC/laptop. On a phone, one wants apps that allow one to do certain (limited) things very easily. Most are not going to write the great American novel on it; wrong tool. But Slurp, being run by idiots, decided everyone has to use Winbloat and cross platform apps. The cross platform apps either will be useless on a PC, overwhelm the phone, or more likely do something in a half-arsed manner.

  15. ScissorHands
    Devil

    Schadenfreude, sweet schadenfreude

    I'm giggling uncontrolably because payback came late but came like a ton of bricks. That "Fastlane" UX is a pale shadow of the original "Swipe" UX of the Nokia N9, which was unceremoniously killed in the cradle for this Redmond abomination to survive on life support. Then, Microsoft did me the favor of dropping the Lumia 520 from the Windows 10 roster, meaning that the choice between changing to Android or WPhone when my N9 died had been made for me. Finally someone gave the lame horse a mercy killing.

    Schadenfreude is a b*tch, though - I HATE Android.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Schadenfreude, sweet schadenfreude

      Richard Skillman worked on both Harmattan and Fastlane in his time at Nokia. Fastlane was developed for a hardware profile that was far more restrictive than the N9's - without multitasking, there's no point in having Harmattan's very nice task-switcher. On the other hand, Fastlane's timeline event view is an improvement on what was in Harmattan (and most other UIs)

      N9 died for one reason only: With a couple of small exceptions, the mobile networks didn't want to offer it to their customers. If you can't get AT&T/Verizon/Vodafone/Hutchison/Telefonica/Orange, etc to buy your handset, it is dead in the market and there's no amount of advertising or technical superiority that'll change this.

  16. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Windows

    Hopefully

    in 10 years time , we'll be asking the same questions about win7 win 8 and win 10

    As in how did m$ come up with a successful product as win 7 and then procede to throw it all away on the guff that was win 8, followed by ramming win 10 down everyone's throats whether they wanted it or not.

    And it will be a MBA/business degree course on company failures that will be doing the asking, as the students type up notes on Android XX3 tablets and iPhone 34s.......

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully

      And it will be a MBA/business degree course on company failures...

      Maybe. But MS are making good progress forcing corporates towards W10 and O365. Not showing up in the numbers yet, because large enterprise roll outs take forever in testing, planning and rollout. But faced with W7 becoming unsupported by 2020, (in fact "mainstream support" ended about eighteen months ago), business will find its hand forced.

      Like it or not, Microsoft own the enterprise desktop, and they are going to force businesses to take W10 in the next four years. With too much vested in Microsoft, business doesn't have anywhere to go and will have to take W10/O365, and pay the Redmond tithe. Google don't (IMHO) have anything credible in the enterprise space (unless you're very easily pleased). Apple are nowhere. And Linux amounts to "do it yourself" that won't appeal to people who envy the days of "nobody ever got sacked for buying IBM".

      1. Dadmin

        Re: Hopefully

        Desktops? Desktops are a dying thing, friend. Open your eyes; the server world is mostly Linux, whatever Windows Servers are out there are very very few. Over the past 5 years almost every single new job I took offered me a Mac or Win laptop, and I switched my title from Senior Unix/Solaris Admin to Senior Linux Admin. That was the correct move in 2008. I like tweaking computers, but not tweaking the shit ut of the UI so I can get my work done. Windows desktops are just a cheap way to connect, not a very good way. The thing that works for me for all Unix, and Linux, and the Macs is that they all speak the command lines in VERY similar ways. All of them! You can PowerShell all you want, it's a niche craft. Good luck with that!

        So, nice as an old XP or W2K desktop was, they aren't anymore, and what IS coming out of Redmond is not all that impressive. Still, you won't get fired for purchasing some more Windows crap, so you're in luck there. Unless I come to your site and notice how fucked up it's run and how fucking backwards it is. YMMV

        1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Hopefully

          While I agree with you in principle, and I personally prefer to use Linux for my day-to-day personal computing, Windows 7 wasn't too bad an effort, and Active Directory is a near masterpiece I would admit, even if it is kind of a Novell ripoff at its heart.

          Right now I'm testing a Windows 10 laptop for my daily admin and other tasks at work, and liking/hating it. It does seem that MS has listened to some of their hate mail since Win 8. My main peeve with any operating system is when the UI design is by some marketing schmo or focus group and shortcuts and where you go to find things you've been using for years have inexplicably been changed. Especially when a sequence of tasks you're used to doing has been dumbed down so far that you can't fathom how to do something that used to be quick and elegant without thinking like a 6 year old. And interspersed with "helpful" tips like "Make this a video chat for that personal touch!" (actually saw that come up in Skype) Who do these things appeal to in real life? That annoying waiter guy with all the 'flair' in Office space?

        2. energystar
          IT Angle

          Re: Hopefully

          "Desktops are a dying thing, friend."

          So, are you going to do YOUR work at your iPhone? Android?

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully

        It might be difficult to find a 100% replacement for Office but it's never been easier to kick the Windows habit, because Office now runs on practically anything.

        1. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Hopefully

          It might be difficult to find a 100% replacement for Office ...

          I was reminded, the other day, of the old adage that 80% of Office users use less than 20% of the features. I suspect very few people actually need a 100% replacement for Office ... and for those few there is Office.

          Most people don't need it, and wouldn't want it if they knew there were alternatives.

          1. energystar
            Childcatcher

            No doubt, Dajames...

            That MS is going to be less and less effective at CORRALING, as a cash flow cow. Maybe doing [and paying] actual work as an strategy?

      3. oldcoder

        Re: Hopefully

        Except for the fact that ALL of the "cloud" technology was developed on Linux.

        Even Azure needs Linux just to operate...

        Between 20% and 30% of Azure instances are also running Linux...

        "do it yourself" doesn't explain why chromebooks have been selling better than Windows... (besides being cheaper as well).

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Hopefully

          Oh for fuck sake, are we having another "my OS is better than your OS" cock waving contest?

          Does it matter what os you use? Does my use of windows have a terrible server on your life? If so you need help. When I pull out my iPad to send an email on the train does it cause you mental anguish? What about when I take a call on my android phone? Does that make your eyelid twitch?

          Get a fucking grip.

      4. Vic

        Re: Hopefully

        Linux amounts to "do it yourself"

        This isn't true, of course - full-service Linux support companies exist pretty much everywhere.

        But with Linux, the option to do it yourself exists. That doesn't mean you have to take that option.

        Vic.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Hopefully

          Exactly Vic, not to mention Linux is really damn simple to figure out and a few companies even have server to desktop covered.

  17. BurnT'offering

    The analysts predict

    "Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experience. The new alliance brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android."

    IDC, 2011. Gartner said similar things.

    I predict that revisiting old analyst predictions will still be a source of amusement in 2020

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Windows Phome"

    When I think back

    On all the droids I owned in high school

    It's a wonder

    I can phone at all

    And though my lack of education

    Hasn't hurt me none

    I can read the writing on the wall

    Windows Phone

    They give us those nice bright colors

    They give us the screens of summers

    Makes you think all the world's

    a sunny day

    I love a dose of malware

    I love to run scans all day

    Satya don't take my Windows Phone away

    If you took all the iPhones I knew

    When I was single

    And brought them all together

    for one night

    I know they'd never match

    my sweet imagination

    Everything looks worse

    in Ios

    1. Herby Silver badge

      Just a note...

      Kodak isn't making Kodachrome any more either!

      Filed under: Film? What's that?

  19. JDX Gold badge

    What do I replace my Lumia 1020 with?

    I liked WP - I had a cheap 610 as my first smartphone on 7.0 -> 7.5 and then plumped for a 1020 running 8.1 which I bought outright for £240 - a bargain for a top-end phone.

    As I understand it, there STILL isn't anything which topples the PureView/1020 camera which is a real shame since that was my reason for getting such a large phone!

    Anyone got any suggestions what to replace it with - mine is dying and I don't want to go WP10?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What do I replace my Lumia 1020 with?

      You can still get the 808 PureView if you look carefully enough.

      1. illiad

        Re: What do I replace my Lumia 1020 with?

        put this on an android!!! :)

        https://play.google.com/store/search?q=Win%2010%20Launch&c=apps&hl=en_GB

    2. BurnT'offering

      Re: What do I replace my Lumia 1020 with?

      A poached bicycle pump? A racing watermelon? A nuclear weapon stuffed with puffins? So many choices

    3. Where not exists

      Re: What do I replace my Lumia 1020 with?

      A basic phone, hotspot, small laptop or tablet, and a micro four-thirds or bridge model camera.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: What do I replace my Lumia 1020 with?

        The PureView would be worse than the 1020 for a usable phone experience though.

        As for "A basic phone, hotspot, small laptop or tablet, and a micro four-thirds or bridge model camera." yeah you really get the concept of a mobile phone...

  20. Quartz

    I love Windows Phone 10. It's so much nicer on the phone than Android or iOS. My only complaint is the difficulty of setting up a new Wifi connection. I've yet to suffer from the so-called dearth of apps, but I'm not a great user of them anyway.

    Microsoft would be suicidal to give up on the phone because it will replace the PC.

    1. illiad

      and google chrome laptops are already 'replacing the PC'... even the latest android will have re sizable windows and different user accounts...

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      The phone already has replaced the PC for people who never really needed a full PC in the first place (but that was all there was at one time). If you don't need mobility, a PC is superior to a phone in every way. People are not going to use a phone to create the content that people consume on phones.

  21. illiad

    The GOOD news!!!

    http://company.nokia.com/en/news/press-releases/2016/05/18/nokia-signs-strategic-brand-and-intellectual-property-licensing-agreement-enabling-hmd-global-to-create-new-generation-of-nokia-branded-mobile-phones-and-tablets

    chance of some good things happening, but is it too late????

    1. Where not exists

      Re: The GOOD news!!! Except that it's AA

      (another Android)

  22. Captain Badmouth
    Windows

    "Look at Google with Android, Chrome OS and, coming soon, Brillo."

    Andrew Neill's going to work for Google?

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Not wedded to my winphone but...

    .....I don't want an Android with all its forced apps, spyware, advertising and general exploitation and I don't want to pay the premium for Apple. The Winphone apps business doesn't make any difference to me. I don't play many games and any programmes I need on my phone are readily available; camera software, note taking, communication (Twitter/email/ etc. )

    BUT to be a mass market device you need to have the mass market "apps" of stupid games and the like. For a very simple reason - other than for these things very few people actually do need a smartphone for anything. They have no reason to buy one. Without all the stupid games Android phones would have no use whatsoever. A smartphone is a "computer in your pocket". Most people do not need a computer in their pockets. Or at all for 16 of the 24 hours in the day.

    So when they look at a Winphone and say "Where are the apps" they're really asking "What do I do with this box?"

    Winphone is/was a grown up phone in an industry built on selling toys. The fact that Microsoft can't find a winning formula without stripping out the good stuff and adding extra dross in its place is just further stamping on the idea.

    VHS beat Betamax because VHS was good enough , but gave people a use and justification to buy it. Betamax may well have been better, but who cared?

    When my new 640 dies I guess it's back to bean tins and string. :-(

    1. Dadmin

      Re: Not wedded to my winphone but...

      Don't rewrite history on MY WATCH, friend. VHS beat the higher quality Betamax because Sony was resistant against pornography being on "their" tapes. VHS had the pr0n, VHS won. End of story.

      Also, I know what a smartphone is for; it's for convenience, it's for doing things you don't really want to wait and sit down in front of a laptop or desktop for. Anything! That dearth of apps is a real problem because YOU may find it okay, but the bulk of users need to do stuff other than the main "apps"; web, mail, phone, text. Games and tip computers aside, there is a real need for a wide variety of apps.

      So, we know what we need to do with the "box" so where are the fucking apps? Get a clue!

      SatNad's latest "user experience" for doing an upgrade when you click the "go away" button(X) is pretty fucking sweet... for those of us who never use Windows, that is.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Not wedded to my winphone but...

        Dadmin

        I didn't specify what it was that people wanted on VHS - you may well be right for all I know or care. But it was VHS that supplied it. It's too long ago for me to remember details ( I was a teenager) but at the time they just talked about the available content. And seemed to mean all sorts of films, not just the naughty ones. And VHS was good enough - no matter if the opposition was better.

        I note that you didn't actually list, in your rather aggressive sounding reply, what "apps" you need that are missing from the Winphone - or indeed whether you had actually tried and failed to find a needed programme ( or valid equivalent). or not..

        In fact, behind the aggression CAPITALS and sweeping statements you say *nothing*.

        You use words like " convenience" but fail to specify what these convenient things are. Let alone what things can be done with the available apps on Android/iOS that can't be done as well or better with the range of apps on Winphone.

        And do you have any reason to think that the majority of the buying public do actually use their smartphones in this way? or even any suggestions as to what they might use it for?

      2. NeilPost

        Re: Not wedded to my winphone but...

        2Don't rewrite history on MY WATCH, friend. VHS beat the higher quality Betamax because Sony was resistant against pornography being on "their" tapes. VHS had the pr0n, VHS won. End of story."

        You are pre-supposing that WM10 is superior to IOS9 and Android 5.In reality, there is not a great deal between them, though IOS and Android have more developed and supported ecosystems, payment apps.

        The WM10 upgrade to my Lumia 735 was a buggy bucket of shit, slowly improving. FFS, they broke the Alarm App.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not wedded to my winphone but...

        > VHS had the pr0n, VHS won. End of story.

        Mind you, Apple have a straightlaced anti-nudity policy for iOS apps, and it hasn't stopped them becoming the dominant smartphone.

    2. Patrician

      Re: Not wedded to my winphone but...

      Not wedded to my winphone but..

      "I don't want an Android with all its forced apps, spyware, advertising and general exploitation"

      Get a Nexus device then - pure Android

  24. Grunchy

    Out of curiosity I got myself a second-hand, practically unused Google Glass (once they were discontinued & cheap to get used). In my hands... yep, still unused.

    It's funny, the last cellphone I ever owned was the original Motorola Startac - manufactured before Motorola stopped communicating with the analog cell signal. I actually have had a semi-modern cell for the last few years, it's a work-provided iPhone 5S, and it works great with the original FLIR One camera! I practically never use the FLIR, but I've got it, and when the opportunity arises it is very handy.

    Anyway I've been donated a couple phones since: now I've got me an iPhone 4 & a Samsung Galaxy Edge. I possess all this stuff, never use it.

    I've tried to get a Zune, but even to this day, still too expensive. I got a 6th gen iPod nano with a worn-out power button but I got the parts to fix it, & a watch strap too. One day soon.

    Eventually, one day, I might get a windows phone. To possess, but not to use. Because what use are they??

    Just fun toys to play with.

  25. WatAWorld

    In high tech you expect to have failure and dead ends

    In high tech you expect to have failure and dead ends.

    If you don't have failures, it means you're not high tech, but rather your building what others have proven.

    It is this way in aviation, automobiles, avionics, biomedical engineering, etc. Computers is no different.

    The high tech companies will venture to make MP3 players and Palm Pilots.

    Other companies will copy proven technology and make make pretty shinies.

  26. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    WTF?

    The thing of it is...

    There really are different types of people that think differently. Some people are visual, some people are more about words. Some folks are intuitive, some are plodding and methodical. There are engineers and pastry chefs. It is the rare UI that appeals to one and all. Android has its failings, to be sure, but I do think it appeals to the broadest cross section of people, and it is versatile.

    We demoed a Windows phone at work and I found it usable, but I never liked it as much as the Android I was used to. Just a personal preference. And I've never liked iOS, especially how it nags you to death with notifications and steals focus. God help you if you don't enter every password it's asking for instantly as it will nag you like a little kid going "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" forever until you relent or disable what it wants you to sign in to.

    Are people in the real world really whining about Android devices not scrolling as smoothly as WP or iOS? A little hysteresis is good. I don't need my text to go sailing off at the touch of a butterfly wing. It is pretty, I'll admit, but who is impressed after the first 10 seconds of something you're scrolling coasting to a graceful stop, frequently well past where you wanted it to? Don't you find yourself planting your finger to keep it from escaping?

    But I do always find it sad when a novel idea is hamstrung by infighting and politics.

  27. W. Anderson

    Senseless remininscing

    i don't understand the purpose of such a long excruciating article on what might have been with Microsoft Mobile effort. All the marketing and hype at the time surely was enough to wear our ear out for next decade on the topic. Reliving this development is just as senseless as American reminiscing about the country "may have won" the Vietnam war.

    It is also notable that the Microsofties on theRegister relentlessly state their believed importance to Windows smartphone, as an alternative to the Apple iOS and Android duopoly that they feel is bad for consumers. Where were these idiots when Microsoft was the only game in town for PC operating Systems (OS) as Apple Mac OS X and other viable alternatives were ridiculed as "unnecessary".

    Microsoft Mobile is effectively dead. Please bury the blasted phone line for the sake and sanity of all.

    This is May, 2016, time to move on.

    1. ted frater

      Re: Senseless remininscing?

      We,, Ive just read Andrew's article for a second time , as I enjoyed it so much. Andrew? one of your best and most creative works so far!! Anything but sensless.

      Now, im passionate about mobile phones , anyone who googles for all the comments Ive made over the years here on the Reg, will understand where im coming from.

      Its so sad that MS with all there money and expertise havent been able to put together a lasting product that folk actually WANT to buy.

      My interest is in the mature market end of handsets.

      Any of the makers can now make anything they want, BUT there either following like sheep the fashion leader, or repeating the same mistakes over and over.There are millions of us older folk who grew up with 386sx, and early nokia and before that learned our 3 r's out of books! black type on white paper.

      Now when we look at what has become the norm, ie the smart phone format, where do we start? itslike nothing weve experienced before. So what do we do? we put it back on the shelf at CPWhouse or wherever and continue using out dum phone.

      Weve brought up our kids paid off our mortgages , have the funds to buy mostly anything we want, but are now careful with our funds. If it doesnt do what we want then the seller can keep it and the money stays in out pockets.

      For me. FORM has to follow FUNCTION, dont MS or Samsung or all the other makers get that?

      A handset has to do what I WANT the way I want it to.

      All the components I want are all out there. Hasnt any maker got the guts to put them together?

      Theres a lot of money to be made asking the buyer what he wants.

      1. Ropewash
        Windows

        Re: Senseless remininscing?

        @ted frater

        I've got to admit there's much I agree with in your view here.

        I too fall into the catagory of Crusty, having learned partly from printed books and mostly from repeated physical trauma. I vastly prefer function over form and have a distinct preference for simplicity. That's why a Linux box handles 90% of my computing needs. A bit of time spent with pacman and the thing does what I want in the way I want it to (and stays that way too, fuck forced "upgrades").

        However I'm certainly not going to expect any company to build a device or write software to do only what I want. It would hardly be a selling point. My Z3 has never seen a SIM chip and is used as a portable media player and camera. My Surfacepro is a low-rent Cintiq tablet and part-time newspaper. My Win7 machine is solely for games that won't run on Linux through Steam or Wine. I don't think anyone would expect their machine to only perfrom one or two important functions, most folks would like to own one or two machines that do almost everything. The software/hardware makers have their work cut out already trying to guess what tomorrow's "everything" will be. So I'll cut them some slack for consistantly making a pig's breakfast out of their work so long as their product will do approximately what I require it to do.

        TLDR : I don't want them to release a system just for me. I'd prefer they release whatever they want and allow me to mod it.

  28. Christian Berger Silver badge

    They missed their chance

    They could have had it so easy if they made Windows Phone compatible to normal Windows. Since on Windows the OS usually handles the GUI toolkit, it would have been possible to adapt many forms to be useful on mobile screens. Even if that won't work, it's comparatively easy for software vendors to just add another GUI for mobile screens... much easier than to port it to another platform.

    All they needed to do was to replicate what they had already done on Windows NT for Alpha. Just take a slim kernel and add an emulator so the x86 userspace can run along with native ARM applications. No recompiling is not an option as much of business critical software relies on external components which only exist in binary form. Those components range from more or less obscure database servers down to VBX-components for Win16.

    For me this is a typical testament that Microsoft does not understand its customers. People who use Windows today, particularly in businesses, don't use them for their new features or user interfaces... they use them so their old crappy software from the 1990s still runs. Microsoft should have learned that with the slow adoption of Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: They missed their chance

      You want ARM devices to run emulated x86?

      The fastest ARM smart phones now are about on par with a PC from about 8 years ago, like a Core 2 quad. That emulator is going to soak up a lot of cpu cycles and memory, so the user experience will be of a PC considerably slower than that. Will it even be able to run any reasonably modern x86 software quickly enough to make it worthwhile?

      Will the limited internal storage of a phone be enough to cope with the installed size of several Windows programs? Will the limited RAM on a phone be enough to run the OS, the emulator, and an x86 Windows program that was not written for such constraints?

      Then there's the fact that Windows x86 programs are meant to be used with a mouse, not a touchscreen. Many of the buttons and controls will be far too small to tap reliably, and kludges will have to be installed as part of the emulation layer to make click and drag, right click, hover, etc., work with a touchscreen. It will be klunky and inferior to the touch experience with native apps and to the desktop experience running a mouse.

      The keyboard, too, will have to emulate an actual physical keyboard. Windows has a lot of key combinations built-in, and you'll need to have the ability to simulate these too.

      Not only that, but building a full emulator for something as complex as Windows is going to be hard. Look at all of the work that has been put into WINE over the years, and it's not even a full emulator-- it's just a compatiblity layer, since it operates on native x86 hardware. It still can't seamlessly run a lot of Windows programs. Building something that will translate x86 to ARM will be harder than that.

      I think the only chance MS had for an x86 running phone evaporated when Intel kneecapped them with the termination of the Atom CPUs in question. It's probably just as well-- trying to use programs written for a regular PC with a large screen would be miserable on a tiny phone screen without a real mouse and keyboard.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: They missed their chance

        Well you forget that most business critical Windows software was written at times when a Pentium 90 was still something your users would probably want to use.

      2. energystar
        WTF?

        Re: They missed their chance

        "I think the only chance MS had for an x86 running phone evaporated when Intel kneecapped them with the termination of the Atom CPUs in question."

        ...Still baffles me how a Company on the experience of Microsoft bet all the small cattle on a single provider. There is no option but to keep research on the issue.

        1. Christian Berger Silver badge

          Re: They missed their chance

          "...Still baffles me how a Company on the experience of Microsoft bet all the small cattle on a single provider. There is no option but to keep research on the issue."

          That's because Windows on x86 isn't seen as something important by the marketing department of Microsoft any more. They think that a stagnating x86 market means that they need to move to other platforms. To do that they have to cut their legacy branches.... unfortunately Microsoft is very much a company built on people wanting to run legacy software. MS-DOS was more or less CP/M compatible. Windows was, in its early usable days, mostly used as a way to run multiple DOS applications at once. Newer versions of Windows always had to execute old DOS and Windows applications. If Windows XP wouldn't have been able to execute Win16 applications, it would have had a much harder place in businesses. Of course this was all aided by a market growing extremely fast. In the past people simply bought more new PCs which came with the newest version of Windows so new versions were adopted much quicker. Also PCs used to have a lower practical life span. A PC from 1995 was essentially useless in 2000, today a Laptop from 2010 is still perfectly usable.

  29. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    'For all Satya Nadella’s praise of “experiences” – it’s one of his favourite words'

    This explains an awful lot. Mention of the $Product Experience is an inevitable indicator that marketing have got at it and however good or bad it might have been in the first place, made it substantially worse.

  30. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Windows

    Told you

    > Windows 10 phones are not dead yet. Acer, Alcatel OneTouch just made some new ones

    >5 months Hans 1

    >Re: Attack the OS, not the user - 'play the ball, not the man' sounds better

    >downvoted

    >Your description of iOS is faulty: It is NOT a hefty premium for a lifestyle accessory, it is the fastest platform out there, period, so "deserves" a premium. Not to say that it is leaky, just like WP and Android.

    >There is no secure phone OS anymore, since BB10 packed-in - it seems like you all want to share all your details with corps, faire enough. Thanks, I do not and will not have a choice, once my BB10 device dies ...

    >WP will not survive 2017, 100% sure, I doubt it will be around in January 2017. I hereby declare that I will donate 50 euro to FSF if Windows Phone survives January 2017, and 100 if it survives December 2017. The donations will be made in the name of the RegisterComment@rds ... please do remind me, should I forget (I won't)!

    >PS: "Survives" meaning Microsoft has not announced it will stop development on the platform.

    >PPS: Can the register do something, here, for visibility ?

    As for the cretins on here who claim windows 10 is "faster" than XP, on my company laptop, Windows 10 is slower than Windows 8.1, it keeps "hanging", upgraded yesterday, already had to create a folder (c:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop) to get rid of an error message, AND, I already had to reboot, because the "start menu" would not come up.

    Ohhh, and, slow as in, I can type three/four words on the keyboard before they are displayed in my browser, with 4 tabs open and nothing else running, except notepad and taskmanager.

    This is a Core i5 4200, 16Gb RAM, and SSD - by no means a powerhouse, but "should" allow me to do basic browsing FFS ... with Windows 10, that is not enough ... YMMV.

    1. illiad

      Re: Told you

      "This is a Core i5 4200, 16Gb RAM, and SSD - by no means a powerhouse, but "should" allow me to do basic browsing FFS ... with Windows 10, that is not enough ... YMMV."

      well I would ask what other programs are running in the background... use msconfig.exe to cut them down...

      I hope you are not using the *Microsoft* browser... get something faster, 64bit version of chrome or palemoon...

    2. Colin Ritchie
      Windows

      Re: Told you

      Sounds like you may be using compatibility mode drivers somewhere in there. A pair of online gaming friends upgraded to Win10, then had horrendous lag, stuttering and crashes until they discovered that Win10 was using Win8.1 drivers in compatibility mode for their network cards. Win10 ones don't exist for their specific cards.

      Just an idea mind, speculation only.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As for the cretins on here who claim windows 10 is "faster" than XP

      I have the same model of PC running windows 10 that the location I am currently working at has running XP. (Yes, hence AC) It runs far better than any of the work machines, though if routine maintenance is performed then the gap closes dramatically. Obviously it's not a completely fair comparison because my machine is not working on a domain in a corporate environment.

      However the same machine running a fresh windows 7 install was very poor to use, once upgraded it wasn't.

  31. Fenton

    A pity MS messed up

    I have had iOS and Android (I went android as Apple did not do a big screen phone at the time) My kids have had winphone.

    Now the basic premise of winphone in my opinion was was better the iOS or

    Android which to be honest have not moved on in years.

    But MS forgot some vital features in the beginning a decent PC app that did the interfacing to your PC based media, I.e an iTunes equivalent (and I do hate iTunes).All android equivalents are still very very poor.

    The ability to cast content to a Chromecast/appleTV was missing, and obviously apps where missing but for me that was a minor fault.

    I even played with win10 mobile today and the interface is still a breath of fresh air. Live tiles are fantastic.

    As to Windows 10 desktop. All I can say is. Don't upgrade to a clean install and do go for preview builds

  32. energystar
    Trollface

    It's about Coders now...

    [While still needed.]

  33. JohnG Silver badge

    Pocket PC

    Microsoft had cornered the market in the early 2000s with Pocket PC running on MDA/XDA devices. Then they somehow managed to lose the plot, allowing Apple and others to takeover.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Pocket PC

      Yes, my Windows pocked devices were incredibly useful to me in the days of the basic mobile phone. This was my pocked computer, a portable extension of my office when I was out working. But even then there were a few shenanigans, like removing networking capacity somewhere along the lines.

      And even then, there was a feeling that Microsoft was half-hearted about it.

      Maybe they just don't "get" mobile computing.

      Or maybe they just generally don't "get" what ordinary people do want. Something that Google do seem rather good at, and Apple seem to have been able to master.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Pocket PC

      I still think the Psion5 is the best thing I've ever had in my pocket. I've love that with modern hardware and software in it.

      Oh and some thing to stop it falling out of ones breast pocket while bending down,

      1. ted frater

        Re: Pocket PC

        Ahhh! the Pion 5!! with a modern screen and say windows mobile 6 , yes MS's best ever basic phone os.

        You see, a M phone to me has primarily do 2 things ,

        1. As a communication device

        2. as texting device.

        Now modern smart phones arnt designed to meet these 2 primary functions for the simple reason the carriers wont make money out of these. They want you to use your mp to transmit and recieve picture data, anything that maximises the expensive data you can send and recieve on your mp.

        Now as I posted earlier, in this thread, no maker meets my needs. I currently use the HTC 4700 with its separate k-board , its the nearest I can get to my ideal phone.

        The other interesting look alike flip hand set is the Seiko ER9000 the perfect mp form factor. This isnt a MP its a dictionary and Tr

        hesarius.

        Make a fantastic m phone.!!

    3. NeilPost

      Re: Pocket PC

      "Microsoft had cornered the market in the early 2000s with Pocket PC running on MDA/XDA devices. Then they somehow managed to lose the plot, allowing Apple and others to takeover."

      Yes, exactly. My Dell Axim x50 is still with me, was wonderful whilst trom Tom still supported the platform. At the time instead of waliking away from the market (retrun latew) I always through a Dell Axim Phone owuld have been awesome challngers to HTC's leading WinMo devices.

      That being said Dell Axim's, HP/Comapaq iPaq etc all ran Xscale ARM chips from **Intel**, who sold the business (originally fall out from the Compaq/DEC takeover) to concentrate on Intel mobile dominance - that worked about as well for them as WM did for Microsoft.

    4. Johan Bastiaansen

      Re: Pocket PC

      Exactly. I used to have an Ipaq 3970 with GSM/GPRS sleeve and GPS with TimTim. It was a bit of a brick, but it basically did then what a smartphone does now. Except 15 years ago.

  34. J J Carter Silver badge
    Big Brother

    We know

    MSFT baaaaad!

  35. Sil

    Very sad

    Windows Phone 7.5 was the best version imo, but even windows 10 mobile isn't bad.

    My biggest gripe is not being able to restore a backup on demand, and a restore that doesn't work most of the time, because it doesn't know it should upgrade 8.1 to 10 first, then start the restore process.

    Apart from that I still intend to use my my Lumia 930 as long as battery will allow, as it is a darn good phone and I do not need snapchat or any other similar piece of crap.

  36. RonWheeler

    Wintel

    Would consider one if x86. Despite blocky uglyness, my Linx10 tablet is really good on win10. Wouldn't touch on ARM due to app gap.

  37. mistergrantham

    Want choice = buy wp10, BB10, Sailfish etc.

    Want no choice = buy Android or IOS.

    1. illiad

      you will have to explain.....

  38. Jess

    I think there are many reasons that combined to cause this.

    By slipping Nokia a bung to kill their own systems, they alienated a large chunk of Nokia's smart phone customers. (Of the four former N8 users I know, 2 have Samsungs, 1 a Sony and the other a pureview.)

    Techies will be aware of Microsoft's history of pulling the plugs on non x86 systems. (And incompatibility of hardware and software between major Win CE/pho versions is effectively the same).

    Non techies will be aware of the amount of work required to keep a Windows PC running smoothly and the phone will be associated with that reputation. (Despite the fact that the windows core itself must be pretty damn good to even work at all with amount of garbage they load it up with by default).

    And because each version is a new platform features and apps are lacking.

    However, I do not see it as a total loss for them, without them killing Nokia phones and gifting their market to Samsung, Symbian might have held onto its market share (since each new version fixed more niggles) and so Microsoft would have missed out on lots of Android patent use royalties.

  39. Howard Hanek
    Linux

    Secret Weapon Against ISIS?

    Programmed and dropped by the millions over ISIS controlled territories to permit a sneak attack while everyone is busily trying to call each other or decipher them?

  40. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Slurp's Biggest Problem

    Winbloat phones and various W10 stupidities actually point to a fundamental misunderstanding of the market. Customers use devices that conveniently solve their problems. They are not particularly loyal to Winbloat, OS X, Android, Chrome OS, or even Linux or to specific hardware manufacturers. If they find something that solves a set of problems at price they like they are likely to bite. They will stay loyal as long as they believe the vendor(s) are willing to provide workable solutions to their problems. Apple, Google, and weirdly many Linux distros grasps this - it is the users' needs that the define success or failure not what the vendor wants. Slurp is ignoring a basic marketing premise.

    Slurp has blinded themselves by thinking users want Winbloat because it is Winbloat on any and all devices. In reality, many never really cared what the OS is only that the device ecosystem solves their problems. If is Winbloat, Slurp gets a piece of the action. If it is Android, iOS, or OS X, Slurp does not get a piece of the action. The fact that many seem content with different OSes on different devices points to the fact customers are loyal to themselves first not to Slurp, Apple, Google, etc.

  41. john devoy

    MS were clueless

    Microsoft were utterly clueless at every step, they created a nice phone OS that ran well on average hardware...then ran on the spot so their partners could release their offerings, which they eventually did half heartedly. Microsoft should have copied Apple and kept it all in house, setting a price they wanted on a release schedule that suited them instead of worrying about their so called 'partners'. Windows phone is now onto its third major OS upgrade with no upgrade path yet again for most users and special deals for US buyers that only served to alienate all other WP users; Sometimes it has seemed as if Microsoft was trying to fail.

  42. Displacement Activity
    Thumb Up

    Someone at MS with a brain?!

    “Being a special unique snowflake works for art but not design. Design should be invisible… so you have die hards that love it, but you have the mainstream of the market that struggles with it, if they try at all”.

    Now, if somebody could just tell that to the the f***wits behind the Ribbon...

  43. NeilPost

    Not aesthetically challenged apps, it's missing core apps

    Your otheriwse excellent article completely misses the point on Apps, it's not the aedthetically challenged apps written to the lowest common denominator, it's fundamental a lack of core App's killing it.

    If Microsoft had just paid companies who would not write apps to write them, or paid the companies so they could do in house that would have plugged the App Gap. It's no use people whining on that there are 'loads of alternatives' in the Window Store.

    If your big App like many others is tiresomely AppStore and Google Play only, you start you hate your phone which for many is the People Hub (sic) of your social life. If your X Factor App (for example) is not available, your Lumia is a fail. The lack of Windows Pay against Apple Pay/Google Pay is another example. If windows cross platform apps are so easy to write, where is Mobile Strike for WM10 ???.... as another example, there are many many more.

    ...the running away from support on Blackberry 10, for the few apps there is, is the ultimate fate for WM10.

  44. twilkins

    Ok, ok, calm down

    There must still be an unused combination of "Mobile", "Windows" and "Phone" so Microsoft can try again in a few years and reel in some more suckers.

    As an aside, it's quite ironic they made Windows look like it came from Fisher-Price to try and present a uniform interface and then abandon the mobile portion. Double whammy!

  45. Jean-Paul

    Useful good apps

    I really like the I integration people provided on Windows phone. But it was conceptually different that I can imagine some would have difficulties to understand. And then there was the total lack of official banking and public transport apps. And it became hard to justify using it. And I haven't even talked value things like Apple Pay on the underground and uber etc.

    I much preferred the UI, also liked iCloud support, well caldav and cardav, out of the box. But the lack of good useful apps made me stop using my Nokia 930.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Of all the highly-praised user interface designs in the past thirty years of computing – Steve Jobs’ original Apple Mac UX and WP – I’d rate WP highest of all."

    That's some moronic statement.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mobile Devices or Windows Mobile?

    Like a lot of people here Andrew seems to have got confused between Microsoft's mobile devices e.g Lumia and Windows Mobile. There may well be a Surface Phone or Microsoft may well just rely on the current five or six manufacturers making mobiles for Windows 10 Mobile. Whether Microsoft make mobiles is beside the point, for a lot of their history they relied on PC makers to provide good hardware.

    What seems also likely is that after spending time, money and effort to develop Continuum and the UWP system, that Microsoft is not just going to walk away from this. Currently there is a beta version of Windows 10 Mobile being developed called Redstone and there is strong information that Redstone 2 will be developed and released in 2017.

    So, Microsoft's mobile devices are dead? Long live Windows 10 Mobile (or at least as long as Windows 10 itself lasts).

  48. yowlingcat

    I still don't forgive M$ for Windows Me

    It may sound strange, but M$ has been making enemies of its consumers for decades. It is true that I still hold Windows Me against them - it cost me - I don't know - £125 all those years ago and what a dog. I eventually went back to W98 SE. Did they offer a refund? They are all billionaires off us, but not so much as an acknowledgement of the mistake.

    I don't forgive them for Vista. I don't forgive them for dropping Windows Mobile/Pocket PC, not even giving us loyal users a discount to migrate across to their new Windows Phone platform. I will never, ever forgive them for Windows 8/8.1: what a complete mess. Do they honestly think that people would trust them with their phones after that? The phone is more important to people these days than their laptop, so if you can't get the laptop right, they are hardly going to trust you with a phone.

    The problem is that there are too many people out there who simply do not have a warm, cosy feeling about M$, they just make a commodity we all have to use - except we don't any longer and people are voting with their feet as fast as they can.

    M$ is in serious trouble - it is all about mobile now, not Windows, and they failed to make it in the new marketplace. They may come back, but they are going to be down for a few years yet. When people come to meetings now, they often don't have Windows laptops, it is commonly iOS plus BT keyboard, or an Apple laptop.

  49. Oom Bryce
    Windows

    Everyone wants to be on the winning side

    I just upgraded (sort of) from a Lumia 1020 to a Microsoft 950. The new phone does everything the old one did, but maybe a bit faster. The camera resolution has gone down from 40 Mp to 20 - but that's hardly noticeable and the snaps are much snappier.

    The sales people are only interested in selling iPhone or Samsung/Android. They have no knowledge of WP. They tend to diss the device as somehow "unfashionable" and "think about your image".

    In public (here), people take their phones out of their pockets and place them on restaurant tables prior to a meal. Do this with a WP - and you get funny looks.

    I don't think people care about apps, or OS'es or technical matters as much as they care about appearances and being cool. iOS and Android are the in-thing and successful and success breeds success. And if you are struggling with your iOS/Android - you can always ask the person on the next table what to do next.

    I could tell you that WP 10 does everything I want - browsing, email, photos and especially the maps etc. etc. I can even use it as a phone - but none of that matters, because it has not managed to gain an "image". Too bad.

    PS MICROSOFT - WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO ENABLE THE FM RADIO ON THE 950 ??????

  50. HardyEsterhuizen

    Showstoppers

    For me it was a series of showstoppers beginning with crude and incomplete applications (e.g. the first versions of Facebook would only upload pics if you kept the app open and active, but would lose the uploads if you switched to another app) and ending with the ongoing lack of VPN support.

    As per the author, I really appreciated the vision and design. It felt like it could have been something but was just never quite finished. As a developer (although not of Windows phone apps) I kind of got the impression that they did not do enough to bring developers on board and/or the environment was too alien for enough of them to skill up to making slick apps, and let's be honest, where was the motivation to do so when the iOS/Android platforms had so much following?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft had already given up long ago

    It had ported Microsoft apps such as Office, Onedrive and Outlook (Hotmail) to iOS and Android.

    Once upon a time, Steve Ballmer would have kept them Windows-exclusive, and argued how the 'experience' on other platforms is missing out.

    The new CEO SatNad probably doesn't care much about the 'Windows everywhere' strategy. He is the cloud and web services guy. His appointment has effectively doomed Windows Phone.

    Only the most hardcore WinPhone fans (found in the usual online fan communities out there) are still oblivious to this and hope for, to quote an infamous Elop line, 'a viable third ecosystem in mobile'.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While the article has correctly identified the year 2010 when it all began...

    I am amazed that there was no mention of the mock funeral parade made by Microsoft employees when Windows Phone 7 went RTM in 2010.

    That was a pivotal moment in tech history. And on hindsight, a hilariously prophetic peek at WinPhone's future. God, or karma, has an uncanny way of abasing the smug.

    They were (prematurely) celebrating the imminent demise of the Apple iPhone.

    Do a Google search for 'windows phone mock funeral'.

  53. Schlimnitz

    "Winphone is/was a grown up phone in an industry built on selling toys."

    That's what it feels like to me too, but I'm a late adopter, and my 735 is my first smartphone.

    My most used apps look like this:

    Messaging, Phone, Weather, Email, Calendar, ContactManager (homemade, 'cos I'm fussy), Twitter, Railway app, Here Maps & Drive, Threema, shortcuts to various websites. The only ones in there which aren't MS or homemade are Threema and the Railways app.

    The camera is also a killer feature.

    Not having lots of games is a feature to me: that way the kids are always begging my wife for her Android, and leave me alone :)

    PS: I seem to recall that MS did do a YouTube app, but that Google forced them to kill it off?

  54. RobertD
    Windows

    Huh

    I love my Windows Phone.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Failure to embrace business

    There was an open goal for WP7 and even WP8.1 and that was business and education. They were never going to have the cool of Apple or the outsider cred of Android but what they did have was great business brand recognition and MS Office. If MS had opened the phone OS with better API support to the likes of AirWatch and MobileIron they could have concurred the world of business like RIM did back in the day. Instead they chose to lock it down and once again lost out to their rivals Apple and Android in the form of Samsung. Their insistence on expecting everybody to use SCCM and InTune meant that people who already had AirWatch and the like were left with poor support for their devices, not because of their MDM but due to poor API support that left business unable to control their devices as well as their competitor devices. So many business would love to have had WP7 if it had offered the best in class Managment but shockingly Microsoft either didn't care or couldn't get their act together enough to step in and pick up the ball that RIM were fumbling.

    It was all there do them. A good brand, a great HW manufacturer in Nokia and the opportunity to be the undisputed business phone of choice and they blew it...

  56. Bob Vistakin
    Windows

    This is what consolidation looks like

    Paypal tells Blackberry, Windows Phone and Amazon Fire the partys over.

  57. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    http://www.relatably.com/m/img/grumpy-cat-memes-good/41622-Grumpy-cat-good-Rl59.jpeg

  58. kmac499

    Live Tiles awful

    "But do you know what was a thousand times worse? Going on site, handing someone a Windows Phone,and watching them universally struggle with it…"

    You'd think someone might have said whoa why do people find this so difficult what's wrong. It seems the followed the apocryphal captains mantra. "The Beatings shall continue until morale improves".

    Every time I see a device tiled I shudder. Especially with tiles that randomly change, What was that? Did I miss something? or press something?

  59. Waddelsworth
    Happy

    Am I the only one ?

    I have a windows phone, and I like using it.....

  60. nkuk

    It never had a chance

    Version 7 was missing hundreds of features that were standard on iOS and Android and it had literally no apps when apps were a big thing. Most people disliked the UI and the silly waste-of-space black bar at the side of the screen.

    Version 8 was more of the same, more features but less than the competition. They also stitched up the few developers and customers they had, as the WP7 apps weren't compatible with WP8 and phones weren't upgradable.

    Version 10 was buggy, incredibly late to market, half-hearted and again they stitched up developers and customers with apps and phones that had to be abandoned. Fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice shame on me. No wonder the few die-hard customers they had are abandoning it.

    MS have failed the phone manufacturers, carriers, app developers and their die-hard customers. They have nowhere to go so progressing their sunk cost fallacy strategy with a Surface Phone is only going to waste more of their money.

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