back to article Microsoft axes 2,850 more Windows Phone, sales staff – a week after Justin Timberlake sang on stage for them

Microsoft is laying off a further 2,850 smartphone and sales staffers on top of the 1,850 workers it axed in May. The job cuts were revealed in paperwork filed on Thursday with US financial watchdog the SEC. The doomed staff will leave the business by the end of next June. They all work in Microsoft's sales teams and its …

  1. N2 Silver badge

    Ah yes,

    We can't be letting employees get in the way of profits, can we?

    Now, how many noughts do I have to write on my bonus cheque?

    1. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: Ah yes,

      And how much to buy that Timberland chap for a couple of songs?

    2. Kumar2012

      Re: Ah yes,

      "We can't be letting employees get in the way of profits, can we?" --- that is correct because the purpose of running a business IS to make a profit, not provide welfare.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Ah yes,

        >running a business IS to make a profit, not provide welfare.

        Except for co-ops or non-profits who also often are in business such as Newman's Own. While I agree for profit businesses aren't there for jobs also don't believe the Jack Welch bullshit that executives main duty is to the shareholders when its actually to the long term success of the business. Some times this means jettisoning off employees is actually breaking their fiduciary duty. Considering what a total fail their mobile business has been in this case probably not.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Also a name change-

    From 'WinPho' to 'LosePho'.

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Also a name change-

      Puzzled. We have a 3% marked share by end users in Windows phone as a failure. But a 2% market share on the desktop for Linux is a success.....? (Roll on the downvotes because of the Linux fans on the reg)

      1. Chemist

        Re: Also a name change-

        "Puzzled. We have a 3% marked share by end users in Windows phone as a failure. But a 2% market share on the desktop for Linux is a success.."

        It's not that hard really - people can go out and buy a Windows phone but they don't. People have to get off their butts and install Linux

      2. David Lawton

        Re: Also a name change-

        The problem is that 2% figure is made up from website hit stats from web browsing, i don't run a web browser on my DNS, Asterisk or Apache boxes running Linux at work and I'm sure there are millions of other Linux boxes that will never be recorded too. So its a lot more than 2% in reality, just the stats cannot log them.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Also a name change-

          "So its a lot more than 2% in reality, just the stats cannot log them...."

          That's why I said desktop. I think that the 2% figure for general use would be about right. It certainly tallies with what I've seen in the "real world".

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Also a name change-

            > I think that the 2% figure for general use

            The stats that give 2% are based on browsers visiting particular sites that send Javascript to the client which then sends data directly to the stats collector. I would suggest that Linux desktop users are more technical than the average and are much more likely to run Javascript and ad blockers. The Linux users may also be less likely to visit sites than run stats collectors. In particular my computers _never_ record in those stats.

            In any case, desktop usage is falling, as is sales. Users are using more personal types of computers and Linux/Android has more than 80% of those and this is 3 or 4 times the desktop market.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: Also a name change-

              Not so. The browser OS is determined from the User Agent string. For example for Firefox this would be something like:

              Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i586; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/31.0

              Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20130401 Firefox/31.0

              Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/31.0

              or Chrome:

              Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_1) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2227.1 Safari/537.36

              Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2227.0 Safari/537.36

              Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2227.0 Safari/537.36

              Pretty easy to derive the host OS from these strings.

              (Examples shamelessly pulled from http://www.useragentstring.com/pages/useragentstring.php?name=Chrome and I presume that these are fairly accurate examples).

        2. Alan Bourke

          Re: Also a name change-

          Right. Like 3 or 4 percent.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Also a name change-

        "We have a 3% marked share by end users in Windows phone as a failure. But a 2% market share on the desktop for Linux is a success.....?"

        Isn't the 3% "marked"[sic] share on phones something to do with Linux eating the phone market with Android.

        I've just spent what seemed the best part of a life-time setting up a Windows laptop for my granddaughter. What a pain. Broken update mechanism, even discounting the effort needed to keep W10 malware off of it. Seeming inability to archive the current install status short of imaging the entire shooting match. Inability to customise logon screen (would like to hide admin ID behind "Change user" button). By contrast an alert for 44 updates for KDE arrived this morning and they were installed in about a minute. Just why do Windows users put up with this mess on the desktop?

        1. keithpeter
          Coat

          Re: Also a name change-

          "Seeming inability to archive the current install status short of imaging the entire shooting match." -- Doctor Syntax

          Clonzilla: takes 20 mins, quicker than trying to work out an OS specific solution.

          Coat: I'm dodging the rain showers today. Mine's the one with the Voluntary Agreement in the pocket (from years ago).

        2. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Also a name change-

          "I've just spent what seemed the best part of a life-time setting up a Windows laptop for my granddaughter. What a pain."

          I set up a Win 10 PC for my partners mother a few days ago. I basically turned it on, ran through the setup screens and let it do all the updates for me. Took longer than that to install the specialist stroke recovery software. No desktop mess here. Though the amount of stuff that was a pest to get working the last time I did a Linux install made me remember why I think it'll never be used by more than a few hobbyists. Though that's the issue with anecdotes, each person will have different stories.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Also a name change-

            Well done. your Mother can enjoy the MS Spyware and MS Control over her life (via updates when she want to do something important)

            The poster you were replying to did not want Windows 10. You did so it is clearly a different case.

            An good number of posters to this site want nothing to do with Windows 10 at all, myself included.

            We do not want the spyware, the updated that we can't turn off, the mess with video drivers and ... well everything. We are not prepared to cede total control of our hardware to Microsoft.

            My last Windows 7 system have just been moved to Server 2012 in a VM. When Server 2012 that goes EOL, that is it as far as me and Microsoft is concerned.

            Everything else now runs Linux (CentOS) or is a Mac or is antique hardware (eg DEC microVax, Sun E-450)

        3. Colin Critch

          Re: Also a name change-

          Because they don't know anything else. Only eat the what you are given.

      4. hplasm Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Also a name change-

        For many, but a decreasing number, Linux is an unknown option.

        For many, but an increasing number, MS is a known -to be getting worse- option.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Also a name change-

        "Windows-powered mobiles managed to seize just three per cent of the global smartphone market"

        It's never been 3%, not even at the hight of Windows Phone sales. I'm guessing someone left the 0. off that figure, as 0.3% sounds much closer to where things are currently (at it's "height", it nearly reached 2%, if you include all the promo freebies and shipped to store units)

      6. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Also a name change-

        'Puzzled...'

        I wouldn't say Desktop 'Linux is a success, but there is plenty of interest in 'Linux in the desktop for those that like it, but seemingly little interest from Microsoft in Windows Phone - If they had a shred of decency, they'd bin the project and buy up all the remaining handsets so poor sods don't buy a dead duck.

      7. oldcoder

        Re: Also a name change-

        Linux is a success mostly because it will win in the end... Just like Linux has won in the servers, ALL sections of servers - from mainframes to IoT. Linux is a win because there are more and more developers and more users getting added.

        Windows Phone is a failure because there are less and less developers... and less and less users.

        Even in Microsoft strongholds - linux is winning. It already runs the Azure network infrastructure as well as 2/5 of the customer instances are Linux.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Windows Phone is a failure because of how much it cost Microsoft

          They've lost well over $10 billion on it, including the failed Nokia acquisition. No one is investing any real sums at all trying to make Linux on the desktop happen. Almost all the investment in Linux is for it being used as a server, or for embedded use like in your phone, wireless router or DVR. In those markets it is a huge success.

          Sure, Linux on the desktop is a "failure" in the sense that it has a tiny market share (I think even 2% is optimistic) but no one has ever lost any serious amount of money trying to make it happen. If back in 2010 you wrote a $10 billion check to fund a new company tasked with making Linux on the desktop a success, even if the entire $10 billion was lost with nothing to show for it you'd still be more successful than Microsoft was with Windows Phone as you'd have lost less money!

      8. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Also a name change-

        > We have a 3% marked share by end users in Windows phone as a failure.

        Actually the most recent figures had Windows Phone at 0.7% of the world market.

        In 2006 or so Microsoft had 42% of the US smartphone market. It has been steadily falling since then with only a few blips of mild recovery.

        The main reason that it has been a complete failure is not just that it has only had a small market share, but that it has lost billions of dollars. Nokia phone division made a loss in every quarter since making WP in spite of being given a billion dollars a year by MS. The agreement ran out and Nokia was dumping the loss making product and switching to Android so MS paid out $7billion for it then wrote that off. It has cost MS and Nokia more than $25billion - THAT is why it has been a failure.

        On the other hand several Linux companies actually run at a profit, granted that is mainly from servers and support, and thus are a success.

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Also a name change-

      Especially with Android, the Linux kernel I would bet is now running on the majority of the world's microprocessors.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    These are those who didn't upgrade to Win10 by July 29th.

    And actually you don't need sales people for phones that don't exist and cannot be sold...

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    So how many are left doing smartphones?

    Must be into the hundreds by now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like Windows Phone is borrowed time...

    Is the story of the company that had a great phone OS (well, Iiked my TyTn), to ignoring phones, to being killed by iPhone and Android, coming to an end?

    1. greenawayr

      Re: Sounds like Windows Phone is borrowed time...

      Maybe merging with Surface division if that device ever appears?

  6. johannsebastianbass

    The Pirkinning

    of the end, for Microsoft. I'm betting that company to have ceased existing by 2025.

    1. Zakhar

      Re: The Pirkinning

      I fear it will take much longer, and they are going to plague us with the extortion (forcing down your throat a licence of a software you don't want with each new PC) much longer. That is because the enterprises are very slow to move, and also people who "decide" in an enterprise prefer a "decision" they can justify (with a "big company name") than a courageous decision (such as: let's go full Fedora... the C** would tell them "are you sure, what is Fedora?")

    2. gr00001000

      Re: Honestly how clueless a comment

      3rd largest cloud hosting company with their own data centres

      O365 drive going very well, Outlook the most advanced and favourite email client, Word and Excel dominate

      Microsoft Active Directory still the favoured enterprise user catalogue and authentication system

      Still the favoured corporate OS

      Microsoft shares are at their highest in 10 years and 4 x what they were in 2008.

      They have a place in the corporate computing world, but maybe not in the home anymore!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Honestly how clueless a comment

        That sounds like it's copy and pasted from a Microsoft press release, it's certainly not reality. The PC is dying in the workplace, it's already dead in the home.

        Businesses (in particular, smaller ones) are waking up that Office365 isn't that hot, and doesn't really offer much over much lower TCO of Google for Work.

        1. Daleos

          Re: Honestly how clueless a comment

          I deal with both Google Apps, and O365 daily

          Google Apps is okay. In fact, I use it for my own business. I'm okay with it's far from perfect. It just doesn't have many of the features enterprises and even SMEs often need. It's fine for soho's and up & coming SMEs but it just doesn't give you the customisability of MS Exchange so is often unsuitable for complex business structures.

          Also, having just witnessed a company with 700 staff moving from in-house Unix server to a hybrid Exchange/O365 setup, it's my experience that Microsoft is eating up more old business structures than they losing it to Google/iCloud/whatever.

          Google third party apps and extensions are great but just try managing loads of computers with no straightforward way to lock/block/approve or do mass updates/upgrades of extensions/apps. Also, the micro costs of the actually decent extension that bring it up to spec build up really quickly so the TCOs can easily spiral out of control.

          Sure, if you're business has simple needs, then Google for work may be more than fine but as a sysadmin, I know which system gives me the least amount of work to do to keep everyone in the business on the same page and that's currently MS.

          I think there's a big difference with what the user wants/needs and what the admins want/need. Google for Work for the user does about 90% of what O365 can do (but may do a lot of that 90% a little better) but from an admin side, Google apps is only 50% there if that.

          As for PCs dead in the home? I wonder who buys all those PC games?

          http://hexus.net/gaming/news/industry/83972-pc-games-sales-eclipse-value-console-games-sales-2016/

          Also, since this time last year, Apple, Google & MS's stock prices have *ALL* GAINED by about 20%.

          I'm afraid your Microsoft prophecy of death is merely wishful thinking. Try getting out more and seeing what people outside of your peer group are actually using.

          1. Planty Bronze badge
            FAIL

            Re: Honestly how clueless a comment

            That hexus link was a future PREDICTION not FACTUAL news. Seems you don't understand the difference. There is nobody shouting that it came true, so make of that what you will....

      2. oldcoder

        Re: Honestly how clueless a comment

        And still more price increases, less security, less privacy, less control...

        Why do you think Linux and UNIX servers have a larger market than Windows servers?

    3. Alan Bourke

      Re: The Pirkinning

      Not unless the business desktop stops existing by 2025.

    4. cambsukguy

      Re: The Pirkinning

      And how much are you actually betting? Are William Hill running a book?

      I will take some of that action, if you believe it, evens will be fair odds.

      So, how much?

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Cry me a river?

    How apt - and ironic.

    Poor sods, may they find other work.

  8. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Shame. I've liked my windows (8.1) phones, but the browser is now so old that it's becoming unusable and the apps situation is getting worse rather than better. I'll be buying android next time.

    They should have made Windows phone 8.2 ( don't care what's underneath, just make it behave similarly to 8.1 ), put Edge on it and added that android compatibility.

    Who cares what API's the apps are using? Extend the API slightly to support things like live tiles, so anybody who wants to tweak their android app for Windows Phone can.

    But no. Must be WP native apps.

    Bastards.

  9. lglethal Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It always surprises me (though i know it shouldnt)...

    ... when companies hold big expensive events and hire big expensive superstars, and then sack other people for not making a profit.

    The money spent on hiring Justin Timberlake to sing a few songs was probably the equivalent of a dozen people's yearly wage. I can never understand how that's justified... :/

    1. gr00001000

      MARKETING

      IMAGE IS EVERYTHING. unfortunately.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: MARKETING

        Which explains the shoddy performance!

  10. 0laf Silver badge
    FAIL

    Lament the loss of a gifted but neglected child

    I was a WinPho 8/8.1 user for 3yr. I struggled by dealing with the incompatibilities of the phone by looking at it's good points. It was a good phone for calls, great keyboard, good battery life (sometimes) and very easy to use.

    But after 3yr I just got sick of it basically not working with anything, the apps that were available were second rate, the loss of features that really appealed (MixMusic and the death notice for Here maps), the fact it always appears that Microsoft would really rather you used anything but their own product.

    Plug a WinPho into a Windows 10 desktop and it will tell you prominently that "MS apps are available for Android and iOS, why not try them?".

    So I gave up, joined the herd and bought an iPhone. And what I've leaned is that MS are a shower of shits and killed their own offspring which had a lot of potential.

    [Personal opinion caveat] The WinPho interface is by far the best and most configurable (out the box) compared to iOS or Droid, the metro tiles might have been crap on a desktop but they really worked well on a phone especially if you have big blunt man fingers. The OS was so easy to use and very intuitive. The keyboard was so much better than the default iPhone tappy crap.

    However in terms of just working the iPhone is much better, Everything. Just. Works. My car now works properly with the phone. WinPho would talk through the car system but not listent. So it would read the text message but if you wanted to reply you had to yell at your jacket pocket in the back seat. My blue tooth soundbar now talks to my phone which will stream music from my now available Amazon Music app.

    At work we'd invested in WinPho but we'll probably roll back from that. Our MDM doesn't work properly with WinPho because MS have kept back the functionality for their own MDM. Many stupid choices have been made in the setup for business (no remote password reset, no MDM control over tethering), many business apps absent for WinPho.

    And now they're doing the same with Surface 4, no LTE! WTF? Mix that with your fucked up tethering and lack of MDM control and wonder why we're pissed and dropping your hardware.

    I still think Nadella is a Google plant

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Lament the loss of a gifted but neglected child

      You're not the first to mention (even within the context of this discussion) that Windows 8.x was superior to its replacement on phones. I've seen a lot of comments to that effect. Unfortunately, MS insists on having one OS to rule them all, and 8.x failed on the desktop, so it had to be replaced not just on the desktop, but on both platforms.

      So now we have Windows 10. It's not as good as Windows 8.x on mobile devices, and it's not as good as Windows 7 on the desktop. It has the dubious distinction of being the OS that is equally crappy on multiple platforms. Hooray?

      Apple, of course, rejected the "convergence" concept. CEO Tim Cook said that converging the Mac and the iPad would result in compromises that end up delivering an inferior experience for users of both platforms.

      MS had a hit with the Win 7 UI on the desktop and the Win 8 UI on the phone, and it discarded both in favor of the mess known as Windows 10. I wonder if Cook is saying "I told you so" to himself when he thinks of this.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Lament the loss of a gifted but neglected child

        I'm quite surprised a company the size of Microsoft can't develop two interfaces, and is so obsessed to have a single one across all the devices - which is just a way to hurt oneself. All you need is a coherent look&feel across devices. It's good MS doesn't make cars and motorbikes, you would get a motorbike with a wheel, or a car with an handlebar.

  11. TeacherMARK

    The Timberlake stunt didn't work so they got fired.

  12. Richard Rae

    Used to cushion the blow

    After a Justin concert, being saked is probably a relief

  13. andrewmo

    Same thing happened in 2009. 5000 including Windows mobile workers made redundant. Will they never learn

  14. Dabooka Silver badge
    WTF?

    I don't know what else they expected

    Their dominance in the OS market is well known to have been bought in the early days, and Windows is the cheapest out-of-a-box system that offers conformity to what most consumers use at work.

    However, no such forced brand 'loyalty' (can't think of a better way to phrase it) exists on mobiles, where the same consumers primarily choose from the handsets attached to the monthly tarrifs they want. Why would Microsoft assume the same brand would inspire mobile purchases in the masses? iOS bought something new, at the same time as exciting hardware, but Apple Corp were far from a consumer brand at the time, and viewed as elitist in the workplace. For me that was possibly their biggest strength at the time.

    The iPhone was cool from a cool high end brand. Microsoft was the stuff we have to use at the desk and you get for free with your £200 laptop at PC World.

  15. ClosedJar

    Oh, Yeah!

    Awesome! Hey we got to fire a couple of thousand people. Bummer! Oh wait, I got an idea! How about giving them a show before we kick them to the curve? Wow, great idea. They will remember our awesomeness and won't be too disappointed when we kick them to the curve!

    Dude lets do that! (fist bump)

    : -)

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Oh, Yeah!

      The downside is, I doubt seriously that those about to be canned were present in Miami. Most don't work there and somehow I can't see MS chartering bunch of planes or buses to truck the masses in. So basically it was schmooze affair for the managlement and those located there.

  16. montyburns56

    Piling on the agony

    Having your employers sacking you is unpleasant, but being forced to listen to Justin Timberlake is just plain cruel.

  17. Mikel

    Almost seven years

    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-iphone-funeral-2010-9

    Since the funeral for iPhone, it will be seven years in a few days.

  18. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Windows

    This was handled so badly by MS...

    They could have avoided the cost of severance packages and convinced 3000 employees to voluntarily quit if they had only announced in advance that Yanni was going to be headlining the sales kickoff :)

  19. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    For the Next MS Global Expo......

    David Cooperfield makes 2000 of the audience disappear......

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019