Windows Phone is Dead

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore says Windows 10 Mobile features and hardware are no longer a focus:

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Windows, Joe Belfiore, has today clarified the company’s stance with Windows 10 Mobile and what it’s currently doing in the mobile space. In a series of tweets on Twitter, Belfiore states that as an individual end-user, he has switched to Android, and that Windows 10 Mobile is no longer a focus for Microsoft.

Belfiore confirms what we have been reporting in the past; that from here on out, Microsoft will continue to service Windows 10 Mobile with bug fixes and security patches, mainly for the enterprise market who adopted Windows 10 Mobile for work. Microsoft is not planning to bring any new consumer-facing features to Windows 10 Mobile, nor is it planning to release any new hardware.

I’ve been saying Microsoft is a day late and a dollar short with Windows Phone since they came late to the party 7 years ago. Back in 2011 I explained how Microsoft was swimming in a red ocean.

By the the time they got rolling with Windows Phone the iPhone was already a smash hit and Android had entrenched itself as the new “Windows for smartphones”. This left Microsoft with very little to convince people to switch to their platform.

The NYPD Drops Their Windows Phones for iPhones

The NYPD has reached the end of the line with their Windows Phones and are switching to iPhones:

The NYPD has to scrap the 36,000 smartphones it gave cops over the past two years because they’re already obsolete and can’t be upgraded, The Post has learned.

The city bought Microsoft-based Nokia smartphones as part of a $160 million NYPD Mobility Initiative that Mayor Bill de Blasio touted as “a huge step into the 21st century.”

But just months after the last phone was handed out, officials plan to begin replacing them all with brand-new iPhones by the end of the year, sources said.

The move follows Microsoft’s recent decision to stop supporting the operating system that runs the NYPD’s devices and nearly a dozen custom-engineered apps.

I find Microsoft’s constant rebooting of their smartphone efforts ironic. Remember, this is the company famous for their legacy support, particularly for their Office applications.

The blame for this tech decision falls on Jessica Tisch:

Law enforcement sources blamed the boondoggle on NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology Jessica Tisch, with one saying, “She drove the whole process.”

“Nobody purchases 36,000 phones based on the judgment of one person,” a source said.

“I don’t care if you’re Jesus f- -king Christ, you get a panel of experts.”

Fuggitaboutit. Yo, call in the mahf#ckin’ experts.

I’d love to know Tisch’s rationale in picking Windows Phone. It makes me wonder if deals were made behind-the-scenes.

Microsoft Is Kicking Ass with Their Phones

It looks like Microsoft is kicking ass with their mobile phone division:

Microsoft is cutting 2,850 more jobs beyond the 1,850 that the company announced would be eliminated earlier this year. The new cuts will hit phone hardware and sales.

The entire computer world has moved to mobile, with everyone on either iOS or Android, while Microsoft is at the gate after the flight has taken off. They began efforts to reboot Windows Phone a few years after the iPhone came out (2008-ish), but as we can see by their job cuts in mobile, it has not been successful. If you look at any chart of mobile market share they rarely come up.

This failure in Microsoft’s mobile hardware efforts is interesting in light of the 300 million active devices that are (supposedly) running Windows 10 as of this past May.

Meanwhile, today is your last chance to get Windows 10 for free, because, you know, it’s that great that people will want to buy it tomorrow.

Adroid or iOS, You Pick

The decline and fall of Windows Phone is more tragic, because for several years the OS was making headway. It had an app problem, sure, but Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 brought the OS itself up to the level of iOS and Android, and the low-end Lumias provided an excellent value for the money. But soon after buying the Lumia division from Nokia, Microsoft seemed to stop pushing. Windows Phone 8.1 has been left to rot while Microsoft takes its sweet time finishing a continually delayed Windows 10 update. To be an existing Windows Phone 8.1 user is to sit by and watch while Microsoft ports every selling point of Windows Phone as a platform to iOS and Android. Embracing iOS and Android unquestionably gives Microsoft’s apps and services a wider audience, but there’s no reason why it had to be done at the expense of the company’s existing user base.

The remains of these platforms aren’t really viable as general-purpose smartphone ecosystems. Diehards can (and will) disagree, and Microsoft at least has given Windows Phone acolytes a gift in the form of the Lumia 950 and 950XL. But if you’re recommending a smartphone to someone in 2016, Android and iOS can do pretty much anything that anyone needs to be able to do. Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 cannot, and they’re best left to people who care more about brand loyalty than functionality.

The fight for a third-best smartphone OS has been lost. By everyone.

Windows Phone Ghost Town

Let’s see how things go for Microsoft with Windows 10, but right now, Windows Phone is still a fucking mess:

While the app gap has always been a problem, Windows Phone is now five years old and it’s still facing new challenges. Over the past year developers haven’t flocked to Microsoft’s platform to improve its app situation. Instead, more and more high-profile apps have actually disappeared. Mint’s removal this week is the latest, angering Windows Phone fans, but it’s not the first, nor will it be the last.

American Airlines, Chase Bank, Bank of America, NBC, Pinterest, and Kabam have all discontinued their Windows Phone apps in the past year. These huge apps have simply disappeared or will no longer be updated. Some companies have cited a lack of Windows Phone users, and others have remained silent, but each removal has put Microsoft another step behind in the mobile race.

And on Microsoft’s constant rebooting of the OS:

It’s easy to blame the lack of apps on developers, but they’ve been saddled with a platform that is constantly rebooting. Windows Phone 7 launched as a Windows Mobile reboot back in October 2010. Windows Phone 8 then launched two years later in October 2012 and existing handsets couldn’t upgrade, and apps needed to be heavily updated. Windows Phone 8.1 arrived last year, finally bringing many features lacking from Microsoft’s platform. Now, Microsoft is on the verge of rebooting once again with Windows 10 Mobile.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I think what Microsoft presented at their Windows 10 Devices Event looks great, but who’s to say they don’t just reboot Windows 10 like Windows 7 & 8?

Microsoft had a very short window to respond to the iPhone six years ago, but Google beat them to it with Android. Since then, they’ve simultaneously been revising their strategy AND competing with Google and Apple (hence the schizophrenic behavior).

Paid To Be Good

Despite the thoughtful and elegant design of the new Windows Phone OS, it seems Microsoft is having trouble getting developers to design and build quality applications.

In response to this, Microsoft Canada has launched the Developer Movement, which gives away prizes for each quality application a developer makes.

I don’t think Apple ever had to pay developers to ensure their applications were well-designed.

Where’s that Ballmer chant when you need it?

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