By Michael Mulvey on November 20, 2013 4:45 PM
Magic 8-Ball says, says ASK AGAIN LATER.
Magic 8-Ball says, says ASK AGAIN LATER.
Ballmer's thoughts on Microsoft's inability to gain significant market share with Windows Phone:
Speaking at Microsoft's financial analysts meeting today, CEO Steve Ballmer was refreshingly realistic about the company's struggles in smartphones and tablets. "Mobile devices. We have almost no share," he admitted on stage, before noting he didn't know whether to be enthusiastic over his admission or uncomfortably tense. "But I'm an optimistic guy, any time we have low market share sounds like upside opportunity to me." That upside opportunity is the key reason Microsoft moved to secure Nokia's phone business.
Stevey-Steve, this isn't a matter of optimistically seeing the glass half full. Google, Apple and Blackberry drank 96% of the milkshake in US and that's after Microsoft trying to fill it for 3 fucking years.
Or perhaps the glass was completely full and Ballmer took a BB gun and shot a bunch of holes into it.
Or maybe It's last call, Ballmer's hammered stupid and the bartender isn't serving him anymore.
Ok, I'm done with the glass analogies.
By the way, $900 million write-off could amount to over 3 million devices, more if Microsoft is assuming some residual value in the inventory. Misjudging demand to such a degree that more units are disposed of than sold implies a basic failure of understanding of hardware businesses.
Horace is great at explaining the state of the computer industry, but nothing speaks louder than his eye-opening charts.
Microsoft can't seem to make much of a dent in the mobile market (more like a ding, not to be confused with a Bing):
Microsoft has reportedly developed an Android application with the sole purpose of stealing users away from Google. According to a report from CITE World, the company will be releasing the "Switch to Windows Phone" application on Android to help users change platforms. The application is able to "find identical or replacement applications" for Windows Phone 8 to replace a user's old Android apps, thus making the transition far more bearable.
How awesomely ironic would it be if Microsoft started a 'switch' ad campaign like PC-underdog Apple did in the 2000's?
I can dream, can't I?
You know a mobile app store is still young and needs more content when the company behind it still writes its own blog posts when interesting new apps appear in it. With 150,000 apps, the Windows Phone store isn't actually quite as empty as the Windows 8 store, but Microsoft could sure use some marquee apps for its mobile platform. To get developers and consumers a bit more excited about it, the company is launching its "Windows Phone Next App Star" contest today.
It wasn't to long after Apple launched their App Store that they were able to brag about having both the best and the most apps. Now in 2013, Microsoft has no such advantage. While 150,000 apps is nothing to scoff at, it means nothing to people already conditioned to seeing over one million apps in Apple's App Store. "Hey, Windows Phone now has Angry Birds!!!" ...who cares?
Parity in apps will help Microsoft, but parity won't win the war for them.
I'm just curious when the Charade of the Zune Phone will end. Will Microsoft piss away all their cash reserves before they gain a foothold in the smartphone space?
Kevin Tofel over at GigaOm wonders if it matters that Window Phone has over 100,000 apps.
The answer: It doesn't.
It might help to think of the smartphone market as a poker game. When the iPhone launched 5 years ago, there was no blind needed to play the game. Apple had created a new game, they were making up the new rules of what a smartphone was and anyone could play. RIM jumped in with the Storm, Palm with the Pre and Google with Android.
Fast forward to 2009. RIM has folded, Palm and Google are still playing but Apple has changed the blind. Now in order to play you need 100,000 applications for your mobile OS. Google and Palm still have a lot of catching up to do, but they've both convinced the house to let them continue to play as they hustle to hit the six-figure mark for apps (spoiler: Google doesn't hit it until 2010).
2010. Microsoft shows up late to the game with Windows Phone. Everyone is expecting them to show up hungover and in last night's tux, but they're looking surprisingly crisp. Like Google in 2009, they don't have the required 100,000 apps, but they have a ton of cash, so they're allowed to play.
2011. HP (Palm) folds.
Fast forward to now. 2012. Apple still has the biggest pile of chips and a ton of applications (I don't know who has the most now). Both Google and Microsoft have the money and the apps. But there's a problem. Now it's no longer enough to just have a mobile OS, a lot cash and over 100,000 apps. Now the smartphone game is being played on television and the viewing audience gets to vote on who gets to stay, American Idol style.
And no one is voting for Windows Phone.
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?
It's be a year since you launched Windows Phone. Where we at, Microsoft?
Horace Dediu tells us:
Windows Phone is in limbo. The company acknowledged that it has performed below expectations. During the last quarter for which we have data (ending June) I have an estimate that Windows Phone sold only 1.4 million units (Gartner's sell-through analysis suggests 1.7 million). That gives Microsoft a 1.3% share of units sold (Gartner 1.6%), a new low.
John Gruber gives us a nice translation of these numbers:
In other words, for that entire quarter, they sold about as many total Windows Phones in that quarter as Apple sold iPhone 4S preorders last weekend.
My first thought when reading this was how Microsoft has never been in this position before. They've never had to fight for the title of "Most Popular Operating System". This is a company still making most it's profits from Windows and their Office suite of applications. This is software they created decades ago and they've managed to ride the wave into the 21st century.
Back in the 80's and 90's it didn't matter if their software was shitty or great, they had a monopoly on it and because of this, had the muscle to squeeze out any scrappy, innovative underdogs.
Now Microsoft has to prove it's worth. Apple's iOS and Google's Android continue to gain momentum in the marketplace. People are voting with their wallets and so far, not many are voting for Windows Phone. On the other side of the OS, developers aren't voting for it either, unless of course Microsoft offers to pay them to develop.
Microsoft has never had to sell their products to people.
Remember, Windows was designed for businesses, not people.
For the first time in their history, they have to step into the ring and fight.
Bill Gates was interviewed on the BBC last week to talk about everything he's up to, as well as what Ballmer is making a mess of at his old company:
When the interviewer suggested that we're in a post-PC era, with most of the innovation happening today on smartphones and tablets, Gates replied:
"The PC is the tablet....You'll see devices and say 'is that a PC, is that a phone?' The words will change because innovation is happening so fast."
Bill, you can cut with the semantics bullshit. When someone says PC, there's no confusion they're talking about their personal computer sitting on their desk with a monitor, hard drive and keyboard and not their phone, tablet, alarm clock or television. We get it, everything has a computer in it nowadays, but the fact remains that Microsoft is way behind in mobile and tablet computing.
Nice evasive maneuvering.