The real reason Microsoft’s Windows Phone is failing

“It’s no secret: Windows Phone sales stink,” Brian S. Hall writes for ReadWrite. “Microsoft’s bold, attractive platform has an install base of a meager 2% of the global smartphone market and still sits below 5% in the U.S. smartphone market. The CEO of Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, has publicly stated that Windows Phone sales are ‘lackluster.'”

“The big question is why the widely praised platform isn’t catching on,” Hall writes. “Microsoft, relatively early to the mobile Web, came to the smartphone party late, and has failed to make its case why anyone – hard-core PC users included – should choose Windows Phone over Android or iPhone – or even BlackBerry.”

Hall writes, “The real reason why Windows Phone has failed because there is no good reason for it to exist.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Reminds us what we once wrote about the superfluous nature of Palm’s attempt to remain relevant:

Palm’s Pre dog and pony show is nothing more than takeover bait. They simply do not have the resources necessary to create another mobile platform, especially one that is superfluous. If Palm’s Pre is not a ruse, then those responsible are kidding themselves.MacDailyNews Take, January 21, 2009

Palm had no resources. Microsoft needs to stick it out. As we posited years ago, Google’s Android may well become too expensive and problematic for handset makers to use vs. Windows Phone – if the courts ever decide to finally finish some patent infringement cases.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


    1. But it has a physical keyboard so that business will like it . . . doesn’t it? And it is much less than $500 . . . right?

      Didn’t Steve Balmer say something like that about the original iPhone?

  1. Actually “the real reason,” in addition to offering no compelling reason to buy, is Microsoft’s delusion that people will buy it just because it’s “Windows” or “powered by Microsoft,” and that’s supposed to mean something…

    In the real world, I think many customers tend to AVOID anything that is associated with “Windows” or “Microsoft.”

  2. Windows as a platform has always been about mass. Like a nuclear pile once mass reaches criticality, an explosion will ensue. People are tied to the platform for various reasons – the number of apps, the diversity of hardware, cheapness, and the most important, backward compatibility. Backward compatibility ensures inertia because people don’t want to learn new ways of computing and would rather stick to what they know despite the fact that greener pastures are available across the river in the Apple orchard.

    When you reach critical mass, when schools begin to teach computing classes in Windows, then you get a lock in which is reinforced by workplace requirements for people to know Windows in order to be employed.

    Steve Jobs took a look at the mobile landscape in 2007 and liberated people from having to learn Windows, from having to learn the file system in order to use a smartphone and from having to deal with arcane navigation UI in order to invoke and use an app. He made it simple enough that people with no prior computing experience could transition to the iPhone without thumbing through 30 pages of a manual.

    WP is failing because it is not addressing the market for simpler mobile computing. That segment has been locked up by Steve Jobs’ vision of simplicity of computing for Everyman.

    Thus, in one fell swoop he removed the old and installed the new – the new king of the hill which will take more than a couple of Metro Tiles to unseat.


    People I know who allowed their local store salespeople to sell them one of these phones, hate them (maybe the salespeople as well as the Windows Phones).

    One young lady I know, thought she was up for a change from her iPhone, and not long after taking one of these puppies home realised she hated it but had signed a contract. She’s been counting down the days until she can get an iPhone again.

    The article is right, there is no reason for them to exist and no one is going to buy one because it’s “Windows” branded.

  4. II’ll give them credit for not exactly cribbing from the iPhone design. They do look kind of neat in a 2004 iPod Mini kind of way. Certainly not in the same class as an iPhone.

    Everyone else already covered the other salient points…

  5. Microsoft makes a lot of money in the mobile business, just on extracting licensing fees for the various patents Microsoft owns, not on the OS or the phones or the apps or anything like that.

    For the Men in Suits™ it’s a pretty slick racket. Windows phone needs merely to exist, not to be successful, for Microsoft to extract monies from almost everyone else. Since they can only sell the OS to OEMs for a pittance anyways (like $10 a license) they make far more money on shaking everyone else down.

    Microsoft has a bright future being patent trolls with a large workforce and a big headquarters, and a logo.

  6. Some of us may know about (supposed ex-iPhone user) Jessica Alba’s involvement in The Honest Company (call it the Mary Kay for moms with babies and very young kids), which she co-owns. Well, guess what? It launched an iPhone app a couple of weeks back – but no Windows Phone app. Poor Jessica! Unless…

    Here’s the site:

  7. To be honest I stopped reading after “Microsoft’s bold, attractive platform…..”.

    After that there was no way I could take the writer seriously.

  8. The article has some good reasons but seemed to ignore the most obvious ones:

    1. MS failed to address the devastating mobile shortcomings of Windows, software, OS,, prices, battery life, UI, app development, sales, usefulness, etc. for over a decade.

    2. MS relied on Intel to do something great with mobile chips and had never been forced to create an easily portable OS to take advantage of “other options.” Compare to Apple who have gone from Motorola to IBM to Intel to ARM. (And Apple has had at least 3 major OS transitions.)

    3. MS simply assumed that Office and Windows would eventually be their ticket to Mobile nerdvanna. Surely your mobile device HAD to have deep roots in their Wintel ecosystem. Ironically their own mobile devices absolutely sucked at Office integration.

    4. The vast majority of mobile purchases are determined by individual consumers, NOT IT departments. Complete reverse of the 80 – 90s PC purchases.

    5. MS screwed up so badly for so long that even IT types have already gone with iOS or Android–and learned to live perfectly fine mobile lives without Windows for several years.

  9. Every decision from Ballmer is how to protect the mountain generated by Windows & Office. Everything must support and push those two items.

    Hence, no serious interest or expertise in mobile until Apple stompted on MS.

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