Pages Navigation Menu

SHOWFUN - Show & Fun & More!

Microsoft kills the last remnants of Nokia, will lay off 1,850 people

Today, Microsoft announced that it’s effectively killing the last vestiges of the Nokia assets it bought for $7.1 billion three years ago. After selling the feature phone business to Foxconn last week for $350 million, and firing 7,800 people last year, Microsoft is firing 1850 people (1,350 from Finland, 500 elsewhere) and essentially exiting phone hardware altogether.

Oh, it’s not technically out of the game — it still wants to focus on enterprise devices and bring new products to market. But with virtually all of its acquired employees gone, its feature phone business jettisoned, and Windows 10 Mobile now reduced to less than 1% market share, it’s not clear who Microsoft thinks is going to buy its products.

Ars Technica has published a full email from Terry Myerson, which states in part: “our phone success has been limited to companies valuing our commitment to security, manageability, and Continuum, and with consumers who value the same. Thus, we need to be more focused in our phone hardware efforts… [W]e’re scaling back, but we’re not out!”

It’s really hard at this point to see just how Microsoft isn’t out of the phone business. “Scaling back” and “streamlining” are great euphemisms, but no one is buying Windows 10 Mobile devices. Rumors of a “Surface Phone,” at this point, make little sense. No one is pushing to buy such a device, and no one is waiting on Microsoft to deliver the all-in-one platform across all devices that the company has spent decades building.

The tragedy here is that there was a time when consumers might arguably have been hungry for such products. In the early, pre-iPhone smartphone era, Windows Mobile (not to be confused with Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile) was built on Windows CE and mimicked many features of the Windows UI, but shrunk them to a tiny screen that only worked with a stylus. Back then, there might have been a credible argument to be made that consumers actively wanted mobile devices with easy access to documents, files, information, and email, all based in the Windows ecosystem, and all available across a broad platform of devices. Of course devices of that era were only capable of a fraction of what today’s hardware can perform, which undoubtedly gave Microsoft an illusion of safety as evidenced by the company’s early dismissal of the iPhone.

Microsoft has achieved something unique in its efforts with Windows 10 — an OS that, for the first time, truly unites mobile and desktop products. Once the Xbox One runs Windows 10, it’ll have achieved a seamless OS across all three major platforms. The only problem is, very few people in mobile actually care about its signature achievement.

Focusing on enterprise and business users is exactly the wrong tack to take here. Enterprise users aren’t going to save BlackBerry, and they aren’t going to save Microsoft, either. The company’s mobile operating system is dead, whether it builds a Surface Phone or not, not because there’s anything wrong with Windows 10 Mobile, but because consumers and companies have already voted, and they’ve voted no.

Just as Intel failed to achieve market success in mobile, so has Microsoft. If it had taken this step with Windows Phone 7 or even 8, it might have been different — but Windows 10 Mobile is too little, too late.

Leave a Comment

Captcha image