What will be the future of Microsoft’s Windows Phone

What will be the future of Microsoft’s Windows Phone

Microsoft earlier today announced a major restructure of its phone hardware business and revealed a $7.6 billion write off of Nokia’s acquisition. This has saddened many Windows Phone fans that were looking forward to experience Windows 10, which is expected to bring PC-like experience to smartphones and tablets. Analysts already predicted a bright future of Windows Phone but the new news has changed many minds. A question may arise at this moment that what will exactly be the future of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. We are here trying to answer this in a simple manner.

In the tough competition between Android and iOS, Microsoft has its Windows Phone to survive and to provide a completely different mobile experience. The platform was once the first smartphone operating system, but even after the $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business in 2013, it didn’t result any success. Companies like HTC and Samsung, which all got huge success with Windows Phone in the early stages of smartphone development, are now fully engaged in developing devices based on Google’s Android. In the same sense, app developers are quite interested to choose Android or iOS as their platform for success in the market.

Windows 10

Windows 10 on Lumia smartphones

All this shows the dark side of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. But from the company’s perspective, as CEO Satya Nadella wrote in an email to employees on early Wednesday, the Windows platform and devices business as a whole “will spark innovation, create new categories and generate opportunity for the Windows ecosystem more broadly” in the long term.

Microsoft appears to be in a stage to split Windows ecosystem with Windows Phone hardware, somewhere similar to what Jolla is planning to expand its Sailfish OS platform. This means that the company will limit the development of Windows Phone devices, but will still offer new innovations on the platform to enhance its presence.

“We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem that includes our first-party device family,” Nadella notes in the email.

Last month, Microsoft stacked former Nokia head Stephen Elop that it appointed before the acquisition of Nokia’s devices business. That announcement itself confirmed the company’s new strategy.

As Nadella mentions, Microsoft will make hardware using Nokia’s resources but only in the form of a handful of “first-party devices”. These devices could help the company to promote its Windows operating system in the future smartphone market. But none of the devices are expected to be designed for the entry-level smartphone segment. All these will likely be marketed as flagship offerings, just as the one which recently surfaced online with a QHD display.

Microsoft Lumia 430 Dual SIM

Microsoft’s most cheapest Windows Phone smartphone – Lumia 430 Dual SIM

Apart from making new hardware, Nadella hints in the email that the software giant would stick to the development of Windows operating system. It is also suggested to create new enterprise features to take a step into the emerging market of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) where companies like Apple, BlackBerry, Google and Samsung already stepped in to gain the first mover advantage.

Microsoft, for mass consumers, would bring new “communications services” using its Skype and Cortana. These services are likely to give a tough competition to instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Hangout and Apple iMessage.

It is still unclear whether Microsoft will integrate these new services within Windows 10 Mobile, which will be released as the mobile version of Windows 10 later this year. But of course, all these services are expected to be provided on Windows Phone devices to give them an edge over the devices running on Android and iOS.

Microsoft’s Windows team is additionally in development to make Windows 10 a close rival to Android and iOS by providing an easy app porting support. This could help the upcoming Windows platform to gain a positive response from developer community. Moreover, the new support could finally give a reason to users to switch to Windows 10 Mobile, if it will be supported on the mobile platform as well.

However, it is yet to be tested by mass developers and would not be as easy as described by the team at the Build developer conference earlier this year.

That being said, Windows Phone is not likely to leave the smartphone world sometime in the near future. Though hardware-wise Android and iOS would get more coverage, Microsoft’s old platform may get a new face very soon to grab some attention of consumers as well as hardware manufacturers. But still, it is hard to presume its success.

Categories: Analysis