Kill It: Why Microsoft killed off Windows Phone OS


Here's why Microsoft Killed off Windows Phone as an operating system. The answer may surprise you.

If it doesn't grow, kill it.

Microsoft had an uphill battle with Windows Phone OS from the start. It was new. It was different. It was touch-friendly in a mouse-loving world. It was kinda great. It was kinda clunky. It had Live Tiles. It looked nice alongside Windows 8, and Windows 8 was a total disaster.

Apps were the biggest problem. Getting developers excited about making apps for the Windows Phone store was an uphill battle. The platform needed users to attract developers. Users wanted apps before buying. Even Microsoft's own apps for Windows phone were... bland.

Camera, contacts, phone, settings, Word, nothing too exciting. Skype never quite worked properly on Windows Phone. I remember trying in desperation to complete a Skype call on my HTC Windows Phone and deciding I'd try microwaving it instead. I ended up completing the call on my iPad.

Even after Microsoft bought Nokia, Windows Phone as an OS was a dead duck.

Years went by, slowly, very slowly, until Microsoft released the Surface Pro 4 and the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. Finally, we had a viable version of Windows on a mobile device.

I very nearly bought 5 units of the Lumia 950 XL.

Microsoft concedes defeat

Under the reign of Satya Nadella, Microsoft quietly conceded defeat, and switched off their Windows Phones. They retired the Lumias, buried the remainder of their BlackBerrys, and switched to Samsung-branded Android phones.

The development teams were re-tasked with tooling up Android, getting Microsoft's apps on to the Google Play store and the Microsoft (Android) Store. Apples (the fruit) were no longer available at the cafeteria.

Kill it:

All of Microsoft's mobile phone efforts shifted to Android.

Android on phones.

Android on tablets (but not on Surface products).

Android tablets with docks that become lightweight computers.

Small Android tablets that pretend to be phones but are really tablets.

Bigger Android tablets that pretend to be laptops but are really still tablets.

Microsoft put the kybosh on the words "Windows Phone".

The only people allowed to think about Windows Phone were the Surface Team, and even they had to learn to call it Surface UltraMobile, and repeat the mantra, "no it's not a phone, it's not a phone, it's not a phone".

The future is....

What's the future of Windows in the palm of your hand? Nothing.

What's the future of Microsoft in your hand? Android tablets to the left, and Surface tablets to the right.

Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas

XYZtech XYZ Media Group

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