back to article Windows Phone 8: Microsoft quite literally can't lose

Should Microsoft's mobile operating system Windows Phone 8 bomb, the effect on the software giant's sales would be negligible - but the same could not be said for its prestige. According to one estimate, sales of WinPho handsets added a mere $736m to Redmond’s coffers in its last fiscal year – that’s just under one per cent of …


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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. frank ly

      perception, respect and reputation

      I've upvoted you for amusing use of self-destructive irony. Well done!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: perception, respect and reputation

        And I've upvoted /you/ because you've noticed the irony. I was about to downvote the OP and write a "not sure if ironic or moronic" comment.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: perception, respect and reputation

          You are now getting the Youtube feel!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            The first word of this article should be changed from "Should" to "When".

  2. Tim Walker

    Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

    If WP8 bombs, Microsoft might be able to absorb the fallout, but it's unlikely that Nokia could (in its present form, anyway). Remember how Nok's CEO (a former Redmond man, no less) ditched the company's two homegrown OS "burning" platforms and threw Nokia squarely into the Windows Phone dinghy?

    Unless Nokia's been holding out on us, there is no Plan B - if its WP8 handsets aren't a success, the stakes for Nokia are high indeed.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

      Nokia may have dumped any plans to do Android at the same time as Windows, but if it does bomb they can still switch and rebuild.

      1. fishman

        Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

        "Nokia may have dumped any plans to do Android at the same time as Windows, but if it does bomb they can still switch and rebuild."

        Who knows what their contract with Microsoft allows? They may have to repay part of the money from Microsoft if they switch.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

        Carriers don't want this, they want a credible alternative to iOS, Android and RIM. Nokia being another Google customer does nothing to help things.

        It's called competition and keeps prices down for everyone.

    2. Andus McCoatover

      Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

      The "Dinghy" is surely Jolla - (Finnish for dinghy) based on Meego. Go on, Google. I know you want to....

    3. Andus McCoatover

      Orlowski!!! Where are you when our commentards are out in the (Finnish) cold ?

      Plan 'B' - I sent you a piccie of the Oulu Peltola building, adorned with a huge Nokia N9 poster.

      Time to publish, methinks...

      Plan 'B' exists, but it may be Jollamobile*. Elop, I think, won't be welcome on this liferaft. Let the bugger drown, like he has to thousands (Much more than the 10,000 he announced, there are loads of 'spin-off' companies affected.**



    4. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Nokia is out on a limb, with its bridges burned...

      Everything goes according to plan: that utterly clueless beancounter Elop was parachuted to Nokia from MS, he then proceeded to

      1. destroy over ~40% of Nokia's value over a 3 day period by

      2. announcing 18-months too early that they are killing off everything and switching to

      3. MS' then-yet-to-be-surfaced new mobile OS version

      4. then released new phones with limited success which

      5. was killed very quickly by MS stating Nokia's new phones won't be able to run WP $VERSION_NEXT_NOW_REALLY_BLOCKBUSTER

      6. so even current Nokia phone sales were quickly killed off...

      7. and the meantime MS persuaded HTC, Samsung and others to join the fray and compete with Nokia

      ...I expect to see Nokia burned down to the ground in ~12-18 months, Elop getting a HUGE bonus/goodbye check and MS quickly picking up Nokia's excellent hardware division and distribution channel, for little or no money at all.

      In short: Elop is either an utterly stupid, incompetent fool or a truly spineless, unscrupulous disgusting Ballmerian life form.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think it has been fairly established over many years that Microsoft don't worry too much about making a profit on these kind of things right off the bat.

    Would be a shame to see Windows 8 on mobile and tablet fail if it handles as well as it does on the desktop though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah, I think I see what you did there. Ha ha.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @ AC 9:21

        Not at all, happily using Windows 8 Enterprise RTM.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ AC 9:21

          And all the down voters are still stuck inthe last decade!

          Thanks for an enlightened post, and not the same ole whinging like a girl posts from the majority of commentards.

          1. David Simpson 1

            Re: @ AC 9:21

            The only people stuck in the last decade are those that run Windows on any of their hardware.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Desktop Mobile

              Re: @ AC 9:21

              @ David Simpson 1 17:52

              How can you say "only people stuck in the last decade are those that run Windows on any of their hardware" and truly mean it?

              OK you have your preference but can't always express it.

              My Nephew wanted a new laptop for college and wanted a Fruity branded product but it was out of his price bracket so he bought a laptop running windows.

              I doubt he is stuck the last decade for many reasons but 2 that spring to mind are 1) he is very computer literate & 2) that would make him less than 13

              Disclosure: I run various OS including windows & have an iPhone

          2. Tomato42

            Re: @ AC 9:21

            Because he couldn't be one of the shills MS employs to make the image of Win 8 better.

            Uhm, no, it's not possible.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Big Brother

              Re: @ AC 9:21


              Oh dear, "shill" is the word of the moment it seems. Alas, no, Microsoft don't pay me money. I wish they did given the fact that I'm out of work at the moment.

              I love those magnificent 1-X robots!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ AC 9:21

              Seriously? So anyone who doesn't irrationally hate Windows 8 because of the minor differences the UI makes day to day in an otherwise moderately improved operating system [i]must[/i] be a shill for Microsoft? There's no other explanation for that in your mind? Wow, the Windows 8 hate bandwagon is even more moronic than I thought.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ AC 9:21

          Like everyone else, I must now downvote you for happily using an operating system that the Register's commentards don't like.


        3. apjanes

          Re: @ AC 9:21

          Hang on!!! How come people are downvoting you for happily using an OS?! You're not asking them to use it, you're not even saying how great it is, you're just saying that you are happy using it, and WHO can argue with that??!

          I for one am happy that you are happy.... upvote given!

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ AC 9:21

            @apjanes It's a tribal thing, don't worry. I knew what to expect.

            Windows 8 fits with my way of working. That's all. I boot up, I look at the main screen, tell with a glance if I have mail, messages, social network notifications etc... I hit Windows Key + D then I go about my business. If I feel like procrastinating I hit the windows key and repeat this process.

            The change in the start menu makes no difference to me because I use this one in the same way as I did the old, I opened it typed the first few letters of the application and press enter. In fact, this one seems faster if not generally better at doing that.

            This method of working wont be to everyone's tastes. And the fact that it works for me certainly wont be.

            "It's all very well being open providing your hinges are on the same side as the majority" - Arrogant quote by unknown author. Nah, just kidding, it was me.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If it's a success, will Apple then bother to see if Microsoft are infringing on the same Patents that Samsung were ? I doubt it will be a success unless Microsoft throws a lot of money at advertising and, importantly, the developer community.

    Nokia is toast. I feel sorry for the guys working there, they once were way ahead of the pack - I still fondly remember my 6310i

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Litigation

      I would presume that the unified UI over desktop, tablet and phone is there, amongst other reasons, so Microsoft can tap it's substantial developer base. That will help give them a foot in the app marketplace door. Means the mobile and tablet stores benefit from people hoping to make a few pennies from Windows apps.

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Litigation

      Apple and MS have a cross licensing agreement so Apple will be unlikely to sue MS. MS has many patents, standards based and not that apple need (standards based ones they could get via frand) and want (ones not used in standards so not actually required but attractive enough to play nice over) and the same is true the other way around so they license each other.

      Apple and MS have been in the mobile space for a long time, since way before windows mobile (wince for example or apples newton). Google is very new in relative terms and doesn't (or didn't pre moto) have the grunt to force an agreement.

      Even Intel and AMD cross license despite the fact that outside the cellphone marketplace they are pretty much (since dec \ cyrix etc died or went niche) each others only competition.

      Partly apples gripe with android is how unsettling it's differing revenue stream is compared to how the market had been. I have no doubt that grossly upset Apple.

      I wonder how much better those phones would sell if at&t didn't spend the advertising money and just gave folks $50 a month off their bill for 6 months?

    3. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Litigation

      sorry i should have added and pocketed the other $100 (after making the phone free).

    4. Dana W

      Re: Litigation

      I doubt it, much as I loathe Microsoft they made a visibly different device. Look and feel it's nothing like iOS. "Come on, Samsung even copied the icons"

      You can tell Windows phone 8 not iOS from across a room. I still would not have it for free, but its not an Apple clone. But I doubt it has either Apple or Android shaking in their shoes.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Litigation

        They copied the business model, not the phone.

        Not that Apple are beyond going after some dead obvious thing, but I don't think they would try it on Microsoft.

      2. David Simpson 1

        Re: Litigation

        I have yet to see any Windows phone devices in any rooms I've been in......

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Litigation

          I have yet to see any Windows phone devices in any rooms I've been in......

          Don't worry, one day you'll be allowed to leave Mom's basement.

        2. Jess

          Re: I have yet to see any Windows phone devices in any rooms I've been in......

          At work I have seen two lumia (What's the plural, or aren't they common enough to need one?). One soon after launch, which was sent back for having a rubbish battery life and poor choice of apps, the owner of the more recently acquired one, came out with a few expletives about NoWin, when I told him that MS weren't going to provide an update to WP8.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Litigation

      Nope, Microsoft and Apple have cross licencing deals, they're unified against Android.

    6. blackjesus

      Re: Litigation

      MS and Apple already have arrange licensing agreements for all of the patents involved in their competing products. That's why everyone is a little more bully on Winphone after the lawsuit. That's not to say that Apple couldn't find a reason to sue but if you look at all of the recent IP stuff MS got just about everyone to pony up a good chunk of change without ever going to court. MS' legal unit is supposedly legendary. I don't see apple wanting to open up that can of worms also.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Contrary to the subtitle, I suspect that if WP8 does bomb then Ballmer may well be worse off. There's already disquiet amongst shareholders about his leadership of Microsoft, and whatever one's personal opinion of both WP8 and Windows8, there's a greater-than-zero percentage possibility that they both tank. Microsoft has a lot at stake for both of those and Ballmer's credibility rides - at least in the eyes of the shareholders - on the back of both. Regardless of whether they necessarily lose Microsoft lots of money or not, people will question the leadership in that scenario.

    1. Mike Brown

      Re: Ballmer

      agreed. if win 8 in all its forms isnt a success, balmer has to walk. if he is pushed or jumps is another question tho.

      microsoft will be in for the long haul. win 8 can tank, and it wont effect MS too much. They are hoping that eventually the seeds laid by 8 will flourish, look at the xbox, when the whole company is behind somthing it usually works, eventually. On the flip side look at zune, it wasnt really pushed to a massive degree, and has now all but died. But if it is a long slog, balmer wont be there to see it.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Ballmer

      Shareholders are never known for thinking long-term. They typically want everything and want it now. What MS are doing is a major and impressive shift. I think the coming year for MS is going to be a great one. They're coming up with new products that are different and interesting and work well. The buzz I'm getting off most people is that they're really interested in it.

  6. Paul Shirley

    MS Kin

    I won't be taking bets on MS repeating the Kin One experience. Killed about 3 months after launch when it failed to sell more than 500 units. This time they can't afford to give up so easily, however poor sales are.

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: MS Kin

      Kin tanked. No doubt about that. What was awesome about Kin -- that sucks big fat hairy donkey balls on Windows Phone -- is the desktop client. Wish they'd replace Zune with Kin Studio.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    win phone 8 is going to bomb,even enterprise boys and girls are ignoring it.

    it will sink nokia,part of the deal flapple/ms have in place was to get rid of nokia,forever.

    ms + flopple are trying to tie up usa market between them,by fair means or foul,would make business sense if american economy was not going to collapse,but when it does they will find them selves cut of in markets in the rest of the world.hoping this will sink both criminal firms,forever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: gone

      How do you know about enterprise IT shops when you can't even use capital letters?

      Still, back to school on Monday, isn't it?

    2. Andus McCoatover

      Bitter day...

      Isn't that company that used to be an innovator of mobile networks and mobile 'speaking telephones' now known as "Flopia"?

      5 years to the day (almost to the hour), I waked out of the door of Nokia (Siemens) Networks, one of Beresford-Wylie's casualties. Funny how it feels to be 'collateral damage'. Felt different to me than the supid manager who pulled the trigger, and still had the nerve to put on a 'leaving party' for me...

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Microsoft will just keep throwing money at Windows phone even if they are making losses as they cannot afford to not be in the mobile arena as PC sales are declining and mobiles are doing more of the things we traditionally did on PCs and they don't want to see Apple and Google taking all their customers. Look how they are spending money to advertise IE9 even though they wont get a penny from you using IE9 unless you use it to search on Bing.

    Although there are no figures for what the OEMs are paying for Windows phone 8 licenses i bet its peanuts at the moment to get the userbase up and then they will increase the prices to OEMs when they can't afford not to take Windows phone.

    1. Mark Honman

      In the case of Nokia, Nokia are paying full price for the WP7 licenses and then getting some kind of "marketing support" from MS that is set up to magically counterbalance the cost of the licenses. So MS can report revenue on WP7 while hiding the subsidy as marketing expenses. (See Nokia financial results for a glimmer of how the deal works).

      Win-win for both companies, MS gets shipments & revenue, Nokia gets free software. No wonder it was a no-brainer for Nokia to go for WP7 rather than Android.

      A side-thought there - given the history if internal feuding at Nokia, it's very likely that any Nokia Android would have taken a lot longer to get to market that the WP7 phones - the hardware spec of the latter is so locked-down that it leaves no room for turf wars over what the hardware will be and how much of a classic Nokia personality it should have.

      Ironically I think this time round WP8 is probably in the spot where OS/2 was in the PC operating system wars, with Android 2.x/4.x in the role of Windows 9x/NT respectively.

      1. revdjenk

        @Mark H

        " Nokia gets free software. No wonder it was a no-brainer for Nokia to go for WP7 rather than Android." is in cost and free to change/alter.

        "WP8 is probably in the spot where OS/2 was in the PC operating system wars, with Android 2.x/4.x in the role of Windows 9x/NT " example if meant for an analogy! OS/2 was at least a 7 year predecessor to Win 9x and 5 years for NT. Look how late to the game WP8 is!

        Of course, if you mean that WP8 is as viable a candidate now as OS/2 was in its day, you missed the mark there, too.

        wow, just wow

        1. Mark Honman

          Re: @Mark H

          Android isn't free to OEMs who want to offer the Google stuff - I guess the store is particularly important here.

          Probably still cheap compared to the offical price for WP licenses.

          What I'm getting at with that is that maybe WP8 is technically better than iOS or Android (as the MS fans on here would have it, but my guess is that the three will be very much of a muchness in terms of quality/stability).

          I chose OS/2 anaolgy because, back in the days, OS/2 was technically way ahead of the MS offerings, was well thought through, had the might of IBM (then the 800lb gorilla of the IT world) behind it, and still failed to gain traction in the market because Windows was "good enough" and already there (for a fairly small value of "good", admittedly). I wonder how OS/2 sales compared to Mac, though?

          So even if WP8 turns out to be significantly superior to the competition, my guess is that the same combination of "good enough and everyone knows it" and "expensive comfort zone" competitors will not leave any room in the market for it.

          But if WP8 is truly based on the traditional Windows kernel I have a horrible feeling that it will suffer from traditional Windows problems.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Mark H

            Sadly you forget the Tithe that you have to pay Microsoft for the honour of using Android. That makes it most certainly NOT FREE.

            WP8 (as well as Windows 8) won't be used in my organization. We have just moved to Windows 7 and we are all getting HTC Android phones. The phones are total shite as I've just flogged my HTC Sensation and got a Galaxy 3. To be honest, it is not much better for my usage pattern.

            If it wern't for Skype and Notes Traveller I'd go back to my old Nokia 6310i.

            I'm not a Faceblock orTwatter user so all this social network integration is a complete waste of time IMHO. Besides I want to keep all my different internet personalities totally separate for very good security reasons.

            If you google for me then you won't find any hits that lead to my real identity and that the way I'd like to keep it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "If it wern't for Notes Traveller I'd go back to my old Nokia 6310i"

              The 6310 was nice, wasn't it. My old one ended up not far away and it's still in routine use.

              Some time after the 6310, after outgrowing my E65, I moved to an Android (very briefly), and having abandoned Android for just now, I now run an E71 purchased 2nd hand. It's great (for my needs).

              If you have the option, you might want to give something like that a try. Mine even has Notes Traveller ready to go (not that I use it), and Skype list the E71 as supported (for now - may not last long under MS management).

            2. CyberCod

              Re: @Mark H

              Considering that MS is losing money on WP8 and making money from Android sales, which they have to do exactly nothing for, its really a wonder why they're in the mobile market at all... you'd think they'd just take the open bits of Android and do their own thing on it.

      2. Richard Plinston

        > the hardware spec of the latter is so locked-down

        That, of course, is part of the reason for its failure. The specs were locked down 2 or 3 years ago and it was not developed to allow it to use later and better processor, screens, or indeed anything else. It was last decade's technology. Of course they tried to counter this with 'why would you need a quad core on a phone' and 'our OS is so efficient it only needs a single core', but this just shows they do not understand the market. Buyers do not just want a phone, they want bragging rights, and WP doesn't have that.

    2. CyberCod


      Hey kid, try this... first taste is free. If you like it, next taste costs you your intellectual property rights.

      MS can suck my big fat toe. The only good news I'm getting from this article and the comments below are that it might spell the end of Ballmer. I might actually give MS a little bit of non-hate if they ditch that bald asshole. Its been nothing but downhill since he arrived on the scene throwing chairs and acting like he's a sports coach.

  9. Mike Judge
    Thumb Down

    why would windows phone 8 succeed?

    Nothing has changed since the abysmal failure of windows phone 7.

    Battery life being the push point for Microsoft shill network, don't make me laugh, but windows phone has always been a poor cpu hog and adopting the kernel from a pc is only going to make things worse.

    Windows phone us dead, and nothing have seen for 8 iz going to change that around.

    Sure Microsoft can survive without it (but no mobile presence will make investors jumpy) nkkia can't.

    1. tirk

      Re: why would windows phone 8 succeed?

      "Nothing has changed since the abysmal failure of windows phone 7."

      Except now people are begining to see the same interface on their Win 8 desktops and notebooks...

      So what's worse than "abysmal failure"??

      1. CyberCod

        Re: why would windows phone 8 succeed?

        "Except now people are begining to see the same interface on their Win 8 desktops and notebooks..."

        and they don't like those looks there either.

        8 year old children look at Windows 8 and call it a baby toy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: why would windows phone 8 succeed?

      CPU hog? it's a damn sight faster on the Lumia 800 than iOS is on the iPhone 4. Everything is fairly instant and responsive and this is on a single core CPU.

      If you want CPU hog try Android where the latest phones have 4 cores! even my laptop runs well with two.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: why would windows phone 8 succeed?

        Way to miss the point on multi-core!

        (Not surprising though, Microsoft publicly did the same)

        Multi-core can be used to give lots of CPU grunt while saving battery.

        You can only slow down a CPU a certain amount before latency gets awful and you stop really saving power. (Which happens first depends)

        In a multi-core system, you can completely turn off all except one of the cores (~75% saving for quad) and then slow down the final one a bit.

        So dual and quad-core gives you both more CPU power when needed, and much improved battery life.

        Obviously it's not all sunshine and roses, there will be a point where the increased complexity overcomes the benefit, and the OS applications do need to be written to take advantage of the multiple cores rather than pure single threading.

      2. David Simpson 1

        Re: why would windows phone 8 succeed?

        4 core ARM is very different to 2 core X86 - YOU SHOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

        I run IceCream Sandwich on a single core Desire HD and it's very smooth and fast, but then experience (and knowledge) is better than FUD.

        1. dogged

          Re: why would windows phone 8 succeed?

          experience (and knowledge) is better than FUD

          And anecdotes are evidence?

      3. kb

        Re: why would windows phone 8 succeed?

        Don't know even a little bit about computer design huh? If your single core phone take say 4 minutes to do task A and the quad takes less than 30 seconds to do the same task...guess which one will have longer battery life? The same thing goes with desktops, if your dual core take 4 hours to convert a video and my 6 core does the same video in 40 minutes guess who is having a lower electric bill next month?

        What you don't seem to realize is that those other cores can be turned off in use thus not costing you anything when you have a light load and then it can ramp up when you actually have work to do thus getting the work done much faster which lets you go back to low power state sooner.

  10. Mog0

    ALL phones are sold by carriers at an up front loss!!

    You make a point that AT&T are selling the Nokias at an up front loss but ALL contract phones are sold at a loss, they make their money back on the contract (at least that's the aim).

  11. Gil Grissum


    I wonder how well Windows Phones would sell if AT&T allowed unlimited data ONLY on WIndows Phones? How many iPhone and Android users would sell their handsets to get Nokia Windows 8 Phones? LOL!!!

    1. CyberCod

      Re: LOL!!!

      And AT&T gives a shit about Microsoft's success because....?

      The more they compete, the better it is for AT&T. Having options so that customers don't go out the door to another carrier is good for AT&T. Giving preferential treatment to one OS is bad business. I don't see them doing that for longer than a short promo, which would have to be funded on the back end by MS, because AT&T really has no reason to give a shite.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most people out there (as highlighted by numerous reg commetards) have hung Win8 out to dry before being released.

    There are win users who don't want change, slating it. The casual users who can't be bothered to learn something new. The other OS users who don't want to give it a chance. The Appleites who believe only iOS/OSX can give them the satisfaction they need.

    I'm openminded and looking forward to a new windows experience. I think its a good idea that we move forward, after all it's going to be 2013 before you snap your fingers.

    But it will fall flat because the majority are just negative, closed minded or even hostile.

    Society seems to be getting sadder by the (younger and younger) itteration.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      It could get them a share of the tablet market though.

  13. Bernard

    The title is weird and clearly wrong

    Expectations of success are the lowest I've ever seen for a Microsoft release, and that means that the risk of failure is factored into the share price and the planning of everyone from pundits through carriers and Microsoft (though, sadly, not Nokia).

    That doesn't mean its risk free though. The whole reason Microsoft are doggedly pursuing a phone presence through cycle after cycle of embarrassing failure is because, like google and facebook, they see mobile as a long-term threat to their core business.

    Microsoft's shrinking price/earnings ratio is the real measure of the pressure on their execs to show a long term plan. The same kind of pressure pushed HP to waste a fortune on Palm, and pressure to spend real money on a high risk acquisition might be the consequence of WP8 failing.

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

      Microsoft may need WinPhone to succeed

      Exactly. The fact that their other divisions may still be making a sizeable profit won't necessarily be true in future.

  14. Armando 123

    When you are fourth place ...

    ... you need to have something significatnt to differentiate you enough to get people to switch. That's where Apple succeeded with the iPhone: it was SO different and SO well integrated and SO well thought out compared to what was available at the time that a lot of dissatisfied people were willing to switch. Android was a lot cheaper AND wasn't tied to AT&T AND appealed to people who hate Apple, so there was your market.

    What does the new Windows phone offer? Mostly a bunch of me-too-ness AFAICT

  15. Phoenix50

    Can anyone on here, with any certainty; defend the consumer position of getting value for money, against the following:

    Assuming WP8 fails, along with Blackberry and "all the others" of little market share, how is a mobile industry controlled by only two companies (Apple and Google), offering two choices (iOS and Android), good for anyone but those two companies?

    Are we really all perfectly happy with an industry that offers only TWO choices?

    Would we be happy choosing between only a BMW and a Vauxhall?

    Would we be happy choosing between only the BBC and ITV?

    Would we be happy choosing between only Tesco and Aldi?

    I fear greatly for a tech press and IT populace who do nothing but argue over whether the iPhone is better than the latest Andoid. We are paiting ourselves in to a very scary corner - the market needs choice, the more the better. I'm not even suggesting that Microsoft should be that third choice, but something else has to be allowed to succeed.

    1. Mike Brown

      If this future comes to pass, it wont be like that. Google dont make hardware. They simply give out software to hardware manufactuers. Its not a monopoly in the truest sence. Android manufactuers make radically different phones from each other. Compare the HTC Chacha to the Samsung Galaxy Note. Both android, both google, but massivly different phones. As long as android phones are made by differing companies, the consumer cant loose.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Google dont make hardware.

        Motorola Mobility? they make it under the name of a division of theirs.

    2. fishman


      "Are we really all perfectly happy with an industry that offers only TWO choices?"

      It seems that way on the desktop - Windows by a huge margin, and a small percentage by Apple.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: and a small percentage by Apple

        And a greater than zero percentage of something not altogether unrelated to Android.

    3. David Simpson 1

      You lack any skill with metaphor !! Every brand of car has identical controls and uses petrol, which you can get at any local station. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IOS OR ANDROID.

      We were all stuck for nearly twenty years with only a choice of Microsoft why would anyone let them back into a position of dominance ? They abused it so badly they were sued and fined numerous times - Those of us with memories longer than ten years remember that. Google for all it's perceived evils at least give away their OS for free and base it on Linux. Anyone is free to change or fork Android for anything they want, which is surely a much better position Microsoft every put the market in.

    4. Mikel
      Thumb Down


      Google doesn't control Android very much. It's open source, and the OEMs can and do change it quite a lot. All of the manufacturers offer considerable variety. Fragmentation is an Android strength that prevents it from being a stagnant monopoly. You may as well be concerned that all phone vendors use plastic or glass, and insist on a wood third option. A third option is not needed here because if Google got rude any phone vendor could fork Android.

      But having compatibility with all of these other manufacturers offers the benefit of a huge ecosystem with a half-billion unit installed base to attract developers and an immense software library, so Google would have to get _really_ rude for that to be attractive.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Symbian™

    Here's a crazy idea.

    If Windows Phone 8 flops, why doesn't Microsoft talk to Nokia and formally take over the development of Symbian? They can rebrand it Microsoft Symbian or whatever, but the message would be that Symbian is alive and well, and now has the financial and corporate backing of Microsoft, so developers can feel confident in its long-term availability.

    They'll have lost nothing because Windows Phone will clearly be a walking-dead product anyway, but at least Symbian has an established record and userbase. I'm sure developers who have already abandoned it would go back if they thought there were going to be billions of new Symbian devices over the next 10 years.

    From a marketing point of view, it would look like MS had drawn a line in the sand and were now offering something new that people wanted. From the point of view of the industry and consumers, it would look like Nokia had 'gone back to normal' and were once again offering proper phones rather than these weird Windows Phone things. And MS would get to put their own stamp on Symbian because it would need a lot of work to bring it up to date and surpass the iPhone's user interface, which should be quite possible given that the iPhone is fast outgrowing its simple UI roots as apps become more complex and consumers expect it to do more.

    But they won't, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Symbian™

      Oh dear. Talk about divided loyalties. I like my Symbian, and a major part of the reason I like it is it doesn't have the usual historic MS characteristics of bloat, instability, and so on (even if Symbian doesn't have ten thousand Angry Farts apps).

      I've recently been trying Nokia Maps a bit on my E7x, instead of the TomTom my various Symbian phones have had for years. It's really quite usable, especially in comparison with the utterly unusable Google Maps/Navigate alternative. The old TomTom's still better in some ways (e.g. advance planning), but there's no reason I can see to spend money on a standalone satnav.

      Don't give MS any more ideas please.

      Have a nice weekend.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Symbian™

      "why doesn't Microsoft talk to Nokia and formally take over the development of Symbian?"

      Probably because Symbian now belongs to Accenture, at least for the next few years.

    3. David Simpson 1

      Re: Microsoft Symbian™

      Why drop one failed OS to take up development of another ? Sales of Symbian tanked years ago, as HP learnt with WebOS, if something fails in the market buying it won't magically change that.

      Microsoft could fork Android just like anybody else, at least it is a successful product.

    4. Richard Plinston

      Re: Microsoft Symbian™

      > backing of Microsoft, so developers can feel confident in its long-term availability.

      You obviously know nothing of history.

      WM6.5, Kin, WP7 all dead end phones. What you are suggesting is that MS make WP8 another dead end if it fails to sell and to replace it with another that it said was a dead end.

      Even Win32 API is under threat as a "long-term availability" as TIFKAM is pushed, Silverlight seems to be going, how many more will be killed off?

  17. NoneSuch Silver badge

    "According to one estimate, sales of WinPho handsets added a mere $736m to Redmond’s coffers in its last fiscal year – that’s just under one per cent of Microsoft’s total business."

    WTH? - Assuming $500 a pop (being generous there) that means they sold 1,472,000 handsets. I doubt that "estimate" severely. If they did bring in 736m, it was 500m from Nokia paying for the licensing privileges and the rest from patent revenue from other manufacturers paying for MS patent use.

    Talk about Hollywood accounting.

    1. dogged

      Talk about failing Maths

      Windows Phones are not sold or manufactured by Microsoft.

      Therefore they can only receive license revenue. You appear to e suggesting that a WP7 license costs $500 whereas in fact, the best estimate is that it costs $10-$15. So, using the higher figure to reduce the sales volume because making out that WP phones have only five users is super popular here on the Reg, that means 736,000,000/15 = (approx) 49066666 licenses sold.

      It's actually less but that's because this will also include the 30% protection money MS get for selling apps through their marketplace so not a massive amount less (unless you want to argue that the WP7 marketplace is hugely profitable, which you probably don't because you're a Reg commentard).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nokia's lumia handsets have been in the top 10 selling handsets. Obvious WP8 is harming sales. But then iPhone 4s sales have plummeted too while people are waiting for the next version.

      1. Hi Wreck

        Top 10...










        10 - You are here.

  18. Mikel

    Hiding the numbers

    They've done a better job of hiding the actual sales numbers than any other consumer product in recent memory. How can they be so good at that and so bad at everything else?

  19. nsg1000
    Thumb Up

    Xbox is a success, PC gaming a success, now win phone 8 has a lot xbox, pc DNA. People wondered how Nokia can make stand-out phones when they are forced to share an OS. They have answered that buy producing better materials, design, mapping and exclusive app releases.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plus a good sav nav application with a choice of maps which can be installed on the phone instead of being streamed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I recently brought a Nokia 710 for £90 unlocked from carphone warehouse, it's a great smartphone and at that price a real bargain. I know it won't go past 7.8 but for what it needs to do that is fine. While I was there a family were buying 3 710's on a £7.50 a month contract, seems like with a cheap price point they will sell.

    Hopefully the price points for windows 8 phones will be as competitive, I'll certainly look at getting one when they are out as I like shinny things...

    1. Richard Plinston

      > Hopefully the price points for windows 8 phones will be as competitive,

      I would suggest that those 710s were being dumped at bargain bin prices, probably below cost. Soon the new WP8 phones will be announced and even that family will know that their 710s are obsolete while they have to pay for them for the next 2 years. The carphone warehouse want to get rid of stock at any price before they have to pay someone to take them away and crush them.

      Nokia need to have the new WP8 models not only sell at a profit, but at sufficient profit to cover their losses on WP7s. While Nokia apparently sold 1.7m in Q1 and 4m in Q2 it is those 4m that are now being remainered. I doubt that carphone warehouse, or anyone else, has ordered for Q3 deliveries and it will be sometime in Q4 that volume of WP8 shows up (if at all the retailers may not want to get caught again). Nokia may have sold all the WP phones that they will this year. When WP8 phones do show up they will not be priced like your remaindered 710, they will be priced as top end phones.

      You will have to wait until mid next year to find them in the bargain bins.

  21. Jemma


    If, and only if, Nokia Windows 8 handsets can do precisely what my Nokia Symbian E7 can do - with the same features and abilities will I be buying another Nokia. Even then it will be in a good few years.Nokia are spending 450 on advertising to sell a phone at 50 - that dogs not gonna hunt monseignor... Unless 8 brings something amazing to the table (which I doubt) people who got burned are not going to allow themselves to get burned twice. Then you have the joys of 'updates' - 3 years ago, you had a problem with WinMo, get on XDA and within a day there was a cab sitting there to download so you could fix a problem yourself in a matter of minutes. WP 7.xx - same problem, six months of argument from MS as to whether there is a problem, 3 months of 'development' and a day to find out that the damn 'fix' didnt work anyway. I dont know about you but I like the very expensive equipment I buy to work properly out of the box, otherwise its consigned to the dreaded 'not fit for purpose' box and the local trading standards have a chat...

    Am I 'stuck in the last decade'?

    No, I use my phone to the absolute limits of its abilities, and it doesnt fall over, switch itself off, have thrice daily brainfarts or stick its middle finger up at my memory cards. True with the E7 you have to use the OTG adapter to access cards (no built in slot) but at least the OS can access them (and I know for a fact that Symbian Belle can actually access 5 at once, with the right card reader). 128Gb Storage, that'll be the E7...

    I use the HDMI out, I use the A2DP bluetooth. I even use the bluetooth OBDx dongle I have to connect my 'outdated' Symbian phone to my car. I write articles on the phone, watch movies, watch streamed TV and lo,I do not have to kowtow to Oberfuhrer Steve Freiherr Von Jobs to do it.

    I use Nokia Maps which are quite frankly excellent - built in speed limit sensing and warnings anyone? - with the built in GPS - and I dont have to bend over to Google for the priveledge.

    I know having real personal privacy these days is about as likely as finding a pro-Iranian US Senator but I have the nice warm glow that I *know* everything I store on my phone and all my original thoughts are not burped out of 'the cloud' or scarfed by Apple/MS/Police/Anyone who feels like it.

    Frankly I dont care what happens with Windows Phone 8 - because if push were to come to shove I would go on ebay and buy a Windows Mobile Touch Pro 2. Privacy, TV-Out, multiday battery life, OBD freeware and all the things I need for very little. Freeware everywhere you look and an operating system that doesnt go down faster than a Clinton Intern.

    If it aint broke dont fix it.

    1. tempemeaty
      Thumb Up

      Re: *sigh*

      Sounds like you value your security, privacy and files. That matters. So how do we convince the rest of the lemming filled world that corporations treating them as their property and violating the things we value is not good? I don't know. I know this though, you rock and stick to your principles.

  22. David Simpson 1

    The biggest thing dragging Microsoft down is Ballmer. Microsoft refuse to understand those of us who used Windows from the 90s onwards would have gladly chewed off their arm to get away from it ! No-one is willing to give them the marketshare in mobile that they once enjoyed and greatly abused on the desktop.

    Microsoft stink and within ten years will only be known for their games machines......with any luck.

  23. Richard Plinston

    > They may have to repay part of the money from Microsoft if they switch.

    They already do repay MS. They use the money to buy WP licences and this shows up as revenue in MS's books. In fact it is possible that is the only thing they can use the money for and that they have to buy licences whether they build the phones or not, or even if they dump them.

  24. JasHunt

    I have nothing against WP7. I used it and liked it, not like may people just hate it without using it. The problem is that Microsoft sat there for decades without any competition. It got way too comfortable. Now it's time for it to learn a hard lesson.

  25. daiakuma

    If Microsoft want to be sure of WP8 being a success, they should let OEMs skin it.

  26. Jess

    Re: I have nothing against WP7

    I have. (Or more specifically NoWin)

    I had been a long term Symbian user. (9210, 9500) until I was given a BlackBerry Bold as an insurance replacement. (I liked the media playing ability, sat nav and BIS compared to the 9500). Eventually the instability of the BlackBerry started to really annoy me. (Reminds me of a poorly maintained windows system, have to reboot it daily.) And the reliance on BIS for so much of the internet access also started to be a major issue. (The outage lost me a day's work and when I went abroad, the Smart part of the phone was useless despite having free wifi everywhere I went) So I decided to go back to Symbian, next phone.

    And Nokia killed it (or tried to, seems like it's still outselling WP7).

    They didn't introduce a range of WP7 side by side, they just pulled the plug.

    The things I like about Symbian the long battery life and the built in SIP function.

    From what I have heard WP7 is a fail for me.

    No multitasking.

    Poor battery life. (i.e. no better than all the remaining competition)

    Closed App system. (Same reason I wouldn't go near an iPhone)

    Apps don't work between versions. (The only thing I liked about WM6 was the availability of some nice apps)

    No SD Card support.

    Those are enough to make it a non starter for me, no matter how good the UI is (or isn't), and that is *before* you add the bad feeling it has created.

    (I have a friend who was a Nokia/Symbian user for years, N95, N8, you wouldn't repeat the words she used about Nokia in front of you mum. She has just ordered a Samsung galaxy.)

    I am still going Symbian, but it is with a second hand phone, which should see me OK for a couple of years. After that we'll see. Symbian may still be going. (I notice what could be back tracking. Rebranding of Symbian Belle as Nokia Belle*, the new 805 which appears to be an N8 replacement.) If it isn't then I guess I'll do what all the other Symbian users appear to be doing, and go Android.

    It has occurred to me, this is a good outcome for MS because of their patent income from Android.

    So if 75% of Symbian users end up on Android, it's still a win for MS.

    * (A shame due to the loss of typo opportunities)

  27. Pet Peeve

    "Can't lose", and "has nothing to lose" are not the same thing. If the point you're making is that if windows mobile flops, it's only a 1% hit to the company's current revenues, anyway. I'm not sure what point you ARE trying to make.

  28. Christian Berger

    Actually they can loose

    Let's look a bit forward. Imagine Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT will be pushed onto the market. People will find that Windows 8 RT will not run conventional software without severe modification. In most cases it will require a complete rewrite.

    Now add in the post-pc hype and you'll get a future where people fear they won't be getting devices with x86 CPUs any more.

    Now add both of them, and you will have people fearing for Win32, thinking it won't last much longer. Those people will seriously consider getting a rewrite of the software they are currently running.

    Of course some of those companies are going to switch to .net, Silverlight, Metro or whatever kind of technology is currently in fashion in the Microsoft universe. However many will simply switch to web-based UIs. Those people won't need to have Windows clients or servers anymore.

    Microsoft risks to alienate large portions of their customers.

    It's not a bright idea to stop a strategy people had relied on since the 1970s

    (Video of the Windows announcing their strategy of "starting anew" while keeping everything (important) the same. A strategy which Microsoft followed till Vista.)

  29. Nick De Plume

    Microsoft can afford to lose (moneywise), and try again. It is also rich in patents, not a stranger to litigating the socks off anybody who infringes on its domain. That Microsoft is playing nice last few years (and not garnering ill will like Apple) does not change the fact it can take a beating, and dish it out in return - on the courtroom, of course.

    Anyway. I sincerely hope WP8 does succeed commercially (and in mindshare). It is a beautiful interface, simple, fluid, fast and very much task focused (as opposed to app focused like iOS and to a lesser extent, Android). WP8 is the one I'll get for mom.

    That said, I'm happy with Android for myself.

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