back to article Huawei: 'Nobody made any money in Windows Phone'

Windows Phone has never paid off for Microsoft's hardware partners, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has claimed. "We didn't make any money in Windows Phone," Huawei head of international media affairs Joe Kelly told the Seattle Times in a recent interview. "Nobody made any money in Windows Phone." This isn't the first time …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can believe that Huawei can't see money to be made in the WP market but I don't believe the high R&D costs part unless its about being more difficult to create the backdoors they are accused of when they can't hack the system about like Android. "Develop independently" is an odd choice of words for a system that whatever its flaws and poor market share has a straightforward device driver approach and no temptation to do a touchwiz.

    Uphill struggle to move into high margin devices I expect while more and more people are finding medium or low end phones quite sufficient.


    1. P. Lee

      >Uphill struggle to move into high margin devices I expect while more and more people are finding medium or low end phones quite sufficient.

      Or even that their current phone is quite sufficient.

  2. Mikel

    A money burning exercise

    It always has been.

    1. asdf

      Re: A money burning exercise

      Yep only some many hipsters with more money than brains willing to wait in line in the weather and that is not a market Microsoft has a shot at. Microsoft is the company you buy because you have no other choice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A money burning exercise


        The only market I ever really thought MS would get traction in was the corporate one. With their corporate lockin there's a compelling pitch to become the next (old) BlackBerry.

        Going head on at Apple with no consumer brand name has always looked odd to me and no one is surprised it isn't working

        1. king of foo

          Re: A money burning exercise

          Absolutely. Corporate lock in. Massively underdeveloped area in which improvement is needed.

          MS; I know you were rocking it back in the day, but you kept on dancing to Abba right through the 80s, 90s and 00s. True, there was a bit of a revival and you briefly looked like you could be kinda cool when you were buying all the young uns drinks, but you always had that 'dirty pedo uncle' look in your eye...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A money burning exercise@ king of foo

            " but you kept on dancing to Abba right through the 80s, 90s and 00s."

            Oi! You! Leave Abba alone, mate. They were great in the 70's, the 80, the 90's and they're still great now. To sully their name by linking it to the "M" word is a crime round these parts.

      2. jzlondon

        Re: A money burning exercise

        "Microsoft is the company you buy because you have no choice"

        That may be true on the OS side, but it's not true everywhere. SQL Server is superb, as is Visual Studio and Microsoft Office is also pretty good. I also happen to think the end-user experience with Exchange is decent.

        1. Eponymous Cowherd

          Re: A money burning exercise

          VS2013 is pig slow and crashes often and "Ribbon" Office just makes me want to smash my computer in frustration because of the way it makes simple things difficult.

          How do you slow your server to a crawl? Yep, you install MS Exchange. That'll do it.

          But SQL Server, yeah, probably the best there is.

          1. James 47

            Re: A money burning exercise

            Frustratingly, the Linux ecosystem has nothing that comes near to Visual Studio

            1. asdf

              Re: A money burning exercise

              The closest is probably qtcreator and or eclipse but yeah they are weak in comparison. Then again you don't need a bloaty ide to develop software especially on *nix. Geany is nearly as light weight as notepad and I am quite happy with it for development.

        2. Zane

          Re: A money burning exercise

          Can you explain what is so great about VS?

          Have you ever used a different IDE? I must say that some are really great, and I cannot think of one that is as old-fashioned and hard to use as VS.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't even know they had a phone.

    But lets face it, it's a Nokia/Microsoft dominated platform now.

    1. Mage

      No, Nokia does other things now, they don't make phone. They periodically change. They used to do paper, welly boots, TVs, satellite receivers. They do Networks.

  4. Edwin

    We're all buggered

    Android, IOS and Winpho all track everything we do, so it doesn't look like you can escape easily. Maybe Blackberry, but I don't know the handsets.

    Agree that MS is getting uncomfortably invasive (stop that sniggering in the back!) now that Win8.1 is trying to get me to spew my personal details all over the desktop.

    That said, I like the way WinPho sandboxes certain types of content and apps, and there's a couple of other features (family rooms!) that I find immensely useful. Android makes me paranoid when I see what kind of crap my kids can easily install, and IOS is just as walled garden as WinPho, albeit at twice the price.

    My 930 will keep me happy for the next year or two, but I have *no* idea what'll come after that...

    1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      "Uncomfortably Invasive"

      I tried to prevent my Lumia 1020 from synching to their cloud. Changed all the settings to "do not sync". Set the server location to Then one day was poking around on MS Live on my PC after posting a question about the fact that the speech to text facility appears to have selective deafness.

      "My Contacts - None". Check.

      "My Calendar Items - None". Check.

      But there in the OneNote section - smugly staring back at me was a note I had entered into my phone, as if to say, "So who's the smartass now?"

  5. jzlondon

    Calling the OS plain old "Windows" will improve customer uptake? That would be surprising.

  6. Mage

    one way to get sales figures

    "Windows" is becoming a millstone brand.

    Also calling different things windows (NT Server, Windows For Workgroups or 95, Windows CE) was always stupid.

    Deliberately trying to make it one platform is the stupidest of all. That's why "Windows" is getting a bad name. You can't make a 3" keyboard, 4" touch screen, 11" tablet, Laptop, Workstation, TV /Setbox, Server sensibly be the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: one way to get sales figures

      ""Windows" is becoming a millstone brand."

      I hear whispers that the new WinPho release to be excreted in parallel with Windows 10 is being developed with the codename Albatross. And the parallel rebrand of the WinRT/WIndows Lite platform for tablets is Dodo.

  7. DropBear

    Sic transit gloria mundi

    Microsoft's own success has been its own undoing - they got into such a monopolistic position early on once windows got going that they never really needed to compete afterwards, and they certainly forgot how to do it along the way...

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: Sic transit gloria mundi

      When MS puts it's mind to it and takes an Asian view of the very long term, it can make things work. Xbox was a long haul. When it launched there was a fight between Sony, Nintendo and Sega. Now it's just Sony and Microsoft left playing.

      Phones have been a long haul (you'll find a 2001 review on The Reg that I did of "Stinger") but yes, Sic transit gloria mundi, although it may very well be Apple that finds when a halo slips it strangles you.

      Halo reference intentional.


      1. RyokuMas

        Re: Sic transit gloria mundi

        "Xbox was a long haul."

        ... but that had the advantage of almost no Microsoft brand association whatsoever.

        Certainly, it's not like having "Microsoft" stamped down the back of your handset.

        The problem is that "Microsoft" and "Windows" still have a large amount of toxicity associated - a large chunk of this is due to some absolutely horrendous decisions, probably made due to complacency, on the part of management.

        Another part is that while people in tech often love being up with the latest and newest things, a great many seem to love living in the past when it comes to holding grudges - the near habitual anti-Microsoft posts of a number of commentards on here are proof enough of that.

        Microsoft would do well to rebadge their mobile offering in an Xbox-like manner (although I can see Apple kicking off at "Xphone"), and re-invent themselves. The recent open-sourcing of .net was a step in the right direction, but there's still huge amounts of ground to make up.

        I can't help wonder though - will Microsoft get another crack of the whip when Google inevitably falls, or will it be someone else's turn?

        1. chr0m4t1c

          Re: Sic transit gloria mundi

          "Microsoft would do well to rebadge their mobile offering in an Xbox-like manner (although I can see Apple kicking off at "Xphone"), and re-invent themselves. The recent open-sourcing of .net was a step in the right direction, but there's still huge amounts of ground to make up."

          They would have done about five years ago, but now they've started dragging repositioning X-Box closer to the Windows ecosystem, they're beginning to poison the brand.

          I predict that at some point in the next 2-3 years, they'll add "Windows" to the X-Box brand, then be confused as the sales tank.

          The Windows brand is toxic and its getting worse.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Android for business?

    I have an Android and a Windows Phone. The Windows phone is light years more productive than the Android. Android for business is pants. I, for one, cannot understand why any business would invest in an Android phone.

    Oh and don't mention Apps. Who needs a million Apps to find your car when 5-10 are overkill? Open Office on an Android, don't make me laugh, it's terrible after you've used MS Office.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android for business?

      "I, for one, cannot understand why any business would invest in an Android phone."

      Because Winpho was missing in action for some years. As Blackberry dissolved in a small puddle, businesses had a choice of Apple or Android. Android was far cheaper than Apple, and the die was cast.

      Moreover, with (in practice) a choice of a single hardware maker, and a not unrealistic concern that if the dismal takeup continues, WInPho could be "end of lifed" at any time, would you commit your company to WInPho? And even if WinPho is better, when did that every count for anything?

    2. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Re: Android for business?

      "I, for one, cannot understand why any business would invest in an Android phone."

      mm. Dunno. What's the support like for sending mail attachments in WP8.1?

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Android for business?

        That would suggest you are treating the phone as a small, portable computer.

        The more sensible business use would be to treat it a connected device.

        The usual method, say to send a CV to someone, would be to simply send the link to the online CV storage. This has the advantage that the recipient can ignore the download if they wish and reduce the clutter in their mailbox in either case.

        It also means that the file is the latest version, possible changed by several people.

        As it happens, there is at least one app (mail plus) which allows you to attach files. It is not a great-looking app but it functions as required, I don't use it much for the aforementioned reasons.

        Of course, you can attach the one thing that the phone does have a lot of, photos, a large part of the (consumer) use case. It is still more sensible to send a link to the OneDrive location IMO, especially for 10MB photos

  9. 0laf

    MS is starting to get some significant interest in the cheap tablet market too. Lots of cheap devices coming out with the free Win8.1 OS on them and in general they seem to be better received than cheap android tablets.

    Windows phones also getting looked at seriously within the public sector because they can be tied into and managed by existing infrastructure.

    MS also starting to flex some muscles on the privacy field with the challenged to the US courts over access to overseas data. No one trusts Google any more and no one ever trusted Apple MS seeing an opening there by playing nice.

    I can't imaging MS ever challenging Apple for the £$£ high end shiny phone market but I think they're going to do ok from businesses, government and people that like things that just work.

    People that work are also looking at Blackberry again as well.

  10. theOtherJT Silver badge

    Warning: Rant incoming.

    I still can't get my head around how badly Microsoft have screwed this up.

    WinPho is a GOOD mobile operating system. It's easy to use, it's pleasant to look at, it runs well on decidedly middling hardware... But even I've not bought one. I bought a Sony Z3 compact instead. I really _wanted_ to get a winpho device, but I can't find one. I can't find one that isn't either a piece of plasticy crap which doesn't have the level of hardware and finish that I want for my daily device, or isn't sized more closely to the monolith from 2001. (Which is also a criticism of most android phones these days, thank god for Sony)

    But honestly, Microsoft, it's the feature set. Where's my integrated RDP client, Microsoft? Seriously, where is it? It's your protocol, is native support in your phones so much to ask? Why are there better exchange clients for Android than there are for WinPho? Come on, that's unforgivable. You have the kind of end to end there that elsewhere only Apple has achieved, and you've failed to capitalize on it.

    Oh, and whilst I'm at it, why is the shot to shot time on the 1020 so long? There's enough ram in the thing, you could easily buffer half a dozen shots and then flush them to long term storage. And what's this crap with folders in the live tiles now? It's unnecessary and it's confusing. 3 years on and the interface not only hasn't gotten better, it's gotten WORSE.

    I know I'm starting to pick holes and the last couple of things are a bit petty, but they're indicative of a real problem in the way WinPho is being developed. Do you know what that is, Microsoft? Let me tell you:


    ...and then we have the branding. Do you know who had a brand to rival Apple in the high quality fashion-conscious stakes Microsoft? Do you? It was Nokia. They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson. They were long established bran leaders. European. High quality. Sophisticated. So you bought them out, then pissed all the value the name had straight up the wall. If you'd buried the Windows brand as hard as possible - because it is not and NEVER WILL BE cool - and pushed the fact that you were selling Nokia devices, people might have run with that one. But you went the other way, didn't you? You went the other way and now we have "Microsoft Lumia with Windows"... What the hell kind of a name is that?

    Ok, sorry. Rant over now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Warning: Rant incoming.-"They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson"

      Actually Nokia were the Honda; a phone for every microscopically wide product niche. As well as the good stuff Nokia made some extremely bargain basement stuff, like the horrible two strokes Honda produced at one point (You are a 4 stroke company Honda. Enough said.)

      Honda in Europe meant one thing; Honda in the Far East, quite another. Same for Nokia. So the Microsoft decision was understandable. Where they perhaps went wrong (with the wonders of 6/6 hindsight) was in not making Lumia the brand and Lumia the OS that ran on the Lumia hardware. It would avoid all the marketing confusion. OK the other manufacturers wouldn't have used it, but that is happening anyway.

      A good part of the population don't know what Android is ("I thought I had a Samsung phone"). At least with Apple and BlackBerry the general public is unconfused, and Microsoft could have learned from that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Warning: Rant incoming.-"They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson"

        "A good part of the population don't know what Android is ("I thought I had a Samsung phone"). At least with Apple and BlackBerry the general public is unconfused, "

        No, they are equally confused. In the case of Blackberry and Apple it is a mere coincidence for most buyers that the hardware designer is the owner of some of the OS IP. Looking at the history of phone designers or makers who develop their own operating system, with the exception of Apple it's not been good:

        Nokia Symbian: Failed.

        Nokia Maemo: Failed.

        Blackberry: Failed and shrunk to insignificance.

        Samsung Bada: Dead.

        Palm: Who they?

        LG/HP webOS: As successful as HP's M&A

        Even looking at Google, it appears that they've dabbled in hardware primarily as reference devices rather than as an enduring commercial proposition. None of this bodes well for Microsoft.

      2. theOtherJT Silver badge

        Re: Warning: Rant incoming.-"They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson"

        Probably a better analogy.

        I started from the point that Apple - much like HD - is as much about the statement you make owning one as the product. Most HD riders wouldn't even consider anything else, and that seems to be the case with Apple too.

        Triumph sprung to mind in comparison because they're European in contrast to the American Apple, and also have A Reputation (deservedly or not) If anyone was going to sell on a name, it was them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Warning: Rant incoming.-"They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson"

          Yes, well, I had several Triumphs, but then I got a proper motorbike and realised where I had gone wrong. Triumph now is not the underengineered twins of the past.

  11. ilmari

    Re r&d costs, are they saying it takes more effort to make winpho work on different SoCs and with different hardware?

    I could sort of believe that, Qualcomm and others happily write android drivers for you. Not so sure about windows drivers..

  12. x 7

    As a company controlled by the Chinese government (or at least by the Chinese security services) Huawei are bound to repeat the official chinese mantra that windows 8 is bad and unwelcome.

    If they have to take that attitude for the domestic market, they are hardly likely to take a different line elsewhere in the world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "As a company controlled by the Chinese government "

      You make this statement but evidence from independent sources is very thin on the ground.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS have only themselves to blame ...

    WinCE looked positively revolutionary, in the late 90s. What happened ?

    Well, making WinCE, then Windows Phone 6.0, then Windows Phone 6.5 then Windows Phone 7.0 (none of which were in anyway connected) didn't help.

    Then releasing Windows Phone 7.1 (but not upgrading 7.0) 7.5 and 8.1 ...

    And I now can't (used to be able to) send files to my phone via bluetooth.

  14. JeffyPoooh

    $49 Cdn (~$43US) with free shipping, and they can't make money?

    A 'Win Blu Jr.' on the MS-Canada (Luxembourg?) store front. I've got one on the way. Just to try it. A backup phone, or for travel to locations (Asia) with cheap SIM cards.

    Microsoft. They fired the gormless twit that was pushing Metro, they "invented" 8.1 with the easy to find Desktop, they dropped the prices, and now our household has gone from ZERO Windows 8 anything to FOUR Win 8 gadgets in a month.

    At least they're moving in generally the right direction now. Roughly. Slowly. Less wrong.

    The world is a better place when MS isn't being daft. Sunny days ahead.

  15. proud2bgrumpy

    No one wants Surface / Win8 / WinPhone - this is what we users really want:

    MS should give up on the consumer market - maybe buy BlackBerry and focus on the Business Market, hoping to grow into the Consumer Market as they take control of the Business Market.

    Surface / WinPhone / Win8/10 should be consolidated into a single product-line, so that the Phone becomes the laptop or the desktopPC - dock it into a screen+keyboard dock-combo and the phone become a touchpad and the UI is presented onto a larger screen with additional storage and enhanced graphics and IO provided by the screen+keyboard dock-combo. Different size/capability screen+keyboard docks would provide different expansion capabilities. Perhaps automatically backing up data from the phone device when docked, optionally forwarding on to Cloud Backup.

    This is real mobile/portable computing - all the synchronisation of data / files between different devices is just a massive PITA. So come on MS (or anyone) - make this device and I'll ditch my Android phone + my laptop + my tablet + my Desktop PC.

    I can only use one device at a time, but different *form-factor* devices are useful *bodies* to use in different IT contexts - but I only need 1 *brain* to control it all.

  16. simonb_london

    The BeOS of mobile OSes

    I actually like the look and feel of Windows Mobile. It reminds me of BeOS in the 1990s. It was super-slick, pretty and capable but sadly never got off the ground. If it was an open-source project like FirefoxOS or if Microsoft weren't so evil I'd be tempted to use it.

    To me, Android is like the Windows 98 of the phone OSes. The only way I can get it to run smoothly is to throw more hardware at it, when IOS and WinOS have always run smoothly even on one CPU core, but, on the other hand, there isn't much you can't do with Android apps and the port/feature-laden hardware that runs it. The extra cores and memory just to make it usable is just like the cost of doing business.

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