back to article Microsoft giving up on phones? Naaahh ... Windows 10 Mobile lumbers toward release

Microsoft has released a new preview build of Windows 10 Mobile, the version of the new OS for phones, and it has the same build number as the current version for desktop PCs. That doesn't mean it's equally close to release, though. While Microsoft has committed to a July 29 release date for the PC version, it has made no …

  1. IJC

    Reset the Spin Dials

    The fanbois in the media keep trying to talk about the future of Windows Phone being in doubt, based on strange interpretations of internal memos.

    Meantime a whole new version is imminent with leaked details about accompanying high-end devices.

    Seems their spin dials are out of whack.

    1. Phil Kingston

      Re: Reset the Spin Dials

      It's pretty hard to interpret all of the stuff coming out of Microsoft as anything but the death toll for Windows Phone/Mobile... Senior staff sacked, "tough choices" to be made, only a commitment to be an OEM for 2 years (sink or swim it seems), closing Nokia-branded support centres, no new hardware, no announced release date etc etc

      1. Siv

        Re: Reset the Spin Dials

        I wish you Apple fan boys would stop spreading doom about Windows phone. The message from Nadella quite to the contrary is positive, he's changing tack slightly. The key bits of his speech were (after descrambling CEO banter) that theyare focusing in 3 key areas:

        1. High end enthusiast phones in consumer space.

        2. Business phones.

        3. Budget phones.

        Within that they are getting out of the "throw millions of Nokia models with confusing numbers at the wall an see which ones stick" to focus in on just the above three areas and make best of breed phones at each level. These will then be example devices that OEM's can follow as they have done since Surface tablets were created. Since then we have seen XPS 360 from HP and the XPS 13 from Dell and various excellent models from Lenovo.

        So for business we will see great quality phones that can be secured and managed by IT.

        For Consumer High end we will finally see top flight phones like the Lumia 1020 and HTC 8X were in their time frame.

        For budget you will see competitively priced phones that will have a very usable subset of Windows 10 features that will compete easily with the lower priced Android phones.

        If you think about it for a CEO who's mantra is "mobile first, cloud first" it would be pretty dumb to not have a mobile ecosystem!?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reset the Spin Dials

          It isn't Apple fanboys, read what the tech/business press and analysts have been saying about this. You're hearing what you want to hear from his statements, but if he meant the kind of unwavering support you're reading into it, it sure didn't reach anyone outside the Microsoft fanboy echo chamber. It reads to everyone else as "we're giving it one more try, but won't commit past a couple years because we've already twice tried and failed to reboot the Windows phone market."

          Microsoft's big mistake IMHO was to buy Nokia instead of buying RIM. Blackberry had the enterprise credibility that Microsoft has been lacking in phones since they pulled the plug on Windows Mobile after the iPhone and Android showed them they were on the wrong path with smartphones and needed to start over. Unfortunately this marks the THIRD time they've started over, orphaning the previous generation with each new OS rev. RIM would have also wasted much less money if it failed like the Nokia purchase already has.

          If the userbase who wants Windows everything in the enterprise could be combined with the Blackberry enterprise userbase, they might be able to get critical mass to become a viable third choice in smartphones. Microsoft's only hope is to get businesses buying Windows Phones for their employees, but with the old school enterprise market split between Windows and Blackberry, it is easier for companies to punt and do BYOD. BYOD is the death knell for both, because consumers aren't choosing them, and Windows 10 won't change that. They'll be listed as "other" with a few percent between them in market share data for a few more years, until Microsoft calls it quits and RIM runs out of cash.

          1. remyj

            Re: Reset the Spin Dials

            Agreed. And I don't see why they felt the need to own a hardware company in the first place. Why not just contract out a couple models and not have the expense of buying the company ( Nokia ) in the first place? They seem to do reasonable well with the Surface and Surface Pro on this third time around, why not do the same thing for phones?

            On the other hand, Windows 10 seems to have corrected much that was wrong with Windows 8 on the desktop PC end of things and maybe the arrest of bad news and comments for the desktop will shine a better light on the tablet and phone arena.

            If they do manage to get all formats working with common apps and if they see the light with phones like Canonical did with Ubuntu where the Smartphone is being sold as the sole computer one needs - Smartphone for travel, then dock it to a monitor, keyboard, mouse at home and letting the desktop screen take over from the phone interface, I could see where that might be attractive to many, though it would kill off even more desktop sales. Having all of one's data and stuff on the phone and using it universally with both travel and home desktop environments unified could make all things Windows attractive.

            Lastly, updates in the past and orphaned mobes is seen as a big problem, it is. If they get Windows to update indefinitely like they claim they are trying to do, they might be able to win over some frustrated Android users. The inability of Google to get all the Android suppliers and data carrier companies on board with updates is an even bigger problem than MS has had with orphaning their few systems as there was not too large of a user base on any of them. When Samsung and or a carrier orphans a $900 flagship Android two years after it was sent out into the wild, there are quite a few this upsets. If I could buy a flagship Windows 10 mobe and know it will be up-gradable for the foreseeable future, I might be attracted to buying that over an Android device as long as the support and apps are there. I do not pretend to know how the Windows 10 platform runs but another thing MS could look at is to try to win over some disgruntled Android people. If Samsung/HTC/LG, etc have cut off updates to any particular model and if Microsoft found a way to offer a non supported version of Windows 10 to install, sort of like how Cyanogen and other after market ROMS do now, they might be able to suck up some of the recently orphaned hardware users to their side. It would obviously need to be a lot easier to do than what one usually has to go through with Android to install an alternate ROM. They'd need to have an easy root tool and be able to just install it like one would Windows on a PC after wiping the drive. Wow, I am rambling... sorry. All I know is if I could easily put a modern version of Windows phone 10 on an old, orphaned HTC One X, I would be all over that.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Reset the Spin Dials

      Time for a relaunch then - Microsoft Loonier 1.0 sounds great.

    3. Adam Jarvis

      You've still got to sell'em!

      You've still got to sell'em!

      There's just not much love left. Its all but a dead platform. MS's deep pockets are been zipped up.

      Microsoft have just pissed too many people off along the way:

      Windows Mobile, then Windows Phone 7 customers.

      AT&T Windows 8 premium Lumia customers that didn't get Updates.

      No shiny Apple Style Stores Worldwide to spread the love.

      Lots of vocal folk that feel MS are pushing out Windows 10 too early.

      And crucially a CEO, who just sees other platforms as just, if not more capable to build software for.

      That's before you even start on the Windows Ecosystem v Android, Apple.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You've still got to sell'em!

        MS do have some stores but from my experience of seeing just one of them, they are more like the Mari Celeste.

        This was in a very large Mall in Delaware just off I-95.

        Just around the corner, the Apple bretherin were all singing from the same hymnsheet while the Church of Windows was home to more priests than followers all feeling pretty 'Blue'.

        I'm not sure what MS or their CEO can do to get them back on track in less than 2-5 years. An awful lot of dead wood and products need to be axed and soon.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reset the Spin Dials

      Drip feeding bad news. Windows phone is dead.

      All the factories making them have now closed (kommoron, Chennai, Dongguan, Beijing and very soon. Hanoi )

      So not to spook shareholders, the bad news is being drip fed, but it's still happening.

      You only have to look at the new Microsoft focus, Android and iOS are their priority with apps.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reset the Spin Dials

        Closing a factory is no big deal if they contract somewhere else to make them.

  2. Charles Manning

    They've given up before, why not give up again?

    In 2001, MS was sitting in a pretty good position for making a go of smartphones. If they'd put arse into gear they could have done an iphone-like device.

    Instead they dicked around for 7 years pretty much waterboarding their mobile OS: push its head underwater for a while, when give it some oxygen... repeat until someone gets too bored or the oxygen runs out.

    Then when Apple & Google jumped up with offerings they bought that goddamn awful Kin phone and killed that in a month.

    Then they bought Nokia and killed them within a year or two.

    So anyone want to lay bets on what they will do with their next attempt?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ex-Box One, next up according to financial analysts

    Wouldn't surprise me. Getting slaughtered in sales. 2:1 in best regions, 10:1 in worst, 3:1 overall. 11m shipped Xbox One vs 25m SOLD PS4..

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Ex-Box One, next up according to financial analysts

      What about the hundred they sold in Japan in the second week of June?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ex-Box One, next up according to financial analysts

      says "The usual disclaimer about sales vs. shipments here... while the two numbers aren't precisely equivalent, hardware units shipped to stores are usually sold through to consumers in four to six weeks, according to industry analysts. So most units shipped by the end of March have likely been cleared off of store shelves by this point, having little impact on the relative console race. The terms are used interchangeably throughout this piece"

      IF that is the case, then as you say ("3:1") MS have about 1/4 of the current console market sales.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ex-Box One, next up according to financial analysts

        "Narrowing its deficit" meaning that Xbox One was still outsold by around a million units for the quarter, but it was outsold even worse the previous couple quarters so this is supposed to give MS hope.

        Sony just announced a new smaller/lighter/cooler/cheaper rev of PS4, but didn't cut the price because they don't really need to. Probably holding off until the holidays for maximum impact.

  4. Mikel

    An ElReg classic

    When this is how you behave it is easy to see why nobody trusts you. Also, leaving the ground littered with the dried husks of failed partnerships is not helpful.

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: An ElReg classic

      That's just shocking.

  5. Shannon Jacobs

    What's up in MSland?

    Anyway, I'm baffled. One of the theoretical justifications, apparently sanctioned by MS, for giving away Windows 10 upgrades was that of OS unification, but that only makes sense if they go with an LCD route, and the smartphone has to be the foundation. Except not?

    They are certainly killing their paying customers, who desperately need those new PC sales that will be delayed and even avoided by the OS upgrade... Microsoft has deep pockets, but the makers are in a highly competitive business and some of them are not even going to survive against any significant cut in sales.

    In the past, Microsoft has done well with mediocre software and clever business models, but I sure can't understand where they think they are going now. What I can say for sure is that I once bought a so-called smartphone using a Microsoft OS, and I really can't imagine that I would EVER buy another. Yes, it was some years ago (as measured by 3 Android smartphones and one feature phone), but my experiences were so horrific that I can't imagine giving MS another chance with my phone.

  6. Jess

    i doubt Windows Phone is dead, as such, but it is a bit of a lame duck.

    Microsoft won't let their presence in the mobile arena go, it would be too embarrassing. I think that would be why they are trying to use the same system on all devices. (That and misinterpreting the tablet market as a desire for slate shaped computing, rather than for windows free computing).

    If they actually come up with a system that scales between phones, tablets and PCs then it will be easy for them to keep available, even if it is a flop. (They will have niches.)

    What I could see is it going x86 family only, if they fail to bulldoze it though to a respectable market share. (They have lots of form for this, leaving the old system users high and dry.)

    I don't see why many people would want the current range, I certainly wouldn't. (Apart from the one with the good camera, but I'd still prefer an N808.) The big problem is being locked to an App store when you have a device with poor market share. The BlackBerry doesn't have this issue (and in addition can run lots of android apps, even Firefox.)

    This leaves their market to those with a special requirement that the system caters for (niches) and people who would be just as happy with a dumb phone or a feature phone. (And probably happier with the battery life).

    I suspect a fair part of their market has been those who saw the name Nokia on the front and thought that's what they were getting, until they drop it and it smashes, rather than cracking the tile it lands on).

  7. groberts116

    Nadella, I believe realizes it is not cost effective to build the phones using Microsoft employees, that was Ballmers Idea. The iPhone is not built by Apple. Apple out sources some of the design and manufacturing of key components to a company or companies in Germany and the assembly is by Foxconn in China and that is the process Microsoft is apparently going to use with Windows 10 Mobile. To date Microsoft has put a lot of work in the design of Windows 10 Mobile and it's more apparent with built 10166.

  8. jerkyflexoff

    bla bla bla

    I got one. I like it. Its not an apple or google. And ill get a new one next time too. Its a phone, it doesn't need to make a cup of tea.

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