back to article Microsoft buries the bad Windows Phone news: Mobile sales collapse

Microsoft has revealed how badly its Windows phone business has crashed via paperwork filed with America's financial regulator, the SEC. Nokia was shipping 7.3 million Lumias per quarter when the deal to acquire its phone unit was announced in September 2013. Nokia was shipping over 90 per cent of Windows Phones sold. But in …

  1. getHandle

    Serves 'em right

    Microsoft, that is, not the poor sods looking for new jobs.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Serves 'em right

      It's actually the 'Extinguish' part of "Embrace, Extend Extinguish"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ridiculously bad management by MS. WinPho looked like it had a viable future whilst nokia still existed separately. WinPho 8 on nokia hardware really wasn't that bad of a combination. If microsoft had only kept the nokia name, released the phones they had in development with winpho8 on them (until 10 was ready) then there probably would have been a future for that division.

    More of the same might have worked. Instead they decided to screw it up every way possible.

    1. Richard Plinston

      > WinPho looked like it had a viable future whilst nokia still existed separately.

      No it didn't. Nokia's phone division made a loss in every quarter that it made WP in spite of a $billion a year from MS. The agreement made by Elop was ending and so no more $billions from MS. Nokia was dumping WP and already released Nokia-X Android phones.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For once I feel for Bill Gates - he must be really sad to see what's happened to MS since he left...

    1. getHandle

      Bill Gates?

      Didn't he start the whole vendetta against Nokia?

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Last I heard he should have wiped his hand of MicroSoft, having sold the most of his Shares to One Mr. S Ballmer sometime in early 2018.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        You are Marty McFly

        and I claim my five pounds.

    3. John Sanders
      Holmes

      This may shock you

      But he never left.

      MS Still operates the same its always been.

      Expect double down on the MS store and locking down of the Windows platform.

  4. nautica Bronze badge
    Happy

    Yes, but there's always the...

    Ubuntu phone. Oh, and uh, the Ubuntu TV. And the Ubuntu refrigerator; and the...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, but there's always the...

      Still burns Apple makes as much in a quarter now as Microsoft does in a year huh? Well look on the bright side Android might sell 100x better than WP but neither one is making much profit for the OEMs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, but there's always the...

      Did Ubuntu sink 25 billion into their fail?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did Ubuntu sink 25 billion into their fail?

        No, to be fair they've failed much more efficiently! See, Open Source is better!!

        1. asdf

          Re: Did Ubuntu sink 25 billion into their fail?

          I think if you compare Red Hat's trend line with Microsoft you can see Open Source can be lucrative. Red Hat not Ubuntu is where the action is enterprise wise.

  5. Michael Habel Silver badge

    So does this mean a return to a more sensible DE for Windows?

  6. nautica Bronze badge
    Happy

    Yes, but there's always the...

    Ubuntu phone. Oh, and uh, the Ubuntu TV. And the Ubuntu watch. The Ubuntu refrigerator, of course; and the Ubuntu...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, but there's always the...

      You were tedious enough the first time...

      1. nautica Bronze badge
        Happy

        And then, there's always...

        ...the Ubuntu self-driving car, the Ubuntu fitness monitor, the Ubuntu microwave oven, the Ubuntu whatever-it-is-which-will-get-Mark-Shuttleworth-ANY-press-space, and, last but not least, a real

        UBUNTU LINUX DISTRIBUTION FOR THE DESKTOP.

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Burying bad news

    I assume that you mean everyone's bitching about the Windows 10 upgrade end this week?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Burying bad news

      Not everyone. Check out the paid-for puff piece in The Grauniad.

  8. Planty Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    Shipped to stores

    Not sold to end users. It's always much worse than the best Microsoft can spin things.

  9. Tommy Pock

    It is a shame. I had a Nokia Lumia 800 which I loved, and a Lumia 1020 which was an improvement in every way. Then Microsoft killed Win8, lost Here Maps and when upgrade time came around they simply didn't have a viable phone for me.

    Gone are the days of the sublime Lumia 928, now they have.. what?

    I bought a Huawei P9 instead.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sad really, I've had a few win phones over the years and it is actually a very good product. The mismanagement and continual screwing over of people developing for the platform has been mind-boggling. Seems they have finally got the development side reasonably coherent now but it's 5 years too late and the platform is dead.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other phones?

    "...as we sold 13.8 million Microsoft Lumia ("Lumia") phones and 75.5 million other phones in fiscal year 2016."

    75.5 million other phones? What other phones do they sell?

    1. arctic_haze

      Re: Other phones?

      The feature phones, mostly in Asia. They sold the whole division to Foxconn recently so the fat lady has already sung.

  12. EveryTime

    Yes, but they still sell more Windows Phones than Itaniums, right?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Running Joke in the Store Was....

    "Microsoft makes a phone?"

    When I worked for Radio Shack for a few years, we sold one.... and thousands of iPhone and Android from our location alone.

  14. Fatman

    Squandering Shareholder Value

    If I were a Microsoft stockholder, then I would be quite interested in the rationale behind this extravagant waste of shareholder value.

    Why did you piss away so much money for a dud product line???

    Isn't this just another example of manglement getting itself into superfluous areas outside their core expertise?

    Microsoft's manglement must believe that it can burn through shareholder value like shit runs through a goose. I thank $DEITY I am not a shareholder in Microsoft.

    1. Ashley_Pomeroy

      Re: Squandering Shareholder Value

      I used to have shares in Microsoft. It has paid a steadily-increasing dividend since 2004 and the share price has gone up since then, with a dip for 2008. We will never be able to tell what impact the Windows Phone and the Surface RT had on the company's share price.

      Now that those two products are essentially dead, and people are grudgingly starting to accept Windows 10 - accept, not love - it will be interesting to see if the company continues to be a sound investment.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft lost their way after Windows 2003 / XP. In fact Windows 2000 was probably their zenith for a functional O/S the rest is a horrible mix of spaghetti code and now just unwanted apps and spyware. Windows 10 Mobile is quote a functional phone O/S but again tied up with a whole lot of spyware and totally useless apps. missing a fundamental sat-nav (when Microsoft had AutoRoute back in the early 1990's). Just as well for MS that Linux is hopelessly fragmented, Android fragmented and full of spyware / adverts, Apple overpriced and locked in proprietary junk. Personally I'm disillusioned with the lot and the terrible thing it has done to our humanity. Computers were once tools that served us, now we are slaves to the insidious shit that is going into everything whether useful or not.

    1. imaginarynumber

      Erm... W10M does have sat-nav.

      1. GrumpyOldMan

        Oh WHOOPEE-FLIPPIN-DO!

        Sat Nav. wow.

    2. GrumpyOldMan

      I loved 2000 Pro and Server. No poncey bells and whistles. Did what it said on the tin. Like NT but better, rock solid stability - which in an industrial control system is vital - best of all worlds. Still not an RTOS but it's Windows, you can't have it all ways. For the rest there's Linux.

  16. Wils

    Microsoft lost their way after Windows 2003 / XP. In fact Windows 2000 was probably their zenith for a functional O/S the rest is a horrible mix of spaghetti code and now just unwanted apps and spyware. Windows 10 Mobile is quote a functional phone O/S but again tied up with a whole lot of spyware and totally useless apps. missing a fundamental sat-nav (when Microsoft had AutoRoute back in the early 1990's. Just as well for MS that Linux is hopelessly fragmented, Android fragmented and full of spyware / adverts, Apple overpriced and locked in proprietary junk. Personally I'm disillusioned with the lot and the terrible thing it has done to our humanity. Computers were once tools that served us, now we are slaves to this shit.

    1. x 7

      thats funny must be an echo.....

      1. Mephistro
        Angel

        "Never assume malice when a confusing interface will suffice", I guess.

  17. energystar
    Holmes

    Daunting...

    Daunting how everybody runs to the deck as soon as a Corp. takeover is on the horizon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daunting...

      globalization works though, right?

  18. gryff

    Terribly poor stewards

    Microsft have been terribly poor stewards of the business, and I feel for the few remaining ex-colleagues who have seen it through to the end of the road and lost their jobs.

    In roughly two years MS took a world class business (14 years number 1) and completely destroyed it.

    Yes, yes, market share was low for WinPho, but pre-acquisition Nokia had dragged it to a *measurable* market share. Properly lead and managed, that could have been built up.

    MS first decision post purchase was to get rid of the sales and marketing people - after that it was game over.

    With hindsight this whole transaction looks like Nokia saying, "give us $5 billlion and we'll leave the market for a two year holiday."

    (New Nokia Androids available in about six months...)

  19. ClackingCletus
    WTF?

    Kinda confused as to what businesses are using for mobile now

    I am pretty confused as to how Windows phone tanked so badly. It seemed the logical platform for business phones after Blackberry imploded. I saw quite a few companies using Lumia's and had a couple myself through my employer. They were cheaper models but I was impressed by what was delivered at the £100 price point.

    We have now moved to iPhones which most colleagues are happy with (apart from 16GB memory) but surely not everyone can afford to do this? The other alternative is Android but surely MS was a better phone OS for businesses?

    As a Cisco guy I was getting worried by how holistic MS's approach seemed - desktop/tablet/phone/cloud services - and dropping the phones seems to cripple this strategy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kinda confused as to what businesses are using for mobile now

      They just took too long to get there in a competitive market.

      Windows 10 mobile is a great mobile operating system now. The problem is Windows 7 mobile, Windows 8 mobile both weren't. It took to Windows 8.1 mobile before it was really ready for enterprise use and Microsoft upset too many customers with unfilled promises along the way...

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: Kinda confused as to what businesses are using for mobile now

      > I am pretty confused as to how Windows phone tanked so badly. ... They were cheaper models but I was impressed by what was delivered at the £100 price point.

      Exactly. They were selling them below cost because no one would pay enough for them to make a profit. Eventually the losses mount up sufficiently for Nokia to dump the products and try something else (Nokia-X), especially as the agreement runs out.

  20. OH

    MS bought a dead business they didnt need

    Nokia's handset business was in trouble when MS bought it. Relatively "high" volumes, but they were low or no margin phones meaning it wasn't close to breaking even. Failure to deliver a high end phone for 2014.

    MS then appointed Nadella and went with the cloud strategy (rather than Balmer's devices and services), so the acquisition made no sense strategically.

    Then MS realised it needed to fix the Windows on desktop Win8 mess before anything else, so all the momentum of WP8.1 OS was lost as WIndows 10 was focused on everything but mobile.

    Even then MS let the Ex Nokia team go ahead with a "race to the bottom" portfolio of ever lower spec Lumia's during early 2015.

    In the end - no products, no mobile OS and now no people.

  21. seven of five

    Blackberry?

    If Blackberry is as dead as they all claim, how dead is Windows phone?

    And I was pretty sure BB to be the first to exit. bbexit, kinda (SCNR).

  22. The obvious

    I'm bloody annoyed

    OK - it was me, I'm the one who liked it.

    The devices I've had (625 & 930) have been rock solid and been good workhorses - pretty much the only times they've had a reboot were when they physically ran out of juice... and an excellent third choice when the first two are istyle over isubstance or landfill in waiting.

    I'm in a genuine quandary over what to get when my 930 needs to be put out to pasture. I genuinely hate iOS and Android equally - to the point where I'm feeling the appeal for a brick-phone and a tethered tablet.

  23. Naselus

    A few things we need to remember before we bury this whole thread in anti-MS bullcrap:

    1) Nokia was already failing before the takeover. They were a powerhouse for pre-smartphones. They failed miserably to translate that dominance into the post-2007 marketplace and were in deep trouble, relying on a fairly big subsidy from Microsoft to stay afloat. They were not well set up to transition toward a commodity market, and that's where non-Apple phones are headed, rapidly.

    2) WP is actually a good product. No, really. I don't know anyone who was actually unhappy with it, and I do know a fair few people who have used it - the Lumia is a really nice bit of kit and lots of people like them. The lack of apps is a problem, but the actual OS was probably the best operating system MS have ever put together. Their awful market share meant that the WP team really tried pretty hard when most MS teams can get away with phoning it in because the vast bulk of people will continue to use Windows even if it sucks.

    3) Android would have murdered WP regardless of anything MS did. It is not realistically possible to compete with Android at this stage, since phone manufacturers making pennies on the dollar in profit margin are going to stick with a free OS and will pick the already-dominant option. Win Phone was late to the party, and was trying to play by proprietary rules when Google had decided to kill that whole market off; by the time MS adjusted strategy to increase market share it was too late.

    4) The phone-becomes-a-PC thing was always an absolute hail Mary in response to point 3, and it's Intel who killed that. Whether WP would still be worth pumping money into if they hadn't, who knows; the ability to plug in a monitor, KB and mouse and just convert directly into a desktop was certainly something that a lot of people were very interested in. If they had been able to bring in the entire x86 Wintel ecosystem then the lack of apps would cease to be an issue too.

    1. kmac499

      ".....2) WP is actually a good product. No, really....."

      The underlying OS may well be rock solid, neatly integrated etc etc.

      BUT I absolutely HATE TIles; especially ones that change for no apparent reason. What was that? Did I just miss something? Why did it change? How much battery and bandwidth is it gulping down?

      I have no idea if the size of the tile relates to the utility of the app, is it the most recent? is it a favourite app I use a lot? I have no idea. The WIN10 GUI is distracting non intuitive and gets more like an adventure game as you ferret around trying to find the settings to customise the damn thing to suit how I want it to look.

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Well said.

        I was doing some work for a gentleman over the weekend, and he had Win8.1 installed on his laptop. He told me he hated the UI as it is totally nonintuitive for him.

        Installed Classic Shell, and he was happy to get rid of the tiles.

        Will ping said gentleman tonight and see how things goes with him.

  24. Tom Browett
    Coat

    Shame Really

    Having just updated my 640 XL to Windows Phone 10 I have to admit it's really rather good. Don't know what it was like before all the revisions it went through to get to where it is today from where it was almost a year ago though.

    I like the tiles, but I'm the sort of person that also liked the full screen Windows 8 start screen too...

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