back to article CEO Satya Nadella thinks Microsoft hung up on Windows Phone too soon

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella regrets the abrupt termination of the Windows Phone project. In an interview with Business Insider, Nadella stopped short of directly calling the move a mistake, despite prompting from the interviewer, but admitted things could have gone differently. He said: "The decision I think a lot of people …

  1. Filippo Silver badge

    Regardless what you think of Microsoft, I think it would've been nice for consumers if there was a bit more competition between ecosystems.

    1. JClouseau

      Plus, to be honest, Windows Phone was the only place where those ugly tiles made any sense. The missus kept a Nokia 520 (WinPhone8) as far as possible and it was not unpleasant at all to use.

      Falling from a staircase and the lack of Whatsapp sealed its fate.

      The Nokia, not the missus.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        And more importantly, not having all the apps that get around 100,000 downloads on Google and Apple.

        Individually, their absence only affects about 200,000 potential customers, but collectively, pretty much everyone has at least one of them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A friend of mine who would befriend everyone and their granny on Facebork moved to Windows Phone. She had about 1500 friends on Facebork most of whom were only “friends” through that site, she’d never met most of them. When she got her new phone she had the bright idea to add her Facebork account to her new mobile at which point along with her actual friends her contacts were swelled with the 1500 Facebork friends. When she asked about removing these “friends” from her contacts she was told to unfriend them on Facebork and the refriend them without her Facebork account being integrated.

        She didn’t stick with that phone too long and I was the beneficiary of a shiny Nokia Lucia 1020 with the 41MP camera.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or 'your friend' could have just turned if off the connect with facebook in the people app.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            For many people, that is simply not an option.


            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Sure it's an option. The People app was the best bit of Windows Phone. It connected your contacts, email, calls, texts and Facebook. Don't remember if it also did Twitter. That allowed you to look at a contact and see all your emails, texts, calls and Facebook interactions with them. Not that I used FB, but I did for the rest. So all you had to do was turn the Facebook bit of it off, and you could stil use the Facebook app, but it wouldn't connect with your contacts.

              Or, and this was the reason that it was the best smartphone I've ever used, you could only display your personal contacts, while having the thousand Facebook friends in there. I did this. Because I had my Windows phones sychned to our CRM system. Which meant I had 6,000 contacts on it. But the only ones I saw were my contacts from my personal email address book. Which did have a few work ones in there, the ones I used regularly. I then either turned that filter off, or used the search function to pull up any work contact, which usually got them in just a few letters typed into search - and thus I could call any contact - but never see them in normal everyday use. But while looking at their contact could also refresh my memory on the last couple of emails.

              You could also pin a contact to the home screen, so you'd see any new messages from them, and be able to call them with just two clicks.

              Similarly you could have all your emails crammed into one horrible combined inbox, as iPhone does. Or have to faff in the same app to switch between them - or download separate email apps. But with Windows phone you used a single email app (so could switch between inboxes or combined view. And also have a separate shortcut on the home screen that took you to only one of your email accounts. From inside which you could still switch across - or easier to use the task switcher to go between them as if they were separate apps.

              I never used it, but I think only Blackberry was capable of similar, or according to Orlowski, better control of your contacts and communications. I still miss these features in iOS and Android. Admittedly it's because I use my work phone for personal stuff, because I can't be arsed to have two devices - and I have to have a work phone.

              I still miss it, but I wouldn't go back without some assurance that there'd be decent apps. There are just too many useful ones nowadays.

    2. Howard Sway Silver badge

      The reason many people "think of" Microsoft the way they do is precisely because they obsessively stomped on competition between ecosystems, to the detriment of consumers.

      And we all know they would have done exactly the same things with phones as they did with PCs if Windows had ever got majority market share there too.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Ironically if they had done this - Windows Phone would have won

        For "security reasons" only Windows Phone is allowed to connect to Exchange server or Teams or O365 and we aren't launching Outlook / Teams / Skype etc on Android or iOS.

        If it also integrated nicely into AD and was the only option with remote wipe and security.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          They made more money from Apple, and from Google, for licensing fees for Exchange ActiveSync, than they made from Windows Phone.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          So it would have been a paved road for hackers to get into your entire network, then ?

          I'm starting to think that the Windows Phone failure was a godsend for security.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They would have had to remove the existing Office suite on Mac and iOS, or at least kill Outlook there. They would have had to stop allowing Apple and Google mail clients to access Exchange. Instant anti-trust lawsuit, which they would lose. Instant Apple-Google alliance aimed at killing MS.

          And, given the problems that some of their 'partners' had with WinPhones, a _lot_ of people, and businesses, didn't want them. Most companies would simply standardize on email on laptops, not phones/tablets.

          I have a free Zoho email account. It gives lots of static when connecting to Exchange. I know several people who have various levels of paid Zoho accounts, which do not give similar problems. I am motivated to replace the Zoho account with something that doesn't cause problems. I am certain that Exchange might have been booted from at least some businesses if MS tried to lock things down. At the office, we are in the process of booting MS type mail stuff now, for several reasons. If MS had tried to lock things down a decade and a bit ago, we would have dumped it before the echoes faded.

    3. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Not if you're an ISV. It's bad enough having to build two versions of your app for technically completely different platforms. Another one could've resulted in fragmentation and exclusive deals like we're seeing on game consoles today.

      Consumers wouldn't have benefited but instead would've had to gamble on a platform and lost out if they chose the wrong one.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >” It's bad enough having to build two versions of your app for technically completely different platforms.”

        Don’t see your problem = platform choice is much reduced and the tools to support development across multiple platforms are much better than they were in the 1980s and 90s.

        Although if you still think you have it hard, suggest looking at Oracles supported platform list, which is significantly shorter than its circa 1990 list.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          You've obviously haven't developed much for multiple mobile platforms. Most multi-platform solutions suck (such as Xamarin, MAUI and Flutter) and result in sub-optimal solutions compared to "native" development.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            The differences between the mobile platforms have some resemblance to the differences between vendors proprietary platforms of the 1980s, although I agree it’s is hard to develop across platforms, especially when the business only consists of 5 people all doing development, but with some tough decisions and good software engineering practises it is possible.

            However, agree with your observation on market fragmentation.

          2. Falmari Silver badge

            I don't think Roland6 was referring to a specific type of tools such as write-once run-anywhere (Xamarin, MAUI and Flutter). Just that in general tools to support development across multiple platforms are much better than they were in the 1980s and 90s.

            For example cross-platform game development, the tools are much better now. Game engines like Unreal provide a unified set of tools for multiplatform development. I would not think using Unreal is a sub optimal solution.

            I have never developed for mobile*, so what exactly do you mean by '"native" development'? I am assuming you mean developed using the official SDK e.g. for Apple iOS SDK.

            *I have written cross platform code just never touched mobile.

            1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

              Games are a category by themselves because they generally have their own UI. They all use OpenGL ES and that API is more or less portable across platforms.

    4. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

      > I think it would've been nice for consumers if there was a bit more competition between ecosystems.

      Yes, so they should have left Nokia well alone, instead of murdering it to foist their abominable spawn

      1. spireite Silver badge

        Re: Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

        Nokia was pretty much 'twitching' by that point anyway IMO.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge

          Re: Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

          By which point? When they installed the trojan-horse CEO, or when they bought them out a few years later having tanked the company to get a good deal?

          When Elop came in (his previous role being Senior VP at.. guess where), Nokia had just released its Linux (debian) based smartphone, the N900.

          It was the best phone I ever owned. Had a huge open source community behind it. All the power of a debian box, in your pocket, with a slide out mechanical keyboard. It was the perfect portable SSH terminal, even X forwarding worked.

          Then Elop killed all of that, and the company was listless. Just ready to be scooped up by the Beast of Redmond

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

            Easy, Nokia were dead before they appointed Elop. They had great R&D, but shit management. They were unable to make a decision on which platfrom to support and make it stick internally - I guess because nobody could win the internal middle-management bunfight. I'm assuming that's why they brought in an outsider as CEO.

            Symbian was a nightmare to develop for - although they did bring out a really nice upgrade to it, to keep it running on feature phones for another frew years. But that took a couple of years after Elop took over to hit the market. And then they had their Linux based Maemo / Meego phones - which were only half complete when they did release to market and had an even lower marketshare than Windows Phone and so even less chance of being successful and getting anyone to make apps for them.

            Hence Elop wen the Windows Phone route and took a few billion in marketing support from Microsoft, because the alternative was becoming a commodity Android phone manufacturer - none of whom were making profits at the time apart from Samsung.

            The good thing for Nokia's board was their phone division was basically doomed without a huge investment. Windows Phone gave them a tiny chance, maybe a better chance if Microsoft themselves hadn't repeatedly fucked up and shown all the urgency of an asthmatic snail. But if it did fail, there was a chance to sell the husk of their phone division to MS - and avoid paying for all the redundancies. they could have gone into commodity Android and survived with no profits - while wasting a load of effort. Or they could have tried their luck at the Android top-end hardware, which may have worked. But was going to need a huge marketing spend.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

            Nokia had just released its Linux (debian) based smartphone, the N900

            I had the previous incarnation (Nokia Communicator - N700?) - apart from the lack of phone hardware (I tethered it to my phone using bluetooth to get Internet) it was pretty good.

            1. cyberdemon Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

              N770 and N810, I had both. But the N900 was the game changer. You could use it like a laptop.

              Imagine if it had been built today, in the days of USB-C, Miracast, cheap DRAM and Flash, and cheap fast processors of the likes that Raspberry Pi use

              Sadly Meego was a disaster. Intel muscled in and replaced the Debian component with Deadrat for some reason, got rid of X and replaced it with Wayland, which was nowhere near ready at the time. Perhaps like Microsoft they wanted the whole thing to fail if it didn't go their way.

      2. John Sager

        Re: Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

        After the Nokia deal went down I was chatting with an American friend. I suggested that Nokia let the vampire in the door when they hired Elop, and so it turned out.

    5. AMBxx Silver badge

      It's strange to think of all the arguments about whether it would be Blackberry or Microsoft who were the 3rd phone OS in the long term.

  2. martinusher Silver badge

    Wrong software

    The genius of Apple's approach was to think of the phone as an entertainment and information device that integrates into Apple's software ecosystem rather than being like a PDA, a peripheral of a desktop business system.

    Microsoft wasn't just one player in the smartphone market, smartphones were around before Apple but they were invariably a Palm Pilot with limited communication capability. Some devices could play music and even videos but like the raft of awful MP3 players from that era somehow they just couldn't get the software right.

    (Apple had made a PDA, the Newton, many years ago and obviously learned from the experience.)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Wrong software

      The genius of Apple's approach was to think of the phone as an entertainment and information device that integrates into Apple's software ecosystem rather than being like a PDA, a peripheral of a desktop business system.

      Huh? The iPhone started with web apps and was hanging off iTunes until MacOS Catalina.

      Microsoft wasn't just one player in the smartphone market, smartphones were around before Apple but they were invariably a Palm Pilot with limited communication capability. Some devices could play music and even videos but like the raft of awful MP3 players from that era somehow they just couldn't get the software right.

      Yeah, Nokia somehow never managed to market their phones properly in North America.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Pour one out for the 'also ran' smartphones...

        Apparently, there's no love for the crackblackberry devices around here...

        (Cute devices, paws down the best physical keyboard on a mobile device.)

        Then there was Danger with their Sidekick and SIdekick II, marketed in the US under T-mobile. Also a cute device, with an interesting flip-out screen hiding the keyboard, and a pretty decent UI and UX. Bog help you if you wanted to develop anything for it, or do things like custom ringtones or syncing music on the device. (There was a USB port on it, but only for developers to use, IIRC.)

        (I had a SIdekick II from 2002-ish to 2008 when I migrated from T-mobile to AT&T and the crackberry, and then in 2010/2011 ish went android and got work to pay for my phone; Around 2014 I went iphone and never looked back, because IT COULD MAKE AND RECEIVE PHONE CALLS, something the android phone I moved from had difficulty doing some days. /sarcasm

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Pour one out for the 'also ran' smartphones...

          "because IT COULD MAKE AND RECEIVE PHONE CALLS, something the android phone I moved from had difficulty doing some days. /sarcasm"

          Well I swore of windows phones after my XDA mini - it would receive a call, the screen would light up and tell me who was calling, the ringer would start, and the vibrate alert started...

          But they would just carry on - there was no ring ring, it was just riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii..... and no Bzz Bzz, just Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

          To stop this I had to drop the battery out and put it back in, then phone the person back.

          It can't have been happening to all of them, but it was rather annoying.

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: Pour one out for the 'also ran' smartphones...

            Heh- We had a vendor have that happen to them as well, but in the opposite direction (trying to make a call). they were a little cranky because they were trying to get a hold of the guy who programmed the control board he was working on.

            And TBH, There were other shenanigans with that phone, but I'm pretty sure a lot of it was also that my account on the telco side was either corrupted, or FUBAR in some way, because I also never got voicemail alerts until El Turkey berated me in front of the rest of the team about why I didn't have access to Verizon's back end to fix it myself. (that's a longer story, though.)

        2. pip25

          Re: Pour one out for the 'also ran' smartphones...

          I loved Blackberry's Android offerings. Used Key1/2 until they died because of hardware failures. I'm kinda heartbroken that there is no replacement for them anymore. The QWERTY devices that do come out are such a step down in quality. :(

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Wrong software

      Counter point: The "genius" of Apple is why Android is far more popular.

      Windows Phone was originally considered a silly joke. iOS and Android have both stagnated so horribly in the past 10 years that people are getting nostalgic for missed opportunities to have a third option.

    3. TReko

      Re: Wrong software

      Yes, the iPhone is a consumption device, while the previous PDA's and smart phones were designed like mini-PCs

    4. Phil Kingston

      Re: Wrong software

      The genius was the App Store. Until then Windows Mobile (and SmartPhone before it) were ahead, having the ability to install apps. The App Store, when it arrived, gave iPhone users the ability to easily install their own choice of apps to turn their device into entertainment or whatever. Coupled with basically outsourcing app development to millions of developers and taking 30% of their price the whole setup was brilliant.

    5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: Wrong software

      ...think of the phone as an entertainment and information device that integrates into...

      I don't want a device like that. I don't want a super-integrated-singing-and-dancing-gizmo which allows many third parties to access, copy, and control my data (a flip-phone I had didn't store your phonebook on the device. It stored it on the provider's computers, with no way for you to change that. Every time I powered up the device and wanted to make a call, it showed me a blank phone book, until it "downloaded" it from the comms supplier).

      I want a phone which is not a spy device, and just lets me make and receive calls and text messages.

      I'm still waiting ...

    6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Wrong software

      Apple had made a PDA, the Newton

      Got one of those in the 'devices I have used' drawer upstairs, along with my Palm Pilot. I had a Sony Clie too but it broke [1].

      The drawer is basically a historical dump of previous generations of techology (there's an iPhone 3G and 4 in there as well). As well as stuff like a OnePlus (can't remember which model - once they stopped supporting it, I rooted it and put a custom ROM on it. The the ROM maintainer stopped maintaining it and none of the other options looked even vaguely attractive.). There's also stuff like a Sony Minidisk player/recorder (nice bit of hardware, shame about the shocking software support).

      [1] Which is unusual for my hardware - it's generally kept fairly pristine.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    I beg to differ

    Winphone should have been taken behind the barn and powered down just like it happened. M$ would never have made anything worth while out of it… Look what we’ve been asked(forced?) to use as a Desktop OS since Win7.

    It was a failure Sat, stop trying to rewrite history…

    1. quxinot

      Re: I beg to differ

      I'd go further. The shame is not that Microsoft tried to join the phone biz and failed. The shame is that they tried at all.

      The focus on phone-like interfaces managed to really ruin their OS releases as well as a fair chunk of their major software output for a number of years, and it's fairly clear that the damage isn't completely healed yet.

      That said, absolute agreement that it'd be nice to have a reasonable third choice in the phone market--but I don't think MS would be a good option. Heck, it's difficult (not impossible!) to name another company that I'd trust even less with controlling significant market share in the phone space. Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone...... Anti-emetics are in the pockets->

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I beg to differ

        >The focus on phone-like interfaces managed to really ruin their OS releases

        Had Windows8 for a very brief trial.

        Installed visual Studio and my desktop was instantly covered in tiles to give me direct access to all those "vital components" that shipped with VS, like the Foxpro connection debugger

      2. Happy_Jack

        Re: I beg to differ

        The shame is that Microsoft bought Nokia simply so it could destroy the company.

        1. Kernel

          Re: I beg to differ

          "The shame is that Microsoft bought Nokia simply so it could destroy the company."

          Nokia has made 711 million Euro profit in the first 3 quarters of 2023 - not as good as lat year, but still far from destroyed.

          1. Korgonzolla

            Re: I beg to differ

            Microsoft bought the consumer device/phone business, not the telco infrastructure business. The telco business is still doing well, as is Ericsson. Huawei still lead them hands down due to simply being far cheaper to purchase and deploy - even with bans on using Huawei equipment in the US and Europe. The whole RAN market is slowing down though - 5G hype is dying out.

            As for Windows Phone - I worked for Microsoft at the time. I quite liked the quality of the phone, battery life, and even the tile interface. The lack of apps was the real killer. And most of that came about as the app developers and companies realized that MS was going to screw them over at some stage. Which Apple and Google have both done, but MS had previous. Balmer really was a disaster.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I beg to differ

              I was in the DPE team at MSFT and responsible for getting customers to port their iOS and Android apps to WinPhone. Even when we offered to pay for the development customers still refused ‘as I would then have to support three phone apps instead of two, and you have a sub three percent market share with WinPhone’. Bagged a few along the way, but most customers just went ‘nah’.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: I beg to differ

                In theory there should have been Symbian developers for MS to call on, but then Elop burnt the platform and I guess they left for iOS and Android and decided not to come back.

              2. Killfalcon Silver badge

                Re: I beg to differ

                A bit of a catch-22, really. The lack of apps pushed down market share, the low market share discouraged making apps for it.

                I had a winphone for ages - the cameras on the higher end nokias were unbelievably good - and the app store was more often comedy than utility. The number of direct lifts of Mario and Sonic games boggled the mind.

      3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

        That reminds me of ICL's One Per Desk product.

        I was intrigued by it but never investigated its capabilities. ISTR ICL were also trying to reinvent themselves at the time, wasn't this about the time when they lopped off a corner of their logo at vast expense?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

          My first professional paying gig was fixing these.

          Once they failed at being the vital desktop accessory for a dynamic executive's vital desktop - they were used by Bingo halls to run a nation-wide synchronised bingo game.

          They were basically a Sinclair QL + phone, and since I was one of the only two people in the world that bought a QL (I think the other guy went into PC give-away software) I got paid to fix them by a local chain of little-old-lady casinos

          1. ICL1900-G3

            Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

            I must have been the other guy.

            The QL... well, it was different. I tried doing a C compilation using Microdrives. Took a while.

            1. Jurassic.Hermit

              Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

              There’s actually 3 of us. With my QL i ran a CV writing and career development business! Lovely machine, but as you say, micro drives loading took ages.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

                Four. Parents wanted a cheap computer with office software and bought this when Dixons were selling the last remaining stock for tuppence ha'penny. When compared to a tape-loading Spectrum, Microdrives were... adequate.

          2. Dave559 Silver badge

            Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

            I'm sure that at least a few more than 2 people in the world bought a QL.

            They were somewhat eccentric machines, admittedly (but that was Sinclair Research for you in a nutshell, as we all know), the sort of thing that some random guy far away up in Finland might buy, for example…

            [Edited to add: Ah, I guess that's the "PC give-away software" reference! :-D ]

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Ah, logo changes. The public display of losing the plot and throwing money out of the window when you can't afford it.

        3. BebopWeBop

          Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

          Like many of the equally sad :-) individuals who occasionally comment here, I have a collection of old devices - one of which is an OPD - complete with working! 'stringy floppy' and monitor. Recued from a skip outside Manchester University many years ago.

        4. Ken G Silver badge

          Re: Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone

          I had an ICL OPD as a student. Buying it (used) to write my thesis was a mistake.

          How about the IBM Simon? I also remember seeing an IBM prototype MP3 player from several years before the iPod. It was round.

      4. simonlb Silver badge

        Re: I beg to differ

        Imagine an HP phone, or a IBM phone......

        There was an HP Phone: The Palm 3. It used WebOS and was singularly the worst UI I have ever come across on any phone. However, on the HP Touchpad it ran really well.

      5. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: I beg to differ

        The problem or challenge now, is supplanting the Google Play Android distribution.

        Samsung did try and Huawei are doing interesting things with its HarmonyOS Android distribution, but both of these are limited to the devices of a single manufacturer, just like iOS.

    2. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: I beg to differ

      I believe they keep coming out with new desktop UI platforms (MAUI, UWP, WPF) to thwart multi-platform solutions like wxWidgets which make developing for all three desktop platforms (Linux, Mac and Windows) effortless and as close to native as you can get.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had a WinPhone

    It was big. It had crap battery life. I got the special extended battery, with the special bulgy battery cover, which didn't quite fit properly. The battery life was still crap, and now the cover fell off. Often. Also, it ran WinPhone 5 (I think, it's been a while) which could not be updated to WinPhone 6. Something like that. I could get most, but not all, of the apps I wanted.

    When I got tired of struggling with it, I replaced it with an iPhone. The iPhone didn't have the greatest battery life, but was far superior to the WinPhone, which should tell you all you need to know about the battery life perpetuated by the WinPhone.

    I would have had to replace all my apps anyway if I got another WinPhone, as the old apps weren't compatible with the new WinPhone OS. And I could get all the apps I wanted to use on the iPhone.

    I have stayed with iPhones ever since. The battery life has improved. The app store has all the apps I want. I wouldn't go back to WinPhone unless Sad Nad paid me. And he would have to pay me quite a lot.

  5. ChrisElvidge

    Microsoft Lumia 650

    I still have one (several). Last price was ~£15.

    4G ready, acts as mobile hotspot, makes calls, sends texts, no nagging to update, cheap replacement batteries.

    What more do I need?

    1. xyz Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Lumia 650

      I still treasure my winPhone. Worked a like a charm until I dropped it once too often. Currently using some Android POS where the term "multithreaded" seems to have lost its meaning.

      As for Apple.. Hell no.

    2. Tom7

      Re: Microsoft Lumia 650

      No nagging to update - or, in other words, vulnerable to absolutely everything.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft Lumia 650

        In theory.

        In practice, who's going to bother attacking a platform with about ten users worldwide?

        1. Killfalcon Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft Lumia 650

          I'm just imagining some absolutely ecstatic Spearphisher _finally_ getting a mark with a WinPhone, giddy with all the unpatched CVEs to exploit.

    3. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Lumia 650


      1. Ken G Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft Lumia 650


        1. logicalextreme

          Re: Microsoft Lumia 650


          1. Ken G Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft Lumia 650

            I prefer Signal but I haven't found a current app that works on Windows Phone 10 whereas Telegram does have a port.

    4. Patrician

      Re: Microsoft Lumia 650

      So you're not using as a smartphone?

  6. YetAnotherXyzzy

    "Over the years, I would sometimes say some stuff, but not really mean it. And then, well, that doesn't work. That's why getting what you think, what you say, and what you do aligned is a struggle."

    CEOs almost never say anything thoughtful, but this is actually pretty good, whatever you or I might think about the speaker or his employer.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I like that he acknowledged that "people sense when what you do is not aligned with what you say".

      They do. So do as you say. Otherwise, you're nothing but a poser, at best.

    2. Zola

      With those words, Elon Musk could certainly learn a thing or two from Sataya the Wise One.

    3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Plain Speaking

      I would sometimes say some stuff, but not really mean it.

      In other words, he lied. Why would anyone find this acceptable?

  7. 43300 Silver badge

    I actually rather liked Wimdows Phone - the OS was straightforward and well laid out, users had no difficulties with it, and it gave fewer problems than Android. The tile screen which was such a disaster on W8 actually worked really well on a phone. We had quite a few of them at work, which obviously I had to replace with Android ones when Windows phone was dumped by Microsoft.

    1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


      Most people don't seem to know the history WHY Windows Phone looked so radically different. It wasn't because customers craved or demanded it, it was because of bad judgement by Microsoft's then-CEO Ballmer who thought Android would be sued out of existence by Apple for looking too much like iOS.

      Customers simply wanted something that looked like iOS but was "free" and being open-source also helped with its uptake. Google in the end only had to pay a trivial amount in damages and patent-infringement fees to keep going. Kudos to the Google legal team who correctly guessed that no legislator would dare to ban Android after one billion people were using the platform.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I got Win Phone for my Mum. It’s the only mobile she’s had, that I’ve barely had to support. Took me a bit to get it set up just right for her, and she could never get the hang of having to update the downloaded maps in the Satnav. But after sitting down with her and building her perfect Home Screen with all the apps she regularly used organised as big, friendly tiles, it was all gravy. She never got on with Android, and I was forever having to sort problems. And when we decided she’d be best with an IPhone SE last year, she expressed regret she couldn’t have another Windows one. That’s been easier, as she already had an iPad.

      I liked my couple too. Probably the best, most integrated, communications devices I’ve ever had. Apps were rubbish though, and the browser wasn’t great. You lose some of the customisation options of Android, but then my Google Pixel is a lot less customisable than earlier ‘Droids I’ve had. I still miss it.

  8. theOtherJT Silver badge

    I really miss windows phone.

    I even bought one. Two, if you count the one that my company at the time bought me for use when I was off site. Both were really good, I think massively better than the android equivalent of the day, but like so many things Microsoft they couldn't leave well enough alone. Rather than iterate cautiously on a good product until it becomes a great one they kept making random sweeping changes (remember the way winpho8 was *completely Incompatible* with winpho7) pissing off users who didn't ask for them, while ignoring minor irritations that everyone was complaining about.

  9. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    There were so many screw-ups and u-turns with Windows Mobile that it became clear early on for most ISV's that the platform wouldn't last. And so they bailed, killing off any hope of becoming the coveted "third pillar" as Ballmer would call it.

    And although some swear by its rectangular UI I believe most users thought it quaint and unwieldy. Ballmer made a deal with Jobs where the latter would give his blessing if he promised not to copy the iOS user interface. So Microsoft had to come up with something radically different, just to be different. In return Job made an oath not to sue Microsoft into oblivion since Apple owned many user interface patents for mobile devices.

    Google simply took the gamble and copied iOS verbatim and said: "We'll see you in court!" After more than a billion Android handsets were sold no judge or politician dared to ban the platform, so Google won the gamble and the rest is history.

    1. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: Failure

      @StrangerHereMyself "Apple owned many user interface patents for mobile devices"

      Did they? If that was the case why did Apple not sue for patent infringement. All the cases brought by Apple were about copying the look, from the look of the box, to the icons looking the same and rounded corners.

      TIFKAM did look different but at the basic level tiles are just icons that you touch to start an app. No different to icons on iOS, Android, clicking icons on a desktop. Even using a stylus to click icons on a PDA. I got the very first IPhone it had icons much like my PDA, just more colourful and no stylus.

      Tiles were not unwieldy you could have a tile for every app if you wanted and if you had more tiles than available screen you scrolled up rather than left to see more. I found it easier just to have the apps I most commonly used as tiles and left swipe for the others. The search was simple just Left swipe press letter that app starts with and press app. Much simpler than scrolling up though loads of tiles or left swiping through loads of icons.

      I miss the MS phone UI simply because its was the best phone UI I have used.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Failure

        I think Apple was very good at threatening patents on design elements without the risk of ever going to court

        A little like how Microsoft threatens every manufacturer of Translucent Wall Opening Inserts for copyright and hopes they give in without ever goign to court

      2. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Failure

        They did have patents regarding the look and feel and even the icon interface was patented. However, I believe they knew it would be unenforceable in practice because of the prior usage of most of the elements in the design.

        I also commend Jobs for putting Microsoft out to pasture because he knew customers didn't want a user interface that looked too different from Apple's iOS. His blessing was therefore a kiss of death.

  10. Steve Channell

    I'll be happy when they bring back the Windows phone..

    .. and they will, but using Windows Subsystem for Android and Amazon app store.

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: I'll be happy when they bring back the Windows phone..

      Very doubtful we will see another Windows OS phone from Microsoft, they might have a go at doing a Android reskin to make it look like Windows Phone, but the combination of Windows OS running the Android subsystem and Amazon app store is not a winning formula that is going to convince many Android or iPhone users to switch to Windows.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I'll be happy when they bring back the Windows phone..

        A Windows reskinned Android phone with Microsoft approved branding and Microsoft sales organisation behind it and a few golf trips for CIOs - might convince them that it's the only safe and secure option for their workforce

  11. Patrician

    It is hard to pinpoint .....

    "It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment when Windows Phone died."

    Not really, it died in 2010 as soon as it launched; offering an OS that was less customisable that Android, had less apps available and required paying MS for a license for it to be installed on a manufactures hardware.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Mobile 6

    was way better than Windows Phone 7. You could actually compile your own apps for Windows Mobile 6 using cegcc on Linux or Mac (try doing that with Windows Phone 7). Desktop Windows apps could be ported to Windows Mobile 6 without too much hassle, and several encyclopedias and things were (and these did not get Windows Phone 7 versions, and Muggins had to give tech support to people who bought a Windows Phone 7 on autopilot thinking it would be the next version of Windows Mobile 6 when actually it was a completely different operating system..., and yes I had to explain that although in British English "mobile phone" is a phrase, this does not mean that the word "mobile" in the product name is interchangeable with the word "phone" in the product name, and search engine synonym suggestions did our heads in...)

    I still don't understand why Microsoft abruptly moved from Windows Mobile 6 to Windows Phone 7, killing off their existing app ecosystem completely, and leaving the likes of me saying "only buy old Windows Mobile 6 phones on eBay, don't buy a new one, until your apps are ported to Android and then jump ship to that". If they had carried on developing Windows Mobile 6 they might have been in a better position to compete with Android 1 and 2.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Windows Mobile 6

      I ported a full desktop screen reader to PDAs running Windows CE and later phones with Windows Mobile 6, but I had left by the time WM7 broke everything. It had support for magnification, speech synthesis and Bluetooth keyboards, which gave visually impaired users the ability to use standard applications on the move, which was quite revolutionary.

      The big advantage of the platform for developers was the back-end code was very easy to port from the desktop version. The few NT and later APIs not supported by CE could be substituted with older Windows 9x code that was still in source control. The difficult bit was the user interface on the tiny low res screens of the time, I just converted all the big dialog boxes to tall thin scrollable ones, and passed it on to someone else to make usable.

      The big disadvantage of the platform for the users was it was trying to be a miniature desktop device which didn't stand a chance of succeeding against the touch focused UIs designed specifically for mobile devices.

  13. navarac Bronze badge

    Nadella has only...

    Nadella has only himself to blame. He cancelled Windows Phone almost as soon as he became CEO. Mind you, for us, it would have probably degenerated into a far worse advertising medium than Android.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Nadella has only...

      Worse than Android? While I don't think it would have been great, I think you have to remember that Android is made by an advertising company that doesn't often bother to make things unless it props up the advertising part of it. I think Google is still under the misconception that people buy their ads because they can track a lot of data, not because people who buy a lot of advertising haven't thought about where or how they should be doing so optimally. I don't even know if it's possible for Windows Phone to do that worse than Android did, and comparing Android to desktop Windows, there's little comparison. There are lots of ways for Windows Phone to be worse, and I think they would have found a few, but I really doubt that advertising would have been one of them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nadella has only...

      That's because he only cared and still only cares about his baby, Azure, at the expense of everything else. He would kill off everything in Microsoft that isn't dependent upon it if it increased the numbers in Azure, but knows it will do the opposite right now.

  14. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    He's right, and it is his fault...

    Mostly Windows Phone was very good, I still have my 950XL - though running Windows 10/11 pro as test only.

    A few tiny things were done half-assed, but not much. One of the biggest other mistakes: Throwing HERE maps away. Downloadable offline maps for whole Europe/Asia/etc with a very good navigation quality? Perfect! Nokia Refocus? Absolute key-feature, setting the focus without needing fake-AI-filters of a focus series, or combine to simulate a impossibly-small aperture. Only OpenCamera can do similar good focus series on Android.

    They missed: "Join Active Directory", "File manager which can talk to Windows shares directly" and in Outlook "Accept and store self-signed certificate anyway".

    1. Diogenes

      Re: He's right, and it is his fault...

      The 950XL was my favourite smart phone. At the time the specs hit the sweet spot and I actually liked the OS. I bought the 950 for SWMBO (a real technophobe - she still hasn't realised the difference between the facebook 'ping', and the different bing bongs we have set up for email and SMS notifications) and she loved it, I got very few requests for help. She replaced it with an iPhone, which hated, and since then has had Samsungs, her current for 2 years. I am still being asked "how do I".

    2. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: He's right, and it is his fault...

      The commute element of Here was a good idea. It knew your regular routes so it didn't try to give you turn guidance, it showed the traffic on the routes and gave you a predicted arrival time.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. ForthIsNotDead

    What a load of bloody waffle gab

    50 odd words and said nothing.

  17. Rgen

    Thank the gods that didn’t happen. I rather another company come up with something to compete with Apple and google. Microsoft monopoly is already over bloated

  18. aerogems Silver badge


    If they were willing to pour huge amounts of resources into it and slowly build up a user and developer base over many years, it's not inconceivable. That leaked build of what was one of the last versions of Windows Phone was actually fairly impressive for the time. It probably needed a lot of sanding down of rough edges, but still. Windows Phone had a lot of good ideas, it just came out several years too late. If they had something before the iPhone 4 came along, they may have had a chance because Google was still very much trying to get its shit together with Android back then, and Blackberry was starting to circle the drain... so there would have been an opportunity to become the #2 mobile OS. With their cloud gaming thing, I could see that tying in nicely with a mobile device running Windows Phone, and now that desktop Windows is flirting more and more heavily with ARM, porting apps would be that much easier, and you might even be able to get the full fat desktop versions working on a phone.

    The one big problem with all this, is that almost without a doubt there'd be a bunch of middle managers from the Gates and Ballmer days who would push for a revival of monopolistic practices. The Microsoft of today is one that has been very humbled by missing a at least two Next Big Thing(tm) in a row. First the mobile music player, then smartphones. And that was after Gates had to take extraordinary measures to keep the company from being completely left behind on the whole Internet thing.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Maybe

      But they would also have address the internal battles - remember the windows (desktop) team didn’t like the WinCE team and fought for the idea that one OS, namely their OS, should run across phones, tablets, desktops and severs, which ultimately lead to the abomination of Windows 8.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Maybe

        I didn't have any major problems with Windows 8, honestly. It was always a little jarring switching back and forth between the two layouts, but honestly, once I had my most frequently used apps pinned to the taskbar, I only rarely saw the other "half" of Windows 8. Let's face it, every OS has its fair share of serial whiners who complain about everything! A control gets moved a single pixel in any direction, and it's the end of the world according to them. They've completely destroyed the perfect operating system with that singular move. You know that, as snarky as I'm being, it's a lot closer to the truth than it should be. Like the song title, "Only Happy When it Rains" some people are only happy when they're miserable and bitching about how miserable they are. I mean, the choice is yours in the end. You can sit around and bitch about things endlessly, making yourself miserable, or you can accept it for what it is (doesn't mean you have to like it) and move on with your life.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Maybe

          I think you missed my point, the MS Windows (desktop) team actually thought the phone should be running the desktop OS executables and that the UI/UX should be the same across all devices.

  19. DS999 Silver badge

    Microsoft made several big mistakes with Windows Phone

    1) they saw it more as a business productivity tool than a consumer product

    2) they ruined Windows PCs with the Windows 8 abomination because they had some strange idea that all devices needed the same UI

    3) they wasted valuable time messing around with tablets, because they couldn't stand that Steve Jobs got it right after they'd failed with tablets several times already

    4) they charged OEMs to license it, despite Android being free - they were stuck in the Windows mentality where they made money from the sale of a Windows PC and generally made nothing after the sale at least for consumer PCs

    They basically handed Google the entire market of "iPhone alternative" and screwed all the PC OEMs who followed them into smartphone oblivion like Dell and HP. Other PC OEMs like LG and Samsung were smarter and hedged their bets by producing both Android and Windows phones, but it didn't take them long to realize where things were going and abandon Microsoft and go all-in on Android.

  20. Spanners Silver badge


    Despite not being a Micro$oft fan, I was sad to see them leave. At least there was an alternative to Android.

  21. karlkarl Silver badge

    If they didn't lock it down and artificially cripple it like they did with Windows RT, it would have probably been quite a contender.

    The .NET development platform had a lot of momentum with a fairly loyal consumer-base.

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      RT was an early ARM version and before they had x86 emulation working. There would have been no point to doing anything else. Not sure what .NET has to do with this either, since it's basically Microsoft's answer to the JVM. The whole idea of .NET is you can compile different languages down to a common bytecode and run them on different versions of Windows (even different operating systems) and CPU architectures. As long as someone ports the runtime and associated support libs.

  22. Cruachan

    I had a Lumia 925 for a long time, and also won a 950 from Windows Central that I used for a bit then sold. They were great phones for what they did, the live tiles and especially the ability to pin multiple email account tiles on the home screen were very useful for me.

    The app gap wasn't a huge issue for me until more and more companies shifted off the web to mobile apps only for certain things, or when Edge ran in to compatibility issues.

  23. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "Please hang up and try again"

    Amazingly is not a part of Microsoft's legacy.

  24. Martin509

    I miss my Lumia 650

    I loved windows phone/mobile. Competition is a good thing and Windows Mobile was a truly unique experience with a lot of potential. If Microsoft announced a new Lumia today I would trade my Pixel 7 in tomorrow to get it. Please Microsoft bring Windows Mobile back, hell if I could flash a modern Windows Mobile to my Pixel I would definitely do that. Windows Mobile has it's fans and I think most of us would be more than happy to leave Android for greener pastures once more...

  25. rajivdx

    No sh!it Sherlock!

    Windows Phone was probably the best phone OS out there when it came to intuitiveness, ease of use consistency and code size.

    Android is a sh!t show full of spam and spyware (Thanks Google!).

    iOS is is bulky as hell with copies of resources for every iOS phone out there - simple apps are hundreds of MB in size compared to the same apps on Windows Phone which are 10's of MB. iOS is now following what Windows Phone did with XAML with its new declarative UI.

    Slowly Windows Phone features are trickling down to Android and iOS devices. What let Windows Phone down was poor developer support and under powered hardware - both of which we can blame Microsoft for.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Consistency ? Yeah, right.

      WinPhone 7 was really very consistent with WinPhone 8.


  26. Ideasource Bronze badge

    Wince 5

    I had a wince 5 device that served me well.

    There's a large diverse base of applications.

    At the time us carrier Cricket mobile internet work through a proxy unless you paid an upmark of 500% for normal routing.

    This would break the majority of feature phone apps.

    It was fairly easy to redirect all traffic through the proxy on wince

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Phone OS was great. I held onto my Nokia for as long as possible before finally having to move to Android when a critical app I need for work was eventually dropped on the platform.

    It was a joy to use and had features that I still can't find on an Android device.

    One example was the ability to show my number when calling anyone in my contacts list, but hide it for anyone else. Ideal when I want the significant other to know I am calling, but don't to give my number out every time I have to call a customer. Every other phone I have had, hiding number is either fully on or off.

  28. MacroRodent

    That again...

    > Microsoft spending billions on acquiring Nokia,

    Sigh. Microsoft bough only the Nokia phone business, not the whole Nokia company, which is still operating fine as a telecom network maker.

  29. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    They should have teamed up with Blackberry. BB10 had arguably the best UI of all mobile OS at the time, it ran smoothly on low specs, and the half of their smartphones still came with the physical keyboard. On top of that, high security and lots of business features. With Windows being the “business” OS (probably used on 95%+ of office computers), this could have been a great match. What BB10 was missing was the app ecosystem (although they had the basics like Whatsapp at least) and the I think teaming up with Microsoft could have helped. Instead, we ended up with two niche OS that both had some apps but not enough, and had an okayish market share but not enough. Had they teamed up, we could’ve had a proper third contender.

    That being said, they were both locked down and proprietary, so what I actually would have liked to see was a GNU/Linux system succeed, like the one Nokia had before they switched to Windows.

  30. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    another article where only people called ceo are allowed to speak..

  31. VicMortimer Silver badge

    Ooof - no

    Seriously? That OS was the ugliest, most unusable piece of crapola ever. It's like they looked at iOS, saw everything Apple did right, and decided they were going to do the exact opposite.

    (New keyboard please, because now I've got vomit on it.)

  32. Flywheel
    Thumb Down

    Data plan

    If they resurrected the Windows Phone, users would probably need an unlimited data plan just for the feedback to Microsoft spyware/telemetry!

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Data plan

      Hmm. You reckon Google / Apple aren't just as bad as Microsoft in the telemetry collection stakes?

      1. Flywheel

        Re: Data plan

        I reckon that Windows is actually a telemetry product with a few apps thrown in.

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: Data plan

          And other commercial OSs (Googley ones especially) aren't?

  33. WhoDecidedThat

    It's hard to determine when Windows Phone died?

    How about when they killed off support for business using Windows Mobile alongside when they re-wrote Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 and needed developers to re-write their app a second time? With no businesses willing to write apps for it after 2 re-writes in 2 years, I think that added towards killing it off.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: It's hard to determine when Windows Phone died?

      The end point for me was when the versions of MS Office on iOS and Android were at least two versions ahead of Windows Phone. That in itself would put off other app developers.

  34. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    I'm terrified

    to turn on the wifi on my windows laptop! Why in the world would I want a windows phone?! It would spend more time updating and spying on me than being useful.... before a nkorean bricks it.

  35. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    "we could have made it work by perhaps reinventing the category of computing between PCs, tablets, and phones"

    Um, wasn't that what you were trying to do with Windows 8? I'm not sure things could have gone any differently if that's how you seem to feel about it.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Apple actually got this one right - common design elements shared between phone / tablet / computer OS, but each OS variant designed for its intended form factor.

      As opposed to what Micrtosoft did, which was basically try to foist the phone-os front end (which worked well on the phone form factor) onto all types of device (even the server OSs had it), with the desktop being a semi-disconnected adjunct in the desktop OSs. It's hardly surprising that this didn't work out too well!

  36. Ron Pitts

    Windows phone was and still is the better GUI when comparing Apple and Android.

    I love the tiles experience and still today Apple and Android do not have anything like it.

    The problem was that Microsoft went chasing App development instead of attempting to port apps onto the platform, there was an early attempt to run Android apps on the Windows phone but never moved forward.

    The surface duo of which I've have both versions is an attempt to fix the wrongs but Microsoft being Microsoft only focus on profitability products and will dump yet again another consumer product.

    There is a point that as a consumer of Microsoft products you give up and never touch anything with the words Microsoft written on it. Nadella really needs to focus on this instead of seeing $$$ and shareholders value as the mobile is here to stay.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Running Android apps on Windows Phone would have been the worst of all worlds: both Windows and Android/Google spyware (in all the Google 'services' libraries that get built-in to the apps)!

      (It would also have resulted in the Sailfish OS problem: if you support apps from a rival OS it makes it even less likely that developers will make a native version for your OS.)

  37. gryff

    Dumping staff didn't help...

    Setting software, feature and UI love/hate aside...

    Micro$oft fired all the Nokia Mobile/Smartphone Sales & Marketing staff shortly after their acquisition of the phone business. These were the people who moved the needle on Windows Phone volumes from negligible to noticeable and from miniscule to measurable in several worthwhile markets.. This is known as "growth" for those who graduated business school..

    If you dump your sales force and those who know how to envision, target and market products, it should be no surprise if your revenues and volumes tank.

    Also, without the staff who understand the phone market, your development roadmap will lose connection to reality. Meaning no products worth buying get developed.

    Therefore, dear managers, if you can't sell and you can't develop...where is your business?

  38. Doug 3

    sounds like some's still dreaming of what could have been instead of what happened.

    Because it had nothing to do with Windows CE( aka WinCE ) and was only about the Microsoft Windows Phone OS which was a renaming game years after WinCE became a joke. Later, the Microsoft Windows Phone OS was migrated away from the WinCE codebase but how many decades do they get at failure?

    WinCE was only created to kill PalmOS and was successful via massive expenditure of bags and bags marketing money dumped on doorsteps of Windows desktop OS licensee's. After that success it was pushed as a media player in the early age of MP3 players but about 5 years of memory leaking APIs, switching APIs and forced developer tool changes other MP3 players made it to market while WinCE versions floundered. Apple iPod killed the WinCE market and became the standard MP3 player to have.

    When Apple grew the iPod to a bigger screen with the iPod Touch it was a no brainer to make a phone out of it. Handspring had shown that a phone built into a good PDA can be quite useful. So along comes the iPhone and Googles entry of Android purchase is quickly switched to the full screen design. Along comes Microsoft again with WinCE devices made into a phone OS but again they are dictating size, resolution, etc instead of letting developers innovate. You know, like they control all aspects of the desktop computer UI turning PC vendors into hardware assemblers. They were once both hardware and software vendors creating lots of desktop productivity enhancements vi UI applications.

    Talking only about how the last version of Microsoft's phone OS, the Windows Phone phone OS died is lame since its death started almost two decades before that.

    Maybe they should post a disclaimer that the interview was about dreams they had and not reality.

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