Opinion: It’s Too Late To Save Windows Mobile

 

Before the iPhone and the Galaxy S. Before 3G and LTE. Before most people carried cellular phones, it was there. It was a time when the pen that came with the device was called a stylus, not some crazy marketing term that makes everyone think it’s more than that. It was the time that Microsoft lead the way in PC and Mobile. It was the time of Windows Mobile. In the early 2000’s, Microsoft and Symbian ruled the mobile space with a dominance that can only be appreciated by today’s comparison with iOS and Android. Then that one fateful day in 2007, Apple launched a device that changed it all and Microsoft and Symbian are both all but gone today. It pains me to say this, but perhaps that’s just where it should stay though, gone.

You see, the concept of having a third OS in the ecosystem doesn’t work. It never has and never will. Look at the PC market. You have Windows and Mac. Sure you had OS2 back in the day, just like we have Linux today. The problem is that the market share is so small on that #3 OS that nobody will support it. It’s dead in the water from launch date. Nobody is going to use the ‘runner-up’ when they can have first place for free. This is the issue that Microsoft is facing today, and it is a position that they have never had to play from before.

Even though Microsoft still produces the largest PC OS in the world, they are losing ground quickly to others in the space. That is why Windows 10 was pushed to market so quickly, to stop the bleeding. The problem is, that exactly what they did with Windows Phone 7 and then Windows Phone 8. These ‘incomplete’ OS’s were sent to market knowing that there were extreme limitations and a few major issues, but Microsoft had to get ‘back in the game.’ Following the same path, Windows 10 is now out and getting patched daily for little bugs, feature issues and additional tweaking. Now, before going off the deep end of when did shipping a product that doesn’t work become acceptable to people takes a hold of this post, I’ll bring it back around to the OS again.

Microsoft has lost all their support for their mobile OS. They bought a hardware division for way too much money. They alienated their third party manufacturers by creating exclusive “Lumia Only” software. They then committed the ultimate tech sin, they abandoned their high end users. They forgot about flagship phones, great cameras, big storage spaces and gorgeous displays. They opted to go after the sub $50 phone market instead of keeping the small number of users that they had rotating into new devices. They then continued to screw things up for their dedicated fan base by making better Apps for other platforms and abandoning, for the third time, the OS itself. The writing was on the wall and it was written so clearly that manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei and many others just dumped their Windows Phone lines all together. In fact, the number 2 Windows Phone maker behind Microsoft right now is Blu. Scary isn’t it?

Limitations. That’s the excuse that Microsoft continues to roll out. First it was the time that was needed to do Windows Phone up right coming off of 6.5 to 7. They didn’t have time to move from the limited CE core to the NT core, so they just used CE again for the base on 7. It was limited in its possibilities though, so move on to 8 where we can change the kernel. So, any of you that bought our product 3 months ago, sorry, no updates for you. Windows Phone 8 rolls out and everyone is excited, but it still doesn’t work as a PC would. It was pushed out to get it out quickly and we didn’t have all the functions we needed, so it’s a bit limited in functions. Oh and by the way, go update your PC to Windows 8 and enjoy the same experience on your PC and your phone. That led to the, “That didn’t sell too well.” conversation, which lead to them dumping Windows 8 all together and going straight to Windows 10. Windows 10 launched in July and should be available for mobile devices in October. I’m personally betting that it will be a bit limited in its first rendition, but get better over time with some updates – which hopefully will not depend on carriers to push through.

The issue now is that for so long, Microsoft has abandoned users again and again. First with the move from 6.5 to 7, then 7 to 8 and now the all but forgotten OS is getting updated again, but it won’t include any hardware driven features that they have been selling as the major points of Windows 10 Mobile. Instead of trying to justify their behavior, why doesn’t Microsoft just man up and admit that they have lost. They should just do the right thing with their users and work with the PC and Tablet makers to create what they tried to from the start of this entire fiasco, the Pocket PC. Hopefully they will get the idea that a Pocket Surface would be a brilliant idea. A phone that runs EXE’s would sell a ton and they are in a position right now to launch the largest game changing OS in the history of computers, if only they would get out of their own way and dump Windows Mobile, like they should have done before Windows Phone ever existed.

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