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Cellphones Microsoft Businesses Windows

Neowin: Microsoft's Windows Phone Business 'Is Dead' (neowin.net) 180

An anonymous reader quotes Neowin: If you've been expecting Microsoft to issue a press release formally announcing the end of its Windows phone business, you're probably hoping for a bit too much. But make no mistake: its phone hardware business is dead. RIP-dead. Send-flowers-dead. Worm-food-dead. Some fans, and even some in the media, have consistently refused to acknowledge this, despite the clear signs in recent quarters. Now, Microsoft's own figures, and its statements regarding its phone division, should make it irrefutably clear that there is no life left in its Windows phone business.

During the quarter ending in December, Microsoft's phone revenue dropped to just $200 million, which included some sales of feature phones, before the company completed its sale of that business unit to Foxconn in November. That figure has now dropped to virtually nothing... Today, as Microsoft published its earnings report for Q3 FY2017, it revealed that its "Phone revenue declined $730 million". Based on its earlier financial disclosures, that means the company's phone hardware revenue fell to just $5 million for the entire quarter ending March 31, 2017. During Microsoft's earnings call today, its chief financial officer, Amy Hood, acknowledged this, stating that there was "no material phone revenue this quarter". The outlook for the next few months is similarly bleak, as Hood predicted "negligible revenue from Phone" in the coming quarter.

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Neowin: Microsoft's Windows Phone Business 'Is Dead'

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  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @06:57PM (#54330853)

    If one has a Lumia, then one can still use it in the ways that one uses a cellphone. Talk, send text messages, use Bing maps for directions, listen to music, watch videos... I don't see any of that stopping. Is there an en masse migration of services to VoLTE-only that would make a Lumia unusable? So that it couldn't be used for Legacy GSM networks?

    I agree that the Windows Phone platform has been stagnant, but that only matters if one is heavily into apps and is seeing them pulled from the Windows Store. But for the basic things that a phone does, Windows Phone is still fine. While there were complaints about the original tiles in Windows Phone 8, the look & feel of Windows 10 Mobile has been pretty fluent, and the only thing it lacks is a good app ecosystem. Heck, I'd argue that it's the best in work environments if Windows is the main OS being used - both for servers as well as laptops

    • by quetwo ( 1203948 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @07:30PM (#54330971) Homepage

      It won't stop working today, but quickly things will become deprecated and unusable. Things like the web browser will stop rendering pages correctly as standards move on. Things like the app stores will start blocking the device. Things like Bing Maps and other utilities that are tied to the device will stop supporting it. Eventually other APIs will move on and no longer work with the device (like ActiveSync). Of course, somewhere in between IT departments will block it form checking email and syncing calendars/contacts. If Blackberries are of any predictor, this could happen all in the course of a couple of years. You will be left with a smart phone that can do phone calls and text messages.

      • Why would they do that? It costs them virtually nothing to simply leave it running and continue to get the business of the users that are left, ditto for the apps that are already on there as lets face it many of the "apps" today are just glorified screen scrapers or simple data processing (such as the Weather.com app which is just grabbing the data and ads from the website) so as long as there are still even a couple hundred thousand users out there using it? its still gonna be profitable with as little as

        • Why would they do that? It costs them virtually nothing to simply leave it running and continue to get the business of the users that are left,

          They shut down the old thing to induce users to buy the new thing. Microsoft, Google, whoever.

          • They'd do that if there's something new that they were introducing. Like forcing Windows 7 or 8 users to go to Windows 10. But it's not the case here, where they don't have a succession product. Which is why what Hairyfeet says makes sense: they can just leave it alone and let current Lumia owners continue to use the store to get whatever they want. Other vendors might pull dated stuff from the store, but Microsoft needn't.

        • by bazorg ( 911295 )

          Why would they do that? I[...] its still gonna be profitable with as little as they have to support it.

          Except... if there's a security breach that affects a lot of devices at a time when MS has already turned those development/maintenance teams into a skeleton crew, or those people already decided that working in legacy tech is not as interesting as everyone else's job at Microsoft and elsewhere.

          MS should definitely keep support alive for x years after the last device they put on sale, and hope that x+1 years from now buyers have moved on rather than complain about lack of service.

          As the eternal optimist Nok

    • If one has a Lumia, then one can still use it in the ways that one uses a cellphone. Talk, send text messages, use Bing maps for directions, listen to music, watch videos... I don't see any of that stopping. Is there an en masse migration of services to VoLTE-only that would make a Lumia unusable? So that it couldn't be used for Legacy GSM networks?

      The heading and summary use the word "Business" several times. I don't feel that anything more than the end of the phone hardware business was implied?

    • If one has a Lumia, then one can still use it in the ways that one uses a cellphone. Talk, send text messages, use Bing maps for directions, listen to music, watch videos... I don't see any of that stopping.

      A +5 comment above yours shows exactly why that will stop working. Much of the world depends on the latest shiny. Your OS will rot, your apps will update ... right until they don't. When they don't update you'll no longer be able to send text messages or talk (e.g. Facebook Messenger app which depends on Windows 10 and won't work if its out of date).

      Maybe your browser will keep working. Maybe a POODLE style vulnerability is detected and the internet stops serving you sites like they did for IE6 or Android 2

  • I distinctly remember Gartner forecasting that Windows Phone would become the second most used smartphone OS, just slightly behind Android. Usually, their forecasts are super accurate even going 20 years into the future. And it was obvious at the time: Windows Phone had doubled its market share from 0.4% in 2011 to 0.8% in 2012. From this rich dataset, Gartner did they only sensible thing to produce a forecast: They assumed the same growth rate for the coming years and predicted 1.6%, 3.2%, 6.4%, 12.8%
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      You have to be fair to Gartner, they were not aware of Windows anal probe 10 and thus could not take it into account. Nobody likes perves, a lesson everyone except the arse holes at M$ learned in primary school, really, really uncool behaviour ask any reasonable child and they will tell you exactly that. So M$ is killing itself in the consumer market first in smart phones and now the XBone is following suit losing market share to Sony and XBone is the popular name for it, so not seen as cool what so ever. W

  • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @07:21PM (#54330933) Journal

    RIP-dead. Send-flowers-dead. Worm-food-dead.

    "It's pining!" [youtube.com]
    "It's not pining, it's passed on! This is an Ex-Phone!"

  • Successful phase 3. Extinguish.
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @07:51PM (#54331045) Journal

    I use that forum too and if it says it is dead that means alot.

    I was hoping it would take around 20% marketshare just for healthy competition even if I do not use it anymore as this would benefit everyone. :-(

    It is not WindowsCE (which sucked) and was a much different and better OS. It usess the same kernel as Windows Server 2012 R2! I loved the UI. Windows 8 rocked on a phone and the back and forward feels more natural than Android. It was stable and very lightweight and ran easier on slower but battery saving cpus. The tiles give you the notifications for news events perfect at a quick glance.

    MS got it backwards with a start menu on WindowsCE and a phone UI on the desktop. Windows Phone should have come out in 2009 if it were to survive. Also WIndows Universal Apps or UWP was not mature until last year! If this was there in 2009/2010 it could have had significant marketshare and be a much needed 3rd player and kept IT and programmers jobs and not made --webkit CSS extensions standard.

    My mom who is 68 years old and has dying eye sight and is techno illerate loves her $50 Windows Phone Nokia 640 unlocked. No way could Android run as good for that cheap for $50. The big tiles make it easier for her to see and understand what each tile does.

    But it makes no sense to buy one as I did not want to invest $500 into a dead platform so I went back to Android 18 months ago. Even if Neowin of all places admits it now it is time to move forward. Ironically this is what killed Unix for Windows. People wanted standards and no one wanted to pay lots of money for Unix or a Commode as everyone was using Windows. Now MS got hit in reverse by the same logic.

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      And the irony is, they completely fucked over their PC GUI just to try and unify it with this mobile shit, and now the whole reason for it is basically gone. OK there's still tablets but they're nowhere near a big enough market to justify butchering the Win7 interface. Windows 10 could've been so much better.

      • Yeah, like Billy said above, they'd have done well had they come out w/ that Metro UI for phones back in Windows Phone 6 or 7, and had they come out w/ the current Windows 10 interface in Windows 8. That would have covered both touchscreens and legacy PCs

  • Good riddance! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <rodrigogiraoNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Sunday April 30, 2017 @07:51PM (#54331049) Homepage

    As we witness the end of this sad tale, let us not forget that Microsoft tried to hijack Nokia's rabidly loyal userbase by planting one of their own as CEO and switching the company to WP, only to be universally rejected. They killed the top-selling smartphone system of the time (Symbian) and the new system that everyone was hyped for (MeeGo), all to peddle a late, rushed, still unfinished piece of crap that no one wanted.

    So, good fucking riddance to stillborn WP, the mobile equivalent of "this is why we can't have nice things" (and by "nice things" I mean MeeGo).

    • Re:Good riddance! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @08:01PM (#54331089) Journal

      MeeGo would have failed too.

      This is the mobile equivalent of the mid 1990s. Unix dying, commodore dead, Apple II dead, Apple dying, OS/2 dying. Windows was the answer and won. Companies only wrote software for Windows as it was the winner because consumers only wanted what companies wrote software for in a cycle. Why blow $2000 on a dead platform when Windows was what everyone was using and was a sure bet etc.

      Funny thing is same is killing WIndows Phone in reverse. Meego was too late. If you were not in by 2009 you were out. 2010/2011 is when mobile developers hit apps on smartphones and consumers knew if they wanted apps they had to make a choice. Apple or Google. MeeGo didn't ahve a playstore and was expected to have mobile carriers be the appstore. Remember the shitty $3.00 midi file ring tones back then? Vommit. Apple gave the carrier the finger. Google followed and rest is history.

      WebOS was pretty cool too and so was QNX by Blackberry. All failed as people wanted companeis to set the standards like what MS did on the desktop.

      I think in 2017 it is done. Move on. Even Steve Jobs admitted Windows won which is why he refused to hire corporate account executives. Same is true here. UWP apis came 8 years too late. Meego never caught on and was a late commer.

      • This is the mobile equivalent of the mid 1990s. Unix dying, commodore dead, Apple II dead, Apple dying, OS/2 dying. Windows was the answer and won.

        Then Linux showed up and now rules everything that is not a desktop. And the Mac is still selling pretty well too.

        MeeGo didn't ahve a playstore

        It sure did, never heard of the Ovi Store? [wikipedia.org]

        • If by "rules" you mean "got a EEE pulled on them by a megacorp that turned Linux into a proprietary OS they control [arstechnica.com] by cutting off support for ASOP, locking crucial APIs behind a playwall, and making GPL V3 verbotten because they can't pull a TiVo with it?" then yeah I suppose it "won" but if that is "winning" I'd sure as fuck hate to see what you would consider a loss.,/p>

          Lets see if Android behaves anything like actual Linux, shall we? So you can just replace Android with any old vanilla ARM Linux bu

          • RMS of course would say this is why we call it GNU/Linux, not Linux :-)

            Meego was Linux based but in the end the apps is why Windows is on the PC and Android on the phone. When I dropped my Nokia 830 I decided to go back to a crappy Android. Why? I do not want to invest money in a dead platform.

            My mother has a unlocked $45 Nokia 640 which is great for her 68 year old eyes with the big tiles and ease of use. Outside of a simple feature phone it is useless these days as I remember using IE mobile to make up fo

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Back in 1995, Microsoft had just brought out Windows NT with OpenGL support. UNIX Workstation application vendors could really only afford support development on two or three OS's due to the fact that they had to pay per component for the hardware, the OS, the compilers and documentation, the API dev kits like X-windows/Motif, the number of users, the number of CPU's, separate graphics boards and UNIX priced monitors and cables. Alternatively, they could just buy Windows NT with everything ready to go. Comp

        • Too bad Microsoft didn't create a common NT development platform across the CPUs that it supported - Alpha and MIPS, in addition to x86. Had they done that, devs could have developed their stuff on Alphas and had awesome results

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        MeeGo would have failed too.

        Why? It was a lot like Android at the same time only faster on the same hardware. It even had Angry Birds and was on the radar of other major application vendors.
        By your argument above Android should be dead as well, so what additional reason do you have for MeeGo to die other than Elop killing it and telling Intel and the other partners to fuck off?

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        MeeGo didn't ahve a playstore

        Wrong. It was called "ovi store".

    • Meego is there as Jolla's Sailfish - why is that not catching fire if it's so great?

  • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @08:00PM (#54331087) Homepage

    At least their Zune business is alive and well.

  • It seems like I've heard this news before only for Microsoft to change its mind and try again. How many times has it been left for dead only to be resurrected? I've lost count ....
  • The author wrongly assumed that Microsoft's phone business is the manufacture and selling of cell phones. Microsoft's phone business is in patents, and it brings in far more money from patents that it does phones.

    Reports range from 2 to 6 billions dollars every year in profits just from Android.

    https://www.howtogeek.com/1837... [howtogeek.com]
    https://fossbytes.com/microsof... [fossbytes.com]

    Samsung alone pays Microsoft 1 billion per year

    http://www.theverge.com/2014/1... [theverge.com]

    Making handsets is simply a convenient way to stay in the patent creat

    • Eventually utility patents expire 20 years after initial filing date and so will the income in that time frame. Not sure how long Microsoft's patents have been extant, but I've read that MS has 127 patents associated with Android cell phones and maybe iOS phones, including things like touch interfaces.
      • Android came out in 2009. If the patents dated to that time they would still have 60% of their life left. Other countries have their own patent lengths which can be shorter or longer. For the meanwhile they are arguably make more profit from Android than any of the manufactures. That is a lot of billions over the years.

        My point is that by keeping their phone OS alive they give a practical means by which their developers can look for 'new' things that can be patented. Those patents are worth far more than th

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @09:18PM (#54331347)
    I still like my Windows Phone, and my next one will be a Windows Phone, as well. The UI is much better than the other two.
    • by maxrate ( 886773 )
      I love my Windows Phones - I've switched to iPhone because I found its smoother than Android. My current arsenal of somewhat up to date phones are: Galaxy S7, Windows 950XL, iPhone 6S. If Windows phone was still supported, it would still be my fav phone as it's really user friendly. Too bad it didn't do well in the market place. I'd say mostly bad attitudes as many that would dump on the phone never actually even held one or used one, or had some microsoft hate-on. I'm using my iPhone as my primary ph
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you're on WP10, how do you handle scheduling updates and forced restarts. As far as I can tell you have to give WP10 a 6 hour window in which it can install updates and restart, during which it can be down for up to 20 mins. For me this made it completely unsuitable as a work phone as there are days when I do 24 hr on call.

        • Ironically, while I had these problems on my PC - when Windows 10 was first out - I never had it on any of my Lumias.
  • Beaten by Linux. [theregister.co.uk]

    (Monkey boy got one thing right.)

  • by hlee ( 518174 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @01:12AM (#54331885)

    A year or two ago Microsoft offered our company money and even some engineers to help to port our mobile product to Windows phone. Since we were really strapped for engineering resources, which we would still have to devote to the port despite the assistance, but not short on cash, we turned them down because we felt our other priorities were more important than Windows phone. We must have been the minority to do so because they were incredulous at our rejection. Just as well it seems.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      We must have been the minority to do so because they were incredulous at our rejection.

      Maybe, but that's a very common tactic of salesfolk and when it's especially over the top it's a fair indication that they are being rejected a lot.

  • Hope you never escape the furthest depths of Hell.
  • As usual, Windows phone users are flabbergasted.
    Both of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm on the Insider program, and my Lumia 640 gets more updates in a month than either my Android 4.3 and 6.0 have ever gotten throughout their entire lifetime.

    Seriously, when walking out of the store, Android feels like abandonware. At least I know the known vulnerabilities are getting addressed on WP. On Android...the list is just getting bigger over time.

  • I wonder if this means they'll stop trying to turn Windows UI into an phone OS...

    Who am I kidding, that ship has long since sailed... sigh.

  • This time, Microsoft, you may not consider yourself middle-fingered - you ARE middle-fingered.
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @12:46PM (#54334881) Journal

    I'm conflicted about this. Although I'd never own one, I felt it was important for Windows Phone to continue as competition (however feeble) against Android and IOS. It's important to have multiple vendors pushing each other to excel.

    I'm worried now about Microsoft tablet. Of all the tablet makers, Microsoft seems the only one who at least pays lip service to content *creation* rather than mere content consumption. If Microsoft fails in the tablet market (which could easily happen, considering all the other missteps they've made) the message could easily be that nobody wants to create content on a tablet, which is profoundly untrue. Its that there haven't been good solutions yet.

    I'm saying all of this not as a Microsoft fan. I run Winders because it runs the Adobe suite and I can't justify the cost of a mac. (I can build a PC to my specifications for a fraction of the cost.) The OS is a means to an end, not an end in itself. If the Adobe suite ran on Linux, M$ and Apple could both go screw.

  • Was it ever alive?

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. -- Winston Churchill

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