Why did Windows Phone fail?

Despite millions of dollars and the priceless connections of Microsoft, the Windows Phone never took off.

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Why did Windows Phone fail?


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Mishaal Shaheen

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Despite millions of dollars and the priceless connections of Microsoft, the Windows Phone never took off. It would go down in history as one of the Microsoft’s most expensive mistakes. So why did Microsoft failed? Let’s find out.

Microsoft had strict requirements

In terms of design, Windows Phone user experience was right up there next to Apple and because Microsoft had very strict requirements for the hardware used by manufacturers, all of the Windows Phones were very powerful machines for their time.

Microsoft had a big problem

Microsoft ran into a very big problem early on. Microsoft was trying to do something very difficult. It was emulating Apple in trying to establish strict control over the user experience and hardware, but unlike Apple, it was not making its own phones. This approach made the Windows Phone a very refined product, but the degree of control Microsoft wanted made working with them much more difficult for phone manufacturers compared to working with Android.

Most manufactures chose Google

Most phone manufacturers decided to partner up with Google, which left Microsoft in a very bad position: it had great product and no one to make it. The only saving grace for Microsoft was its connection with Nokia. The CEO for Nokia at that time was a former Microsoft executive. His first agenda was to raise Nokia’s declining market by sharing it with Windows Phone.

There were no applications for Windows Phone

By the time Microsoft solved its production issue, four years later after the introduction of the iPhone, it had fallen to a 2% market share. Nobody was developing applications for the Windows Phone. For its first three years, the Windows Phone App Store was empty: It did not have Instagram, YouTube or anything.

Stock Price of Nokia had fallen

By 2013, the stock price of Nokia had fallen by 75% at which point angry stakeholders were threatening to just fire the CEO and get rid of Microsoft altogether. In the end, that didn’t happen: Microsoft instead just purchased Nokia’s mobile phone division for 7.2 Billion dollar in 2014. Microsoft wrote off their investment for 7.6 billion dollars, and then to top things off they fired almost 8000 employees.

End of Windows Phone

Microsoft kept Windows Phone on life support until October 2017, but it was clearly dead a long before that. Had Microsoft been willing to compromise on its control over production, it would’ve easily convinced manufacturers to use Windows Phone instead of Android.

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