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« Ballmer is Gone: Justified. Elop at Nokia Still With His Job: Unjustified | Main | Ballmer Aftermath Part 2 - Impact to Nokia, especially Lumia running Windows Phone »

August 24, 2013

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zlutor

Let's see how it goes. In my opinion, whatever can happen...

What could Nokia do if MS terminates WP? Possibilities are really limited then.
- going to Android camp - but in that case there will be really hard question to be asked from Elop in the next ASM...
- going with Sailfish - but again the ecosystem issues? Even if it has ACL that technically solves the problem but what about accessing apps in Google Play?

@Tomi: what would be different if talks about buying Nokia were not aborted by M$?

Anyway, interesting days to come...

peter

so Tomi what are you now realy telling,MS windows phone is dead?
I don't think so,look at the deal with Delta airlines this is jus the beginning,but you have to see it to understand

leebase

Gates said there was no future for WP...only that they were late to the market and therefore could not get leadership. Msft not now under Ballmer, and not in the future under another CEO...will leave the mobile phone space. They know it is vital to be in that space. They have floundered for years in internet space and have never given up on it.

Dave Barnes

@Tomi,
On the desktop.
IE marketshare has grown over the last year.
http://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=1&qpcustomb=0

foo

> Nokia was strong, growing stronger, using that 'obsolete' OS platform of
> its own, called Symbian. Why was this? Not because Symbian was so good, but
> because Nokia's carrier relationships worldwide were by far the best.
> Nokia's market share in the three most populous continents, Asia, Africa
> and Latin America was over 50% in smartphones.

There is another point -- Nokia's smartphones were cost-effective for most countries in the world.

We can see it again now, since the company's best-sellers are the cheapest Windows Phones and Asha.

But Elop took a long detour from that -- a market that he already owned, and he threw away.

So, Nokia had the carrier relationships AND products that were perfectly tailored for the world.

Tester

@Leebase:

You shouldn't take corporatespeak literally. Gates never said that Ballmer's time was over, yet it was abundantly clear from what he said.

Whether Microsoft continues with WP is a completely different story. Much of what you attribute to the company was Ballmer's doing. Now with him gone, everything is possible.

If the bean counters come to the conclusion that Windows Phone is a dead end, no matter how much money is pumped into it, they'll stop it. Now, with a new CEO it wouldn't even look as bad as it would have had under Ballmer. Then it would have been a personal admission of failure.

If Microsoft wants a piece of mobile there's other options to follow. The OS route won't get them very far. They may decide to focus on online services to get their piece of the business because there's still a lot more space to maneuver in than in the operating system field.

@John:
They may get that percentage but let's just use the pro-Apple crowd's reasoning for why this is bad.
According to them Android, despite 80% market share is the loser because a large part of that market is low end and the medium range.
Well, for WP, we already know that >50% of their share is not just low end but bottom-of-the-barrel phones. So these are numbers looking nice on paper but they won't bring any further revenue. It's just sold phones - end of story.

vladkr

Tomi, you forgot few other MS failures...

How come Microsoft had to buy Skype. Remember MSN, which used to be a leader in its field, which used to have its (quite popular messenger). What happened to MSN ?

Bing... really, how many millions were spent on that one.

Office 2007/2010 : remember this Elop's babies ? The most hated ones, before MS released a "tablet" adapted version.

Vista anyone ?

We could go on with other business software, which are clear failures, at least technically (EPM, Project Enterprise), or nightmares to serious developers (Visual Studio after 2008, sharepoint), but I'd like to stop on something Ballmer really wrongly killed : Flight Simulator.

Flight Simulator is something that made almost every one agree. A lot of people - including me - loved it, being able to forget its Microsofteness. Some people even bought a PC with Windows mainly for this game. There were many developers, and a growing ecosystem around flight sim.

The problem for Ballmer, I think (I can only guess, as his decision was really stupid), is that Microsoft had to share profits with third parties developers. Ballmer certainly wanted it all for him, so Microsoft Fly, with a lot of add-ons, payable to... Microsoft.

Besides mobile-related blogs, I also follow pilots blogs, and I can tell you that most pilot, if not all, hate Microsoft Fly, and regret Flight Sim.

So as you can see, list of huge Ballmers failures is long, it's also full of symbols.

Ballmer's retirement is certainly this year's best news. I just hope it won't be too golden. This guy doesn't deserve his wealth ; he was at the right place, at the right time, nothing more, and certainly no talent.

tz

With Apple, you can see a convergence between MacOSX and iOS, but iOS is dominant.

Google, Android and Chrome/ChromeBooks, all with a similar foundation.

Both can converge if they need to.

Windows? Turkeys are successful birds in their niches, so it isn't quite two turkeys, but a turkey plus albatross isn't likely to end up in an eagle. Windows 8 which is crippled windows 7 with a new set of apis and services (for no reason I can discern) with sea-bird wings attached is a monstrosity. Synergy can be negative. The whole is less than the sum of its parts. Windows 8 is Windows 3.1 so I suppose it is a return to the roots.

What is missing and different is even in the "ecosystem". Carrier relationships are one thing, but you need something to sell. Windows phone 7 was Vista mobile. And not even upgradable.

An archipelago is not an ecosystem. Xbox doesn't run windows, and if something happens to run both on it, and a PC, it is a port. There are variations for iPad and iPhone and iPod - or Android tablets, phones, media devices, media players, but you can generate one binary. With the Intel/ARM dichotomy and isn't Xbox PPC? and object code, Windows 8 fails in both ways.

Apple has lots of restrictions on its iOS developer program but can offer a lot of potential customers and revenue even after a 30% cut.

Google is open, so I can run Amazon app store programs on my Google Play devices and others.

Windows has all the restrictions of Apple with such low penetration that there won't be very many free apps, nor can there be any return on investment for commercial apps. Even free apps can create mindshare.

Conversely I have a $99 refurb Samsung galaxy player 5.0 that runs gingerbread that runs a few custom apps I wrote after hacking some opensource stuff.

The iOS stuff still runs on my semi-old iPod touch - which is an entry level device.

How do I develop for windows phone? I have to get a windows phone. And keys. And can't distribute. Same for Windows 8.

Lock-down can also be lock-out unless there is an incentive. Some Apple developers have rebelled, but at least there is a large installed base and chance at revenue and you can still side-load on MacOSX.

Windows 8 was a pantomime, a kabuki of google and apple. It is said the native tribes of Africa strung long runs of vines between trees since the British armies were so successful after doing the same thing - stringing telegraph wires. Similarly, (em)Ballmer copied the form but not the purpose or substance. He added lockdown, an app store, fancy API, big name support. He never stopped to wonder how these things were all integrated or how they interacted for the historically or currently successful competitors.

Apple did the same kind of thing with Maps. Forgetting Google Maps was first a web search and took a lot of refinement (and is still bad at lots of things). They bought lots of companies and glued them together.

Checkbook development never works. Jobs knew that. Google knows that. Hopefully Microsoft will have someone that knows that.

EmmanuelM

I do agree with a lot of the points here.. But I am really not sure that MSFT would kill Windows Phone...

For sure the Business will be refocus but can MSFT afford to completely give up in the mobile and tablet space ? This I don t think.. Or may be they will move to complete new strategy and try to make money out of it .. Like an open source platform ? Or to build on top of an existing platform ? Remember that Gates own a significant stake in Apple and has friends there that hate Google...

tz

Windows XP support contract.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9241429/China_has_a_massive_Windows_XP_problem?pageNumber=1

XP sufficies for many things.

If Microsoft were neither utterly stupid or batshit crazy they would sell access and maybe more to an XP SP4 (sans Windows Genuine Annoyance) and with it 5 years of guaranteed security updates.

All those obsolete XP machines will migrate to something come next April. Unless whomever is emBallmer's replacement wants them to migrate to Mac or Linux, they will offer a reasonable extension. Migrating to Win8, or even to a large extent Win7 will be as much of a headache as migrating to Linux, but with Linux, there is continuity of support, or at least you can do something internally or as a community.

Or even price a cheap version of Win9 - with XP full and complete emulation - at a good price.

XP is another burning platform. People will jump somewhere. Microsoft has an opportunity but will probably blow it.

And when there is a shift to Linux, how much will it cost Microsoft to regain the customer?

Microsoft may have the greatest opportunity of its history. It will likely blow it.

Tester

@EmmanuelM

If there's one thing that may keep Microsoft from cancelling WP right away it's the contract with Nokia.

I think it's reasonable to assume that if Nokia guarantees support for the platform for a certain amount of time, Microsoft also has to guarantee maintenance and availability of the platform.

If that's the case and they cancel it may get really, really nasty (and expensive.)

nokia booklet

if elop is really a trojan horse send to destroy nokia. he might be the next microsft ceo. lol

whhat about richard green or thorsten heinz for microsoft ceo?

ex-navteq

nokia booklet,

Richard Green absolutely hates Microsoft. I remember a flame in his eyes every time he was talking about Microsoft at SUN. His sudden departure shortly after Elop took reign shows that he is an unlikely candidate. Also, he bet his mobile strategy on subpar J2ME while at SUN and voiced strong disagreement with Google's Android and its rip off of Java API.

John Fro

The core management as MS responsible for all the company's profits would have never bothered with Windows Phone anything. To them that was another industry not related to their business and something that would likely sap resources they would prefer to use to bribe Asian officials into buying more licenses (see recent stories on this issue, which might have partially precipitated Ballmer's departure). The pressure to get into Mobile was not from Bill Gates but from outside investors that wanted the huge profit margins in mobile to translate into a high MS stock price. Paying dividends had long signalled to investors that MS was no longer a growth stock anyway, so only outside investors would have been interested in reviving that strategy. MS was dragged kicking and screaming into making phones and a Phone OS and has always shown that it's only going to do so halfheartedly. WP 7.0 was just WP CE 6.5 with tiles and touch and its incompatibility with WP 8 was the result of Steven Sinofsky's efforts to merge the CE and desktop platforms. I doubt any of the old management at MS, including Bill Gates cares about phones at all and would be perfectly content to increase their margins selling Office licenses until the end of time. This is particularly true as long as Apple sticks to the deal they struck with MS to not interfere in the core business markets. If Apple comes out with business software then MS will become very angry indeed. Ballmer's tenure at MS had more to do with letting Bill develop new businesses on the side than changing anything. With their business software monopoly they didn't actually need to work hard to make money.

Sand van der Wal

Ballmer was doing fine during his first years at the helm. He made lots of money, and kept on making lots of money. And he did nothing stupid, like killing the Microsoft cash cows. He wasn't a great CEO, but a better one than OPK, for instance.

So he got quite a bit of leeway. Beause of all that money. And he did manage a neat coup, bringing Nokia into the Windows Phone fold.

But at the end it wasn't enough. The Windows 8 strategy did not work, windows Phone did not work.

Hansu

I am going to miss Ballmer's keynote speeches

frans

Thanks Tomi. This was great readings. I agree that this is the end of further development of Windows Phone. Those who hope for further WP development, should consider that 3-5 % market share means that your actually are irrelevant, it may be like Linux in the desktop market.

Tester

@leebase:

Nothing will change because nothing will change? Right, haven't we heard this before from you?

Sorry, but that's a kind of reasoning I'll never buy.

Microsoft has serious money-making issues with Windows Phone and you can't deny it. Whether they continue or not doesn't depend on futile hope that it may eventually become profitable but on cold, hard analysis. If they have to continuously pump billions and billions of dollars into the system, people may eventually realize that this is a fight that can't be won, even in the long haul - and then they'll stop it.
I won't make any predictions, though, because I don't have the numbers - but when reading corporate statements (like the one from Bill Gates) you really have to read between the lines. If he outright says that WP was 'clearly' a failure in the market it's normally a sign to prepare the shareholders of an upcoming change in company strategy. Add to that that Microsoft suddenly aborted takeover negotiations with Nokia. Both of these events mean something - stuff like this doesn't happen out of the blue - and if later the CEO steps down, who knows. As I said, I wouldn't predict that WP will be shut down - the contracts with Nokia make that impossible most likely - but something will definitely happen here.

One thing's for sure. Microsoft needs to work on their reputation. Seriously. If they continue to get perceived as 'The Evil Empire', it will hurt their bottom line, especially when it comes to products the market doesn't need, and WP is clearly among them. If WP went away the market would shrug and go on.

So, what's to do? I'd say remove the lockdowns from WP and Metro. Also step back on attempts of customer-unfriendly copy protection. Once customers see that Windows may not be so evil anymore a lot of the things that hurt their business may go away with it. And it may give a boost to development for these platforms.

Remember what made Windows great: that everybody who wanted could develop and release software for it. There's absolutely no incentive for this on a system where people can't just tinker around and everything has to go through one central controlling agency. I'm a professional developer and I can tell you clearly that WP (and even more so Metro on Win 8) is commercially as unattractive as they come - low market share, high up-front investments (need to buy new Windows 8 machines for every developer to even start!) and very little chance of making money, neither by selling apps nor by selling advertisement. The only motivation to do software is being paid for it by Microsoft.

The only reason Apple is doing well with a locked doen system that they got the early adopters who are mostly affluent people who are willing to spend their money on stuff that others may get for free elsewhere. But WP is mostly selling at the lowest end of the smartphone market - and that market hardly produces any money at all for third-party suppliers.

So bottom line: Yes, Microsoft can still salvage their failed products - but they absolutely won't have the chance if they continue to operate in Ballmer-mode. They need a radical change or the money losing with WP continues. But it still remains to be seen if the new leadership sees this as a worthwile investment.
And of course they need to fix Windows 8. And I mean really fix it and give the customers what they want. The public perception is extremely bad and the recent German leak about a major security issue won't help.
But again: All this is clearly a result of Ballmer's control-freak-attitude without any regard to the customer shining through. It's fixable but it really needs someone whose style is radically different than before.

Mark X

IMO Windows Phone is unlikely to be killed outright, maybe the IP will be transferred to Nokia as the present situation is almost WP === Nokia.

The first few years under Ballmer were OK for MS because of momentum built up before he became CEO. In the same way it will take the company a few years to recover from the damage he has done.

@Tony. Actually it was that other monopolist IBM that gave rise to PCs in response to the threat to their business from Apple and other micros. As I started working in 1988 I've seen the damage done in the industry by Microsoft's ruthless attempts to leverage the DOS monopoly to dominate adjacent areas of the market. The convictions in court are just objective proof of the tactics used by Microsoft - in many other cases their game of hardball stopped just short of the illegal.

What I'd like to see is an IBM-like realisation from MS that they can make loads of money from business users of Windows and Office without all the nasty stuff, and if they stop squandering money on Bing, mobile, etc. they can turn a healthy profit providing solutions that we buy because they are cost-effective not because of lock-in.

sari bundo enak rasanya

i think the new ceo won't kill wp as Tomi suggest.

first Microsoft will be more neutral by releasing Microsoft office & outlook for android, iOS & Linux.


second, the new CEO will allow skinning wp.
and do less evil campaign such as the scrogle campaign

hanomanking

@tomi

do you think recent Nokia lumia cheap product is a way from balmer/elop to tell Microsoft share holder that wp is starting to gain traction.
i mean. balmer were warned before q2 2013 earning and he know he will be fired if he can't fix wp problem.

Paul Ionescu

Balmer has made plenty of mistakes but Gates is not innocent/saviour here either!

chithanh

@sari bundo enak rasanya
Microsoft's motivation for release of Office for Android was probably not the desire to become more neutral. Not having Office showed to 1 billion Android users that they don't need it on the computing device which they interact most with in their daily lives. A very dangerous realization.

And even so, the Android Office is restricted from in-app subscription purchases compared to the iOS version, and they are both inferior to Windows Phone Office according to Microsoft:

"How does Office Mobile for Android phones compare to Office Mobile on Windows Phone 8?"
"Office Mobile on Windows Phone 8 provides a richer, more integrated experience."

http://blogs.office.com/b/office365tech/archive/2013/07/31/office-mobile-for-android-phones.aspx

John

If you look at Finland only Samsung have now lost their first place to Nokia:
"Nokia regains leadership of Finnish handset market"

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-regains-leadership-of-Finnish-handset-market_id46719

Yes I know its a small market but I think it boost the morale for Nokia as a Company.

leebase

Stay the same to stay the same? No. But "stay in the fight because a company has vast and ongoing resources and sees the opportunity as mandatory that they participate" yes.

To think that Msft is going to drop WP goes against all reason that's based on understanding Msft. 3rd place and growing...is not a position that Msft will give up on anyway.

As for buying Nokia...there is no indication that Msft has lost their interest, only that Nokia and Msft couldn't agree on a price. Things could change on Msft's side to make them willing to pay more (and we know they have the money). Things on Nokia's side could change to make them willing to accept less. Clearly, though -- right now they are both tied to each other.

WP is a platform that is still growing. It's not an Android nor an iOS style success...or even close. But it's doing better than any other of the new platforms. Better than the new BB, better than Bada, better than Sailfish, better than Firefox OS etc.

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