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Windows on phones is not dead and you should be ok with that

Windows 10 for Phones

Windows Phones could be dead, but Windows 10 Mobile is alive

Over the years, many “reputable” sites and sources claimed that Windows Phone is dead, without anybody had seen the corpse. Some of these articles were very poorly written, and it’s a shame that Windows-oriented sites published such texts for the sake of more traffic.

The last two episodes of the saga ‘Windows Phone is dead’ came out this month. First, after last week’s news about Microsoft selling the Nokia feature phone business to Foxconn, blogs and news sites rushed to publish half baked stories’ on how Microsoft is giving up on the smartphones. Think about it. It looks like authors don’t know the difference between a feature phone and a smartphone. Remember, Microsoft sold the division that develops simple phones, non-smartphones. In fact, these feature phones have been on a decline since the first smartphones, and they will disappear completely sooner or later.

Today, Redmond laid off further 1850 employees, most of them from the former Nokia division based in Finland. So, you should expect another wave of articles with the title ‘Windows Phone is dead’ in the next few days. In this case, all mourners may have found a more solid ground to support their writings. Windows Phone sales have been falling over the past three quarters to reach only 2.3 million in Q1 2016 and a global share around 1%.
Despite all bad things, we think that there is no one else than Microsoft that could kill Windows on Phones… but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Here’s why:

Windows on Phone is a major part of the ecosystem

Windows 10 was announced as a platform running on devices with different screen sizes and form factors. After Windows 10, for the first time the Phones are not a separate group of devices, but a major part of the whole. As Microsoft’s’ key executives commented, there is no valuable ecosystem without Mobile. In a mobile first, cloud first world, no one could survive without putting efforts on Mobile.

Windows Phones are niche, not mass products

The market share doesn’t have anything to do with the profit. First Nokia, then Microsoft reached a market share of more than 10% in some countries, but they were still losing money. Why? Because those millions of low-cost devices were targeting the mass market in attempts to capture share from Google and iPhone. The strategy was wrong from the beginning and Microsoft realized that with the Lumia 950 range. Despite the fact that these two phones were poorly accepted by the mass market, the Windows Phone fans loved them, because of the features they offer and Windows 10 Mobile. With the Redstone update in the Summer, Microsoft will further make these phones, and the rest of the devices officially upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile, even more attractive for the fans. The next two updates of the OS, and the rumored Surface Phone, will continue that trend – with Windows 10 on Phones, Microsoft wants to offer something unique to the potential buyers. Such a unique, niche feature is Continuum and Microsoft promised to do great things for phones in 2017.

The Universal app platform

Windows 10 relies on the UWP for Universal apps. These apps can theoretically run on every kind of Windows 10 devices, including PC, tablet, phone, Xbox one and HoloLens. Without a mobile OS, the whole idea of the Universal apps would be compromised. In fact, the developers have already acknowledged the advantages of developing a single app to target millions of devices. Companies like Viber, Facebook, LINE and many others have launched universal versions of apps that run on phones as well as PC. With Windows 10 install base growing, more and more developers will be attracted to develop UWP apps. To kill the mobile platform at times when the app gap slowly disappears would be a stupid move from Microsoft.

Windows 10 Mobile development and updates

For the first time with Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft can update millions of devices at once with the latest version. Since the official launch of Windows 10 Mobile in late 2015, Microsoft rolled out four major monthly updates which fixed many bugs and improved the performance. The Insider program is also speeding up. Microsoft is currently working on a new big update for Windows 10 Mobile in the summer. The Anniversary update will reach all phones in late summer, while for 2017 the company promised to focus on Mobile and do some great things. This doesn’t sound like Microsoft is about the kill Windows on Phone!

Why Windows 10 Mobile is not dead

To conclude, Microsoft may have abandoned the feature and the mass smartphone market, but Windows 10 Mobile will remain a huge part of the Windows family. Windows 10 Mobile will be an area where we will see innovation around Continuum and other unique Windows features which will attract the business buyers and Windows enthusiasts, but not the mass consumers. Windows on Phones is not dead and everyone should be OK with that!