November 12, 2018
Does anyone remember when smartphones had multiple platforms to choose from? Things have changed since then as there are only two contenders competing to be the market leaders and therefore also keeping the market from becoming a monopoly.
It is not inaccurate to say that Android and iOS now represent the entire segment of the tech industry responsible for smartphone OS. However, things would have been different if Microsoft has kept itself in the abreast with the industry trends.
Instead, it made a range of wrong decisions and finally took itself out from the competition altogether. The failed attempt appears more miserable when android took down two of the market leaders [Microsoft and Nokia].
On the topic of the futile attempt of coming into the smartphone market with Nokia, Microsoft CEO has said, “We were desperate to catch up after missing the rise of mobile technology … Nokia fell from the market-share leader in mobile to number three.”
He explained that the decision was made to combine the hardware capabilities of Nokia with software prowess of Microsoft to strengthen their existence in the neck-to-neck competition of Apple and Google.
However, he also pointed out in his autobiography that he was never comfortable with the decision. He wrote, “I did not get why the world needed the third ecosystem in phones unless we changed the rules … But it was too late to regain the ground we had lost. We were chasing our competitors’ taillights.”
It’s not like Microsoft didn’t know what they were doing. In fact, the failed attempt of sustaining innovative devices like Kinect suggests Microsoft are very capable of innovating products. If anything, these failings of Microsoft portray some great principle lessons for the entire industry.
Nevertheless, Microsoft still holds market leadership in the personal computer ranges, and this is what tells analysts that perhaps backing out from the smartphone competitions is one of the best decisions that Microsoft has made.
The Changing Definition of Smartphones
Earlier phones were used for the basic purpose of making calls and sending and receiving SMS messages. These devices then became more ‘mobile’ and ‘smart’. Still, for a long while, these devices had around 2-3 inches of screen size, still mostly used for calls, SMSs, light emails, and document reviews, with some gaming apps.
It was only recently that the slow demise of the phone begun and smartphones became mini computers that have capabilities of a mobile phone. Indeed, the buying behaviour of consumers itself demonstrates the smartphone evolution. The features that buyers look for in a smartphone today is something that buyers were also looking for in PCs some years ago. Features such as huge memory, integrated AI, high-speed processors are indeed the features that were traditionally found in the personal computers, and it is something that Microsoft has been known for since it has been releasing products.
Microsoft Ecosystem and Andromeda
When Nadella stated his opinion on staying out of the smartphone competition, it appears like he was simply referring to the existing competition between Android and iPhones. Because the statement he made later on in an interview with Australian Financial Review clarified that “We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today’s market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device,”
After this statement, rumours on the Surface dual screen phones have set the market abuzz. Later many news outlets clarified the device’s status as cancelled and then resumed on multiple occasions over and again until most recent news uncovered the Andromeda device’s clues in the new Microsoft language packs.
The same publisher also revealed the presence of the several system applications that were exclusively developed for Andromeda.
Though no official announcement for the device has yet been made, it is clear that Microsoft is at least planning to bring ‘new experiences’ in terms of smartphone-like devices, which would fit snugly with its existing Windows and Surface ecosystem, boosting its adoption rates right away.
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