Former Nokia engineer explains why Windows Phones failed

Windows Phone
Image Courtesy: CNET

Microsoft’s dominance with computing devices running Windows
never transferred over to phones. Although Windows Phone
experience was unique, Microsoft struggled to juggle both
hardware and software.

The mobile industry moved forward faster than Microsoft could
keep pace. By the time Microsoft decided to take on Apple and
Google with Windows Phone, it was too late.

Microsoft was late to the party with its first Windows Phone 7
in 2010 and serious efforts were required to catch up in a
market already dominated by iOS and Android.

Microsoft is no longer developing new phones and the company
only ships security patches until the Windows 10 Mobile’s end
of support in December 2019.

Over the weekends, a former Nokia engineer took to Reddit to
discuss the main reasons for the demise of Microsoft’s
smartphone platform. The former Nokia employee, who reportedly
worked as a software development engineer, also revealed
details regarding Nokia’s secret Android project – Nokia X.

Underestimating Google

Microsoft underestimated Google business model and how
successful it would be. Former Nokia engineer says Google was
new to the mobile smartphone business and they weren’t taken
seriously by the industry.

Android was in its initial days of development with bugs and
rough areas, but Google had created a number of services that
smartphone users need to meet their daily requirements.

“Google cut Microsoft off of YouTube, Maps, Gmail, etc, it
really made WP look cheap,” the engineer wrote.

Botched Windows 8

Windows 8
Image Courtesy: CNET

With Windows 8 for desktop, Microsoft was trying to promote
both desktop and mobile running Windows 8 as a full package.
Windows 8 was poorly received by both consumers and businesses,
and its bad reception also affected mobile devices, according
to the former engineer.

“After Windows 8, people associated the two together as bad
products…” the engineer notes. “Even with Windows 10, the
stigma against “metro” never recovered”.

Loyalty

The loyalty of the users for Android and iOS also affected
Windows phones as people were pretty comfortable with iOS or
Android. There wasn’t a compelling reason to switch to another
mobile platform with or without the apps.

“Even now I sense the number swapping between iOS and Android
is pretty low,” the engineer explains.

Nokia X

Nokia X
Image Courtesy: Microsoft

Nokia was secretly working on an Android smartphone called
Nokia X before the acquisition, but the company wasn’t allowed
to launch an Android phone as part of the deal with Microsoft.

The secret Android project was part of Nokia’s Plan B if things
with Windows Phone didn’t work out.

“As the Nokia X was a secret, they couldn’t just go out and
advertise Android openings, instead hiring just Java engineers
and reassigning some internally. Eventually we got put there as
things got closer to launch,” the post by
the engineer revealed.

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