Microsoft explains why it missed the boat on smartphone and search

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Windows Phones
Image Courtesy: AAWP

Microsoft’s failure of Windows Phone in the mobile market has
been overly-discussed and the company itself last year said
that its mobile platform has been discontinued. Windows Phone
was robust, connected to Microsoft’s core services, and
beautiful. The diehard fans loved the platform and yet,
somehow, Windows Phone failed to ever gain meaningful market
traction.

Windows Phone was obviously late to the party, and Microsoft
never solely focused on its mobile platform. Microsoft has
already lost the mobile battle and
PC market is now stagnant, but the company is said to be
working on a new device codenamed Andromeda or
Surface Phone and it would create a new category of
phones-tablets.

Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith
at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California
explained why the software giant missed the search and mobile
battle.

Microsoft had a hard time with both mobile and search. While
Windows Phone is down and dusted, Bing’s slowly getting better
every year, with more and more people switching to the
company’s search engine.

Brad Smith says antitrust cases distracted Microsoft and search
is one of the areas the software giant could have done better
but it couldn’t because of the aforementioned issues.
Similarly, Microsoft eventually missed, to win in the
mobile battle.

“My own personal view, having been in the middle of it for so
long, was the single greatest cost was the distraction. Having
a Bill Gates, a Steve Ballmer, great engineering leaders at our
company, spending so much time figuring out how to prepare for
a deposition, how to defend themselves on the witness stand,
how to implement this, that, or the other thing. You look at
the early 2000s. We missed search,” he said.

Brad added that this “wasn’t the only thing we missed” and the
interviewer mentioned mobile. Needless to say, Windows Phone is
another area where Microsoft couldn’t do better, and it
eventually failed.

Microsoft built a great mobile platform with Windows Phone, the
interface was unique and this differentiated the OS from
Android and iOS’ icon-based UX. People still love the tile
interface, and those who switched to Android, are using some
launchers to get the feel of Windows 10 Mobile.

“I do think one has to have the recognition that nobody’s going
to catch everything. There’s no company here or anywhere else
that is going to see every trend before it emerges. But would
we have seen these things if we had been spending more of our
time looking for them than looking at these specific issues?
It’s a great imponderable. It’s a hypothetical. We’ll never
know for sure, but I will say the odds of seeing these things
would have been higher,” he explained.



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