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Microsoft's SVP OS Group Depresses their Fans on Sunday with news that their Windows Phone is 'Dead in the Water'

1 COVER 2017 Joe Belfiore


Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "Microsoft's Dream of Challenging iTunes & Apple Music is over as they Kill Groove Music." That was small fry news compared to it now being official that Microsoft is bowing out of the smartphone business for good. Microsoft's SVP OS Group Joe Belfiore tweeted out the news yesterday.


One fan tweeted back to Belfiore: "It's a shame that you guys just... quit. Would've loved to stay with MS but now I have no confidence in MS's decisions." Another tweeted "It's guaranteed that my next phone will be either Android or iOS, and I'll be switching off of MS's services." And one other tweet read: "Thought WP was a turning point, that MS would embrace risks and design. But it became a victim of MS's longstanding view of playing it safe."


Microsoft will be holding an event in Europe later this month and it was hinted that they would be introducing a new device. Many thought it could be a new Surface smartphone. Microsoft's smartphone patents have been increasing (one and two) showing both 'Note' and folding-styled smartphones on the drawing board.


Can they still surprise us with a whole new Surface Phone platform? Nothing is impossible, but it's really difficult to see that happening at this juncture. Belfiore's commentary made it clear that they couldn't win developers over, so it's ballgame over.


Though the timing of the announcement makes you wonder if it's a marketing twist. We'll know later this month if it is. Though Microsoft's many attempts at creating a successful phone platform by morphing from Windows Mobile to Zune and finally to Windows Phone has never found any footing. Even with buying Nokia to crush Apple, they never got any traction. It has to go down in history as one of the biggest tech blunders in history. So perhaps it's time to put the project out of its misery.


For now, with Google now acquiring the HTC team to delve deeper into designing their own smartphones and other smart devices and Bill Gates admitting that he uses an Android phone, the writing was on the wall. Microsoft's phone had no momentum and Google is coming on strong in hardware and already owns 85% of the smartphone OS market.


Even though the PC Press fell in love with Microsoft's Surface products like the Surface Studio desktop, Surface Book and tablets, their Surface division still can't find the trigger to get consumers to buy into their sleek computer line.


They continue to price their Surface devices high to compete for Apple's pro audience, but few are biting. In April a Computerworld report pointed to the Surface line had dropped another 26% from the same period a year ago or $285 million less. If Microsoft had the guts to kill off their Windows Phone platform, is Surface next? Well, with a new Surface device debuting this month, it's likely not to happen this year.


The pressure is now on Microsoft's Panos Panay, SVP for Microsoft devices to deliver some progress, some profits, some hope for this division. Belfiore's admission on Sunday kind of took the air out Microsoft's balloon in winning tech fans to trust their hardware. Belfiore's news makes their European event one worth paying attention to so as to see how they're going to put a positive spin on their spiraling disaster into hardware. Stay tuned.


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