AH Tech Talk: Is Microsoft Giving Up On Windows 10 Mobile?

On September 30, 2014, the technology world saw the rise of Windows 10, Microsoft’s redemption over the much-hated Windows 8 and an indication of the future of the software as a whole. One important aspect expressed by Microsoft executives on stage was the concept of a unified ecosystem comprising desktops and laptops, tablets, Xbox, and smartphones. Despite the fact that Windows Phone never really took off after the advent of Android and iOS, with Windows 10 Mobile the company hoped it could make a difference and become relevant again, especially for those users that were productivity-focused. However, things didn’t exactly go as expected and taken by the latest Build Conference, Microsoft’s yearly developers conference, it seems that the company realized that Windows 10 Mobile is not their main game for now.

The conference talked about hot topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual/Augmented Reality, bots, and Windows 10, but the word “phone” was mentioned only after one hour had passed on the keynote, and it was just a shallow consideration about 4-inch devices. Recently, Windows chief Terry Myerson made it clear that Windows on Phones is not the company’s focus for this year, admitting that due to the low amount of users, the platform is not interesting for those who want to reach a lot of people - which is the goal for most app developers. Instead, the executive highlighted the importance of Augmented Reality device HoloLens and the Xbox gaming platform.

Microsoft has been very realistic about the failure of its mobile platform, especially after it lost more than half its market share in just one year, decreasing from 2.8 in 2014 to just 1.1 percent of global smartphones in 2015. That said, if you are smart and your platform is not doing well, why not dominate third-party platforms? And this is exactly what Microsoft has been doing. The company released (and bought) a plethora of apps for both Android and iOS, and a number of them are in top positions on their respective categories. Other than the already famous Office, OneNote and OneDrive lineups, Microsoft has the Outlook e-mail app, Sunrise calendar, Wunderlist, SwiftKey keyboard, Arrow Launcher, Skype, Next Lock Screen, Translator, and a lot more.

Digging even further in other platforms, during its Build conference the company announced a deeper integration of its virtual assistant with Android, revealing that Cortana will show Android notifications on Windows 10 PCs, which will be another incentive for people to use Windows 10 combined with an Android phone and not with a Windows 10 Mobile handset. This is a very smart move and even if Windows 10 Mobile fades away for good, Microsoft will still have a very strong presence in the mobile scenario thanks to all of its apps for Android and iOS.

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