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Satya Nadella talks Windows Mobile and Windows phone

Satya Nadella Delivers Opening Keynote At Microsoft Build ConferenceFor the past few days, Microsoft has some big news revolve around its mobile department. The new layoff begs everyone question the fate of Windows Mobile platform as a whole. To clear up some confusion, Terry Myerson had come out to clear up some confusion. And now, it is Satya Nadella’s turn to sit down and answer some questions with Marry J Foley from ZDNet’s All About Microsoft.

Among many things, the interview revolves around the fate of mobile at Microsoft. The central issue is: Is Microsoft getting out of the mobile market? It’s quite the contrary.

Nadella starting by stating his strategy. He wants people to understand the scale back that happened last week. The CEO makes it clear that it is not a change of heart on the mobile platform, but a change in the way to operate the mobile platform. In short, Microsoft is scaling back the Lumia portfolio:

I’m not going to launch a phone a day. I’m going to focus on a few phones that actually grab share that, in fact, showcase our uniqueness. When you have three percent share of that (phone market), but you also have a billion desktops, you have Xbox, you have innovation in HoloLens; you have Band. It’s a graph. It’s not any one node. It is the entirety of the device family. And I want to be able to think about our strategy, our innovation, and progress as one.

Why the scale back? Well, the easiest way to understand it is this: Microsoft is giving the phone making the responsibility to partners OEMs. On the question of strategy, MJF references the letter from COO Kevin Turner, which states that Microsoft is applying the Surface method into mobile (specifically Lumia). Nadella response – besides confirming the strategy – is quite unusual:

If no OEM stands up to build Windows devices we’ll build them. There will be Lumia devices. So I’m not afraid of saying, okay, it’s all about the OEMs, or it’s all about the ecosystem. It’s about Windows. It is about the overall health of Windows and being grounded in any given day’s reality, but having ambition of where the market is going versus being bound by current definitions.”

As he reconfirms the existence of “premiums Lumias coming this year,” he restate the talking point above about the strategy of Microsoft’s mobile platform for the three mobile segment (enterprise, budget and flagship devices):

If there are a lot of OEMs, we’ll have one strategy. If there are no OEMs, we’ll have one strategy. We are committed to having the phones in these three segments. And I think the operational details will become clear to people as they see it.”

In simple terms, Microsoft wants its OEMs to builds Windows Mobile devices. However, Microsoft will make sure to fill the holes in all three of these segments of devices. If you are looking at the Surface, the same thing is happening, as more 2-in-1 devices are being produced and sold every day.

Another problem with the company mobile platform is the apps. The questing from MJF is simple: Why would developers want to build apps when there is an obvious reduction of devices out there? Nadella answer is quite lengthy so here is the gist: Developers don’t want to build apps for WP, but they do want to build apps for million of users that are currently running Windows as their desktop OS. Once they do that, they are a few click away from sending those apps to Xbox, HoloLens and Windows Phone.

Universal Windows apps are going to be written because you want to have those apps used on the desktop. The reason why anybody would want to write universal apps is not because of our three percent share in phones. It’s because a billion consumers are going to have a Start Menu, which is going to have your app. You start the journey there and take them to multiple places. Their app can go to the phone. They can go to HoloLens. They can go to Xbox. You talk to somebody like Airbnb. It might be more attractive, given our three percent share on phone, for them to actually build something for the desktop and for the Xbox.”

“And by the way, when we hook them on that, we have a phone app. This strategy is path dependent, which is a term I use that means where you start is not where you end up. And therein lies a lot of the nuance. The fundamental truth for developers is they will build if there are users. And in our case the truth is we have users on desktop.”

“Because all of this comes down to how are you going to get developers to come to Windows. If you come to Windows, you are going to be on the phone, too. Even if you want to come to Windows because of HoloLens, you want to come to it because of Xbox, you want to come to the desktop, all those get you to the phone. It’s not about let’s do head-on competition. That will never work. You have to have a differentiated point of view.”

Now, that is still a gamble for Microsoft. The company is assuming that developers want to bring their apps from iOS and Android to the desktop Windows 10. That is partly, the reason the Windows 10 is free so that Windows 7 and 8 users can have access to the universal Windows 10 store. In layman term, Microsoft is taking an indirect path to gain more apps in the Windows Store on the mobile platform.

Lastly, Nadella wants the Windows Phone as a whole, to stand out:

“So when I think about our Windows Phone, I want it to stand for something like Continuum. When I say, wow, that’s an interesting approach where you can have a phone and that same phone, because of our universal platform with Continuum, and can, in fact, be a desktop. That is not something any other phone operating system or device can do. And that’s what I want our devices and device innovation to stand for.”

So, how do you feel about Microsoft’s strategy for Windows Mobile?

Source: All About Microsoft

Via Windows Central



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