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After a $7.6 billion write-off and tens of thousand of lay-offs Microsoft has made it clear that the acquisition of Nokia ‘s handset division was a major mistake.
In a statement Satya Nadella said that Microsoft was “… moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem that includes our first-party device family.”
In other words Microsoft expects third party OEMs such as HTC and Samsung to take up the slack as they themselves reduce their support for Windows Phone. According to sources Microsoft may release as few as 3 Windows phones per year, with sources saying:
“Nadella’s restructuring plan includes sharply reducing the number of models the company will release, now about one a week when counting variations for geographical markets, a person familiar with the plans said. Instead, Microsoft will release one to two models a year in each of three categories, said the person, who asked not to be named because the plans aren’t public. The categories are business-focused devices, phones for customers looking for low-price smartphones, and high-end devices for Windows enthusiasts.”
The only problem with this of course is that there is very little indication of enthusiasm by the large Android OEMs for Windows Phone, and the move does nothing to close the app gap, Windows Phone’s biggest problem.
With Microsoft currently selling less than 40 million Windows Phones per year, and at least 97% of those devices being Lumia devices, the move will likely see a sharp reduction Windows Phone sales, eventually possible drifting down to Blackberry levels.
While Nadella has expressed his commitment to “first party devices including phones” it is pretty clear that Microsoft is moving its attention elsewhere, to “creating mobility of experiences across the entire device family” which may just happen to include a phone or two.
Do our readers think HTC and Samsung will be enough to save Windows Phone? Let us know below.