Microsoft’s grand strategy with Windows 10 Mobile was to let 3rd party OEMs carry the weight of the hardware ecosystem, rather than Microsoft Mobile/Nokia, but as AdDuplex’s data has shown this has been far from the case.
Now it seems there has been another example of the failure of the strategy, with relatively high profile OEM Blu removing all mention of Windows Phones from its redesigned home page (above).
Blu released a number of rebranded white box Windows Reference Design handsets, but appeared to work harder than other OEMs to promote and support the devices, including releasing the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade for eligible handsets.
The company is however clearly de-emphasising their Windows Phone devices, and I expect a 3rd generation of Microsoft handsets are unlikely.
When Microsoft “retrenched” from the Windows Phone device ecosystem they left a vacuum which was not filled by Windows Phones by other OEMs but rather by Android devices, leading to significant market share gains by Google over the last 12 months, especially in Europe. The reason is of course pretty clear – Nokia and Microsoft’s combined brand was the main reason consumers were buying the handsets, and with Nokia leaving the scene and Microsoft giving Windows Phone a massive vote of no confidence there was clearly very little reason for consumers to invest in Windows Phones from other brands.
Given the numerous examples of lack of traction by 3rd party OEMs I do not expect the future will look much different. Last year Satya Nadella said if 3rd party OEMs do not step up to the plate they would take up the mantle themselves again. It seems clear to me at this stage that if Microsoft is serious about having a mobile presence then they might as well start revving up those factories again.