Why Microsoft Bid Sayonara To Windows Phones And Windows 10 Mobile Oct. 6, 2017 6:02 PM ET | Motek Moyen
Summary HP’s announcement that it is discontinuing its Elite x3 Windows 10 Mobile phone further confirmed that Microsoft completely shelved its smartphone ambition.
Nadella himself admitted in his book that he was against Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s old phone business. He wrote off the entire $7.6 billion acquisition.
Nadella never believed that Windows phones can catch up with Android and iOS. Don’t expect a Surface phone to be released as long as Nadella is in charge.
My fearless forecast now is that Microsoft will soon discontinue support for Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft ended support for Windows Phone 8.1 last July.
Shelving Windows 10 Mobile completes a cathartic release for Microsoft from its misadventure in mobile phones.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is being quiet, but it is ready to say sayonara to Windows 10 Mobile. It already ended support for Window Phone 8.1 last July. Getting rid of Windows 10 Mobile should complete the detoxification of Microsoft’s failure in mobile. HP, Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) recently announced that it will discontinue its Elite x3 Windows 10 Mobile smartphone.
An unidentified HP executive explained that "Microsoft, as all companies do, decided on a change in strategy and so they are less focused on what they thought they would be focused on today."
We did not get the memo but Microsoft made it clear to its OEM partners that Windows 10 Mobile is a walking dead. Microsoft already ended support for Windows Phone 8.1 last July. The culling will continue until Windows 10 Mobile eventually joins the graveyard where Zune and Windows RT were laid to rest.
Nadella’s book also revealed he was against Ballmer’s idea of buying Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) old phone business. It explained why Nadella ended up writing offthe $7.6 billion Lumia phone business that Ballmer acquired. His heart and mind were never for Windows smartphones. He is determined to extricate Microsoft out of its misery in Windows phones.
We can expect that there will never be another phone from Microsoft as long as Nadella is in charge. Consequently, there will be no eulogies, but Windows 10 Mobile’s days are numbered. Sooner than later, Microsoft will completely divorce itself from Windows 10 Mobile like it did with its phone hardware business.
There’s no point developing/maintaining a mobile operating system when Microsoft has thrown the towel on Windows phones.
The only consolation is that Microsoft got a $1.8 billion tax write-down from Ballmer’s ill-fated bet on Windows phones. Windows 10 Mobile also taught us that software developers did not like Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform.
Why Letting Windows 10 Mobile Die Is Cathartic For MicrosoftRaising the white flag and accepting defeat is an act of courage. Accepting the reality that Android and iOS reign supreme on mobile is a back to the future move from Nadella. It allows Microsoft to better adapt to the reality that Android OS devices now outnumber Windows computers/devices.
Without the excess baggage of Lumia and Windows 10 Mobile, Nadella can focus more on his device-agnostic strategy in disseminating Microsoft's software products and services. The prosperity of Microsoft now depends on how effective it can attract (and retain) business and personal users of Android/iOS/MacOS devices to buy/subscribe to Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, and Azure.
Microsoft tried and failed to compete against iPhones. However, its Cellular PC concept which enables Surface hybrid laptops to make phone calls should help it continue disrupting Mac sales.
Cloud Computing, Not Smartphone ComputingA complete retreat from Windows phones and Windows 10 Mobile will let Microsoft focus more on competing better against Amazon ( AMZN) Web Services. Microsoft is the clear leader in SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). However, Azure is still a far-second to Amazon when it comes to cloud computing infrastructure services.
The savings from killing the Lumia phone business and Windows 10 Mobile can go to improving Azure.
(Source: Synergy Research)
Abandoning Windows phones gives Microsoft more leeway to create new cloud computing services like its Coco Framework Enterprise Blockchain-as-a-Service. A stronger focus on cloud computing is very important for Microsoft. Synergy Research predicted last July that global revenue from cloud computing and SaaS will have a CAGR of 23-29% for the next five years. It will reach $200 billion by 2020.
Public IaaS/PaaS, where Amazon Web Services is the runaway leader (with 34% market share), is going to have the fastest CAGR at 29%.
ConclusionMSFT already touts an YTD gain of +21.40%, but I still rate it as a buy. My takeaway is that Nadella is weaning Microsoft away from its dependency on the Windows ecosystem. A Microsoft that can flourish without its dominant Windows operating system becomes a more resilient company.
Microsoft doesn’t need its own mobile operating system, mobile app store, and its own brand of phones to benefit from the rise in smartphone usage.
Microsoft’s software products and services are now device agnostic and platform independent. Many Android/iOS device users will still be captured customers of Office 365. Let us also never forget that Microsoft will continue to reap patent licensing fees from Android device manufacturers.
The coming demise of Windows 10 Mobile is therefore just another painful lesson that made Microsoft smarter and stronger.
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Source: Microsoft Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at a company conference in London in November 2014. ______________________________
For the second time in recent months, Amazon and Microsoft are teaming up in artificial intelligence, with Google on the sidelines for now.
On Thursday the two companies rolled out new tools that will make it easier for developers to use open-source artificial intelligence software. This follows the companies' move in August to let its virtual assistants Alexa and Cortana talk with each other as needed.
Getting into the technical weeds, developers can use Gluon, a Python-based application programming interface, to more easily work with MXNet, the AI framework backed by public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services. And in the near future Gluon will make it easier for developers to use the Cognitive Toolkit, the framework that Microsoft open-sourced in 2015. The two companies are publishing the specifications for Gluon so that other frameworks can adopt it, too.
Google is the elephant in the room here. Google open-sourced the TensorFlow AI framework in 2015, and it has since become very popular among researchers -- considerably more popular than the Cognitive Toolkit and MXNet:
Notably, Google is not among the companies promoting Gluon at this point. (Google declined to comment.) People who wish to use TensorFlow might find it easier to do that with a Google-backed Python API called Keras.
The announcement comes a few months after Apple introduced the Core ML software that's meant to help developers incorporate AI into iOS apps. Apple also released tools for converting models based on other frameworks into its Core ML format.
"We believe it is important for the industry to work together and pool resources to build technology that benefits the broader community," Eric Boyd, corporate vice president of Microsoft's AI and Research group, is quoted as saying in a statement. "This is why Microsoft has collaborated with AWS to create the Gluon interface and enable an open AI ecosystem where developers have freedom of choice."
Unlike Alphabet/Google or Amazon, almost all of Microsoft’s business lies in serving enterprise customers. It is the tech giant most focused on converting AI directly into revenue. “Our company’s identity is fundamentally about creating technology so that others can create more technology,” CEO Satya Nadella told Fast Company recently. “And it’s essential that it is being used for empowering more people.”
Artificial intelligence “is at the intersection of our ambitions,” Nadella told an audience of Microsoft partners in September 2016, suggesting that it will let the company “reason over large amounts of data and convert that into intelligence.” A few months later, Microsoft officially closed its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, giving the company a large amount of data about employees, companies, and recruiting to reason over and try to make smarter.
In August, it debuted a real-time AI system for its enterprise cloud customers, which could help the company win business from companies who want to deploy such business initiatives as dynamic pricing and retail personalization. Microsoft’s mission to help companies in a wide range of industries to be more productive and effective means that it is the one company whose AI work is most keenly connected to its future prospects.
The latest version of Microsoft Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, is upon us.
Well, that's not entirely true: Windows no longer really comes in full-stop updates; it's delivered as a continually updating service. For example, several of the Fall Creators features have been steadily making their way into Windows, like the video editing and Fluent Design aspects.