Microsoft has ploughed a lot of time and effort into Windows Phone, but the figures just aren’t adding up to success for the operating system, which is having a hard time breaking the iOS/Android duopoly.
NetMarketShare shows it has a measly 0.45% share in the mobile market, compared to the giant 52.96% and 36.14% of iOS and Android respectively.
So is Windows Phone on the way out? What will Nadella have in store for it and how does the announcement of Windows 9 change the state of play? Here are four signs that we think show Windows Phone might well be on the way out.
1. Nokia X
At Mobile World Congress, Nokia unveiled to the world its new budget smartphone series that operates on, not Windows, but Android. The Nokia X is a massive u-turn for Nokia, which had originally run with Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. What makes this move even odder is the fact that Nokia is currently in the middle of being acquired by Microsoft. So here we have what is to be a Microsoft-owned firm dishing out phones running on Google’s operating system.
With an already weak foot in the market, how will Windows Phone now compete in emerging markets when a trusted brand can sell its devices running Android for a mere $89?
2. Office 365 coming to Android
One area in which Microsoft is performing relatively well in is its business services. The recent announcement that Microsoft will open up Office 365 to Android is significant in that it shows the firm realises its business users just aren’t using Windows Phone, and it’s futile to try and move them over.
Instead, by offering Office 365 on Android, Microsoft is opening up its profitable service to a larger percentage of users. Allowing Android developers to work on Office 365, creating other apps and uses for the service, will be sure to make businesses think twice about moving away from the Office 365 platform.
Furthermore, according to Microsoft’s Office blog, it says: "We’re committed to aggressively expanding our APIs and continuing to listen to the community’s feedback."
3. Internet Explorer possibly coming to Android
There have been unconfirmed rumours circulating of a possible port to Android for Internet Explorer. IE has a strong dominance on the desktop browser market, so to tap into that success on mobiles would make a lot of sense for Microsoft.
NetMarketShare reports that versions of Internet Explorer on desktops globally have a 51.37% chokehold. Coming in second is Firefox, with Firefox 26 and Firefox 27 adding in 5.78% and 7.9% respectively. In third comes Google’s Chrome with a 9.86% market share on desktops. ‘Other’ browsers and older browser versions make up the remaining 25.09%, so a pitch in to Android’s success on the mobile market for Microsoft would be a winner, surely.
Maybe we’ll see it on the Nokia X?
4. Windows 9
Windows 9, Microsoft’s next operating system which it is planning for release in 2015, is the step away from Windows 8 that Microsoft can’t wait for. There have been plenty of hints dropped by the firm alluding to Windows 9 moving to a more unified platform that will run across desktops, tablets and phones.
With this in mind, Windows Phone could be ditched altogether in a move to a single-platform OS. Of course, this pushes Microsoft back to having a completely 0% marketshare, but that isn’t much worse than what it’s got now, so maybe it would pay off in the long run if Windows 9 proves to be the success that Windows 8 hasn’t been.