They didn’t do something of value. And worse is they didn’t even try. I understand that Nadella wasn’t happy about the acquisition, but still after a 7 billion dollar deal and another couple billion in integration costs they could have at least tried to do something with it.
What should have happened was
* restructure the division, clean the fat
* merge resources, integrate into larger MS
focus the line-up
* invest in new products
* build on the past achievements and strengths of the phones like design, innovative tech, customer engagement
* But instead they only did the restructuring and merging, without proper integration. The other actions were all detrimental to the success of the platform.
Nokia had an entire line-up of devices in development but what did MS do?
* instead of releasing Mclaren without the 3d touch activated they cancelled it altogether.
* cancelled the 1520 followup
* cancelled the 740
* cancelled the 840 ^ this left people without mid-rangers for more than 2 years till this day
* released the buggy 535 that should have been cancelled, then the 540
* re-purposed the Nokia X android hardware into windowsphones thus releasing the Lumia 435 and the 532
* shortly after release the 430( the actual original phone that designed to be the entry level in the line-up instead of those android devices) ^ all these low end devices were released in the span of 4 months. They all had similar specs( screen sizes, processors, cameras, storage) and they were all in the same price bracket, give or take 30 dollars.
They flooded the market with too many low-ends and of course cancelled all the mid-rangers and flagships. Leaving the platform with only low end phones, the year old 930 and of course the 2 year old 830/730. Thank god for the 640 though as that was a quality release spec/price wise
What else did they do? Shut down the repair centers across the world (keeping only one in Europe for example)
On top of those things the software side was going through changes too.
when they released 8.1 they justified the removal of certain features and turning them into apps by saying now it will be more easier to update them independent of the gdr releases. Excellent idea right? Except they pretty much abandoned development of all things 8.1 related soon after saying they will now concentrate on w10 mobile and on those universal apps. We ended up waiting more than a year for a good quality music app with this strategy( xbox music to Groove was a long and painful transition till it became acceptable)
* they started releasing their apps on ios and android months and months before we got them on win mobile, and even then they were behind in features. Some of their offerings haven’t made it to windows to this day
* they released the buggy win 10 mobile that guaranteed bad press, bad fan reaction and managed to scare people away from the platform.
Remember the lack of investment in devices? Well we got the 950 series, but of course gimped in Microsoft fashion. Even if Nokia was going in the Mclaren direction in regards to design and materials, MS released 2 forgettable phones. They of course inherited them from Nokia, but in the 18 months since the acquisition they had enough time to give imput and change things up. This manifested in the removal of the curved glass front, an integral past of Lumia identity. They spun of their design and materials team and funded them/helped them create Mozo. This way Microsoft washes their hands clean of doing cool expensive things with their phones putting that burden on a 3rd party. They released those devices with a design and materials choice that are as easy and as cheap to produce as possible. 2 high end flagships that have the shells and design as the low end phones( 530,540, 630,640). No big money being put into those devices that were now part of an under performing business. Nadella wouldn’t have that.
Also no more cool accessories. This was bad considering android and ios accessories usually aren’t compatible with windows phones. No more cool covers/shells, no more speakers, no more head phones. Just a Continuum dock and a white rebranded wireless charging pad.
All they had to do after the restructuring and fat trimming was to put a little bit of money and invest in a new range of products for a couple of years. It would have cost them less than a billion. Doing that they would have maintained the 12 % marketshare that they had in Europe and 3% in the U.S. Hell the marketshare could have even get bigger by a couple more points. Then if things didn’t worked out, they could have changed the strategy, but at least they would have tried something.
They are filling the heads of delusional fanboys with stories of 3rd party oems support and they would pick up the slack, but ti was obvious for anyone who followed the platform from 2007 till 2015 that oems aren’t interested in releasing windows phones. They tried a couple of times in 6 years, they saw the results and quickly abandoned the platform. Then there are a couple of Samsung phones, or Acer phones that got released in exchange of lower android patent fees. And of course the bland white label devices that get rebranded by a few local oems with low-volume limited reach.
This is what happened these past 2 years. A failure of management from a company that doesn’t understand mobile and what it means to reach and make users happy. Failure after failure after failure of management. Because they had everything they needed to make it work. But in the hands of Myerson who doesn’t know how to run a phone business, and Nadella who comes from a enterprise background and only knows how to promote enterprise, it all fell apart. Now we are targeting a niche of users. Enterprise customers. Microsoft hasn’t learned that the days of chasing or making a product for a specific set of people are over. A Galaxy or an iphone can very easily be business phones/ ”productivity , empowering machines”, they can be gaming devices, multimedia consumption devices, personal assistants, digital cameras, fashion or lifestyle devices. These are the devices that companies want, cause they have everything you need and their employees actually want to use them. The future Microsoft phone that only targets the enterprise and the ”productivity” side, but lacks the other cool apps that people need will only result in failure.