Can you remember the time when Steve Ballmer was CEO of Microsoft. Back then the company followed a very aggressive mobile strategy, so aggressive that they even bought a phone manufacturing company in order to ship their mobile operating system together with a well known piece of hardware. For about two years the Microsoft released new devices with their Windows Phone operating system with a Nokia branding on the phone.
Today the situation is a different one, Microsoft has a far less aggressive approach in this section of the market and Nokia is doing its own thing again after it almost died under the treatment of Microsoft. The Redmond company is now focusing more on software again, making Windows 10 the best Windows yet, and especially on AI driven Cloud Computing. The last flag-ship device we have seen from Microsoft was released over a year ago and didn’t sell very well. There are still some offers from time to time where you can buy for example the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and you’ll get the Lumia 950 for free.
Although this sounds like a massive failure, I think the current strategy works out a lot better than the previous one. You might have heard of the HP Elite x3. HP and Microsoft closely worked together to bring both, a superb piece of hardware on the one hand which can even replace your Laptop or Tablet in some cases and a great software on the other hand. Windows 10 Mobile is evolving pretty well and I think it is cool to see Microsoft focusing on what they are good at, making the software.
That shouldn’t mean that Microsoft is not good at manufacturing hardware, that’s almost undeniable if you have a look at the Surface tablets row and the Surface Studio. However, it wouldn’t make sense for Microsoft to simply be a hardware manufacturer which releases a new phone every year with almost no innovation and the same design as the model from the year before. If Microsoft releases a new device the world should be stunned, look at it and think where the he** did they get those ideas for this from. That’s also kind of what Satya Nadella said today in an interview with the Australian Financial Review today:
“We don’t want to be driven by just envy of what others have, the question is, what can we bring? That’s where I look at any device form factor or any technology, even AI.“
HP is not the only one which the company is currently working together to bring a stunning piece of hardware for consumers. The EVE V is a crowdfunded project of a small Finnish company which has been developed in close cooperation with Microsoft. There are a lot of other companies which are currently doing the same and that might be the better strategy than rather paying them attractive sums to release a phone with their operating system. Because then OEM’s are believing in their Windows products, they are promoting them giving a better support and stand by what they made.
However, Satya Nadella made another very interesting comment when he was in Australia for a visit today:
“We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today’s market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device.“
Will Microsoft ever release a phone again with their own operating system? Are they going to let Windows 10 Mobile die? No, Microsoft will work together with OEMs to release one of the best devices to the market ever seen. All that just to refine the market with their own devices. Microsoft isn’t suing any company which is producing a Surface like device or a direct competitor for the device. They are talking with the company and advise each other on what they can do better so that we, the consumers, get a product where the software and the hardware are working together just fine in order to get the best experience possible.
From time to time we will then see a phone from Microsoft along with the ones from other OEMs. Will it be called the Surface phone, well I don’t know, but it will definitely be an innovative piece of hardware made for the users needs with years of development, not be replaced by its next generation after one year in use.
Feel free to drop us a comment below with your thoughts on this story and stay tuned for more Microsoft related news. Head over to the Australian Financial Review for the full interview with Satya Nadella.