I WROTE a column in December about how, despite my fondness for Windows Phone, the rushed release of Windows Mobile 10 had squandered Microsoft's chances of ever competing with Android and iOS.
Microsoft confirmed these concerns on Thursday during its Q2 2016 earnings call. The company announced sales of just 4.5 million Windows handsets for the three-month period, down 49 percent on the 10.6 million shifted in the year-ago quarter. This, according to IDC's figures, gives Microsoft less than two percent of the global smartphone market.
This news came as a bit of a surprise, as Kantar Worldpanel ComTech revealed earlier this week that Windows Phone is the fastest growing mobile operating system in the UK. The figures show that the software saw its slice of the pie grow 2.3 percent year on year to 9.2 percent.
This grasp on the UK market isn't enough to save the firm's mobile business, as it's a different story elsewhere. Microsoft had just 1.6 percent of the US market in Q4, and saw its share drop across all European countries apart from the UK.
It's unlikely that Microsoft can redeem itself in the smartphone market now. Just look at overall sales of Windows Phone devices, for example. Microsoft’s Windows Phone, until now, had sold just 110 million units in its entire existence, compared with Android and iOS' 4.5 billion.
Sticking the 'Surface' brand onto a smartphone certainly isn't going to save it. The soon to be announced Lumia 650 smartphone will be Microsoft's third and final Lumia smartphone, according to rumours, as the firm will instead focus its efforts on the so-called Surface Phone.
Microsoft's problem is not the Lumia brand. Sure, the firm thinks that, given the 30 percent increase in Surface tablet sales, lumping smartphones into this brand will give it similar success.
The problem is Windows 10 Mobile, an operating system that had the potential to give Apple and Google a run for their money in the smartphone market, but ultimately failed given its bugs and arguably worsening app selection.
As we wrote last month, Microsoft is trying to convince smartphone buyers that it stacks up against iOS and Android when it comes to applications, but it remains a long, long way off.
As we discovered while reviewing the Lumia 950, you won't find any Google apps - Maps or Drive, for example - and the YouTube 'app' is published by Microsoft and simply takes you to the service's mobile website.
You will find many of the big name apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Netflix, but some are sub-par versions of their iOS and Android counterparts. Instagram, for example, proved so jarring and buggy that we quickly switched back to our iPhone for browsing through pictures of sandwiches.
That's not all that's wrong with Windows 10 Mobile. Those running Nokia-branded Lumia smartphones are still waiting for the software to arrive on their handset given Microsoft's continuous push-backs to the rollout.
What's more, it seems that the company itself has given up on its mobile efforts. Windows Phone chief Joe Belfiore was caught tweeting from an iPhone earlier this week.
RIP Windows Phone. It was fun while it lasted. µ
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