The last few weeks have brought us news that Windows Phone fans have almost no reason to be excited about: several companies have decided to pull their apps from the store, leaving users of Microsoft’s mobile platform behind (or with no other option than to load their websites to access services).
, , and have all discontinued their apps for Windows Phone, and although a reason for this decision hasn’t been provided, we all know what this is all about: these companies prefer to focus on platforms with bigger market share, including here Android and iOS (the most recent data about Windows Phone puts Microsoft’s OS at 0.7 percent share).
And yet, the lack of apps isn’t necessarily Microsoft’s biggest problem. Despite the fact that more and more developers decided to jump ship and focus on Android and iOS, we’ve received plenty of comments from users telling us that they actually don’t care about apps, pretty much because Microsoft is already offering the essentials integrated right into the operating system.
For someone who doesn’t want to install apps all day long, Microsoft Edge, Outlook, the built-in News app, Weather, and the other pre-installed applications are just what they need to get their job done. And if you add a very secure operating system as is the case of Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile, the lack of apps is no longer a problem. And Windows 10 Mobile is taking shape quite nicely, with the Anniversary Update bringing quite some exciting updates on phones.
And right now, Microsoft has something else that it should take care of. It’s the whole damn secrecy about the future of Windows phones.
Right now, there’s so much speculation about the future of Windows phones that it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s true and what’s not. Everyone out there seems to believe that Windows Phone is dead, no matter what. And this is all happening because Microsoft hasn’t clearly showed that it’s not.
What the company has done in the last six months is to launch Windows 10 Mobile, leaving nearly 50 percent of its Windows Phone device lineup behind, and to fuel rumors that no other Lumia models will be launched. The only hope right now is that a Surface Phone will eventually arrive, and everyone who still sticks with the platform dreams about such a device, but once again, we can’t even tell for sure that Microsoft is working on it because the company has never confirmed it.
OK, sure, there are reports from people with knowledge of the matter, and some hint that the Surface Phone might be coming, but this is certainly not enough for someone who wants to spend several bucks on a phone that they would be using for a year or even longer. Buyers need to know there’s a future for Windows phones, and Microsoft doesn’t seem to be willing to offer confirmation in this regard. Just prove buyers that Windows Phone is part of your vision, and they will certainly stick around.
I know what you’re thinking. If you’re rushing to the comments section to tell us that we’re wrong, and Microsoft has already confirmed that Windows phone isn’t dead, slow down a little.
“Great new devices”
For context, here’s what Terry Myerson stated in a letter to partners sent after the company announced the most recent series of layoffs:
“We always take care of our customers, Windows phones are no exception. We will continue to update and support our current Lumia and OEM partner phones, and develop great new devices.”
What Microsoft actually said was that it would continue to support the ecosystem, without actually mentioning when we can expect these “great new devices.” Who’ll build them? Will they come under the Lumia brand? Will they be primarily aimed at consumers or businesses? Will these phones be high-end or low-end? Cheap or expensive? And most importantly, when will they arrive?
These are all questions that need to be answered right now because, with an uncertain future, every new day means another developer leaving Windows Phone. And with every developer that says goodbye to the platform, there are 10 end users who are jumping ship too. It’s that “soon” thing that’s driving Windows Phone users crazy.
I didn’t want to bring this up, but I have to. Microsoft seems to be adopting an Apple-like secrecy regarding its projects, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The only difference is that, in Apple’s case, we do know that a new iPhone is coming, while Microsoft doesn’t really afford to maintain this high level of uncertainty. The company hasn’t denied reports telling that the Lumia lineup is done and hasn’t said anything about a Surface Phone. Only vague details that something will come at some point. Soon.
The main idea is that Microsoft is letting partners take care of the Windows Phone ecosystem.
The only problem is that partners represent only 3 percent of this ecosystem, with stats showing that Microsoft’s devices are being used by 97 percent of the customers with Windows phones. HTC is next, following by Samsung, BLU, Huawei, and others.
So basically, we’re left with 3 percent of the market, no confirmation that Microsoft is building another Windows 10 Mobile device, and pretty much no news regarding the future of Windows Phone. Why should I buy a Windows 10 Mobile right now?
This is an editorial, so hit me up with your thoughts in the comment box below. Critiques are welcome, I’m preparing my arguments arsenal right now.