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Opinion 3 min read 8 comments

How Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia killed the Windows Phone

Five years. In most industries, it's a mere moment. In the smartphone world, things are different. You realize how quickly the business changes when anniversaries like this come around. Five years ago Nokia sold its smartphone division to Microsoft. During this period, everything changed. From respected success to bad news to a comeback under a new flag. But it could have been so beautiful...

Actually, everything was in place to establish Windows Phone as the third platform alongside Android and iOS. Nokia was still quite popular, the smartphones and the system were usable, and its market share not so bad. In some countries, more than ten percent of mobile phone users were using Windows Phone. When you consider the dominance that Android and iOS already had at that time, those weren't bad numbers.

But I never had the feeling that Microsoft took its mobile platform that seriously. Hardly anything new happened. Windows 10 launched, announced as a single system for all devices. On mobile, despite Satya Nadella's mantra: "mobile first", the smartphones themselves could not keep up with the quality of the Nokia devices, perhaps with the exception of the Lumia 930. The buzz disappeared in what felt like record time.

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When the Lumia 950 came out, Windows Phone was already almost at the end. / © ANDROIDPIT

Thousands of redundancies

Speaking of things disappearing, thousands of jobs, especially of former Nokia employees in the mobile sector, are now gone. Time and again Microsoft announced painful cuts in line with the downturn in business. Stephen Elop, head of the division, had to leave himself in 2015 after overseeing the dismissal of 12,500 employees. It doesn't help those who lost their jobs, but it’s something.

I bought the Lumia 950 for a lot of money, and then after a few months, I didn't feel like using it anymore. It dawned on me and Microsoft that it has no purpose anymore. The hardware is - apart from the camera - not good. The software is not maintained and therefore gets worse and worse. With no new apps coming out anymore, I can't use any modern services easily. After all, Microsoft had to quietly give up and move Windows 10 Mobile from the end customer business and instead offer it exclusively to business customers. At least to the few of them that were still interested.

After all, less than four years after the sale, Nokia has already made its comeback on the smartphone market, albeit now with Android and under the umbrella of HMD Global. Numerous former Nokia and Microsoft employees work there, and I imagine they are happy to be allowed to do what they do best again: build great smartphones. Microsoft apparently didn't ask for this. By the way, check Google Maps to see how close HMD Global's headquarters are to Nokia headquarters - you'll be surprised.

Even though I have made myself very comfortable in the Android world and there are fantastic devices with Google’s OS, sometimes I still miss the tiles. Windows Phone was just different, and I liked that, and in the beginning, the system worked really well. I won't forgive Microsoft for driving this project into the ground like it has done.

Did you ever use a Windows smartphone and, like me, miss it a bit?

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  • I still use Windows Phone.. I used to use an Android 1.5 years back from now...actually i didn't enjoy Android that much...
    Yes Microsoft screwed up the phone business.. They have messed up with the UI for Windows Phone on Windows 10 Mobile.. Windows Phone 8.1was the best .. I don't use facebook or other popular social apps like other people but my Lumia 640xl get my work done in a fast way than android/iPhone the way i want in a phone...and i will use till it functions..


  • Mr Elop & Microsoft tried to use a well known company Nokia just to boost there names as they thought they were as popular as Apple,but the Windows system was nothing as good as Symbian that Nokia use to use,there was no customization of Windows so the Stupid Tiles put loads of consumers giving Windows a chance,as soon a Mr Elop stepped in as Nokia chairman people already knew this was something involving Microsoft,but its the Old Nokia Board that deserves a lot of slagging down for giving up to Mr Elop & Microsoft,so glad that Nokia as now been overtaken by HMD,but they will not invest money into getting the Top Chips that Samsung use,and just use the low end chips for there phones that are just Budget phones,so the Nokia name is becoming popular again,Hope we get the Nokia 9 released soon to compete with Samsung & Apple


  • Sorin 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    The success or failure of a phone model, or even a whole series of phones, is also given by the marketing price in relation to the facilities offered. Until now, the retail market has shown as clearly as expensive phones were unsuccessful if they did not offer facilities at the price, so that they were dedicated to good connoisseurs, they had very high claims. In this case and the risk is high, the higher the price of the phone.
    Technology shifts from day to day, and if these expensive phones fail to last for at least one year as a technological advance, then they will be overtaken by other cell phone models, from a lower-priced, but which offer the same performance. Also, the multitude of features offered is often much beyond the possibilities offered, the user normally using a relatively small set of applications.
    That's why manufacturers of lower renowned phones, in order to find their way to the market, have developed phones with the most desirable features of the users - so they have become very successful in sales and continue to impress on the endowments.
    On the other hand, big players with expensive phones, being somewhat less flexible to market demands, or even ignoring buyers' wishes, have developed handsets that were practically a total failure: an excessively high price for brand names only, and facilities already overtaken by phones at less than half the price, is the perfect recipe for bankruptcy.
    Because it's not, the phones are designed to be actually used by buyers, and not to be placed in a crystal display case.
    So...


  • I always had Nokia feature phones since 2000 when I got my first phone .

    In 2012 I got my first smartphone which was a Nokia 810 and then the 925...which overall was my favourite Nokia phone.

    In 2015 I bought the 950 and then recently had the Alcatel idol 4 S .

    I like Windows phone but switched last year to the Nokia 6 on Android and have been using it since.

    I liked the live tiles but had to move on because of it's limits and the constant loading screens and bugginess.

    I think 8 and 8.1 were the best mobile versions on windows and the predictive text was excellent. Not so much now

    Anyway it was Nokia that brought me to windows to begin with but now that I am on Android i will stick with the new Nokia. So far I am getting all the updates as promised by Nokia.


  • I used the Nokia ICON (929) on Verizon for 4 years and absolutely LOVED it!! I would still be using it if I could. I'm using the Pixel 2 now, which is a great phone ... but I just prefer Windows over Android, and would go back to it in a heartbeat if they got their act together.


  • I had a HTC One iteration of the Windows Phone. It was sweet. I loved the unit, and the OS. I've had phones with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. As an OS, Windows Phone was great. It just became quickly apparent that the apps weren't going to be there. MS wanted instant success. If they had managed to unify their development platform more quickly with the hoped for Universal Windows Platform, I think there would have been a different result. Back to Android we went.


  • storm 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    Ballmers didn't understand mobile in any useful form. You go back through his admin time and statements and the last few years is this Android paranoia and misunderstanding.

    Nuisance lawsuits and patent silliness. The fees MS extorted out of Samsung for every Android phone they sold. Something on the order of $10 per phone was the fee. They fought rather than creating and that path is obsolescence.

    Ballmers was a blunder of an appointment.


  • Yes, I switched to W10M several years ago with a TMobile Idol 4S because I couldnt stand Android anymore and all the problems I was having. I switched back to Android (V20) after my Idol developed a battery issue. Now I'm having same old Android issues with V20, sluggish, random rapid battery burn, etc. So, I just purchased a new 950 XL and back to using W10M as primary phone. Love W10M and will continue to use platform until it doesnt work anymore. I get past app gap by pinning mobile websites to start. I was late to W10M, but much prefer over Android.

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