You wouldn't know Microsoft has a mobile phone platform and business if you judged it solely on the news at its Build developer conference. One site after another has noted the paucity of news surrounding Windows 10 Mobile, its languishing phone operating system.
However, two journalists from a U.S. and a Russian news site cornered some Microsoft executives and pressed them on mobile. Both said the company still believes in Windows Phone, it's just not the focus this year.
Like Windows 10 Mobile has a year to tread water?
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Tom Warren of The Verge spoke to the head of the Windows group, Terry Myerson, about the lack of mobile news. "Right now it's part of the family but it's not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year," Myerson told Warren.
Myerson was at least honest about Microsoft's mobile share and said "If you want to reach a lot of Windows customers, then this is the largest install base of 9 to 30-inch screens. If you wanted to do new and exciting things, then the Xbox and HoloLens is the place to have a discussion."
Aaron Woodman, senior director for Windows marketing, was cornered by a reporter from a Russian site High Tech, and hopefully Google Translate did its duty here.
"You know, when we first entered the market of smartphones with the new OS, we had big ambitions. But in reality it turned out that the market does not reflect the dynamics of our desires. Let’s be honest, we could have been better," he said.
Woodman adds that Microsoft doesn't believe they have a bad product, just that on its own, the mobile operating system is not an end in itself for them. The cross-platform services are something that Android and Apple don't offer.
Woodman said he is convinced that the greatest success for Windows Phone will be in the business segment. "If you look at Eastern Europe, Russia, even for Western Europe, you will see a large number of corporate smartphones on Windows Phone. Tom three reasons: a single platform, security and the best business services."
He has a point, but I don't see Microsoft doing a whole hell of a lot to evangelize people on this. Developers are the best way to do it and to have a three-day conference with next to no mobile talk is not the way to get that installed base growing. At some point, the big four carriers are going to lose patience, I'd have to think.