Windows Phone users give Microsoft CEO an earful

The few Windows Phone users left said they want a promise of commitment, which Satya Nadella gave them

Windows Phone users give Microsoft CEO an earful
A Windows Phone smartphone on show at Computex 2015 in Taipei Credit: Martyn Williams

After spending $7 billion for the Nokia smartphone business, Microsoft has a dying platform on its hands, and shareholders want answers from CEO Satya Nadella. 

Rather than push the Lumia line, Microsoft has cut back its smartphone hardware to a smaller number of devices, markets and carriers. And the company has made more of an effort to get its own apps on iOS and Android rather than its own platform. 

Needless to say, Microsoft shareholders wanted to know why. GeekWire reports shareholders at the annual meeting gave Nadella an earful over it. One shareholder wanted to know why the nifty Microsoft Pix app (it is very nice) is only on iPhone and Android and not on Windows Phone. The same is true for Microsoft Outlook. 

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The shareholder asked Nadella to explain the company’s vision for its consumer devices. Nadella responded by saying Microsoft’s Windows camera and mail apps will include the same features as in Microsoft’s apps for other platforms.

"When we control things silicon-up, that’s how we will integrate those experiences," Nadella said. The company will build devices "that are unique and differentiated with our software capability on top of it" while making its software applications available on Android and iOS and other platforms. 

Another shareholder said he uses his Windows Phone "18 hours a day" and that he's heard rumors Microsoft is "stepping away from mobile." He asked, "Can you calm me down … and tell me what your vision is for mobile?" 

Nadella said Microsoft is not stepping away or back from its focus on its mobile devices. 

"What we are going to do is focus that effort on places where we have differentiation,” he said. “If you take Windows Phone, where we are differentiated on Windows Phone is on manageability. It’s security, it’s Continuum capability—that is, the ability to have a phone that can act like a PC. So we’re going to double-down on those points of differentiation." 

Nadella cited the HP Elite x3 phone, which is quite powerful and well-reviewed, as an example of a Windows 10 phone that follows this strategy.

"We will keep looking at different forms and different functions that we can bring to mobile devices, while also supporting our software across a variety of devices," he said.

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