Microsoft is leaving the consumer mobile market

Microsoft executive says the company plans to be away ‘for some years’

Microsoft is leaving the consumer mobile market
Martyn Williams

The weak effort from Microsoft surrounding the Windows Mobile line has made it pretty clear that the handset business isn't a priority. Now we have a clear statement from a Microsoft executive that the company is indeed giving up on mobile, at least for a time. 

The new president of Microsoft France gave an interview with a French publication where he said the company was indeed giving up on mobile. Vahé Torossian was introduced recently as the new president of the company's French subsidiary. He was previously corporate vice president of the Worldwide Small, Mid-market Solutions & Partners Group.

And in an interview with Le Point, Torossian reiterated the current strategy Microsoft is pursuing: 

"Our strategy for Windows Phone is to focus on enterprise customers; we are now out of the mass market. The entrance ticket to the mass market smartphones is now too high; we are betting on a technology leap in a few years with a paradigm shift. During this transition period, we won’t stay in the consumer smartphone market."

Of course, this is not exactly new. There have been previous hints that Microsoft would focus on business users, and the paucity of smartphone talk at the Build conference earlier this year showed Windows 10 Mobile was not a priority for the company this year. 

While Torossian stated, "There will be no new consumer products immediately," he added, "Microsoft continues supporting and updating of Windows smartphones and the development of new devices." 

That's true, Windows 10 Mobile continues to get new builds for Insiders to test, and the most recent smartphones—the Lumia 950, XL 950 and 650—continue to be actively supported by Microsoft.

Still, even if Microsoft plans a return to the mass market, can it seriously expect any momentum after letting Windows 10 Mobile shrivel up and die on the vine? What developer would support it after this, and what user would have any confidence in them?

Microsoft of all companies knows there is room for only so many platforms. It should know there isn't room for three mobile operating systems. Windows Phone is a very good OS in many ways and I liked it, but the marketing was bungled and Apple and Google have too much of an entrenched lead.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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