Windows Phone brought in just $5 million last quarter

Microsoft reported Windows Phone revenue declined $730 million in its third fiscal quarter of 2016. It’s time to pull the plug on it.

Windows Phone brought in just $5 million last quarter
Mark Hachman

I have avoided the steady drumbeat of bad news surrounding Windows Phone because after a while it gets repetitive and morbid, but this one makes it abundantly clear it’s time to draw a sheet over Microsoft’s mobile phone business. 

For its third fiscal quarter of 2016, ended March 31, Microsoft reported sales of just $5 million. It didn’t actually say it that way, though. For its 10-Q financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Microsoft simply said "Phone revenue declined $730 million."

And if you look at the same quarterly report from one year ago, it reported sales of $735 million. So, do the math. Just two years ago, its phone hardware revenue was $1.397 billion. That’s a collapse if ever I saw one.

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On the earnings call with analysts, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said there was "no material phone revenue this quarter" and that there would be "negligible revenue from Phone" in the coming quarter.

This really isn’t a surprise. The Lumias on the market are now well over a year old, and there are no plans for new hardware. They have been out of stock in most markets for weeks or months, and the new Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update supports only a handful of devices.

 At this stage of the game the device and platform is a non-entity, and I can’t see any significant players coming into the market to resuscitate it. Microsoft isn’t trying, so why should anyone else? The often-rumored Surface Phone is still kicked around, but who would take it seriously after Microsoft let its $7.7 billion investment in Nokia’s handset business die on the vine like this?

It’s a shame because Windows Phone was a nice OS with a lot of pluses over the competition. The live tiles were a great creation. But that wasn’t enough. It’s the natural selection of the tech world. We rarely have more than two platforms for any type of device. The market wasn’t going to sustain three, as we saw.

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