To hear the story about Microsoft’s fortunes from apologists is different than digging into the company’s numbers. On the surface, Microsoft is doing well, Windows and Office are still cash cows, the Surface line of notebooks and hybrids get rave reviews from Windows apologists, and there might be money to be made in cloud services.
I see death lurking around Microsoft in a number of locations. Surface sales have been dropping for the past year, thanks to the post-PC era heralded by the iPhone. PCs just aren’t what they used to be, and the attempt to turn a notebook into a tablet hasn’t staved off the inevitable. Microsoft is dying. Or, at least, very ill here and there.
Here’s a good example.
A few years ago, before Microsoft mostly abandoned Windows on the phone, the company sold 36,000 Nokia phones running Windows to the New York Police Department. Whoever made the decision to go with Microsoft vs. Samsung or Apple’s iPhone made a huge mistake that will cost taxpayers even more money as the department switches to iPhones.
Apple upgrades each iOS device– iPhones and iPad– a number of times each year, and every year, like clock work, a new iOS version hits the streets and is compatible with devices as much as five years old. Consider the NYPD’s Nokia phones cannot be fully upgraded and are aging technology at best, and you can see why an iPhone’s TOC– total cost of ownership– over a longer life cycle starts to look inviting.
Microsoft apologist Mary Jo Foley:
Microsoft has been working to get out of the phone business for the past couple of years. The company is not currently manufacturing any new Windows Phones. And Windows Phones that are still being used won’t get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update coming out later this year.
Instead, those older phones will get an updated called Feature 2 which Foley says is a dead-end branch of Windows 10 Mobile.
While the Surface line of hybrid notebook-tablets is dying on the vine, it appears that Windows phones, by whatever name Microsoft uses, is all but dead.
If businesses don’t find Microsoft’s mobile productivity, security and management capabilities interesting enough, is there any point in the company trying yet again to infiltrate the mobile-phone market?
Probably not. And Google’s inability to get Android updates onto any but the most expensive Android smartphones helps to explain why the iPhone rules in the enterprise.
It was already increasingly hard to make a case that Microsoft would be able to find the exact moment to try to make a comeback in mobile, beyond trying to strengthen its slowly dwindling PC/tablet stronghold. It’s growing increasingly tougher to see what Microsoft could bring to the party to entice businesses to give up their iPhones and Android phones.
After the NYPD debacle, why would any enterprise trust Microsoft with death lurking here and there in the company’s messy product and services line?