The smartphone market is now taken over by Android and iOS. Although alternatives such as HarmonyOS and Linux are available, the competition is mostly between these two operating systems. But when we go back a few years, we see a third competitor called Windows Phone.
These phones, which have an operating system developed by Microsoft, managed to make a name for themselves frequently at the time of their debut. Windows Phones, which stand out especially with their powerful hardware, initially achieved quite good sales figures. But soon the wind reversed and the Windows Phone was wiped off the market. So how did Microsoft, which dominates desktop operating systems, disappear from the smartphone market so quickly?
Windows Phone: Billion-dollar disaster
There was more than one reason for this failure. But the biggest of them was undoubtedly on the software side. Windows Phones, which usually have flagship features when it comes to hardware, were even lagging behind the Symbian operating system when it came to software.
Using an interface that is affected by the start menu of Windows 8, the company, unfortunately, did not offer enough customization possibilities. This design, consisting of moving boxes, did not have a proper notification bar and control center. Windows Phone, which makes it impossible to even set wallpaper, soon caused users to get bored and turn to alternatives.
Another problem with the software was application support. Microsoft, itself a software company, has failed to attract third-party applications to the platform in particular. Its store, which lacked popular apps such as YouTube and Instagram, unfortunately, fell behind the times. The company, which had similar problems with games, had only a few big games besides Minecraft.
Another main reason for the failure was that there was no one to manufacture these phones. Microsoft, which was very insistent on the hardware of phones that would use Windows Phone, required only the most powerful parts to be used. On top of all this, the US tech giant, which also charges licensing fees from manufacturers, was causing costs and therefore prices to rise.
Smartphone makers, which struggled to sell high-priced products at the time, as they do today, turned to Google’s Android, a more affordable alternative. This was made worse by Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia.
Nokia, run by a former Microsoft employee, signed a special agreement with the US company. The Finnish company, which receives $250 million each quarter instead of paying licensing fees thanks to the deal, has attracted a backlash from other manufacturers. Reacting to the implementation of double standards, these companies severed all ties with Windows Phone.
Microsoft, which later bought Nokia’s phone division for $7 billion, unfortunately, failed with this move. While billions of dollars spent went to waste, the company shelved the project. Windows Phone, which received software support until 2017, has gone down in history as Microsoft’s biggest failure.