Even An Apple Executive Knew How To Save Windows Phone

As did a million other souls, perhaps. Because there was a time when the Windows Phone platform was well and truly in the ascendency, at least in Europe. All that was needed was a sustained push.

A 10% market share in the Old Continent, was the time to strike.

However, we all know, how the story went.

Microsoft took the foot of the pedal, things went from bad to worse, and ultimately, Windows Phone ended up becoming a failed project. While the company is reported to be working on a major overhaul behind closed doors, the mobile OS really does not have any momentum behind it nowadays.

Of course, this means that others are taking their time to analyze what Redmond did wrong, and how what was considered to be a third alternative, ended up biting the dust.

One of these is Jean-Louis Gassée, former Apple executive turned analyst, who wrote an editorial on how Microsoft made one bad call after another, at the worst possible times, when better decision making from the software titan could have helped it avoid the Windows Phone disaster.

Basically, Gassée explains that it was the Microsoft culture that shot the platform dead — the software titan wanted to put the PC at the core of everything.

And this had a dramatic impact on the success of its mobile platform:

“While Microsoft treated the emerging mobile devices as a sideshow, Google and Apple forged ahead with modern operating systems that ran circles around Windows Mobile, itself a Windows CE descendant.

It took Microsoft several hiccuping transitions hampered by backward compatibility trouble to move away from the outdated CE foundation. Windows Mobile became the modern Windows Phone in 2011 or 2012 (depending on whom you ask) but it was too late. Licensees didn’t line up at the Redmond door. The platform was already dying.”

The former Apple executive, who also joined Nokia as a company advisor in 2010, says that ultimately, Windows Phone failed not because of a specific person, but because the company just did not step away from its PC focus:

“For a long time, Microsoft’s orthodoxy placed the PC at the center of the world. When smartphones took center stage, the company’s propaganda censured talk of a Post-PC world. Smartphones and tablets were mere ‘companion devices’.

We could point fingers at one or more Microsoft execs as the culprits, but that misses the point: Microsoft culture did it. Culture is dangerous; under our field of consciousness, it sneakily filters and shapes perceptions, it’s a system of permissions to emote, think, speak, and do. In the abstract, the Windows Phone failure was easily preventable. But Microsoft culture, made it unavoidable.”


Microsoft is currently in the process of restructuring its mobile unit, amid reports that it is working on a mobile overhaul that could be officially announced sometimes next year.

Very little chance that the company gets another shot at the consumer market now, in what has become a very unforgiving space.

Very little chance.

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