Satya Nadella drops more hints on the future of Windows phone

Laurent Giret

Satya Nadella

Yesterday, Microsoft held its annual shareholder meeting in Bellevue, Washington where CEO Satya Nadella addressed embracing Linux, making Azure “the world’s first cloud supercomputer” as well as the company’s efforts to efforts to improve diversity. And while the CEO helped Microsoft deliver strong financial results this year with the company’s stock price peaking at $60, Nadella couldn’t avoid the elephant in the room during the Q&A session.

As you may already know, the Redmond giant scaled back its mobile efforts this year, but Nadella directly addressed these concerns when some shareholders brought the point to him (via GeekWire). One shareholder who claimed to use his Windows Phone “18 hours a day” asked the CEO bluntly: “Can you calm me down … and tell me what your vision is for mobile?”


IDC Worldwide quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker 2016
IDC expects WIndows Phone to claim a 0.4% market share this year.

As Nadella explained in several previous interview this year, Microsoft remains fully committed to Windows Phone even though the CEO admitted that Microsoft must truly differentiate itself from competing products to deliver the “ultimate mobile device.” In the same time, Microsoft remains focused on providing its consumers a true mobility of experiences by making its services available on platforms that are more relevant today. Here is Nadella full, unedited answer below:

Yes. So, our overall approach again to the previous question is we think about mobility broadly. In other words, we think about the mobility of the human being across all of the devices, not just the mobility of a single device. That said we are not stepping away or back from our focus on our mobile devices.

What we are going to do is focus that effort on places where we have differentiation. If you take Windows Phone, where we are differentiated in Windows phone is it’s manageability, it’s security, it’s continuing capability that is the ability to have a phone that in fact can even act like a PC. So, we are going to double down on those points of differentiation. In fact, the HP X3, which came out recently, is perhaps a great example of a differentiated device built using the Windows phone platform and that sort of points for the direction. We will keep looking at different forms, different functions that we can bring to mobile devices, while also supporting our software across a variety of devices. So, that’s the approach you will see us take.

We are not stepping away from supporting our Windows phone users. But at the same time, we are recognizing that there are other platforms in mobile that have higher share and we want to make sure that our software is available on that.

Of course, none of these comment are really new, though it’s always good to hear the CEO reitarate its commitment to Windows Phone. Microsoft’s mobile efforts may well continue to suffer from a perception problem, as it has become pretty hard to take seriously a mobile OS that kept bleeding market share over the last few years.

However, the company can’t really afford to abandon the mobile market as of now as it’s pushing its Universal Windows Platform accross PCs, Xbox, HoloLens, IoT and mobile. Lastly, as Microsoft Executive Vice President of Windows and Devices Terry Myerson explained it last month, the company definitely needs Windows to run on ARM chips.