Microsoft is shifting its attention away from Windows Phone.
“We’re fully committed to that 4-inch screen, there will be a time for it to be our focus, but right now it’s part of the family but it’s not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year,” Windows head Terry Myerson told The Verge.
The phone, he added, is “the wrong place for us to lead.” Instead, the company will stay in its comfort zone: PCs, video-game consoles, and emerging technologies such as the HoloLens.
Myerson’s quotes aren’t surprising. Since its launch in October 2010, Windows Phone has struggled to make headway in a mobile-device industry dominated by the duopoly of Google Android and Apple’s iOS. The platform’s relative lateness to market, combined with a tiny app ecosystem compared to its rivals, all but ensured an uphill battle from the outset. A partnership with Nokia, meant to boost market-share, did little to change things.
At Microsoft’s BUILD conference this week in San Francisco, the company has shown off a variety of new initiatives, including a platform that allows software developers to build specialized, semi-autonomous bots. Executives provided an in-depth look at the HoloLens, the augmented-reality headset. They also showed off Microsoft software running on iOS, but news about Windows Phone was conspicuously lacking. Now we know why.
Developers who’ve devoted time and energy to building on the Windows Phone platform (and there are a few out there) may want to consider shifting their attention to an alternative platform. It’s clear that Microsoft is doing the same.