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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Topic: smartphone

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February 12, 2015 at 11:01 AM

First Windows 10 phone preview ready to download

Four months after unveiling a preview of Windows 10 for desktops, Microsoft says a smartphone version of the operation system is now available.

If you have one of a half-dozen Windows phones, that is. The roster of devices Microsoft supports for the preview is limited so far to Lumia smartphone models 630, 635, 636, 638, 730, and 830.

“This is the earliest publicly available preview we’ve ever done for Windows on phones,” Microsoft’s Gabe Aul says in a blog post. “This preview is still very much under development and you’re going to see some rough edges.”

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Comments | More in Windows | Topics: microsoft, mobile, smartphone

January 14, 2015 at 9:07 AM

Microsoft launches two budget Lumia smartphones

Microsoft's Lumia 435 (Photo by Microsoft)

Microsoft’s Lumia 435 (Photo by Microsoft)

Microsoft continues to hammer away at the cheaper side of the market in its bid to grab smartphone market share.

The company Wednesday announced two new smartphones — the Lumia 532 and 435 — designed to target first-time smartphone buyers. The 532 is expected to sell for 79 euros ($93) before taxes and subsidies, and the 435 is expected to start at 69 euros ($81).

Microsoft’s use of the European common currency for its price listing isn’t a coincidence: don’t expect the phones on store shelves in the U.S. soon. The company said it will start rolling out the phones in markets in Europe, Asia and Africa next month.

Microsoft, badly lagging and losing share in developed markets like the U.S. and western Europe, has staked its claim for relevance in smartphones in the developing world. By offering reasonably priced phones that offer smartphone features, Microsoft is hoping that it can persuade basic cellphone users to upgrade to a Windows Phone smartphone instead of devices running Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS.

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Comments | More in Mobile | Topics: lumia, lumia 435, lumia 532

January 7, 2015 at 11:07 AM

iPhone 6 boosts Apple at the expense of Google, Microsoft

How successful has the iPhone 6 been? Apple’s new flagship blew past not only Microsoft’s struggling smartphone unit, but also helped push Google’s Android to its first setback in the U.S. in more than a year.

Apple’s iOS powered 47 percent of the smartphones sold in the U.S. during the three months through November, according to data researcher Kantar Worldpanel’s ComTech division, from 43 percent a year earlier.

The share of smartphones that run Google’s Android fell to 48 percent of sales from 50 perecent, the first decline since September 2013.

Windows Phone fell to 3 percent, from 4.6 percent.

Things don’t look much better for Microsoft internationally, despite the larger footprint Nokia has historically had outside the U.S.

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Comments | More in Mobile | Topics: apple, google, microsoft

December 29, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Apple trounces Samsung, Microsoft in Christmas smartphone, tablet activations

If you turned on a new smartphone or tablet in the week leading up to Christmas, chances are it was built built by Apple.

That’s according to a report by mobile analytics firm Flurry, which said the California giant accounted for fully 51.3% of the devices activated worldwide Dec. 19-25. Samsung came in second with a 17.7% share. Microsoft’s Nokia (or Lumia, after the ongoing rebranding) was third, with 5.8%.

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Comments | Topics: apple, microsoft, samsung

December 2, 2014 at 7:00 AM

IDC sees Windows Phone share doubling, but behind Google, Apple

IDC has good news and bad news for Microsoft’s smartphone ambitions.

First, the bad news: four years from now, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS will still be eating Microsoft’s lunch in the smartphone market.

The Windows Phone operating system will account for just 5.6 percent of global smartphone sales in 2018, IDC said Monday in the data researcher’s latest forecast. That’s well short of the 15 percent share Microsoft executives said they were shooting for when they bought Nokia’s handset business last year.

The good news: 5.6 percent represents a near doubling from the 2.7 percent share IDC currently estimates for Microsoft. Getting there assumes an annual growth rate of north of 3 percent every year.

The question is whether that growth will be enough to push the phone hardware business from a cash-burning former acquisition to a profitable unit with a long-term place in Microsoft’s lineup of products. Microsoft executives have said they hope to have the phone business, the target of hefty cost cuts and layoffs this year, at least breaking even in the fiscal year that starts next July.

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May 3, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Windows Phone U.S. share stays at about 3 percent

Research firm comScore’s latest figures are out, showing Microsoft’s share of the U.S. smartphone subscriber market at 3 percent for the three months ended in March. That’s up from 2.9 percent for the three months ended in December, and down sequentially from 3.2 percent for the three months ended in February. Microsoft’s latest move in…

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: smartphone, windows phone