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 Janet I. Tu.
Topic: windows phone
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November 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM
The one thing the Windows Phone platform keeps getting dinged on is its relative lack of apps compared to rivals iOS and Android.
Microsoft has typically responded by saying that it has most of the top apps. In September, Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the Operating Systems division, said the Windows Phone Store had 49 of the top 50 apps.
Now the 50th — Instagram — has finally arrived. Albeit in beta form.
November 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM
Research firm IDC has come out with its latest figures on smartphone shipments and it says Windows Phone shipments have gone up 156 percent compared to a year ago.
Of course, Windows Phone was starting from a very low point a year ago, allowing for that big percentage jump.
In the third quarter, 9.5 million Windows Phone units were shipped, constituting 3.6 percent of the smartphone operating system market. That’s up from 3.7 million units and 2 percent of the market last year.
“Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year growth worldwide of any of the leading operating systems, a result primarily driven by the support of Nokia,” according to IDC. “By itself, Nokia accounted for 93.2% of all the Windows Phone-powered smartphones shipped during the quarter, marking a new milestone in the company’s short history on the Microsoft platform. Participation from other vendors, meanwhile, still seemed a mixed bag with more vendors participating from a year ago, but volumes still far behind Nokia’s own.”
Android, meanwhile, captured 81 percent of the market (with Samsung accounting for 39.9 percent of all Android shipments in the quarter), while Apple’s iOS had 12.9 percent.
Here’s IDC’s chart:
October 29, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Nokia, whose phone business is being acquired by Microsoft, is reporting some good news about its Lumia line of Windows Phones.
The Finnish phone-maker reports that its third-quarter shipments of Lumia phones has increased 19 percent quarter-on-quarter to 8.8 million units.
Year-over-year, Lumia volume rose 203 percent, up from 2.9 million units shipped in the third quarter of 2012.
Nokia attributed the increase to “our recently broadened Lumia product range and strong customer demand, particularly for the Lumia 520.”
Microsoft’s $7.2 billion deal to purchase Nokia’s phone business is expected to close early next year.
The increase in Lumia shipments, however, wasn’t enough to boost the once-dominant phone-maker into the ranks of the top five smartphone vendors.
Here are the top five, according to research firm IDC:
October 14, 2013 at 8:41 AM
The third update for Windows Phone 8 is out and it supports the larger screen sizes that are becoming more popular — the so-called “phablet” trend (“phone” plus “tablet”).
Microsoft sees a bright future in these phablets with screen sizes ranging from 5 to 7 inches, said Greg Sullivan, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone.
Samsung popularized the phablet trend with the release of its Galaxy Note in 2011. Nokia is expected to announce that it is releasing a Windows Phone phablet later this month.
The latest Windows Phone update “paves the way for future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens,” with the larger display enabling a user to include more tiles on the Start screen, according to Microsoft.
The update (which Microsoft is not calling “Windows Phone 8.1″) also includes “Driving Mode,” a new feature that limits distractions from notifications on the lock screen while the user is driving, and allows the user to send automatic replies to calls and texts, saying he/she is driving.
Microsoft outlines other features in the update in a blog post here.
Windows Phone has overtaken BlackBerry as the world’s No. 3 smartphone operating system, according to research firms Gartner and IDC. And in some markets, including the Latin America region and India, it’s the No. 2 smartphone O.S. But its worldwide market share, at around 3 to 4 percent both worldwide and in the U.S., still lags far behind Android’s and Apple’s iOS.
September 3, 2013 at 12:59 AM
In case you missed it, here’s my first-day story on Microsoft’s $7 billion purchase of Nokia’s handset business, which includes parts of an interview I had with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia Chairman and Interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa.
The story (which is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times today) didn’t have enough space to include more from the interview. So here are more tidbits.
On how long the deal has been in the works:
Ballmer said it began earlier this year when he called Siilasmaa about getting together in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress in February. Ballmer wanted to discuss “ways in which we might improve our partnership,” he said.
During the meeting, Siilasmaa requested a complete examination all the different forms the partnership could take, as well as alternatives.
“I was probably thinking acquisition at the time,” Ballmer said.
On what Microsoft would gain by owning Nokia’s handset business directly, rather than just partnering with Nokia:
“We’ve been working very well together,” Ballmer said. “But at the end of the day, we’re two companies that need to protect relative value for their shareholders.”
With Microsoft purchasing Nokia’s phone business outright, “we remove any boundaries in agility,” he said.
He gave the example of the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone. “We had to each be very careful” because each company had other partners that it had to keep in mind.
Plus, “Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020 is a mouthful,” he said, laughing. “We can probably do better as a company.”
When asked what name might be used instead, he said, again laughing: “Something like Microsoft Windows Phone” might sound good.
Ballmer said Microsoft has bought the rights to the Lumia and Asha names. (Asha is the name of Nokia’s smartphones aimed at emerging markets.)
He said having one company making decisions on everything from innovations to marketing would make things more efficient, with higher returns.
Microsoft posted a slideshow presentation with more of the company’s thinking on the strategic benefits of the acquisition.
In one slide, Microsoft says Windows Phone’s royalty gross margins, under the current partnership, is less than $10 per unit. In addition, Microsoft pays Nokia to support the platform and invests in the marketing of its Windows Phone. If Nokia’s phone business became part of Microsoft, the smart device gross margin would be more than $40 per unit, according to Microsoft. And the marketing effort could be more focused.
August 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM
There was Windows Vista, but then came Windows 7.
There was the Kin, but there was also the Xbox.
The company fell way behind on mobile, but it still plays a huge role in corporations.
Microsoft has had many stumbles and failings over the years, but it’s also had its successes and strengths.
That bad-news, good-news split is indicative of the challenges, and the advantages, facing any successor to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer, who has been CEO for 13 years, announced Friday that he would be retiring once his successor has been chosen within the next 12 months.
Here are five challenges, and five advantages, his successor will face.
Microsoft actually came out with a smartphone and a tablet before Apple came out with the iPhone or iPad.
But it was Apple that figured out how to make those devices wildly popular to consumers.
These days, Microsoft has only about a 3.3 percent worldwide market share in smartphones — although that’s slowly inching up — and Windows Phone has overtaken BlackBerry as the No. 3 smartphone operating system.
Similarly, Windows tablets’ market share went up from 1 percent to 4.5 percent over the past year, according to research firm IDC.
But if Microsoft doesn’t continue to make inroads on mobile devices, “They will start to see some market erosion in their other businesses,” said Norman Young, analyst with investment research firm Morningstar.
2. Post-PC era
We are in what some call the “post-PC era,” or, as Microsoft likes to call it, the “PC-plus era.”
Whatever the case, it means that people are turning less to their PCs and more to their mobile devices to accomplish much of what they used to do on their desktops or laptops.
And that’s a huge worry for Microsoft.
For many years, Microsoft has had a cash cow in Windows. But now that the PC market isn’t growing, while the markets for tablets and smartphones are, that source of revenue is slowing.
Another related problem: The margins for Microsoft on smartphones or tablets are lower than what it gets from PC manufacturers.
“Any time a PC is sold by Dell, HP or Lenovo, if it’s a consumer-oriented product, Microsoft sees about $40 to $50,” said Al Gillen, an analyst with research firm IDC. “If it’s enterprise (meaning corporations), it’s more like $100 for Microsoft.
“The license fee per unit for phones and tablets are not going to be in the same magnitudes,” Gillen said. “Which means Microsoft has to adjust its thinking to lower price, lower margin but much higher volume.”
The next CEO, said J.P. Gownder, an analyst with research firm Forrester, “really needs to come to terms with the relative decline of the PC as a computing tool.”
Xbox aside, Microsoft has had a hard time connecting with consumers on a number of its products.
Its Surface tablet — particularly the Surface RT model — has not sold well. Windows 8 is getting a lukewarm reception. Windows tablets and smartphones have yet to break 5 percent worldwide market share.
And rightly or wrongly, Microsoft is still fighting the image left over from those old Apple Mac vs PC commercials: That it’s stodgy, corporate, boring.
The company has been battling that image with marketing efforts such as Surface commercials featuring dancing tablet users and product launches featuring sports stars and other celebrities.
[Continue reading the story here.]
August 22, 2013 at 1:03 PM
In a handy win for Windows Phone, Delta Air Lines announced that it’s equipping its 19,000 flight attendants with Nokia Lumia 820 handsets.
The handsets will be used to streamline on-board purchasing, including for credit card purchases and seat upgrades. The company says that in the future, the devices will also include the ability to read coupons displayed on a customer’s mobile device, and the ability to provide customer-specific information to flight attendants to enable more personalized service.
The program used by Delta was developed by Microsoft, Avanade and AT&T. Seattle-based Avanade, which provides business technology solutions and services based on Microsoft offerings, developed Delta’s program on its Avanade Mobile Airline Platform, which itself is based on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of-sale platform. It runs over WiFi and AT&T’s 4G LTE network.
Windows Phone has slowly been inching up in market share. Research firms Gartner and IDC have placed Microsoft’s smartphone operating system in third place worldwide, overtaking fourth-place BlackBerry.
August 7, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Microsoft’s market share of U.S. smartphone subscribers bumped up a little to 3.1 percent for the three months ended in June, according to research firm comScore.
That’s up from 3 percent for the three months ended both in March and in May.
Those figures include both Windows Phone and the outdated Windows Mobile, according to a comScore analyst.
Apple’s market share, meanwhile, went up slightly comparing the June figure to the March one, while Android’s stayed the same and BlackBerry’s declined.
Here’s comScore’s chart:
August 7, 2013 at 8:12 AM
Windows Phone’s worldwide market share edged up from 3.1 percent in the second quarter of last year to 3.7 percent this year, cementing its third-place rank among smartphone operating systems.
That’s according to research firm IDC, which also notes that Windows Phone shipped 8.7 million units in the second quarter of this year, up from 4.9 million in the year-ago period.
IDC attributed the gain mainly to Nokia, which accounted for 81.6 percent of all Windows Phone shipped in the second quarter.
Windows Phone beat No. 4 BlackBerry, whose market share declined from 4.9 percent to 2.9 percent during the same time period.
Apple’s iOS declined too, from 16.6 percent to 13.2 percent, while Android’s rose from 69.1 percent to 79.3 percent.
Here’s IDC’s chart:
June 27, 2013 at 2:02 PM
Though there was very little said during the keynotes about Windows Phone at this year’s Build conference for developers, Microsoft wants to make sure developers don’t forget about it.
The company is announcing a limited-time registration fee for developers who want to create apps for Windows Phone. For the next 60 days, the annual registration fee for Dev Center is being lowered to $19 (down from the usual $99). More details on that are available on the official blog post.