The Windows Mobile platform had received multiple jolts over the past week, rendering it a power on the wane, at least in India. Firstly, the software giant had cut 1,850 jobs in Finland, driving the final nail in the coffin of its ill-fated multi-billion dollar Nokia acquisition. And then, to quell any panic in the ranks of its OEM (original equipment manufacturers) partners, it sent out an email assuring them of all support now and in the future.
“I want to assure you that your investment in Windows phones is not at risk. The mobility of the Windows 10 experience remains core to our More Personal Computing ambition,” said the Microsoft memo, quoted by a Windows news website. “We will continue to support and update the Lumia devices that are currently in the market, and the development of Windows 10 phones by OEMs, such as HP, Acer, Alcatel, VAIO, and Trinity; as well as develop great new devices.”
By saying Microsoft “will continue to support and update the Lumia devices that are currently in the market” and develop “great new devices”, the Redmond company has all but confirmed what many Windows aficionados had feared — the end of the Lumia line of smartphones. They will continue supporting the phones already out there, but the memo clearly suggests the x50 series (950xl, 950, 650, 550) will be the last Lumias manufactured by Microsoft, which is reportedly working on the much-rumoured Surface Phone.
Why the reports of gloom, then? It is clear from the memo that Microsoft will take the backseat to allow its OEM partners more freedom and incentive to come out with with new devices while it will focus on annual niche devices that will be targeted at the business segment. In effect, Microsoft will not make any consumer phones and will leave that to the OEMs.
One of the aspects in which Microsoft has enjoyed an upper hand over its competitors has been the camera segment. Now, with focus on business users, the camera will hardly be a priority for Redmond. To sum it up, Microsoft has given up any thoughts of competing with Android and Apple, and aims to take over the void left behind by BlackBerry.
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