Friday, October 23, 2015

Microsoft’s new strategy requires Windows Phone to become BlackBerry

Microsoft today revealed its abysmally low Lumia device sales, coming to a total of just under 6 million devices sold. While we can now say for certain that Microsoft HAS passed 100 million Lumia devices sold, we can also acknowledge that Microsoft most likely doesn’t care about that number.

After a year of faffing about with the results of its Nokia buyout, Redmond has finally decided what it’s going to do with Lumia devices, and it’s not simply chasing the high volume smartphone market anymore. Instead, as has been pointed out several times over, they are making a move for the enterprise and productivity segment of society. In other words, Microsoft wants to become the BlackBerry of old, and that’s a good thing.

You may be questioning why this is a good thing given the current state of Blackberry – once a major phone maker, now a punch line (though on the brink of s possible renaissance). BlackBerry started off as a well-respected device company that indeed only started to decline once they stepped out of their enterprise niche and began to cater to the low-end. In other worlds, they carried out the strategy Microsoft has been carrying out for the past year. It’s no wonder that both companies have seen the writing on the wall and have decided to step back from pushing devices that people buy because they have no options to pushing devices that people buy because they want to. This distinction, while small, is everything in terms of mindshare and marketshare. A person who buys a Lumia 520 or a BlackBerry Curve is a person who will easily buy a Samsung Galaxy Ace next year.

A person who buys a Lumia 930 however, those are useful in terms of engagement and evangelism. They paid for the devices, they chose the devices, they want the device and if they like it, they will show it to their friends. Those are the customers that any company wants, and Microsoft’s restructuring is taking that into account.

In the present however, explaining Microsoft’s Lumia sales now is not particularly hard. The company quit selling them a while ago. Sure they are going through the motions, but they aren’t really trying either. They basically put a bullet in the head of Windows Phone 8.1 powered devices and told everyone everywhere to move on, and the market responded by moving on. Now Microsoft is back with Lumias and a new strategy to take a slice of the market for itself. I predict in the short-term, that Microsoft knows that sales are going to keep falling. What they want to know is whether they can meet and exceed their internal targets for Windows 10 Mobile devices over the next year. I want to say Windows 10 Mobile would be the big one, but this time, I think I’d rather wait and see.


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