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“Windows Phone is a failed experiment”
Pundits have been bombarding new CEO Satya Nadella with advice on how he should "save Microsoft." If you could pick the single piece of misguided advice that has become most popular in recent weeks, it's the recommendation to ditch Windows Phone and go all Android.
Those same voices, plus a veritable backup choir of new players, were vocal this week with the announcement of the new Nokia X line, a low-cost phone for emerging markets powered by (gasp!) a Nokia-forked version of the Android Open Source Project code.
Settle down, people. Windows Phone isn't disappearing.
The current installed base of Windows Phone users numbers approximately 50 million. In the year after Microsoft closes its acquisition of Nokia, that number should blow past 100 million. By any rational standard, that's a market big enough for developers to take seriously. For the sake of comparison, that's more than the entire worldwide population of Apple Macs.
If you think Microsoft is going to turn its back on a growing installed base of 100 million customers, you really need to find a different beat to cover.
“Windows RT is dead”
It's true that Windows RT had an inauspicious and confusing debut, culminating in an embarrassing $900 million writedown of the Surface RT. The ironic thing is that that writedown came about as a direct result of Microsoft's confidence in the product it had produced. Had executives been more cautious with their launch plan, they could have built and sold a smaller number and never had to deal with that writedown.
But is Windows RT going away? Hardly. And anyone who tells you so is betraying a fundamental understanding of the Microsoft roadmap.
Windows RT is, at its core, the Windows 8.x/9 platform, minus the ability to run desktop apps. Now that 40 percent of new PCs are shipping with touchscreens, do you think Redmond is going to drop its new touch-centric user experience and app platform? Uh, no.
The confusion comes about because Microsoft has announced plans to consolidate its APIs for Windows across the board, so that developers who write Windows apps can target phones, tablets, and PCs with relatively minor changes in code.
It's possible that Windows RT as a brand will fade into the background. You can already see hints of that in Microsoft's decision to build a successor to Surface RT and call it simply Surface 2.
But the basic concept of a touch-first platform that runs modern apps from a curated store in a highly secure environment? That's not a dead end; it's the future.