Despite claiming to be a “mobile first” corporation, last week Microsoft made two independent moves that pushed it even further away from the phone manufacturer it had become with the ill-fated Nokia acquisition, which closed in April 2014.
By selling the company’s feature phone operation and cutting over a thousand jobs in its smartphone division, Microsoft simultaneously finished off the remnants of Nokia, while signaling that the company had essentially abandoned its long-held goal of being a viable alternative to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
For a brief period, it appeared that Microsoft would have the same tight vertical integration over its mobile ecosystem that Apple does, both producing the hardware and developing the software that powers it. But now it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the company to position itself as a mobile-first competitor, when its offerings look so underwhelming compared to the competition.
While it’s true that Microsoft continues to limp along with Windows 10 Mobile development, the operating system now accounts for less than 1 percent of new smartphones sold worldwide. It also develops a significant amount of mobile software — much of which is deployed on its competitors’ platforms.