In a Microsoft email read around the world, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called upon the help of OEMs to help resuscitate the Windows Phone ecosystem. Rather than compete against established phone OEMs, Microsoft decided to shed a majority of its mobile ambitions and rely on partners to carry the weight of Windows Mobile. Similar to a Power Ranger calling on its mystical animal-like combat vehicle, Nadella invasions Windows Mobile being able to call for the help and strength of phone manufacturers to bring Windows phones into relevancy.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s new found cross-platform software strategy may be working a bit too well and discouraging OEM’s from examining what minor plans they may have had for Windows phones. In recent news, Lenovo’s vice president and general manager for Northern Europe, David McQuarrie spoke about Microsoft’s cross-platform strategy and how it makes producing Windows phones a non-starter.
In an interview with V3, McQuarrie began with how the company has seen “increased interest” in new PCs thanks in part to Windows 10 interest. However, Lenovo does not only produces PCs. A few years back Lenovo jumped into the smartphone hardware wars by offering a few Android options that sold in international regions. McQuarrie analogizes the duality of the company's offerings to that of parenting. "These businesses are like our children. The PC business is one of our children, the server business is one, and now the Motorola phone business is one, and we want to give all of them the level of care and attention they deserve," he said.
Even though Lenovo prioritizes its Motorola business, the company signed up to be a Windows Phone partner a little over a year and a half ago. When asked about the potential of expanding Lenovo’s phone portfolio with Windows phones, McQuarrie sensibly pointed to market realities. “Given Android's dominant position in the marketplace, it made perfect sense that Android should be a priority for Motorola, even for business customers. With the phones that we have today, and the move by Microsoft to make Office applications freely available on Android, the gap between a Windows PC and an Android device shrank dramatically," he explained.
Nadella explained in his email that moving forward, Microsoft would continue to produce Windows phones to showcase better Windows synergies and deep-level integration. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s recent and necessary steps have obviated any need for ordinary users to even think about a Windows phone purchase. "I use an Android phone and a Windows laptop and now I can open all my Office documents on my phone in a Microsoft app. The fact that it isn't a Windows Phone is irrelevant, so the move by Microsoft has made it far easier for us to sell a combined solution to business," explains McQuarrier.
Even with that said, Lenovo is a business and McQuarrie is a businessman. He clarifies that the company has ongoing evaluations of potential platforms and being a massive Microsoft partner means looking into Windows phones. “If it makes sense, you could potentially see a Windows phone from us,” he added.
With Motorola hovering around 2 to 3.5 percent market share in the UK, it seems more than feasible that Windows Phone 8.5 to 10 percent holding in the UK might get more than the once over by McQuarrie.