Nadella: Windows phone market share is low, but is “completing the experience”

It’s the same old song and dance when it comes to Windows phone (referring to Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile devices). We all know how low the market share is. In November, we reported that Windows phone market share had dropped to a measly 1.7 percent.

In a recent interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the burning question on everyone’s mind was asked. What’s up with the low market share? What is Microsoft doing about it? Nadella admits the low market share is “unsustainable” but argues that Microsoft is trying to get to a world where it doesn’t matter what device you use, rather what service you use — and Microsoft really wants you to use their services, as evident from the plethora of first-party apps released on Android and iOS. When you think of it in those terms, it makes sense.

“I think we do ourselves a disservice if we measure our success by just looking at: What’s the market share of HoloLens? What’s the market share of Xbox? What’s the market share of PCs? What’s the market share of our phones?” Nadella says. “Go back to what I said about the mobility of experience. If you think of this more like a graph, these [devices] are all nodes. Sometimes the user will use all of these devices … sometimes they’ll use only one or two of our devices and some other platforms — so be it. But we want to make sure that we are completing the experience across all of these devices.”

Nadella states that a Windows phone is necessary to complete that universal experience, regardless if a few people use it or if many people use it. Nadella admits the “elite developers” will flock to the most popular mobile operating system, but promises that Microsoft will catch their attention again with Hololens, Xbox One, and Windows 10, which allows people to move from device to device with ease.

“There’s no question that in the case of the smartphone, today, we are not that high in share. Now, with HoloLens we’re going to get back a lot of elite developers. And with Xbox becoming basically a Windows computer, we’re going to get back a whole lot of developers.”

As pointed out by BuzzFeed, Microsoft’s cloud business is blooming and the company is profitable. Microsoft has an amazing set of productivity products and the Xbox business is thriving. Just because Microsoft has a low market share with Windows phone devices, it doesn’t mean the company is failing to make a profit.

It will be interesting to see what Microsoft has in store for Windows phones this year. With Project Islandwood (the ability to port iOS apps to Windows 10 with ease), Microsoft has the ability to lure in those “elite developers,” but we’ll see if the company can actually keep these developers interested.

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How do you feel about Nadella's statements? What should Microsoft do to encourage app developers to create apps on Windows 10 Mobile?