Microsoft’s mobile strategy is in doldrums though the good thing here is that the company has no qualms admitting it. That’s not all as the Surface maker has also owed up to the lacklustre response that its latest flagship devices, the Lumia 950 and 950XL has managed so far.
While the above does not offer anything for Windows fans and loyalists to cheer about at the moment, what should be heartening for them is that there is now a more definitive schedule for the launch of alleged Surface Phone right now, which stands at April 2017. That again makes for a delay of a few months from the previous launch estimate of ‘early 2017’ though it’s good to see the company taking all the time to perfect its mobile platform before coming up with the hardware based on it.
What is even more interesting is the mention of Redstone 3 being in the making after Redstone 1 and 2. Redstone 1 that is widely being referred to as the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is already due this summer while Redstone 2 has been due for launch around early 2017. Now it seems there is going to be the third iteration of Redstone as well which should arrive around April next year coinciding with the launch of the Surface Phone. In fact, Redstone 2 and 3 are expected to be focussed more on Mobile innovations than PC, which should be proof enough the level of commitment Microsoft has towards its mobile division.
Microsoft’s Terry Myerson has already gone on record claiming they would be holding back on launching any new hardware based on Windows 10, focussing instead on developing the mobile platform itself. That includes more refinements for the Continuum feature as well which should remedy the one major issue it faces at the moment, its inability to run classic Win32 apps.
“We’re fully committed to that 4-inch screen, there will be a time for it to be our focus, but right now it’s part of the family but it’s not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year,” Myerson had said during the Build 2016 event in March. “There’s no lack of recognition to realize how important that form factor is, but for Microsoft with Windows and for our platform it’s the wrong place for us to lead.”
To put the above in simple terms, Microsoft’s priority will be to perfect Windows 10 for PC first – read Redstone 1 – before shifting focus to mobiles – Redstone 2 and 3.
All of this should explain the recent sharp decline in sales of Lumia devices. There have been just 2.3 million takers for Lumias, which makes for a steep 73 percent decline in sales. Also, the fact the corresponding dip in revenue has been just 43 percent point to the sale of only high-end Lumias with the low-end versions almost hitting a dead end.
Interestingly, Microsoft is still running a ‘buy one get one free’ offer wherein one is entitled to a Lumia 950 completely free on purchase of the bigger Lumia 950 XL. That should be aimed at clearing the inventory stockpile that resulted due to weak demand, besides clearing the ground for the arrival of the mega Surface Phone next year.