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Missing $400 billion What did Microsoft do wrong?

via:全天候科技     time:2019/6/25 23:32:48     readed:251


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If Bill Gates hadn't mentioned it again, people might have forgotten Microsoft.WindowsThe existence of the Phone (hereinafter referred to as WP) system.

On October 21, 2010, Microsoft officially released its ownMobile phoneOperating system WP. In this area, Microsoft has had an opportunity. The company with the world's largest PC operating system is far behind smartphones and forecasts, ahead of Apple and Google. And whether it is the user or the employees and shareholders of the company, Microsoft should be successful in its own way.

However, the failures in direction and decision-making have made WP gradually drift away in development, and its market share has been falling all the way. It has dropped to 1%, then fell to 0.15%, and then continued to decline. Until the beginning of this year, Microsoft admitted that it will end the WP system update permanently at the end of this year.

So, in the past 10 years or even 20 years, what has Microsoft done wrong in the field of mobile operating systems?


Former "Intelligent Times" (1996-2006)

In the history of the Microsoft mobile operating system, one of the reasons for its failure was attributed to the "slowness" of the response. However, if you look back, Microsoft may be one of the first companies to introduce a mobile operating system.

In 1996, Microsoft introduced the first mobile device operating system Windows CE1.0 (hereinafter referred to as "CE system"). At that time, the concept of smart phones has not yet been born, and it is more optimistic about a small device called PDA (personal digital main force), and Microsoft's CE1.0 system is to compete with another Palm, the main PDA device company. .

NEC equipment equipped with CE system, from the network

This is a product that is highly similar to the Windows-based Windows system. It not only inherits the classic interface of the PC system, such as "menu", "my computer" and "recycle bin", but also in business model, Microsoft also hopes The hardware manufacturer pays an authorization fee for each device equipped with a CE system.

Under the strong influence of Microsoft, this model has attracted some partners. September 1996, the eve of the launch of CE 1.0, Casio, Compaq, HP,LGSix hardware manufacturers, NEC and Philips, signed an agreement with Microsoft to produce mobile devices equipped with CE systems.

For Microsoft, the most powerful partner is no doubt the fast-growing mobile phone giant Nokia. After the launch of the CE system, Bill Gates has made a frequent contact with Nokia, trying to work with it, and the two sides have also made a tentative plan to co-operate and advance a plan called Phoenix.

However, Nokia is not willing to let Microsoft enjoy this potential market. In June 1998, Nokia joined forces with Ericsson, Panasonic and Motorola to jointly invest in the software division of Psion, a British PDA company, and established the Symbian system. In the following years, companies such as Sony and Sanyo also joined the Symbian Alliance.

In fact, before the real era of smartphones, Nokia and Microsoft's two major operating systems have been fighting in this future market.

After entering the year 2000, Microsoft's mobile operating system entered a rapid growth period. In the PDA system Pocket PC 2002, Microsoft added Bluetooth, WiFi network and MSN information functions to it, which was the industry leader at that time. After the failure of cooperation with Nokia, Microsoft turned to HTC, which was also known as Dopod at the time, and launched Dopod 686, 565 and other devices equipped with its system.

In order to unify awareness, in 2003, Microsoft renamed PDA and mobile phone system to Windows Mobile (hereinafter referred to as "WM"). In the following years, Motorola, Dopod, Lenovo, Coolpad, Amoi and other brands have launched "smart phones" equipped with WM systems.

Dopod 900 equipped with WM system, the picture comes from the network

Around 2005, WM system ushered in the history of "high light moments", with the advantages of PC version of Windows, WM is easy to be familiar with consumers on the interface, and can be usedOfficeOffice software, once became synonymous with high-end business smartphones.

A report released by market research firm Diffusion Group during this period predicted that the WM system will enable mobile phones to carry more advanced applications. In the next 10 years, smartphones equipped with Saipan will gradually drop by half, while Microsoft's WM The market share will exceed the former and become the highest operating system in the market.

A user who claimed to be a former Microsoft employee recalled that when he entered the company in 2005, although smartphones accounted for only about 10% of the overall mobile phone market, WM accounted for 80% of the market. “The inside is described as such,” the employee recalls. “The smartphone market needs to be cultivated for a long time. It is estimated that there will be another 5 to 10 years. This product will become the mainstream... By then, WM will dominate the mobile phone market operating system.”

Of course, even then, the WM at that time was not without its drawbacks. This mobile product with a high degree of computer operating system gene has high requirements on the basic configuration of the mobile phone and the system is prone to collapse; and most of the mobile phones equipped with the system need to be equipped with a full keyboard and a large battery. And the stylus, not only is not convenient enough to use, but also pushes up the price of mobile devices.


Missed window period (2007-2011)

Some media launched a vote on the smartphone operating system in 2006. The results showed that the most concerned systems were Saipan, Microsoft WM, open source Linux and Palm systems.

Just one year later, the Apple iPhone with iOS turned out to change all the patterns of the past decade.iPhoneThe arrival of Microsoft has indeed opened up the long-awaited era of smartphones in Microsoft – however, the emergence of this truly inter-generational mobile phone and operating system also means that WM’s previous idea of ​​“stylus + computerization” on smartphones has been To subversion. The former Microsoft employee wrote in his memory that when he first felt the iOS system, he found that this was a completely different interactive experience and ideas.

Inspired by iOS, Android, which is based on the operating system of the button machine, quickly changes its direction and completely pushes back the user interface and operation logic. At the end of 2007, the touch screen operating system Android 1.0 was launched.

The reason why the 3-4 years after 2007 is called the window period of the smartphone operating system is because during this time, iOS and Android have not formed a monopoly on the market. Microsoft WM, Nokia Meego, and BlackBerry BB OS are competing for each other. . In fact, the maturity of the first generation of Android is quite limited, and its dominant position will not appear until after 2011.

It is difficult to determine whether Microsoft recognized the threat of iOS during this period. When I first saw iPhone, Steve Ballmer, then Microsoft CEO, told the team, "well, this will be one of the areas we need to focus on." In some interviews at the time, the media also mentioned to him, "Apple seems to outperform you in terms of innovation, will it worry about it?"

But Ballmer denied this question. In that interview, he stressed that Microsoft's biggest rival in the mobile phone field is the Saipan system. Between 2007 and 2009, Microsoft released three generations of WM6.0, 6.1 and 6.5 operating systems. It turns out that these three generations of systems have not changed their minds because of the emergence of iOS, and continue to "stylus + computerization" The inherent direction.

A device equipped with the WM6.1 operating system, the picture comes from the network

In a media communication in the first half of 2008, Eddie Wuzai, general manager of Microsoft's OEM embedded equipment division, said that Microsoft's goal is that WM will gain 40% of the global smartphone operating system market by 2012. According to Gartner data, the actual share of WM was about 12%.

Unlike the free and open source Android system, Microsoft still adopted the method of collecting license fees and chose the “restricted development” strategy. At the CES conference in 2009, although it was at the time when the smartphone system was the most competitive, Todd Peters, then head of the WM marketing department, insisted that in order to make WM more competitive, what they need to do is “restrictions”. Use the type of WM system equipment."

In the three years of Microsoft's stagnation, competitors have grown rapidly. In 2009, iOS surpassed WM with 14.4% of smartphone operating systems, while the latter fell to 8.7%. In the spring of the following year, Samsung launched the Galaxy S with Android. This is the first Android phone in the popular market. After 70 days, the sales volume exceeded 1 million. At the end of the year, Android market share jumped from 3.9% in the previous year. 22.7%.

Until then, Microsoft's transformation was late.

In October 2010, Microsoft changed Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, officially launched the first generation of operating system with finger touch as interactive logic, using a card interface, named WP7. A year later, the system was upgraded to WP7.5, supporting Simplified Chinese for the first time, and Nokia, Samsung, HTC and other manufacturers launched mobile phones with systems.

Microsoft has an inflated confidence in WP. On the Friday before the official launch of the system, Microsoft employees wearing the Windows logo, escorting the iPhone and BlackBerry "Ling" at the Microsoft Raymond headquarters, they did not hesitate to say that the arrival of WP7 will end All competition.

However, in 2011, Android's market share has jumped to 48%, iOS ranked second with 19%, WP has been left behind.


Retreat (2012-2019)

When the position of the first and second place in the market is established, the third and fourth places will choose to hold the group.Heating".

In the face of the rise of Android and Apple, Nokia is more anxious than Microsoft. In order to reverse the dilemma, in 2010, Nokia's board invited Stephen Elop to join as the first non-Finnish CEO. in the company's history. Elop has worked at Microsoft for three years and led the development of Microsoft's Office2010 project, and for many, Elop's experience has directly contributed to Nokia's alliance with Microsoft.

In February 2011, Microsoft and Nokia announced a strategic partnership, the latter's Lumia series of mobile phones will be equipped with WP system, and participate in the development of the system. This may be the moment when the WP system is closest to “spring” – although Nokia’s market share has been declining year by year, it still exceeded 30%. The goal of both parties is to increase WP's market share to 20% by the end of 2012.

Nokia launched the Lumia 900 and 800 mobile phones six months later, and followed the popular Nokia N9 design. In the market environment where Android has become a big trend, the two mobile phones still achieved good results and also WP market share. The promotion has been promoted.

But Microsoft's corporate culture has once again hit this weak outcome. Many years later, a former Apple executive commented that Microsoft could have avoided the decline of the WP platform, but at a critical moment, Microsoft has always insisted that "PC is the center of the world, and smartphones and tablets are just vassals of computers."

This is exactly what Microsoft is all about.

Within Microsoft, the department is divided by product lines, and the voice of strong products is obviously stronger. In 2011, the Windows department suddenly announced that it would like to access the development of WP, and required the next generation WP8 to be consistent with the computer version of Win8. For the outside world, this is a good story of “building a big Microsoft ecosystem compatible with computers, tablets and mobile phones”. For the internals, it means that WP8 will replace the new system kernel, and users who bought phones such as Lumia 900 before. , will not be able to upgrade your phone to the latest system.

After the news came out, users expressed dissatisfaction. Many people believe that the WP7 system has limited completion, there are system problems such as no notification center, easy flashback, and can not be repaired, but it is not to be able to upgrade, and it is irresponsible to early users. In order to appease users, Microsoft introduced a WP7.8 system that allows WP7 upgrades, but the effect is limited; even worse, in the transition of WP8.1 and WP10 systems in the future, there is another phenomenon that cannot be upgraded.

The high degree of separation between different generations of systems affects users as well as developers. In the era of smartphones, the number of applications has a fundamental role in determining the experience. Therefore, the operating system will encourage developers to develop applications for their own platforms.

Compared with the iOS upgrade, the developer only needs to modify a small amount of code. After the WP system is upgraded, the developer almost has to "rewrite the level of modification" of the application, and the application written for WP8 cannot be compatible with the WP7 system.

The gap in the number of applications is increasing in WP and the other two platforms. “The application is too small” is almost the first evaluation of all users on the WP platform. A test conducted by research firm Canalys in 2013 showed that for the top 50 free apps in the Apple App Store, only 16 of the Microsoft WP stores are supported, and for its top 50 paid apps, WP only supports 14.

Microsoft acquired Nokia's mobile phone division in 2013 and launched several models such as the Lumia 950, but failed to save the declining Nokia mobile phone and failed to improve the WP. Three years later, the department was sold to Foxconn by Microsoft for $350 million. Subsequently, Nokia under the jurisdiction of the new owner also switched to the Android camp, and there were no more WP phones on the market.

Time went to January 2018, the market share of Microsoft's WP system has dropped to 0.15%. In January 2019, Microsoft publicly admitted that it would abandon WP and will permanently stop WP10 system security and software updates by the end of 2019. At the same time, Microsoft suggested that users switch to iOS and Android in time.

WP, a system that was once considered one of the top three smartphone platforms, is destined to go to the end in silence.

Today, Android accounts for about 85 percent of the mobile operating system, while Apple accounts for the remaining nearly 15 percent, with no third place. As Bill Gates said in his recent speech, this is a "winner-take-all market" in the software world, especially for platforms.

Author: Yao Xinlu

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