Microsoft’s acclaimed Windows Phone went down in history as one of the most talked about tech flops in 2010. It was a truly unfortunate ending, but was ultimately the result of being blindsided by both Apple and Samsung. Lets look into the factors that contributed to the failure of the Windows Phone.
Meaningful Market Share
If you have ever studied business or marketing, you would know that you always conduct an analysis of your competitors. After completing that, you analyse your consumers and research the market. An imperative question you should always ask is, “in this market, is there a want or need for my product or service?”. This is where Microsoft’s undoing occurred – there was no need for their product. The Windows phone had an operating system unique to Microsoft, but it was no match for Android and iOS. Android is owned by google and is open source, and Apple’s iOS is just the perfect combination of powerful, minimal and user friendly. The Windows Phone had no place in the market with these two behemoths already going head to head and having the largest market shares globally, it was foolish to aim for the number one place and go all out.
As a developer, CEO, or employee, it is not hard to be blindsided by the work of your company. At the end of the day, the harsh reality for businesses is that their opinion equals naught. As much as you may think your product is pure gold, it might be anything but that. Success is dictated by the consumers. When competing with Android and iOS, Microsoft’s unique operating lacked the power to battle them. The negative to having this unique operating system is that app developers do not consider it a priority for updates. Software developers will often invest their attention and efforts to Android and iOS since it is the most profitable. The Windows Phone is always lagging behind. In a constantly changing and fast-paced environment, falling behind competitors is not an option.
Quality vs Cost
As a brand, it is important you position yourself and your product against competitors. A simple way to do this is using a positioning map, and doing a y-axis of quality and an x-axis of cost. Using the example of Android and Apple, we would see that Android phones are well spread out with cheaper options through to some premium ranges like Samsung. Apple immediately takes out the high cost and high quality position. The Windows phone was neither the cheapest or the best quality. The Windows Phone was neither. The Windows Phone needed to command a cheaper price to entice first time users and expand into higher cost regions through premium phone models.
The Windows Phone immediately garnered a negative reception upon its launch into the public. This led to a plethora of bad reviews. More extensive product research and trend research could have been done to reduce the negative reception, but there are other things that can be done from a public relations perspective. One major thing Microsoft could have done is work to get positive reviews from popular blogs and reviewers. This can be quite difficult however if the product is weak, but often comes down to the incentive provided to the reviewer.