What Happened To The Windows Phone?

Nathan Ryan | April 4th 2019

Windows Phone

Windows s pictured above.

iPhone. Android. These are the unambiguous giants of the tech world. No other operating systems can compete with the sheer market share of iOS and Android.

Although, however, a few have tried. As early as 2004, Microsoft was eyeing the upcoming smartphone market due to their successful PDAs, the Pocket PC. But unfortunately -- the technology was simply not there yet, and development of the technology lagged behind Apple.

When the Windows Phone did finally launch in 2010, one year later than Microsoft's proposed original launch date, Microsoft had been beaten to the punch not only by Apple but by Google's Android as well, which already was running on phones by companies like LG.

Microsoft then partnered with mobile phone manufacturer Nokia for Nokia to exclusively create Windows Phones, beginning with the Nokia Lumia. Nokia had long used the Symbian OS, and by embracing Windows Phone they were, in the words of Nokia's CEO, "creating a three horse race".

But this horse race never really materialized to Microsoft's satisfaction. Though earlier generations of Windows Phones sold well, and Microsoft courted mobile developers with excellent development kits, there remained an insurmountable development gap between Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

The decline wasn't swift, either, as Microsoft continued developing the OS for machines until 2017, and finalized support for the OS in early 2019. The machine's highest market penetration was a 1.7% market share in Q2 2012, and never went higher.

In the end, though, what killed the Windows Phone was the same thing that killed other proprietary developers -- a lack of app support. That year delay hurt Windows to a degree that was not recoverable against Google or Apple.

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