Microsoft's Satya Nadella Made Windows 10 Free To Boost Street Cred With Smartphone Devs

Microsoft’s takeover Nokia’s Devices and Services division has been nothing short of a disaster. The company is axing 7,800 employees from its phone division and is writing off $7.6 billion in costs related to last year’s $7.2 billion acquisition.

“We will need to innovate in new areas, execute against our plans, make some tough choices in areas where things are not working and solve hard problems in ways that drive customer value,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when announcing the drastic measures he took with regards to Microsoft’s smartphone operations.

“In the longer term, Microsoft devices will spark innovation, create new categories and generate opportunity for the Windows ecosystem more broadly,” added Nadella. “Our reinvention will be centered on creating mobility of experiences across the entire device family including phones.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

With so many questions swirling around Microsoft’s smartphone aspirations and after many attempts to read through Nadella’s vague language, the man himself took the time to speak with famed Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley. In the interview, Nadella made the surprising revelation that part of the reason why the Windows 10 upgrade is being provide for free to Windows 7 and Windows 8 users with valid licenses was to spur Windows 10 Mobile app development.

“Because all of this comes down to how are you going to get developers to come to Windows. If you come to Windows, you are going to be on the phone, too,” said Nadella. “It's not about let's do head-on competition. That will never work. You have to have a differentiated point of view.”

“If somebody wants to know whether I'm committed to Windows Phone, they should think about what I just did with the free upgrade to Windows, rather than -- hey, I making four more phone models of value smart phones.”

So despite Microsoft’s numerous missteps in the past with respect to smartphones, Nadella does seem to think that Windows 10 Mobile (and the entire Windows 10 ecosystem) will allow the company to offer a compelling smartphone platform. Whether users of iOS or Android devices will be willing to give Microsoft another chance after years of failure remains to be seen, but Windows 10 Mobile, along with Microsoft’s commitment to bring fresh flagship hardware to the table, may be the company’s best chance yet at getting some mobile lovin’.