Microsoft Puts Windows Phone On Back Burner To Focus On HoloLens And Xbox One

If you have a sneaky suspicion that Microsoft isn't putting as much effort into its Windows Phone plans as perhaps it could be, the first day of its Build Developer Conference in San Francisco would have done nothing to change to your mind. Microsoft talked about Windows 10 and all sorts of related technologies, but not much about Windows Phone. That wasn't by accident.

Like it or not, Microsoft's focus just isn't on phones at this point in time. Instead, the company is much more excited about the possibilities of HoloLens, its augmented reality headset and platform, and how Windows 10 can improve the Xbox One experience. That doesn't mean Microsoft is turning its back on Windows Phone, it just feels that now is not the time to push the category when there are others that are in vogue.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

"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," Microsoft's Terry Myerson told The Verge. "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."

Microsoft is fully aware that its participation in the smartphone space is minimal. The cold, hard truth is that Android and iOS dominate virtually the entire landscape—the two combine for a 98.4 percent share of the worldwide smartphone market, according to the most recent data from Gartner. Meanwhile, Microsoft's share of the smartphone market is just a sliver over 1 percent.

Myerson wasn't dodgy about the situation when pressed about how Microsoft will grow Windows, either. He candidly admitted that Windows Phone simply isn't the way to reach a large number of phone customers at this point in time, and the numbers back him up on this.


"If you want to reach a lot of Windows customers, then this is the largest install base of 9 to 30-inch screens. If you wanted to do new and exciting things, then the Xbox and HoloLens is the place to have a discussion."

It's a little disappointing that Microsoft isn't trying harder with its phone strategy, but at the same time, it's encouraging that Microsoft has a pulse on the situation and is reacting accordingly.