We got a preview of Satya Nadella's thoughts on the mobile industry when his book landed late last month, and now the Microsoft CEO is giving a bit more insight into why the company's mobile aspirations have fizzled. According to Nadella, Apple and [especially] Google have so far cornered the market when it comes to smartphone operating systems.
To put it bluntly, consumers have spoken, and they aren't enamored with what Microsoft has offered in this space on either the software front or the hardware front. "We absolutely do not have the share to have our smartphone hardware, that’s a real consumer choice. That’s the reality of it," said Nadella while speaking at the GeekWire Summit.
"The reality is that we cannot compete as a third ecosystem with no share position and attract developers."
These comments backup Microsoft's decision to abandon its Windows 10 Mobile operating system. Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Windows, broke the news to the tech industry earlier this week that Windows 10 Mobile development had been abandoned, and that Microsoft will only be providing security updates and bug fixes for the platform going forward.
Nadella went on to explain that his philosophy with regards to the mobile sector is to support the players that have proven they are sustainable in this market, which means Apple and Google. "The thing we’re doing is to make sure that the software is available so that we can service the enterprise customers who really don’t care about a lot of the things a consumer will care about," Nadella added.
It's definitely sad news for the faithful that committed to Microsoft's mobile products, even during the company's darkest days in the sector. Many thought that acquiring Nokia's Hardware and Services division would give Microsoft a much-needed shot in the arm with respect to smartphones, but all it did was delay the inevitable.
With Microsoft souring on smartphone hardware, many have turned their attention to the Surface family and its future. Some industry insiders are reporting that Microsoft is prepared to exit the market, but Nadella pushed back on those claims, stating, "We do have a lot of exciting things that are happening in Surface. I’m definitely not going to talk to you about it before I have the device.”
Surface Chief Panos Panay has also indicated that Surface is here to stay, saying that the reports of the hardware division's demise are "so far from the truth" and the "tabloid rumor of the week".