Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Admits ‘We clearly missed mobile’ With Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft took at shot at competing in the mobile space where Android and iOS enjoy the lion's share of the market, and "clearly missed," as company boss Satya Nadella is shy to admit. He acknowledged as much during an interview with Gerard Baker at The Wall Street Journal's WSJDLive 2016 global technology conference where he spoke candidly about Microsoft

"We clearly missed mobile. There is no question," Nadella said.

Nadella's admission isn't likely to find argument from analysts or even Microsoft apologists. One need only look at the numbers from any of several tracking firms. For example, IDC reports that the worldwide smartphone market grew by 0.7 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2016 with 344.7 million shipments, but as of August, Windows Phone only had a 0.4 percent share of the market. That's down from 0.8 percent in the previous quarter, with further declines expected.

Lumia 950 XL

"Windows Phone experienced a quarter-over-quarter decline of 45.2 percent with a total of 1.5 million units shipped this quarter," IDC said. "With Microsoft's focus on business users, the decline in the consumer market is expected to continue."

What Microsoft decides to do in mobile isn't entirely clear. Microsoft insisted earlier this year that it was still fully committed to Windows 10 Mobile, but the OS isn't gaining any traction. Furthermore, it has been rumored that Microsoft is going to kill off its Lumia Windows 10 Mobile phone family by the end of the year.

Nadella sees opportunities in other areas, particularly augmented reality with its HoloLens headset and artificial intelligence. Somewhere out there is the next big thing and that's what Microsoft is looking for.

"You've got to be able to add unique value and be on the hunt for the next big category," Nadella said.

It's hard to fault Nadella for his thinking. Had he more aggressively pursued former CEO Steve Ballmer's push into mobile, Microsoft might be in a bad spot today. Instead, Microsoft's stock hit an all-time high last Friday, rising above $60 per share.