Let’s face it, buyers aren’t exactly flocking to Microsoft’s smartphone operating systems. According to IDC, Windows Phone is currently sitting at 2.6 percent worldwide smartphone market share compared to 15.6 percent and 81.1 percent for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android respectively. Even though Microsoft is expected to grow its share slightly to 3.3 percent by 2019, IDC says that its “view that Microsoft/Windows Phone will remain a marginal challenger at best has not changed.”
With all of this in mind, we’re starting to get a little better picture of why Verizon Wireless was reticent to offer Microsoft’s new Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones, which run the new Windows 10 Mobile operating system. One Verizon customer was so incensed by the Lumia 950/950 XL snub that she filed an official complaint with the FCC. And sure enough, she got a response back from Verizon’s Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division.
Part of the reason why Verizon isn’t offering the Lumia 950 and 950 XL is simply due to the fact that Windows Phone devices historically haven’t been big sellers. “Because there has been little consumer demand for Windows 10 Smartphones, Verizon has chosen to not carry the Nokia Lumia 10 in its retail channels,” said Verizon in its response.
That response sounds reasonable to us given Microsoft’s dismal market share in the smartphone sector. However, Verizon threw the onus right back on the folks in Redmond, stating that the Lumia 950 and 950 XL could work on its network if Microsoft had even bothered to have them certified.
“If Nokia still wanted to make the device available to Verizon customers, it could have the device certified for use on the Verizon network through Verizon’s Open Development program,” Verizon added. “To date, Nokia has not chosen to do so.”
Going through Verizon’s Open Development program wouldn’t meant that the Lumia 950 and 950 XL would be sold directly in Verizon stores, but it would at least give customers buying unlocked phones direct from Microsoft the ability to use them on Verizon’s wireless network.
At this point, it’s hard to understand Microsoft’s decision to hamstring its best smartphones in years – after all, the company needs scramble to grab as much market share as possible and every little bit counts. At this point, the people that are still clinging to Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile are platform diehards — everyone else has jumped ship to either iOS or Android. So it doesn’t make sense to us that Microsoft wouldn’t give customers that are willing to shell out top dollar for an unlocked Lumia 950 or 950 XL the ability to use them on any network of their choice — especially America’s largest wireless network.