Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Microsoft Abandons Smart Phone Experiment

Microsoft said this week it is closing its Microsoft Mobile Oy design lab in Finland. With that, a six-year, $25 billion experiment in smart phones with Nokia designs and Microsoft operating systems has faded to essentially nothing.

Microsoft layoffs targeting Finland were originally announced May 25, and Microsoft confirmed that it is closing its facility in Finland and laying off all 1,350 workers there, along with 500 workers in other countries. Nokia’s sales tumbled and losses piled up as soon as it adopted the Windows Phone operating system in 2011, and the problems only got worse after Microsoft took over out the handset business in 2014. Windows Phone devices are still on the market but hold less than 1 percent market share despite selling for less than the cost of manufacturing. The platform is plagued by software incompatibilities, emblematic of a product experiment that had big ideas and a big budget but never took the time to get the details right. Microsoft’s Windows Phone division officially still exists, but based on company statements, it will focus mainly on wi-fi devices used by workers in warehouses and other industrial facilities.