There weren’t many Microsoft-related events in the news this week, but the firm will probably be hoping to move swiftly on from those that did hit the headlines.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced on Wednesday that it was writing off 80% of the value of its Nokia acquisition and cutting up to 7,800 jobs, mostly from the phone business. “We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Microsoft ecosystem that includes our first-party device family”, he said.
Both the Nokia and aQuantive deals were engineered by ex- CEO Steve Ballmer, who sought to compete against younger, faster-growing tech companies by expanding beyond Microsoft’s original business of making software for desktop computers.
Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for users using a “qualified” Windows 7 or 8.1 device. The relationship between the two companies dated back to February 2011 when they initially announced a strategic partnership. In this note, we explore the strategy in detail. Ina Fried at Re/Code reports that it’s hard to imagine that Microsoft’s massive phone layoffs will lead to anything “other than an eventual exit from the phone business”.
“I think Windows 10 may be Microsoft’s first real chance at growth in many years”.
For as large and as technically good Microsoft is at software development, it’s awful at the rollout timing of new ISOs. He argued that company was playing for time, so Windows 10 could give it a last shot at success.
Following the acquisition, Microsoft’s smartphone arm has gone from bad to worse, with poor sales and low market penetration compared to rivals Apple and Google. To that end, Microsoft has released three builds of Windows 10 to its Insider testers to ensure that all possible bugs have been squashed before the release of the “last” version of Windows. That, in turn, will appeal to customers, especially given that the dearth of apps for Windows Phones has always been a major drawback of the platform.
On the gaming front, Windows 10 will come with the latest DivX 12 drivers, which means gamers can stream content from their Xbox to their PC or tablet.
The most successful mobile companies, rather than peppering the market with near-identical looking products, streamline their portfolios by producing a couple of high-quality flagship lines. They have even addressed the small icon for the battery in the OS and have increased its size in this build. Sometimes it is the little things that matter the most. The move to unify all of these devices with a single operating system seems aimed at attracting interest from developers, who can build universal apps or port apps from iOS and Android. The company can exploit this to pitch its connectivity solutions to its enterprise clients.
Other exciting new features that are expected to arrive with Windows 10 are a smarter and better Cortana personal digital assistant, a beta 10 version of Minecraft specifically geared towards the new system, the Hello biometric security app, as well as sleeker networking APIs.