Microsoft has attracted 50 new hardware partners that are making Windows-based smartphones and tablets, a senior executive said. The influx in partners comes after the company decided in April that it would make Windows free for devices with screens smaller than nine inches.
In a bit of retrospective analysis, The Verge looked at Nokia's device business before Microsoft acquired it, and indeed before Nokia had committed to Windows Phone, and concluded that Nokia was clearly ahead of the curve in terms of smartphone design and software, but failed to translate that into commercial success.
Microsoft slashed 2,100 employees from its work force, part of a previously announced plan to cut 18,000 workers as the software giant integrates former Nokia employees and shifts its focus to the cloud, mobile and productivity tools. As a result of this round of cuts, Microsoft will also close its Silicon Valley research-and-development lab.
Microsoft's took the wraps off three new Lumia-branded Windows Phone smartphones today, emphasizing their higher-end specs at mid-range prices. Microsoft also announced a new software update for its Lumia phones that will bring more functionality to Cortana, the digital personal assistant Microsoft introduced with Windows Phone 8.1.
Microsoft is taking steps to clean up its application storefront by removing apps whose name, category listing or icon might mislead customers. So far, Microsoft has removed 1,500 such apps and plans to keep on working with developers in an effort to clean up the store.
Huawei does not plan on building a smartphone running on the open-source Tizen platform, according to a senior company executive, dealing yet another blow to the fledgling smartphone platform. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, also said Huawei is putting on pause plans to introduce new phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.
HTC unveiled a variant of its flagship One M8 smartphone running Microsoft's Windows Phone software, giving the platform the same kind of high-end hardware HTC and other phone makers have usually reserved for flagship Android devices. HTC hopes it can fill what it sees as a gap in the premium Windows Phone segment.
It's been clear for years that Google's Android and Apple's iOS are the two dominant smartphone platforms around the world, but a new report form research firm IDC on second-quarter smartphone shipments makes clear there almost isn't any breathing space for any competitors.
Microsoft may need to abandon being in the devices market altogether and focus more on services, according to industry analyst Chetan Sharma. Microsoft's Windows Phone platform continues to struggle for market share globally, and though it has gained traction in some markets in Europe, Sharma wrote in a recent research report that Microsoft may need to cuts its losses given the lack of return on investment it has made in mobile.
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the first Lumia-branded Windows Phone that will be sold at a price below €100 ($134), hot on the heels of news that sales of Lumia smartphones declined in the U.S.-based company's fiscal fourth quarter to the end of June.