Microsoft Windows Phone

Windows Phone, Image Credit: Microsoft

The odd absence of Windows Phone from the Microsoft’s annual developer conference Build 2016 in San Francisco has fueled major speculations regarding the dead end of smartphone line-up by the company.

Judging by what we witnessed at the Microsoft’s annual developer conference Build 2016, you wouldn’t know it probably, but the software mammoth hasn’t given up on its smartphone line-up just yet.

Every year, Microsoft welcomes a swarm of developers to talk about the fresh updates on Microsoft’s products during Build conference. This year, however, was a bit surprising as the updates included Chatbots, Xbox, Windows, Universal apps, Cortana, and HoloLens, but safely not much to the chagrin of a few developers present in the conference, it avoided Windows Phone altogether. In fact, despite Microsoft executives performing onstage demonstrations using a Windows Phone, they brilliantly managed to refrain themselves from acknowledging or mentioning anything about Windows 10 smartphone or Windows Phone.

Of course, we weren’t anticipating anything such as a new Windows Phone or any major update, for that matter, but the fact Windows Phone failed to warrant even the slightest acknowledgement in the entire keynote certainly favors a strong statement coming up. At least, what ‘we’ as an audience would like to believe.

Does this suggest that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is no longer keen on considering the phone line-up a priority?

It is not a secret that software giant has never received the class of response it has hoped for in the segment of the highly lucrative smartphone world. Of course, the blame is entirely directed to the operating system of Windows Phone. In fact, things have taken a negative turn. The smartphone line-up by Microsoft has been consistently losing its market shares with sales sinking to a record low in the final quarter of last year at merely 4.5M units. This contributes for a 57% drop from the sale of 10.5 million smartphones in the final quarter of 2014. On the contrary, iOS and Android sales have made billions in the same duration.

The operating system of Microsoft Windows Phone, in fact, has never been the company’s one of the biggest assets. It arrives third in rank behind the operating system of world’s two leading tech giants, Android by Google and iOS by Apple respectively. For most of the segment, Satya Nadella and team has accepted the fate that Android and Apple are the dominants of smartphone era and has arrived with a decision to make its software operate on these two leading platforms. The software giant will focus on its championing assets, for instance, video gaming, Microsoft Surface, et al, which were responsible for generating revenue of approximately $4 billion in 2015.

It would be unfair to assume that the software giant has entirely given up on their flagship lineup, analysts suggest.

Stephen Kleynhans, VP Gartner Research says, "There is no magic wand that they can wave to suddenly make Windows Phone take off and become successful. There is a long-term, slim potential that if they can get the other Windows 10 platforms to take off, they can compel more interest from developers to maybe make Windows Phone take off over time."

Whether there will be a grand comeback of Windows Phone is something, which remains to be seen. Microsoft is still committed to its flagship Windows 10 smartphone, but this year it plans to focus on the rest.