While Internet pundits have been making a compelling case lately on why Microsoft should just kill Windows Phone, here’s a hopeful sign for the device: Nadella’s plan to give the software away for free to manufacturers is working.
Microsoft confirmed to Business Insider that 14 new device makers have signed on to make Windows Phone handsets in the first quarter. About a dozen new devices will be hitting the market soon, including a nice looking one from HTC. Most of these will be in markets outside the U.S.
New devices won’t automatically translate into new market share, but it’s a start, especially since Microsoft didn’t just change the price of the software to $US0. It also changed the hardware requirements so that Android device makers could slap Windows phone onto their existing Android hardware without a lot of redevelopment, Supersite for Windows blogger Paul Thurrott points out.
Windows Phone still has an app problem. Developers of the hottest, most popular apps aren’t interested in bringing their apps to Windows Phone. That’s a chicken-and-egg problem. If Microsoft can make the device more popular, developers will change their minds about the platform.
So, despite dismal market share news released by IDC last week (which showed quarterly year-to-year Windows Phone shipments dropping to 2.4% worldwide market share, from 7%), Microsoft might still be able to turn this sinking ship around.
If in another year, Microsoft hasn’t made serious inroads, then the pundits will get their say again, and they will probably say, “I-told-you-so.”
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