Microsoft’s Windows Phones with Lumia branding were the talk of the town back in the day. At its peak, these Windows Phones were offering an up-and-coming alternative to Android & iOS phones. But today, Windows Phones are almost unheard of. As it turns out, even Microsoft’s CEO has some thoughts about Windows Phone and the company’s decision to leave them. Here is what the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, said in an interview regarding the company’s Windows phones.
Microsoft CEO Regrets Abandoning Windows Phones
In an interview with Business Insider, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, said a few words regarding the company’s past phone business. When asked about any “real strategic mistake or wrong decision,” the CEO answered:
“The decision I think a lot of people talk about – and one of the most difficult decisions I made when I became CEO – was our exit of what I’ll call the mobile phone as defined then. In retrospect, I think there could have been ways we could have made it work by perhaps reinventing the category of computing between PCs, tablets, and phones.“
Nadella refers to his decision to write off the company’s $7.6 billion acquisition of the Nokia Phone business. While it happened some time ago, it’s clear that the CEO had big ambitions for the future of Windows Phones. As he mentions, Microsoft wanted to innovate upon the computing ecosystem of tablets, phones, and PCs. It would have been amazing to see what today’s Lumia smartphones could look like if their adoption never declined.
However, it’s worth noting that Satya Nadella is the third Microsoft CEO to bring to light the company’s mistake regarding Windows Phones. In 2021, Microsoft’s Co-Founder Bill Gates came forward to admit that “Microsoft Didn’t End up Doing the Mobile OS Well Enough.” Steve Ballmer, who Nadella replaced, mirrored the same thoughts and admitted the company should have focused on the phone business earlier.
Microsoft Has Made Good Progress in AI
However, that is not to say the company hasn’t made progress in other areas. Microsoft is accelerating the artificial intelligence industry significantly with several products. First, there is Windows Copilot, which brings an AI-powered assistant to Windows 11. Powered by Microsoft Bing, the company has come a long way.
Their cloud computing platform, Azure, grew considerably due to the generative AI products offered within the platform. Today, more than 18,000 organizations use Microsoft Azure OpenAI services (via: NY Times). They also have the Microsoft Designer tool that aims to bring the magic of professional photo-editing & powerful brand asset creation to the touch of your fingertips, all thanks to AI. Hence, despite the failure of Windows Phone, the company’s positioning in the AI industry is quite strong.
Nonetheless, Windows phones were an exciting product back in the day. The aesthetics were completely different from iOS & Android. The OS design featured a similar look to the tile design that was introduced in Windows 8. The mobile operating system had its sleek and minimal looks, with both dark & light modes having their appeal. The Lumia 1020 was one of the first smartphones with a 41MP camera sensor too.
Microsoft decided to exit the smartphone business in 2017, and things just went down for the Windows Phone from there. Even now, many miss the feature set given in Nokia Lumia smartphones. Did you like old Windows Phones? What were your favorite features of this now-discontinued line of phones? Let us know in the comments below.