A former Nokia engineer took to reddit to discuss the failure of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, while also revealing a bunch of details regarding the way the Finish phone maker tried to prepare for the end of this operating system.
The former employee, who says he worked as a software development engineer in the Boston area office in Burlington, MA, explains that Nokia was secretly working on an Android smartphone, even though the company wasn’t allowed to do it as part of the deal with Microsoft.
At that point, Nokia wasn’t yet owned by Microsoft, but the two companies worked together on the Windows Phone push, with the Finish manufacturer being in charge of the hardware side of the business.
“Nokia was secretly working on an Android phone as a back up plan. As per their Microsoft deal, they weren’t allowed to release an Android phone, but they got a little around that by making their own fork similar to Amazon’s FireOS, and billing it as part of their feature phone division instead of at the high end with Lumia. This would be the Nokia X,” the post revealed.
“As the Nokia X was a secret, they couldn’t just go out and advertise Android openings, instead hiring just Java engineers and reassigning some internally. Eventually we got put there as things got closer to launch.”
Why Windows Phone failed
Speaking about the reasons Windows Phone failed, the former Nokia engineer says there are four big factors here, starting with underestimating Google.
“Obviously Apple was red hot and Microsoft knew that, but Google was new to the OS business and they really weren’t taken seriously enough. Android was pretty rough then, but the real value was Google’s services; when Google cut Microsoft off of YouTube, Maps, Gmail, etc, it really made WP look cheap,” the engineer notes.
Breaking down Windows 8 was another big mistake, as Microsoft tried to promote both the desktop and mobile operating systems as a full package. Because the OS platform wasn’t received well, this bad reception affected mobile devices too, they say.
Microsoft’s reputation and the loyalty of the users for other platforms also dragged down Windows phones.
“By the 2014, people had themselves pretty comfortable with iOS or Android and even if WP got apps and whatever else it lacked, there just wasn’t a compelling reason to switch. Even now I sense the number swapping between iOS and Android is pretty low,” the post continues.
While a lot has been said about the death of Windows phones, all of these do not matter much at this point, as we’re only a few months away from the moment the platform altogether would be pulled. After December this year, Microsoft will officially become a company without a mobile operating system in its portfolio.