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article imageMicrosoft admits Windows 10 Mobile isn't moving, 'not our focus'

By James Walker     Mar 31, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has explained its plans for Windows 10 Mobile for the year ahead, revealing that smartphones currently aren't its focus and the company won't be concentrating on the platform in 2016. The news may dishearten Windows Phone fans.
The comments came from Microsoft's executive vice president for the Windows group, Terry Myerson, after the company's //BUILD/ 2016 keynote yesterday. Fans noticed a concerning lack of news for Windows 10 Mobile as Microsoft demonstrated new features coming to Windows 10 on PCs and tablets but left out smartphones.
In previous years, the //BUILD/ keynote has been used to introduce new Windows Phone features. This year, Windows 10 Mobile was barely around at all, appearing for just a matter of seconds in the entire three-hour event and only to demonstrate a new version of Skype. The operating system took a decidedly backseat role that didn't go unnoticed by the audience.
Myerson explained the absence of Windows 10 Mobile to The Verge. He said Microsoft currently wants people to build apps for Windows on PCs where it has the largest market share. Myerson is well aware of the company's problems on mobile devices and admitted "if you want to reach a lot of phone customers, Windows Phone isn't the way to do it."
Microsoft wants to get developers writing for the 270 million Windows 10 PCs and tablets now in existence. Once the apps arrive, the company will then begin the conversation about mobile. Its Universal Windows Platform means desktop apps can already run on mobile devices, making future porting easy to carry out.
The apparent de-emphasis of Windows Phone could be interpreted as Microsoft losing faith in its own platform. After several major delays, Windows 10 Mobile was finally pushed out the door to some older phones earlier this month, bringing with it a string of bugs and performance issues that the company is proving slow to fix. The impact of Myerson's comments on Mobile software updates this year remains unclear.
Myerson pledged to continue development of Windows on phones, telling the Verge "We're going to do some cool things with phones, but this year phones are an important part of our family but not the tip of the spear." In other words, "we're going to keep building, but we're aware of the issues." Microsoft has to put Windows 10 on desktops first because it is the PC and tablet business that the software giant dominates in.
"We're fully committed to that 4-inch screen, there will be a time for it to be our focus, but right now it's part of the family but it's not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year," said Myerson. "There's no lack of recognition to realize how important that form factor is, but for Microsoft with Windows and for our platform it's the wrong place to lead."
The takeaway is that Microsoft has made a strategic decision to put Windows Mobile on the backseat for a while. This will allow it to spend more time making Windows 10 PCs more attractive to developers, an area that already succeeds and has a strong following.
As developer interest in Windows 10 picks up, Microsoft will begin to advertise the Mobile variant more heavily again. The company hasn't lost faith but does seem to have gained a sense of realism, admitting Windows 10 Mobile hasn't got it anywhere so far.
More about Microsoft, windows 10, windows 10 mobile, build 2016, Windows
 
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