Microsoft’s Lumia Sales: Why it’s Good News

Microsoft’s Lumia Sales: Why it’s Good News

Wait, what? Did I just say that Microsoft selling 4.5 million Lumias in a quarter is good news? You’re goddamn right I did.

After Microsoft reported their earnings and the abysmal number of Lumias that they sold, most analysts said something to the like of “there’s no way that anyone could put a positive spin on this.” Tom Warren of The Verge pronounced Windows Phone to be dead and every tech blog that covers Microsoft chimed in with their own version of that story. Even I wrote a story called RIP Windows Phone: Death without Life.

There’s an entirely different side of the story to be telling. Here’s another article I wrote on July 13, 2015 called Why Windows Phone will Never Succeed. Let’s consider some of the theories in that article for a moment.

Point #1: Windows Phone Must Displace Android or iOS

There is never a room for a third major platform in technology. There is always room for small, open source contenders such as desktop Linux, but never a third major contender.

PCs have always been Windows and Mac OS. Phones have always been Android and iOS. Then there’s consoles, which prove that it’s possible for a major third platform to displace one of the main two. Consoles were Atari and Nintendo, Nintendo and Sega, Nintendo and Sony, and now Sony and Microsoft.

The point is that there has never been a healthy third alternative for any technology medium. The only way that Windows phone can ever be viable is for it to displace one of the top two, iOS or Android.

Point #2: Windows Phone Can’t Displace iOS

People often tell me, “I don’t need Windows phone to be #1. I just want it to sit at a healthy 15-20%, just like iOS.”

Here’s the thing. Apple users spend money. iOS may have a lowly ~15% market share, but every one of those devices was a flagship device at some time. People who have over $700 to spend on a phone usually have $0.99 to spend on an app, which is why developers choose to develop for iOS, often before Android, which has a market share in excess of 80%.

Apple is extremely good at what they do. They make a really good product and they show no signs of slipping. Windows phone cannot take this on.

Let’s be clear about something though. If Windows phone did displace iOS at around 15%, it still wouldn’t be enough.

Point #3: Consumers need Choice

Apple doesn’t have the business model to ever be the majority of anything. They don’t license their OS to third party OEMs, they make two lines of phones, and the fact is that consumers need choice.

There’s about 1.5 billion smart phones in use today and it’s absolutely impossible to get 1.5 billion people to want the same thing, let alone get 1.5 billion people to be able to want and afford the same expensive thing. This is why Android has been so successful.

Point #4: Windows phone Doesn’t Provide Choice

Here’s another article I wrote called Is Microsoft Hurting Windows Phone with Lumia? When Windows Phone 7 launched, we saw offerings from HTC, Samsung, LG, and Dell. Over time, we saw more from smaller companies as well such as Yezz and Blu. The most important entry here was Nokia with Windows Phone 7.5.

Nokia was the only OEM that went all in on Windows Phone. Microsoft bought them so they wouldn’t go out of business so now we have Microsoft Lumia.

When I reviewed the Yezz Billy 4.7, I was stunned by how amazing of a phone it was. I still stand by my word that it’s the best sub-$100 Windows Phone on the market. When I published my review, I saw interesting comments that said things like, “No thanks. I’d rather stick with a real Windows Phone”, meaning Lumia.

I think it’s clear that as far as Windows Phone consumers are concerned, Lumia is the only real Windows Phone. This is a real problem for the platform. Trying to be Apple isn’t going to help anything because Apple already exists.

So Why are Microsoft’s Abysmal Numbers a Good Thing?

There have been a lot of rumors as of late about third party Windows 10 Mobile devices coming out. Sony, HP, Acer, and many more are in that mix. At the same time, Microsoft is backing down from the hardware race.

I’ve been saying for some time that Lumia was hurting the platform, but it was always a dilemma. Microsoft was pretty much the only one making Windows Phones, so they really couldn’t stop making hardware while assuming that third parties would pick up the slack.

We live in a world where the line between tablets and laptops are becoming blurred. In a few years, the line between laptop/tablet and phone will become increasingly blurred as well. Windows 10 Mobile devices are PCs now, so bringing in PC OEMs such as HP and Acer makes sense.

I really hate to be the typical Windows phone fan that says that it’s all part of some grander plan and it very well might not be. I just thought it might be nice to try to put something of a positive spin on those numbers for once.

When The Verge said that Windows Phone is dead, they weren’t talking about Windows Phone. They were talking about Lumia. After all, it was based on Lumia sales.

Except Lumia doesn’t equal Windows Phone. We just think of it that way because Lumia is the only “real” Windows Phone.

Personally, I’m really excited to see a rich ecosystem of third party Windows Mobile devices. Hopefully, they’ll sell.

About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

  • skt.diaz

    Hopefully we will see At least one device with a 4.7inch screen and big enough battery

    • miki

      And snap 652 and HD Amoled display. Thank you!

      • There’s no such thing as Snapdragon 652

        • miki

          You have to update yourself 😉

  • miki

    The scene is constantly changing. Nobody can predict the future 3 years from now. But the android’s future looks the safest of all. Supports all kinds of hw, its free and its everywhere. Apple’s future is the most unstable. They just lost 250 billion dollars over night and nobody knows why. The Iphone will not last long, its the same thing every year. When the IPhone goes down, Apple will go down with it. Thats why Apple has to find itself, one phone is simply not enough to claim the number one position in the world.
    WP has the biggest potential, as you said, the difference between laptop, tablet and phone is getting thinner and MS is the biggest player here, since android is only for fun, Windows is professional platform, everything works on windows. They just can’t get their sheet together at this point.

    The good news for the low sales of WP is that the Lumia will be very cheap again in 2016! You can buy a brand and very good platform for pennies. This is how Lumia will survive this year. And we all love it!
    The 640 is 45$, what else could you want? 🙂

    • Sadly, you’re wrong about everything except the strength of Android. WP has potential, but Microsoft doesn’t want to put any effort into it. Apple’s number one priority is to make the best iPhone that they possibly can. Android is high on Google’s list as well. How can Microsoft ever succeed in mobile as long as they’re not making WP as much of a priority as iOS is to Apple and Android is to Google?
      As for your prediction of Apple’s demise, keep in mind that not a single line of phones sells as much as the iPhone does. The iPhone is the most popular phone on the planet and there are absolutely no signs of that changing.

      • miki

        So what am I wrong about exactly? Which of my statements?

      • @Rich, I will give an example, I showed my new Lumia 950 to my colleagues(one Senior Architect(iPhone user) of my company and another a junior colleague(Galaxy user) who once owned Windows 7.8 mobile she said). My S.A was like, wow this phone is nice when he had the phone and looked at home screen and so was my junior who saw and said, Windows phone changed a lot and looks great.(Of course I didn’t say about the bugs ;))

        What I’m getting at is, people never looked at this category of smartphones though they knew Lumia brand as Windows phone. They see it first. MS didn’t brand it well like XBox or Surface. As you pointed out in one article – The old adv ‘Don’t fight, just switch’ was nice. They can still rebrand themselves. They need to outsource their marketing 😉

        Windows 10 mobile looks and feels great. I don’t find app gap at all. If Google doesn’t put their youtube, MyTube did. WhatsApp gets timely update and I never wanted SnapChat. Games are just flowing in, mainly coz of Windows 10 store. Strategy is just shining there I believe 🙂

  • miki

    MS has decided to release the Lumia 650. It will pack the Snapdragon 212 chip set. In 2016 when 120$ phones have Snapdragon 616, MS will release a 200$ phone with a budget chip dating back to 2013. It was budget in 2013. Now is garbage. And Lumia 6 series is suppose to be some kind of a mid ranger.
    Lumia sales will drop down even further.

  • sandeep

    windows or Android or ios kaise