Microsoft dropped an unsurprising bomb this week when it said it would be “scaling back” its mobile hardware output, all but burying the Lumia brand. However, the company is not pulling back from hardware entirely and certainly still has big plans for Windows 10 Mobile according to an internal memo sent to Microsoft partners:
“I want to assure you that your investment in Windows phones is not at risk. The mobility of the Windows 10 experience remains core to our More Personal Computing ambition. We will continue to support and update the Lumia devices that are currently in the market, and the development of Windows 10 phones by OEMs, such as HP, Acer, Alcatel, VAIO, and Trinity; as well as develop great new devices. We'll continue to adapt Windows 10 for small screens. We'll continue to invest in key areas – security, management, and Continuum capabilities – that we know are important to commercial accounts and to consumers who want greater productivity. And we'll help drive demand for Lumia devices.”
So, Microsoft is clearly planning to stop making Lumia devices, but suggests some new devices may be on the way, a Surface Phone perhaps. The company also points out a previous strategy where it wants OEMs to step up and push the Windows 10 Mobile platform and said it will continue to support the platform moving forward.
We have said that the company needs to maintain Windows 10 Mobile as it is a vital part of Microsoft selling its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) as an enticing option for developers. It is clear that the company is focusing on high end devices, another hint that the company is developing a Surface Phone.
As part of the email Redmond says it will leave all markets aside from the USA, EU5 and Western Europe, the markers where high-end devices sell in solid numbers. It is interesting that the company will not try to crack major emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil, but will instead push OEMs to driver Windows 10 Mobile sales in those nations.
“I understand that you are hearing concerns from certain partners about Microsoft's commitment to the mobile space.
Let me be very clear: We are committed to deliver Windows 10 on mobile devices with small screen running ARM processors.
We are currently in development of our next generation products and I wanted to reconfirm our commitment to Windows 10 Mobile. We believe in this product's value to business customers and it is our intention to support the Windows 10 Mobile platform for many years. We have a device roadmap to support that from Microsoft as well as our OEM partners who will also be selling an expanded lineup of phone devices based on this platform.
Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO”.