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Microsoft To Kill The Lumia Brand In Favor of a New Surface Phone, Says Report (thenextweb.com) 177

It's no secret the Lumia brand is struggling to gain any significant market share these days. Earlier this year, it was reported that Microsoft's Windows Phone OS dropped below 1 percent mark share, all but confirming the death of Windows Phone. A new report suggests that, despite the irrelevance of Windows Phone, Microsoft will not be giving up on its mobile OS. Instead, the company plans to drop the Lumia brand by the end of the year and replace it with a brand new Surface Phone in an effort to breathe new life into its flagging smartphone business. The Next Web reports: There is some credibility to the claims. Microsoft's Lumia lineup has shrunk to just four models, and there's nothing to indicate it's working on a successor. In the U.S., where Microsoft has struggled to shift Lumia phones, it has removed the link to buy them from its website. On the retail side, stores have started removing units from display, and are trying to shift remaining stock by offering steep discounts. Further evidence comes from two since-deleted tweets from Laura Butler, engineering director at Microsoft, who posted "Surface iPhone ;-)" on September 6, and "Surface Phone not NOT confirmed. :-)" on September 7, in reply to questions posed by other Twitter users. Microsoft is expected to hold an event in October, where it's believed it will announce a new Surface all-in-one. As Ars Technica pointed out, this could be when Microsoft announces its new Surface Phone, just in time for Christmas.
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Microsoft To Kill The Lumia Brand In Favor of a New Surface Phone, Says Report

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  • Burning cash (Score:4, Insightful)

    by denisbergeron ( 197036 ) <DenisBergeron.yahoo@com> on Monday September 12, 2016 @09:34PM (#52875887)

    So they buy a company for the knowledge and name, they fire the knowledge last year and now they kill the nake... well, when you have too much cash, it's easy to burn it !

    • Everything they've done is baffling. I've bought two, mostly since they were so damn cheap considering the hardware you got and with Win10p it's a really nice, compelling experience. But it seems just as they have something interesting they are ready to kill it off.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Microsoft still thinks it's 2001 where if you throw enough money into a market, no matter how saturated it is, then you can suddenly have decent mindshare. So, they went and sunk $20+ billion into windows phone and got nothing in return.

      • by rwven ( 663186 )

        My gripe with the platform has always been the quality and selection of apps. I personally LOVE the phone interface. It's so slick and feels so great to use. I've had major issues with every single major app I've ever tried to use.

        It sadly doesn't matter how great the platform itself is if there are so few apps, and those that there are are terrible.

        It's now become a story of too-little, too-late. They're simply never going to make WinPhone successful...

        • by b0bby ( 201198 )

          Yep, I used one for a week because I was between phones and I really liked the interface but the lack of certain apps made it not work for me. Android, for all its flaws, at least mostly works and has all the apps I want to use.

        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          It sadly doesn't matter how great the platform itself is if there are so few apps, and those that there are are terrible.

          Until Microsoft makes their mobile OS capable of running Android apps, their phones will never take off. The Lumia 950 XL is certainly in the same league as the Note 5 so if their interface really was better I would certainly consider a windows phone upgrade to my Note 4 if it can run any Android app along with Windows ones.

          But Windows will never make up the gap in mobile apps for iOS and Android, so taking advantage of one of these being open source is the only option I see.

          • They actually did this... briefly. The same Linux subsystem that enables the whole "Bash on Ubuntu on Windows" think in the 1607 release of Win10 was also being used to run Android apps, natively, on early Win10 Mobile builds. It was called "Project Astoria" if you want to read more about it.

            Sadly, MS then quietly (but *very* thoroughly) killed off the project. No build released any time recently includes Project Astoria anymore, or will let you install it, or will run it if you hack it into the OS. They sh

    • As soon as the name is burned because everyone noticed that it's MS now that's calling the shots, they have to move on and buy another company to burn.

    • Re:Burning cash (Score:4, Insightful)

      by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @04:30AM (#52877295)

      Microsoft's Windows Phone OS dropped below 1 percent mark share

      Actually Windows Phone OS has 23% market share [netmarketshare.com], only it's running on desktops not phones.

    • by DrYak ( 748999 )

      they fire the knowledge last year

      Well, at least, some of the earliest casualties in the "Knowledge" part - those who worked on the Linux effort with Maemo/Meego - have since then founded Jolla and had some relative success in making a good full-blown GNU/Linux OS for phones with Sailfish OS.

      (Happy user of a Jolla1 phone, looking forward for an official port to Fairphone2 including the Android Apps support bit).

  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Because it was the *name* that's the problem with their phones, so this will totally fix that.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @09:38PM (#52875915)

    As Ars Technica pointed out, this could be when Microsoft announces its new Surface Phone, just in time for Christmas.

    Yeah, this'll work well. December 26 is gonna be even busier than usual.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      If you want your kids to hate you

      If this is for the kids it's already a fail, Microsoft will never be cool and obviously you won't have all the apps. Android got the bargain bin market cornered and the hardware alone won't be special enough to sell anything. If they want to get anywhere it needs to hit the business world hard. Hopefully the "Win RT" phones are history and the Surface Phone is an x86 computer in your pocket.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by youngone ( 975102 )

        Hopefully the "Win RT" phones are history and the Surface Phone is an x86 computer in your pocket.

        I wouldn't think so, most people want battery life of a day or so. You won't get that with x86.

        • The ASUS Zenfone2 has a 64 bit x86 processor, it's not the worst in terms of battery life.

          • by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @11:34PM (#52876391)

            It's a 2 year old processor.

            intel killed the roadmap for phone SoCs earlier this year.

            So unless MS want to cram a netbook CPU into a phone, it's likely to be an ARM.

            • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @12:49AM (#52876709)

              Intel even stated a few years ago that a given CPU can have 2 of 3 things:

              - Speed
              - Energy efficiency
              - Low power consumption

              It cannot however have all three of those in the same chip, i.e. a very fast chip cannot scale down based on the demand to meet the needs of mobile devices. The whole x86 architecture is pretty much entirely engineered for speed, and a few months ago Intel finally conceded that they just can't make Atom chips compete with ARM. If there is a "surface phone", then it's not going to run x86 apps locally, unless it's either slow as shit or has shitty battery life.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Two out of three? Ok, I pick "speed" and "low power consumption." Good luck figuring out how to take "energy efficiency" away while giving me the two I picked.

            • So unless MS want to cram a netbook CPU into a phone, it's likely to be an ARM.

              OR... maybe they're going to go completely retro - sleek little Windows phones haven't gotten any traction, after all.

              Picture this: a cell phone with a desktop processor and a body the size of a Korean War US Army radio phone. How cool would that be? They'd certainly capture the seven-to-thirteen-year-old male demographic.

              Someone's even already taken a first stab at the concept [dreamingpoint.com]!

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          I wouldn't think so, most people want battery life of a day or so. You won't get that with x86.

          People have tried quite hard to decompile performance difference into compiler, ISA and hardware differences and most seem to agree the ISA is by far the least [extremetech.com] significant difference. In fact, at least VIA has been experiementing with a hybrid x86-ARM [extremetech.com] processor translating both to common micro-ops. As I understood it, it's more that Intel has struggled putting together the whole package for a SoC not so much the general purpose CPU. With power so limited having dedicated hardware to do specific things becom

  • The results will be exactly the same.
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @09:43PM (#52875943)

    I can just imagine the board meeting at Microsoft where the geniusses came up with this one:

    "Our phone biz is always in the shit, we need a revolutionary fresh idea that will force people to buy Windows phones, so Microsoft can rape their most personal data and sell it".

    "I have it! Lets give our phones a different product name!"

    "Amazing out-of-the-box win-win thinking! Give that VP another $10 million in preferential stock!"

    • "I have it! Lets give our phones a different product name!"

      You mock, yet branding has a huge effect on consumers. This is why companies battle endlessly over names of things rather than the details of what those names represent (e.g. buying the Nokia business but not the name)

      One of the easiest ways to cut a failing product line is to distance yourself from the name.
      One of the easiest ways to ride on a previous success is polish your iTurd up with a certain letter to capitalise on brand recognition.

      The Surface is a huge success compare to Lumina. It only makes sens

      • On the other hand, I do not get it why Google has decided to replace its successful Nexus brand name with Pixel. Google Nexus devices are almost like an underground brand, but the level of satisfaction among the consumers and developers who hold the Nexus devices is relatively high, while the "Pixel" name is so far mostly associated with a failed tablet "Pixel C".

        • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          I hope the rebranding means they might finally listen to customers and include an SD slot and removeable battery.
          I really want my next phone to be a Google phone so I dont get all the crapware and update delays, but no SD and a built-in battery are both dealbreakers for me.

  • A real Windows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @09:57PM (#52875993)

    I think the only way Microsoft could gain any traction with Windows phones is if they manage to keep compatibility with real Windows apps.
    It means a x86 CPU, and there is probably a lot of work to be done to make a usable UI but it might be worth it, at least for now.

    Look at Surface tablets. Windows RT was a failure but real Windows tablets are usually considered pretty good, except for the price.

    • Mod parent up.

      There's no way they're going to sell Windows Phones as "phones". They'd have to market them as some other kind of desirable all-in-one device.
      They just need to sit on the tech, and wait until people are fed up with the n-th iteration of the iPhone, exploding Samsung Galaxy battery pack... then hit the market afresh.... but don't call it a phone.

      Maybe call it a puck-computer that gives you the full x64-compatible Windows desktop experience in a phone form factor with a massive battery powerful

      • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @12:14AM (#52876547) Homepage

        You do realize that BlackBerry (RIM to us ex-employees) tried to do what you are suggesting? The BlackBerry smartphones could handle different office documents and I worked on a device (the "BlackBerry Presenter") which could display them on a monitor or projector.

        The problem was, and I suspect anybody else will fall into this rabbit hole if they work on this type of device, is that RIM got sucked into dealing with Office Apps and the data surrounding it and forgot to focus on what customers really want - web enabled applications.

        • Yes, but Blackberry didn't own the killer app - Microsoft office, much less the OS that 90%+ desktop users work on and understand (to varying degrees)

          Windows has more mindshare here.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I'm thinking a combo of Surface Pro and a Phablet. The Phablet holds enough flash for a decent Windows environment (say, 512GB at least) and can slot into the Surface which provides the larger screen, x64 CPU and additional connectivity for video and USB.

        The phablet can run ARM Windows and be a standalone phone device, while slotted into the Surface it provides radios for connectivity and calls during a desktop type computing session.

        The trouble is, Microsoft has always refused to make normal Windows instal

    • by bazorg ( 911295 )

      While it's clear that Win RT bombed, it was IMHO a step in the right direction: Make Windows simpler, make it work more like the smartphones and tablets that have been such a sales success since the last decade.

      Trouble is: how to deal with the legacy applications (cue the appy app guy). Getting everyone to use the MS store looked to me like a good idea, as long as there was something there worth getting. Yes, other software houses would be annoyed with paying MS a cut of the sale, yes they would be forced t

      • RT bombed, because it looked like you could run x86 applications on it, but you actually couldn't, so you had a laptop that would only run Windows Phone apps, which are very few and far between. If this surface phone uses an ARM processor as has been rumored, then it will fail, too. Even if it is an x86 phone, which will be quite interesting, I'm not sure how they will be able to make traditional desktop apps work in a small, phone-sized form factor. That will be the big challenge. If they can pull that off

    • Now you know why they're deprecating Win32 in favor of UWP moving forward, because they want their phones, tablets, and consoles to leverage all the dev work put into Windows desktop apps

  • by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @10:19PM (#52876103)

    This is the price one pays after decades of screwing everyone over. Hey, at least Gates got rich.

    • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @12:29AM (#52876613)

      You're spot on about Microsoft slowly becoming irrelevant. They haven't done anything innovative in 20+ years.

      Microsoft has become IBM. Still around but no one really cares anymore.

      • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

        I'd argue that they have never "innovative". Just stole.

        • > I'd argue that they have never "innovative".

          I would also agree with that assessment.

          > Just stole.

          I would replace the word stole with the more accurate term bought:

          * DriveSpace aka DoubleSpace: Licensed from Vertisoft and then out-right copied Stac Electronics.
          * Internet Explorer: Licensed Spyglass Mosaic and renamed it.
          * Windows: Copied Apple who copied Xerox.
          * Direct3D: Bought Rendermorphics, Ltd and renamed their shitty API RealityLab to Direct3D

          Looks like David Wheeler (of readable S Lisp Express [dwheeler.com]

      • Office 365 and Azure along with their big data analytics are pretty innovative. Well, they are at least making them a lot of money. They are bigger than Google's cloud right now. Microsoft certainly has a lot more customers.

    • And in the effort to stay relevant they forced a phone UI onto their desktop OS, making me lose interest in their only piece of software I only cared about
  • Hey Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @10:39PM (#52876175)
    Some free advice: I don't think the name is the problem.
  • that's what killed 'em. Both Google and Apple kick the rank and file salesmen a spiff in exchange for moving one of their phones. For some reason (anti-trust fears?) Microsoft didn't do that. So their phones were relegated to the deepest, darkest reaches of any store they were sold at.

    I think their plan was folks would gravitate to their phones because they already knew 'em from learning Windows 8. But even ignoring the fact that Win8 was a mess people hate PCs and love phones. You don't need to get the
    • > Both Google and Apple kick the rank and file salesmen a spiff in exchange for moving one of their phones

      Citation required, because that sounds pretty unbelievable--especially considering that most Apple phones are bought at an Apple store (from an employee paid hourly & not on commission) or online.

  • Dumb as bricks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j-b0y ( 449975 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @02:21AM (#52876959)

    I have trouble understanding why MS even want to try to get back into the smartphone market at this stage, except wounded pride. Investors demanding growth, pissed that they have seen their stock stagnate compared to Apple?

    They have failed utterly to execute on any strategy they had, they looked indecisive and uncommitted. It's such a huge bag of fail.

    • And everything they touch is horribly flawed because their corporate policy has been Fuck The User for so long, they have no idea how to interact. Everything they make the kick over the fence around Redmond and there is zero support. Their own flagship table, the Surface Pro, can't sleep - not because of userspace issues, but because their own drivers cause the system to to be permanently in high gear. Their own OS doesn't work properly on their flagship device. It's like nobody there even has a SP4 to test

      • They are better now, but decades of, "You are stuck with our monopoly, so suck it up," has hurt their reputation and brand.

  • Kill? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @03:27AM (#52877131)

    Seems a sort of redundant thing to do to a rotting corpse.

    Windows got on PC's because it got popular before anything else existed, and then once it was the most popular it used proprietary protocols, formats as well as illegal activity to choke out any competition and set its monopoly as far into stone as possible. People live with it because they either know nothing else or have just accepted failure as "normal" on their PC's

    Its only just starting to lose the stranglehold.

    With phones, MS was late to the market, after there were not one but TWO well established alternatives. NO one except the most die-hard MS supporter or the most completely clueless person is going to touch windows phones with a ten foot pole.

  • I bought a Lumia 550 a while ago. Nice device, especially for its price. The only reason I'm still using my old dinosaur E6 is the lack of local synchronization options - in fact the only place that W10M will transfer contacts to is the cloud.

    I know there are tricks - setting up a CardDAV server and using the iCloud account option to sync with it - but a W10M phone should be able to locally sync with a W10 PC out of the box.

  • I think it's fair to say the Lumia brand is already dead.
  • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @08:27AM (#52877957) Homepage

    There is some credibility to the claims. Microsoft's Lumia lineup has shrunk to just four models, and there's nothing to indicate it's working on a successor.

    This is a shame. At a previous job, the company provided me with a Lumia. Very nice interface, and it's seamless integration with corporate e-mail and calendar was nice. I was also doing development for that platform, and it was nice to work with. Not perfect, but really, really good, if I look at things objectively.

    This is yet another case of a company killing a promising platform and/or not making it work in the market. Lack of penetration on the market wasn't so much a problem with the product, but marketing and timing.

    And for a company with such deep pockets as Microsoft, it makes no sense NOT to undersell it and be on the red in order to penetrate the market. Sometimes to make a win you have to go really low margin for a while (a-la Amazon.)

    If the entire goal of every single business cycle is to increase your margins or minimize your risks, you are going lose, specially in something so challenging as tech.

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @10:46AM (#52878875)

    Why would you buy a Microsoft phone over an iOS or Android device? Until Microsoft has a good answer for that question, it won't matter what they call the phone.

    My wife works for a very large bank on an interaction design team. She recently bought a Windows 10 phone to get comfortable with the interface. Her boss asked "Why did you do that? Hardly any of our customers are Windows phone users - so we won't be working on that platform much longer."

    If you can't get one of the worlds biggest banks to work on an app for that platform, the platform is doomed.

    • If all you need are the basics (no apps), want a good quality camera and have a desire to be different than everyone else then Windows Phone isn't a bad alternative.

      I am still rocking the Lumia 920 with Windows 10 on it. It's a stylish phone and it does all I need.

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