Microsoft gives up on Windows 10 Mobile

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The company's Windows 10 chief has tweeted that developing new features and hardware for the Mobile version of the OS was no longer a "focus".

Joe Belfiore added that he had also switched to Android himself.

Windows 10 Mobile tried to attract users by letting them run the same "universal apps" on both their PCs and handsets, but the concept failed to catch on.

The OS accounted for just 0.03% of the global market - based on smartphone shipments - between April and June, according to research company IDC.

The market intelligence provider said the news had been a long time coming.

"There wasn't a wide range of devices running Windows 10 Mobile, so it wasn't attractive to retailers or operators," said IDC's Francisco Jeronimo.

"And from a consumer perspective, the operating system didn't provide as good an experience as Android or iOS."

Mr Belfiore began a series of tweets on Sunday by discussing the recent launch of a test version of Microsoft's Edge web browser for Android and iOS - the latest in a series of releases of its core software for rival mobile platforms.

He then went on to respond to questions about whether there was any point sticking with Windows 10 Mobile.

He said that while Microsoft would support the "many companies" that had adopted the platform, he had switched to Android for the diversity of its apps and hardware.

"Of course we'll continue to support the platform... bug fixes, security updates, et cetera," he said.

"But building new features or hardware is not the focus."

Satya Nadella: Microsoft building the 'ultimate mobile device'

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has again reaffirmed the company's commitment to developing smartphones. Unfazed by its market share dropping beneath 1 percent, Nadella said Microsoft is planning a revolutionary "ultimate mobile device."

Nadella made the comments during an interview with the Australian Financial Review. He visited Sydney last week to address a local developers conference about Microsoft's cognitive computing systems and Azure cloud services.

Nadella outlined his plans for Microsoft's future involvement with smartphones. He suggested the company has stopped trying to rival the established leaders in the field. Instead, Microsoft is working on something for the future that it thinks will give it the upper-hand in the long term.

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Nadella hinted at an "ultimate mobile device" that could give Microsoft a credible presence in the industry. The company seems keen to develop a product with unique capabilities that aren't replicated by its rivals. A key feature that already fits this description is the company's Continuum tech, Windows 10 Mobile's ability to transform itself into a desktop PC at a moment's notice.

"We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today's market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device," Nadella said. "Therefore [with Nokia assets], we stopped doing things that were me-too and started doing things, even if they are today very sub-scale, to be very focused on a specific set of customers who need a specific set of capabilities that are differentiated and that we can do a good job of."

Store and Ads to Deliver $189 Billion to Publishers in 2020

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Apps are increasingly becoming the go-to resource for communication, entertainment, shopping, productivity and more. As a result, the time consumers spend in apps has exploded.

Coupled with the growth of the global installed base of smartphones and tablets, this will set the stage for significant revenue growth. This expanding revenue opportunity will not be exclusive to the top apps and categories, but will be more widely spread across the app economy.

In order to fully capitalize on the app economy’s exceptional growth, publishers need to anticipate future market opportunities when planning for a variety of business scenarios, including product launches, performance goals, international expansion and portfolio management.

To help showcase the opportunities for publishers, we’ve published App Annie App Monetization Report: Publishers to Earn $189 Billion from Stores and Ads in 2020. Key insights include:

  • Combined worldwide in-app advertising and net-to-publisher app store revenue is forecast to grow by 270% — from $70 billion in 2015 to $189 billion in 2020.
  • Though games will continue to capture the majority of revenue, advertising will help apps (excluding games) increase their share through 2020.
  • In-app advertising and freemium will continue to dominate other business models and subscriptions will continue to be an increasingly important type of in-app purchase.
  • The Americas, APAC and EMEA will experience significant revenue growth from 2015 to 2020, with China driving APAC’s particularly strong growth.

Download the complete report from this site.

Microsoft now plans March Windows 10 Mobile rollout

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February has come and gone without the highly anticipated Windows 10 Mobile upgrade for legacy Lumia handsets. In an email to partners, seen by VentureBeat, Microsoft is now targeting a release this month, to occur after the regular monthly service updates for the two Windows 10-powered handsets already on the market, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL.

Unlike the previous schedule this one separates the upgrade from the service update. In other words, whereas the February rollout would have seen the update bundled into the upgrade, in March they are expected to be two distinct processes.

The rollout is said to begin passively, from Microsoft’s perspective, in that users will need to initiate it manually from their handsets. Only afterwards, on an unspecified timetable, will the company begin actively pushing the new firmware to eligible devices.

Microsoft had initially intended to upgrade in-market Lumias this past December, but the self-imposed deadline came and went. The February target was only messaged internally, so there has technically been just a single — albeit months-long — delay.

Microsoft is getting serious about payments in Windows 10

Windows10-backgroundMicrosoft is looking to relaunch Windows Wallet, a mobile payments app that stores credit cards, coupons and membership information, to improve both the in-store payment experience and online payments with Windows devices, a top Microsoft executive said in a joint interview with The Verge and Recode.

"Windows is going to have a wallet concept. You’ve seen it on phones before. We’re going to continue to iterate it," Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of the company's operating systems group, said. "We’re going to think about the range of payment scenarios."

While Belfiore didn’t say when exactly a new wallet would launch, or whether it would utilize NFC or other payment technology, he cited Windows Hello, the company’s new facial recognition technology introduced with the Windows 10 operating system, as a good example of the "kind of technology we’ll build into devices for authentication to make… payments better." It’s likely that any kind of updated Windows Phone payments app would utilize NFC technology, the same tech Windows Wallet for Windows Phone 8.1 was said to use.

However, that app never really became a full-fledged payments app. Like Apple, Samsung, and any other tech company that has tried to launch a branded, fully useable mobile payments app, Microsoft is aware that getting into mobile payments has its challenges, especially in certain markets.

"[Mobile payments] is just one of these things that is a massive network of complexity," Belfiore said. "I think the biggest challenge is, What effect will cause enough of the right things to align that you’ll get a good experience with all the places that you want it to happen in? And that’s kind of a world problem."

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