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Will Microsoft’s new Surface Phone make the grade?

Date: February 28, 2017 Author: Stephan Buys Category: Article Technology Tags: Comments: 0

Surface Phone? Despite the acquisition of Nokia and a raft of high-spec phones, Microsoft has signally failed to make any inroads into the mobile phone market.

In fact Microsoft's share of the market has dropped to below 1% in the USA. Last summer the remnants of the Nokia subsidiary were sold off, although the operating system will apparently still be developed and supported for the OEM phones still being manufactured.

Is that the end of the line?

Surface showing the way

Apparently not. Microsoft's Surface tablet range has been far more successful than anyone expected, with the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book leading the way.

The hardware is very well respected and the Surface range is doing a good job of demonstrating how Surface, Windows 10 and Azure (Microsoft's cloud platform) work together to deliver real business benefits.

Rumour mill

So it's not really surprising that rumours of new Microsoft phone, based on the Surface philosophy, branding and look and feel have begun to take hold. In November 2016 Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft was working on the "ultimate mobile device".

Microsoft has also registered the domain name www.surfacephone.com which commentators are taking as a clear indicator of the name of the new device.

There is informed speculation that three levels of Surface Phone will be launched - Consumer, Enterprise and Enthusiast - and that they will be very powerful. They will need to be, to run full Windows 10 rather than the cut-down mobile versions used on current Windows-based phones.

Integrated solution

Microsoft clearly still believes that IT users, particularly businesses firmly wedded to Windows, will appreciate using the same interface and operating system whether it's on a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop or server.

It's a persuasive argument for IT support companies too, who will have an easier time looking after one platform across the board. Integration of crucial Microsoft enterprise applications like Office, Visual Studio, Access, Exchange, Dynamics and many more, will be far easier.

There is also speculation that this will be the last time Microsoft will try cracking the mobile market, having had various attempts since 2002 without getting anywhere.

Time will tell.

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