Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: giving up on mobile was a mistake

Originally published at: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: giving up on mobile was a mistake | Boing Boing


Yeah, no wonder his compensation dropped from $54.94 million to a paltry $48.5 million.


Bill Gates didn’t know what the internet was until like 1996. This is what happens when you’re a monopoly. You get lazy and sloppy.


To be honest, Windows 7 mobile was an absolute genius OS, but they killed much of the things that made the OS great and different by the time windows 8 mobile was released.

My biggest gripe was to remove the “task oriented” integration for the traditional app based one. In windows 7 mobile you did not had facebook, twitter, etc, you had “friends” < which had a mix of an address book but also allowed you to browse their social media activity, “messages” - SMS, but also any kind of messaging, like facebook chat -, and others apps like “pictures” and “calls” had similar integrations. The social media apps could present a single app with the common interface, but also were required to write integrations for the activities, which had prime state by default - and there was no reason not to, as there were the ones you would use more often.

The human guidelines were also quite awesome, with big clear labels and gesture based navigation that made sense. I still have the docs somewhere, and much of my web design from the beginning of 2010’s took inspiration on those guidelines.

On the other hand, this kind of approach was also their downfall. Social Media companies were starting to realise that monopolizing the users in their walled gardens was the way forward, and Microsoft forced them to adopt some kind of open, minimally interoperable standard in order to be integrated in Windows Phone 7.

So they decided not to. Android and iPhone did not had this limitation, and the lack of software support meant microsoft had to cut back all that and transform his OS into something akin of an Android skin…


My step-mum had a Nokia Lumia running WIndows until it died on her, and she loved it.
She’s not techy in the slightest, but found the OS intuitive and easy to use.
When it eventually died on her and she could no longer buy a phone running the same OS, she bought an iPhone (with my recommendation; I’m an Android user, but know its flaws all too well, and am happy to admit that as a phone, the iPhone’s simply better).

Unfortunately, she’s been nowhere near as happy with the iPhone, and it’s taken her a lot longer to get used to. It’s also still nowhere near as intuitive as her old phone for her, and does things in an arse-about-face manner that her previous phone didn’t.

So yeah Satya, you had a phone OS that non-techies found easier to use than an iPhone (a device from a company that prizes itself on UX design), yet you dropped it.

Kevin Jonas Applause GIF by Jonas Brothers


People complimenting the usability of Microsoft products is making me feel weird…

Ah, there it is. Everything is back to normal.


My theory is that Windows Phone 7 was either a skunkworks project or something from an external company. That would explain that feeling :laughing:

ETA: that would also explain the much maligned KIN featurephone…


'One commentator—I forget who—smartly suggested that Microsoft should call it WIN and put it on tablets and laptops too. ’

You forgot Windows 8? I wish I could.

Windows Mobile and the whole Metro interface is the best mobile interface to this day. It was absolutely perfect for small touch screens with limited real estate and the relative lack of precision for fingers. But converting it to laptops where there is a long-standing, relatively intutive and precise method(s) of selecting stuff on the screen was not a good idea.

Yeah, I’m still wishing they’d bring back those spectacularly good Lumia phones.


This - I specifically bought my Mum a Nokia Lumia as her first phone specifically because it was possible to attach her most needed contacts to the Home Screen as nice big icons. She needed to call me? Press the icon rather than navigating into another app.

Genius design. The iPhone is so clunky by comparison (not enough experience to say with Android).


IIRC Satya felt this way even when MSFT dropped out of the market…

Reminds me of this:


There’s got to be a parallel universe out there where the Zune was a big success.


It was fucking traumatic to get working usably on a laptop, I spent many hours trying to get 8 into shape for my s.o…

Now we get the Windows 11 Start Menu regression where it feels like a feature placeholder.

What I think is happening is there are two separate teams working on the Windows UI, and they switch out every release. Team A = XP, 7, and 10 – and Team B = Vista, 8, and 11.


Windows 11 experience has been so terrible for me that I switched to Linux after sufering it for a couple months. Placeholders were bad, but the excessive publicity - I want my OS to run apps, not to tell me what apps I should run - made me very unconfortable using it.

The proverbial straw was losing a day’s work on a Word document because of a confluence of stupid “integration features”. Word doesn’t autosave anymore unless you’re editing a document in Onedrive. If you open a doc from outside onedrive, it does a kind of “backup save but not really” every 45 minutes. I did not know that and assuming autosave worked as expected, went to sleep. During the night a update forced itself, and… apparentely if you try to shutdown the system and you have an unsaved document it won’t let you (you have to click force close)… but if is windows, then no problem, it kills all apps and reboots the system.

So i got up next morning to see my word document was in read only mode. I though it was weird but I just restarted word… Turns out it was the recovery save, of which you have only one chance to rescue.

So long story short, windows ate one day of work, switched to linux, where at least I know is my fault I’m unhappy :laughing:


MS also killed the Zune, which i know it never had the same kind of numbers that Apple had with the iPod but it was still a well liked device

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Sounds like you need a deep dive into the Zune’s history:

The Nokia Windows phone was my first smartphone, and I loved it, even though it was discontinued within months of buying it. Had to trade it in only when I moved to an apartment by the river that had no service.
The Microsoft Store was full of useful things that were not riddled with ads. I can still charge it up and play games that later phones can not match.
For a couple years after I upgraded, I still used it on the golf course just for the GPS-powered rangefinder app. No cellular required.


Yeah, I’m not sure what I’m hearing here. Neither Windows mobile nor Zune were ever popular with consumers. Folks hated them and stuck with their iPhones. That’s why MS dropped them. You can’t keep pushing a product no one is buying. It was absolutely the right choice.

That whole generation of Microsoft OS’s, whether 8 on the PC or their attempt at a mobile platform, were despised. Glad they went away.

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I still use an add-on that mimics the squares and some of the functions on my Android phone, visually it’s more useful to me.

I think “consumers hated them” is a bit of a “looking at the past with the view from the present” issue, a bit the same what happened with the Apple Newton*.

I would say that is more proper to say, in the case of Windows 7 Phone, that it was largely ignored by the public. Microsoft did not know how to market the devices, and left it to the manufacturers who… did not a very good job. By the time Nokia started making quality phones, Windows Phone OS had a much worse issue: lack of critical apps, which is similar to what happened to other “Smartphone OS” of the time (PalmOS, Bada, Maemo, etc.).

But hated? most of the people I know they tried Windows Phone 7 said it was more usable than the iOS and Android of that time. But, what good is a good OS if you cannot use whatever apps you need?

(*as for the Newton… it had a lot of bad press, and general public opinion was negative - from people who only read the press, but did not try the product - but also a very strong core userbase that outlasted the product by 10 years. It was not really replaced until the iPhone and specially the iPad appeared on the market)