Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has confirmed that his company will amalgamate all major versions of Windows into one operating system. Speaking on the company’s quarterly earnings call today, Nadella told analysts Microsoft will “streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system.” Describing the implications of the change, Nadella said “this means one operating system that covers all screen sizes.”
Not exactly news, but it’s good to have it explicitly out in the open like this. And if they’re going to want to keep focusing on consumers, they’re going to need some pretty big changes. They sold fewer than half a million Surface devices in the last quarter, and only 5.8 million Lumia devices. That last figure is misleading, though, as it only covers two months due to the Nokia deal. Even adding another month, it’s safe to say it’s well below 10 million.
This actually raises an interesting question: has Microsoft actually ever made any profit off Windows Phone? Especially taking into account the huge amount of money they had to pour into Nokia’s devices division every quarter just to keep it alive? And now they also need to earn the costs of the acquisition back.
At some point, someone is going to have to make the tough calls here. What is the future of Windows Phone – and how long will that future be? How long will Microsoft be able to pour resources into the bottomless money pit that is Windows Phone?