Radio-Free Mobile, one of my favorite blogs, posited recently that Microsoft may be making plans to walk away from its smartphone business. After all, Microsoft is not known for competing in segments in which it cannot dominate, much less, as in the case of smartphone operating systems, achieve just 3 percent market share globally. Cutting ties with former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop makes such a decision seem more plausible.
If Microsoft did that, I wouldn’t expect its mobile ambitions to diminish. Fulfilling Nokia’s vision of creating a third ecosystem after iOS and Android might end, but there’s still a rich mobile future in sight for Redmond.
Pursuing this would require that Microsoft break from conventional wisdom, which is that in order for any mobile ecosystem to flourish, it must:
Combine hardware and software.
Create a lucrative marketplace for app and content publishers to offer their wares to consumers.
Enable operators and retailers to get a piece of the action through monthly data charges.