News that Microsoft is to shed nearly eight thousand staff from its global operations should come as a surprise to no one. Especially as its troubled phones’ division seems to be the main target of the planned redundancies. I thought MS purchasing Nokia back in 2013-14 was a risky venture that reeked more of management confusion in the face of falling PC sales and the rise of hand-held computing than any well-conceived company strategy for future growth and development. Ironically the folks in Redmond have been slower than most to adapt to the new era of mobile and cloud-based technologies, instead burrowing ever-deeper into the OEM-chain, like a corporate animal dumbly following its instincts and going to ground.
The latest announcement coincides with renewed industry rumours that Windows Mobile itself, the company’s identity-troubled rival to the ubiquitous Android, may be partially dumped in favour of Google’s all-conquering UI. Though in some respects a superior consumer product Windows was too late to the game for Microsoft to catch up with its major competitor. Now and for the foreseeable future smartphones are Android and Android is smartphones. No amount of Windows 10 Mobile, or Firefox OS or Tizen, is going to change that. With the latest iteration of its vulnerable computer operating system, Windows 10, imminent the company might find some financial and shareholder solace; and perhaps saving. Though you have to wonder for how long without radical change in the upper echelons of the corporate ladder. The axe, as with most poorly managed businesses, usually falls too late and not in the places it should have fallen in from the very beginning.