Platform Lessons From Microsoft’s Smartphone Surrender

Thoughts on first-mover advantage.

Estimated reading: 2 min

After two largely unsuccessful years, nearly $8 billion spent, and an inconsequential market share, Microsoft has finally thrown in the towel on its smartphone ambitions.

File this under predictable.

(Couldn’t resist.)

Much like with search, the Internet, and social networks, the company moved so late that its entree constituted the very definition of desperation. Hail Mary’s such as these rarely pan out. This is one of the cornerstones of the Age of the Platform.

Simon Says: Remember the first rule of platforms.

Hail Mary’s such as these rarely pan out.

Last-ditch gambits such as these serve as key examples of the first rule of platforms: You don’t necessarily need to be first, but you sure as hell can’t be last.

Give CEO Satya Nadella credit for understanding this brave new world. (Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer clearly does not.) To be fair, the Nokia acquisition was not his decision. Nadella walked into his predecessor’s ill-advised effort to build a mobile presence. What’s more, now that Microsoft has 86’d smartphones, it can focus on:


What say you?




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