The end of Microsoft’s billion-dollar foray into mobile phone manufacture and software came not with a whimper but a Tweet
Not many of us get through life without being haunted by the memory of some ill-advised faux pas. Fortunately not all of us suffer the ignominy and embarrassment preserved for all time on the Internet and served up for the amusement of the world’s population until the end of time.
So spare a thought for Microsoft co-founder Steve Ballmer whose various moments of madness are there for your amusement and delight on YouTube. There are too many to recall.
Although fans of executive WTF moments could do worse than start with a YouTube search of “Ballmer+Monkey+Dance”.
My personal favourite is “Ballmer+Laughs+iPhone”. In which the great man can barely contain his amusement at Apple’s attempt 10 years ago to produce a phone without a keypad.
How he chuckled. Which is as good an example of “he who laughs last laughs longest” as Microsoft last week confirmed its great mobile phone experiment was over, finished, gone to meet its maker.
The multi-billiondollar adventure with the acquisition of Nokia and the development of Windows Phone ended not with a bang but a subdued whimper – in a Tweet from senior Microsoft developer Joe Belfiore who quietly let the cat out of the bag with this Tweet: “We’ll continue to support the platform .. but building new features/hw aren’t the focus”.
Belfiore touched on the real reason for Windows phone’s termination. There is no ecosystem. Developers aren’t interested in it. “We have tried very hard to incentivise app developers… but volume of users is too low for most companies to invest”.
Thus was the most powerful software company in the world forced to eat lashings of humble pie.
I’m usually last in the queue when the Microsoft sympathy medals are being handed out. I’ve always regarded Microsoft as an organisation that built it fortune on the lowest common denominator of software design.
To this day I take to a PC with its continual need to install security updates like a duck takes to a fan oven. Mac OS all the way for me.