Three things your mobile app business can learn from Windows Phone failure

By the 14th of January, 2020 Windows 10 Mobile will reach End Of Life, making it (and it’s predecessors, Windows Mobile & Windows Phone) gone for good from the mobile market. While they had their fans and some undeniably some great features, Microsoft did many mistakes that caused their mobile operating systems to fail. But as for any mistake – they can be a good lesson for anyone who wants to avoid them, hence we have compiled a list of 5 things we think could be a lesson for your app business. 

Be predictable

Being a fan of Windows on a phone was a hard run. Over the past decade, there were at least 3 major versions of the mobile operating system from Microsoft: Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 10 Mobile. And each of that release was not compatible with the previous one. An app they knew from one release would not work on the other one. Compare that to the iOS or Android environments, where users were able to use their favorite apps for years. 

While it might sound a bit abstract, think about the predictability of your business for your users. They don’t want to lose the history of orders with a new app release. They don’t want to learn the new interface every three months. Instead, they want to feel secure with the help of a strong, predictable business of yours. Make them feel that way with your apps. 

And, by the way, that’s how we have built our product, Handcrafted Platform – with stability and predictability in mind. We prefer constant improvements over revolutions every few months, and we are more than happy with that approach. 

Focus on your core business 

In September 2013 Microsoft announced the buyout of mobile device business from Nokia. That move has turned Microsoft from a vendor of the operating system to a company that manufactures both software and hardware. And, quite obviously, it put other hardware vendors that were using Microsoft mobile operating systems in an awkward position. Customers were also confused, with the rebranding of Lumia phone line, same as Mobile Network Operators, who were not able to offer Nokia phones anymore on markets where Nokia was a strong brand, like in Poland. 

If you look at your product, a mobile app you are building, that most likely means you should not add too many non-crucial features. For example, having an ability to add voice recordings is nice, but think first if you really need it in your app that allows users to buy insurance. 

To give some examples – focusing on core business is the reason why our company is not creating apps under our brand. As creators of the Handcrafted Platform, it would be easy for us to build a number of interesting apps on our own. However, that’s not our core business. Instead, we want to focus on growing great mobile apps for you and constantly improving the Handcrafted Platform. 

Limited and wrong marketing 

Don’t you feel confused with the naming of all the versions of mobile operating systems created by Microsoft? After all, it went from being called Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, just to get Windows 10 Mobile name at the end. And that 10 in name clearly was added to make it feel it’s the same operating system as the regular, desktop version of Windows – while it clearly was something different. 

Clearly, the errors in marketing strategy Microsoft has contributed to the failure of that operating system. It has never got to the point where users felt that it’s a separate, unique product, it never got haecceitas – a term that describes the discrete qualities, properties or characteristics of a thing that make it a particular thing. Compare that to a funny, green Android robot, or slick & prestigious iOS vision – and you will clearly see the difference. 

As with many other tasks, building a good, memorable marketing strategy for your app business is not easy nor cheap. But as a company that helped to build many businesses around mobile apps with our Handcrafted Platform, we can clearly see that the ones that succeeded – had not only a great product but also a decent marketing plan. Don’t underestimate the importance of it!