Microsoft will begin its new era in mobile in a couple of weeks, when new Lumias running Windows 10 Mobile begin shipping to customers, according to some sources anyway.
Given the number of false starts and false dawns that Microsoft has had in the mobile market I don't think anybody is expecting Microsoft to score a runaway success - no matter how good the hardware turns out to be. However stopping the alarming slide in sales that occurred last quarter is the absolute minimum Lumias 950 and 950XL need to achieve.
The truth remains: Windows 10 Mobile is going to live and die on app developer support. If the apps don't come even the staunchest Windows Phone fan is going to give up. And while I don't believe that support for the easy transition of Android apps will hurt this goal at all, it's a poor return for those developers who have supported Windows Phone with native apps.
Converting potential customers outside of the enterprise (where the 950 and 950XL look most likely to find a market) is going to require careful nurturing of third party relationships. Microsoft doesn't have enough reputation or customer loyalty to get by on its own.
That means working to get companies like HTC, Samsung and Sony back on board with Microsoft. That means supporting smaller local Chinese and Indian OEMs and it means backing good hardware and software with wide ranging and high quality marketing.
After three painful revisions Windows Mobile 6.5 has become Windows 10 Mobile without ever growing its user base in a meaningful way. Microsoft cannot abandon mobile, however continued failure to deliver a viable Windows platform will almost certainly mean a review of what constitutes 'abandoning' mobile.
An Android base with Microsoft apps and app store still seems like a viable option for Microsoft's mobile strategy. If Windows 10 Mobile doesn't take off, it may be the only viable option.