Reporting on Lenovo CEO Gianfranco Lanci’s comments to a Canalys forum event, several sites have picked up on his statement that Lenovo will not be building a Windows phone, now or any time in the future.
Given that Lenovo had been pitched as one of Microsoft’s hardware partners for Windows 10 Mobile and the company was allegedly building a handset for the Chinese market, as well as a ‘confirmed’ device it was manufacturing for SoftBank in Japan, this isn’t good news.
Not unsurprising news. Windows Mobile sales are through the floor and its more than likely that the Japanese carrier has called time on the SoftBank 503LV before it had to commit to manufacturing numbers. The death of that device undoubtedly removed any lingering doubt as to the viability of Lenovo’s branded version for China.
In its haste to kill Lumia and, allegedly, make space for partners to bring their own devices to market, Microsoft appears to be doing a good job of actually dissuading partners from building devices at all.
The most important part of Lanci’s talk hasn’t been picked up by a lot of sites though. He openly questioned Microsoft’s commitment to Windows 10 Mobile. Whilst many in the community and on the news sites have doubted Microsoft’s ability to keep Windows 10 Mobile alive much past the death of the Lumia, to have that message replayed by an industry insider, one with significant interest and clout; as well as a close partnership with Microsoft, really does give reason to pause and reconsider.
When the Lumia dies at the end of the year there will be next to no Windows 10 Mobile devices and almost no sales. Those two million sales achieved last quarter are unlikely to be matched across the whole of 2017.
If the HP Elite x3 and Acer Jade Primo aren’t generating sales there’s no incentive to replace them. If Microsoft, HP and Acer can’t make the platform work, who else will be persuaded to try? Not Lenovo, that’s for sure.
Ultimately it might not matter how committed to the platform Microsoft really is. Windows 10 Mobile will die a death if there’s nothing for it to run on.
With that in mind Lanci’s comments, no matter how disturbing for Windows Mobile fans, sound like an accurate telling of the future of the platform.