Microsoft seems to be in the process of a pivot, shifting focus away from its platforms to general productivity, at least on the mobile side of things.
And there is no shortage of opinions on this change.
One such insight has come from Tim Sneath, a former Microsoft employee who spent no less than 17 years at the software titan. In other words, he knows things inside out, and how exactly the software titan manage proceedings this last decade or so.
He recently left the company to work at Google on the new Flutter mobile framework, and announced this in a blog post, where is also criticized the developer strategy Microsoft had in place following the launch of Windows Vista.
Sneath calls these missteps that Redmond took as it was distracted by the challenge of getting this version of the operating system right:
“Microsoft failed to adjust rapidly to the new competitive threats posed by the rise of the standards-based web and the resurgence of Apple and the iPhone. Its rapid growth left it with the defender’s dilemma of being attacked by all sides, while also being unwilling to sacrifice existing businesses for new opportunities.”
The former employee then goes on to highlight several projects that failed, each one biting the dust one by one — from Silverlight to Internet Explorer, and well, of course, Windows Phone.
All of them suffered from various drawbacks, which meant that developers were caught in the crossfire, and customers following suit. The best exampling being the Windows Phone story, where the platform lost practically all of its users to iOS and Android.
“And so when ‘Metro’ (UWP) was introduced as a reset for the Windows API, leaving behind the massive existing Windows XP and Windows 7 user base in pursuit of an unproven new touch-centric UI, developers largely shrugged and continued down the paths they had already chosen.”
We all know what happened next.