Microsoft Mobile and the question of what works

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As we countdown towards the launch of the Microsoft Lumia 535, there have been leaks of the supposed 5-inch display Windows smartphone. Here is a supposed photo of the 535:

Lumia 535 leaked

You can see the Nokia branding replaced with Microsoft at the top. It looks like the classic Lumia design. Check this link for more images.

But back to the topic at hand, and taking a quote right off GSMArena, the Lumia 5xx series have been by far the best selling Windows Phone handsets over the past few years. There is no better way to rephrase it, as far as I can tell. It is fact. The Lumia 520 sold in droves. The 530 has hit the market and is doing fine. Here comes the 535. Microsoft seems to be pushing the series hard. And I would do the same if I were in their shoes.

Every business must find what works for them, and after finding it, use it to maximum advantage. The 5xx series may not have the highest margins possible, but if they are the best selling devices, they need to be pushed and hyped hard and a way found to leverage on that.

Look at Samsung. They broke new grounds with the Note series years ago. Initially, a lot of us were skeptical, believing that phablets were too niche. But it has worked for them and they are milking the life out of it. I was at the Note 4 launch and was wowed at the capabilities built into that device. There are phablets and there are phablets, and then, there is the Note 4 standing above them.

Look at BlackBerry. They made the mistake of abandoning what worked for them and what they were loved for – the hardware keyboard – and instead jumped on the bandwagon of full touchscreen devices. I am glad that John Chen sees the mistake clearly and is rectifying it. Users – both techies and non-techies – are paying glowing compliments to the Passport. I have one here and it is an awesome device. Even more people can’t wait to get their hands on the Classic. BlackBerry is leveraging on what works for them. Yes; that in part means focusing on the enterprise market, and that’s okay too. So long as they can return to profitability – and it looks like they are on their way after series of disasters with full touchscreen devices.

Everybody said that addressing the low-end market was a bad idea. But look what TECNO did: they tackled the low-ed market and built up from there. They used the mindshare and worked things out. Again, a classic case of using what works for them. Xiaomi is toeing a similar line with some variations, and they have jumped out of nowhere in a few years to become the 3rd largest smartphone manufacturer on the planet.

And there’s almighty Apple pushing an exclusive range of locked down products functioning around their iTunes ecosystem. It has worked very well for them. Part of the reason many are unable to replicate the iPhone success is the non-existence of a similar service to iTunes. Apple has used what works for them to maximum effect.

This is why Microsoft must push the 5xx series, working out unique ways to leverage on that strong point. The 5xx series is the strongest link in their sales chain now. I don’t have all the answers. There are other issues involved as well. But Microsoft has to tackle them all while pushing what works. In business, you can’t go wrong leveraging on what works for you. Whatever has buyers flocking to you in droves is what you should be experimenting with. For Microsoft Mobile, that bait is the 5xx series.

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