Windows 8's latest victim: Windows Phone sales

Adding to the ongoing folly known as Windows 8, Nokia hints that Windows Phone sales tanked during the holiday quarter

In the best of all possible worlds, Microsoft would've spent the last three years building a solid mobile operating system, while making nips and tucks to the desktop that we all know and love to swear at. Instead, we got Windows 8/8.1/Update 1, neither fish nor fowl, toaster nor refrigerator.

In a completely different universe, Microsoft delivered Windows Phone 8 -- released at the end of October -- which bears at best superficial similarities to Windows 8. Microsoft not only squandered its developers' efforts on a desktop/laptop/tablet/hybrid/server design that nobody wants to buy. It also pulled the rug out from under the real mobile folks, the ones developing for Windows Phone. Now the quacking ugly duckling has come home to roost.

Nokia just released its financial report for Q4 2013 and Full Year 2013 (PDF), and the results for Windows Phone are so bad that they aren't even broken out -- swept under the rug of "discontinued operations" as, presumably, the sale of Nokia's phone unit to Microsoft should complete soon. The most information we get in the financial report goes like this:

The year-on-year decline in discontinued operations net sales in the fourth quarter 2013 was primarily due to lower mobile phones net sales and, to a lesser extent, lower smart devices net sales. ... Our smart devices net sales were affected by competitive industry dynamics including the strong momentum of competing smartphone platforms, as well as our portfolio transition from Symbian products to Lumia products. ... The sequential decline in discontinued operations net sales in the fourth quarter 2013 was primarily due to lower smart devices net sales. Our smart devices net sales were affected by competitive industry dynamics including the strong momentum of competing smartphone platforms. ... On a sequential basis, discontinued operations unit volumes increased in the fourth quarter 2013 due to higher mobile phones unit volumes, partially offset by lower smart devices unit volumes.

Let me translate that for you. Nokia -- which, under former Office honcho Stephen Elop, hitched its wagon to the Windows Phone platform -- sold fewer smartphones in Q4 2013 than it sold in Q3 2013. In the holiday quarter, boasting a shiny new Windows operating system, Windows Phone sales went down from the third quarter.

Since Nokia's the last company to peddle Windows phones (to a first approximation anyway), that tells you a lot about the popularity of Windows 8's neglected stepsister.

If Terry Myerson needs justification for his approach to the next version of Windows, Nokia just printed it for him.

This article, "Windows 8's latest victim: Windows Phone sales," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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