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By | Paul Kunert 21st March 2014 13:17

Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk

Just 22% of intelligent devices run Windows, 'can't put adjectives behind the why'

Microsoft's global channel chief has struggled to find the words to explain why his company has not snared the intelligent devices market in the same way as it has done with PCs, admitting "there's work to do".

According to tech market beanie Canalys, Microsoft operating systems ran 93 per cent of traditional PC clients in 2013, but the share fell to 58 per cent when tabs were rolled into shipments.

Worse still, if you factor in all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones - the software firm accounts for just 22 per cent of shipments last year, down from the low 30s in '12.

Just the mobile device space and Microsoft accounted for only three per cent of the operating systems installed.

Phil Sorgen, corporate veep of the worldwide partner group, in the role since last summer, told us "in the mobile category - tablets and phones - we have work to do.

He said Microsoft continued to "innovate", and was working with application developers and OEMs that "allow us to scale lots of price points, sizes and device categories".

Past errors saw Microsoft initially missing the internet boat, and it had set sail in search and online advertising, but just how did the folk in Redmond fail to react to mobes and slabs?

"I can't say how we found ourselves in this. I can't say that we didn't react quickly enough, clearly if you look historically at the market share to date the data is well known.

"The scenarios that we had in market as we were innovating haven't taken as much share, I can't put the adjectives behind the why," he told The Channel.

Sorgen is seen as a force for good by numerous channel partners, and is making the right noises with regard to programmatic stability, but he can only bring the product to market which Microsoft develops.

"What I do know is that we are listening to our customers and partners and innovating, we invest nearly $10bn every year in R&D to make sure we keep evolving the platform and we are confident that we have a good solution and got to keep working hard on that."

Windows 8 (or its slightly younger brother 8.1) hasn't helped Microsoft cause - the operating system was supposed to cross the chasm between devices and give users the same experience on each.

It hasn't, and the reasons for this likely lay the feet of former Windows overlord Stephen Sinofsky, who was edged out.

But as El Reg previously pointed out, Sinofsky failed to tell anyone that all the APIs were incompatible, and delayed the release of WP8 software developer kit until the last minute.

Instead of one API that ran across PCs, slabs and phones – with minor tweaks for screen sizes – Microsoft introduced three largely incompatible APIs.

Developers had to write the same app three times.

At the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, however, Microsoft said it was ironing out the API discrepancies so that only minor tweaks are needed for screen sizes.

Surely it is better to have one device that does one thing really well than two devices doing two things quite badly? ®

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