Microsoft has been making smartphone software for 15 years, only BlackBerry’s software has been around longer. Of course, Microsoft didn’t just roll out a version of Windows for phones and leave it alone - it’s gone through loads of changes over the years. So let’s take a look at how it’s evolved.
2000 - Windows CE
Microsoft started its mobile journey way back in 2000 when it launched Pocket PC 2000. The device ran Windows CE, which came with a mobile version of Microsoft Office and had the same look and feel as Microsoft’s desktop software.
2003 - Windows Mobile 2003
In 2003, Microsoft launched its first software with ‘Mobile’ in its name. There was a new look that took Windows Mobile 2003 away from the desktop software, letting it take advantage of the latest technology. It was even open for developers to create games, just like Android or iOS today.
2009 - Windows Mobile 6.5
In 2009, Microsoft hit its low-point with its mobile software. Windows Mobile 6.5 was released as a stopgap between the aging Windows Mobile 6.1 and the unfinished Windows Phone 7. It lacked the features and functionality of its rivals and frustrated the top dogs at Microsoft.
2010 - Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone 7 was meant to fix the problems that Windows Mobile had, and close the gap on Android and iOS. It launched with a huge range of new smartphones that offered innovative features, like the HTC Surround, which had a slide-out stereo speaker. The plan worked, and Microsoft started making small inroads into the smartphone market.
2011 - Windows Phone 7.5
As with any software, Windows Phone 7 had its problems. So a year after its launch, Microsoft released a major update that addressed all those issues and made everything else run more smoothly. Critics loved it and Windows Phone started to peak.
2012 - Windows Phone 8
With Windows Phone 8, Microsoft wanted manufacturers to be able to make true flagship phones. Earlier versions of the software couldn’t support the best screens and processors, but the new update could. The only problem was, the software itself didn’t move very far forward from the 7.5 update, which meant Windows Phone 8 slipped behind Android and iOS again.
2015 - Windows 10
This year, Microsoft is having a major overhaul of its entire software ecosystem. PCs, tablets and phones are all being updated to Windows 10, a new operating system that works on any screen size. That means apps will be universal and all your Windows gadgets will talk to each other more easily. It should give Microsoft some big advantages over Google and Apple.
Windows has been creating mobile software for longer than either Google or Apple, but it might only be this year, when it launches Windows 10, that it has something that can really compete with the major mobile players.