Tech News

Windows Phone Is Dead, Amazon Builds Spotify Killer… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 29-01-2016

Windows Phone sales are laughably small, Amazon rumored to be targeting Spotify, Apple recalls 12 years-worth of power adapters, Netflix gets blocked in Indonesia, and The Angry Birds Movie in all its glory.


Windows Phone Is a Dead Man Walking

Microsoft’s latest earnings report will make depressing reading for fans of the company’s mobile hardware, as Windows Phone sales are all but dead at this point. In the most recent quarter, Microsoft sold 4.5 million Lumia handsets, a 57 percent year-on-year drop over the 10.5 million it sold during the same quarter 12 months ago.

With 400 million smartphones sold in the quarter, just 1.1 percent were Lumias. Things don’t look any better when you compare lifetime sales, with 4.5 billion Android and iOS devices sold compared to 110 million Windows Phone devices. There are rumors of a Surface Phone being in the works, but it seems more hopeful than anything.

Purely in terms of sales, Windows Phone is dead, and has been for most of its life. It certainly has its fans, and Windows 10 Mobile Switching to Windows 10 Mobile, Google Joins the Dark Side... [Tech News Digest] Microsoft compares its apps with yours, Google loves Star Wars, the PS4 gets PS2 backwards compatibility, 10 Days of 10 Cent Deals, and how to land a part in War of the Planet of the... Read More could help reinvigorate interest in Microsoft’s mobile hardware, but it will be an uphill battle to gain a foothold from this lowly position. We stopped covering Windows Phone MakeUseOf Says Goodbye To Windows Phone This is going to be a tearful goodbye, buddy, but it has to happen. MakeUseOf will soon be parting ways with Windows Phone. Read More in September 2014, and these latest figures suggest there’s little reason to change that stance.

Amazon Wants to Beat Spotify

According to The New York Post, Amazon is planning to build a “Spotify killer”. This would be a fully-fledged music-streaming service to rival Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and the other options people currently have available to them.


Amazon executives are reportedly already in talks with record labels about the licensing required for such a service, which would be vastly superior to Prime Music. While that is a good option for music-lovers, it’s nowhere near as sophisticated as Spotify, and its song catalog is a fraction of the size.

While Prime Music is one of the many perks of Amazon Prime 10 Awesome Amazon Prime Benefits You've Probably Overlooked Free two-day shipping is just the beginning. Here are some notable Amazon Prime subscription benefits you may not know about. Read More , the new service would require a separate subscription of (what’s expected to be the standard) $9.99-per-month.

Amazon is said to still be at the planning stage with this, but is considering bundling the Spotify-like service in with the Echo smart speaker Amazon Echo Review and Giveaway Amazon’s Echo offers a unique integration between voice recognition, personal assistant, home automation controls, and audio playback features for $179.99. Does the Echo break into new ground or can you do better elsewhere? Read More . Which is sure to tempt some people into switching.

Apple Recalls Power Adapters

Apple has announced a voluntary recall of a huge number of power adapters. The two-pronged Apple AC wall plug adapters affected were “designed for use in Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina and Brazil,” and shipped with both Macs and iOS devices between 2003 and 2015.


The reason for the recall is that if these power adapters break they can “create a risk of electrical shock if touched”. Which, correct me if I’m wrong, is a risk that applies to pretty much all power adapters. Still, Apple is taking no chances when it comes to the health of its customers Goodbye, Apple Fanboys: Is The Internet Falling Out Of Love With Cupertino? Recent headlines make us wonder: is Apple finally losing its sheen? Are the fanboys disappearing? Read More .

Apple has set up a support page for you to check whether your wall plug adapter is one of those affected. And if it is you can either contact Apple Support or exchange your adapter at your local Apple Store.

Netflix Blocked In Indonesia

According to The Wall Street Journal [Paywall], Telkom, Indonesia’s largest telecoms provider, has blocked access to Netflix just weeks after the streaming media company expanded everywhere Netflix Expands Everywhere, Oculus Pricing Causes Rift... [Tech News Digest] Netflix is now available in almost every country, the Oculus Rift will cost you $599, Politwoops embarrasses backtracking politicians, Psychonauts 2 is getting made, and Trevor from GTA V is now selling Old Spice. Read More . Indonesia was one of 130 countries Netflix launched in simultaneously in an effort to grow its business into a worldwide brand.

PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk., to give Telkom its full title, claims Netflix needs a permit to operate in the country as a content provider. On top of that, the telecoms company finds some of Netflix’ content objectionable, and claims government censors should be vetting everything before it reaches viewers.


We’re sure it’s pure coincidence that Telkom is a state-controlled company which owns and operates USeeTV, a video-on-demand service only for Indonesians. Regardless, Netflix faces a fight to be treated differently from traditional broadcasters, which would be subject to all of the above and more.

The Angry Birds Movie Trailer

And finally, The Angry Birds Movie won’t be to everybody’s taste, but the new theatrical trailer should be enough to inform you whether or not this is worth a trip to the cinema. Even those who, unlike me, have never been addicted to Angry Birds, may appreciate its quirkiness.

The Angry Birds Movie, which is due to be released in theaters on May 20, tells the origin story of our titular feathered friends, and explains why they’re always feuding with those pesky pigs. This isn’t one of our movies all geeks should see in 2016 12 Great Geek Movies You Need to See in 2016 If you are both a geek and a lover of movies, then 2016 is going to be a great year for you. Because so many great movies are coming out over the next 12 months. Read More , but it’s certainly another option.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you agree that Windows Phone in its current form is dead? Could Amazon beat Spotify at its own game? Do you own one of the affected Apple power adapters? Should Netflix be subject to more stringent regulations? Will you be seeing The Angry Birds Movie?


Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Related topics: Amazon, Angry Birds, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Windows Phone.

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  1. john C
    May 16, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    I hope that Microsoft does not listen to the hype and bail on the Windows phone I love mine

  2. Anonymous
    January 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I love Windows Phone. For one thing the clean interface with live-tiles beats the confusing Android look. I operate on the "cheap-end" and still have my Nokia Lumia 521 with T-Mobile. I also have a Motorola Moto E-2nd Gen with Republic wireless and the old Lumia beats it hands down with camera picture-quality and call clarity.

    if you are a productive person....the apps are plentiful. If you're into social media there are more than enough to satisfy you. The complaining about "not enough apps" on the Windows platform is puzzling. I think some people just love complaining or just hate Microsoft.

    As I said, I operate on the "cheap-end" and the next stop will be a Lumia 640-XL. It's well built and is great for Office-360 while on the go.

    • Danyale
      January 31, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      i totally agree with you hands down i love mine too

  3. bill
    January 29, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    I find all of this odd. I have two Windows phones in my household. My children all have something else. Somehow our unpopular phones don't seem to have any of the problems theirs do.

    I like my Windows Phones. Maybe they will go away some day. Why do you care?

    • Ben Stegner
      January 30, 2016 at 1:45 am

      We like Windows Phones, too. We don't have anything against them here; Dave just reports the facts in Tech News Digest. I bought a Windows Phone a few years back just to write on!

  4. Ben Stegner
    January 29, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Seeing this header image brought back bad memories of my article on Windows Phone, and I see people are still upset about it.

    I really do like the platform, and it's sad to see it struggling so badly.

    @Andy1 - You said "Let’s check back again in another 6 months." I wrote that piece when we stopped covering WP in late 2014, and it's been over a year since. WP unfortunately isn't doing much better. Do you think another six months will make a difference?

    • Anonymous
      January 30, 2016 at 1:11 am

      "Do you think another six months will make a difference?"
      Hope springs eternal. :-)

    • Anonymous
      January 30, 2016 at 2:39 am

      Considering that a brand new OS and the first flagship devices in years just became available 2 months ago, too recent to appear as more than a hiccup in last quarter's number, I think that is a fair request.

  5. Smokey
    January 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    It amazes me how "so-called" journalists don't seem to understand English. If you have stopped covering windows phone why am I reading an article on your site guessed it Windows phone!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 29, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      We stopped the Windows Phone section, not coverage of the platform entirely. You won't see a section for WP like you do for Android or Windows on the site, but it's not like we've embargoed the topic.

      How is someone that form complete sentences on a variety of topic an idiot?

  6. Anonymous
    January 29, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    You are certainly free to choose not to cover Windows phones, but that would typically mean that you would not spread negative press on it, especially when it is so wildly subjective, as this article was. Yes, sales of Windows Phone / mobile devices were low last quarter, but what you did not mention was that this 3 month period only included just more than 1 month of actual sales, as the new hardware (Lumia 950 and 950XL) did not become available until Thanksgiving, and it was limited to a few countries, with demand far exceeding supply. Before that time, only an idiot would purchase a phone right before a publicized release of a new OS and the first flagship class hardware in nearly 2 years. And sales have been low for WP for quite a while, for as I mentioned previously, there had not been any high-end offerings in the US for several years, while Microsoft turned their focus to cheap phones. I am glad that little experiment has finally ended.

    All of my employees and family members now have the latest Lumia 950s or 950XLs, and they are great devices, with an OS which works well for the business environment (powerful and secure), the platform holds great promise. Let's check back again in another 6 months.

    • Anonymous
      January 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Obviously, in your haste to upbraid Dave, you missed the following sentence "Things don’t look any better when you compare lifetime sales, with 4.5 billion Android and iOS devices sold compared to 110 million Windows Phone devices. " The total Windows Phone sales ever since the first one was sold, do not amount to even 2.5% of all smartphone sales. Windows Phone is not a "wannabe", it is a "never been." The only promise the platform holds for the future is that it will be as viable as a buggy whip.

      • Anonymous
        January 29, 2016 at 9:31 pm

        After their initial strength in the mobile phone market, before Apple brought innovation that changed the paradigm of the industry, Microsoft dropped to a low percentage, but it is certainly not dead. It angers me that foolish articles such as this are published, as they damage the entire industry, from a customer perspective. Competitors with low market share (the position which Microsoft is currently in) often bring technical innovation and pricing pressure, both of which are good for the consumer (better products, lower prices). By authoring articles such as this, which not only do not provide the full picture of what is happening (e.g. the reason why low quarterly sales were to be expected), but by offering subjective opinions calling for the demise of competition, these articles hurt us all. Especially to the 50 million users of Windows Phones and Windows mobile, who understand that loss of our platform would severely impact our productivity. Keep whatever phone you prefer to use, I couldn't care less. But don't tell the world that the phones which so many of us use has to go away!!!

        • Anonymous
          January 29, 2016 at 10:42 pm

          Because once upon the time, Microsoft had a large share of the phone market does not mean anything. At one time Blackberry was the dominant phone around. But that was in the past. Neither MS nor Blackberry have kept up with the innovations and improvements Apple and Google have made to smartphones. Even the purchase of Nokia Phone division did not help MS to improve their market share. So MS decided to cut their losses and to exit the phone market, leaving millions of WinPhone users like you high and dry. I realize that you cannot accept the fact that your shiny new Lumias will follow the dodo into oblivion but 50, or even 100, million users do not even register on sales charts of the phone industry. Maybe if all 50 million user deluge MS with mail begging them to reconsider, MS will postpone the execution.

          "foolish articles such as this"
          Article is not "foolish", it reports a fact.

          "Competitors with low market share"
          Competitors with low market share are in that position for a reason. They have not been able to keep up with the leaders in terms of technological and esthetic innovations.

          "which not only do not provide the full picture of what is happening "
          I'm afraid it is you who do not see the full picture of what is happening. The market has spoken. The overwhelming majority prefers iOS and Android phones over the Windows Phone.

          "calling for the demise of competition"
          Nobody is calling for anybody's demise. Microsoft's upper management itself decide to exit the competition.

          "loss of our platform would severely impact our productivity"
          Obviously Microsoft does not give a damn. Better start looking for a new platform.

          "But don’t tell the world that the phones which so many of us use has to go away!!!"
          I'm not, neither is Dave Parrack. It is Microsoft telling the world that.

        • Anonymous
          January 30, 2016 at 2:50 am

          You continue to miss my point. Microsoft has never said that they are dropping the platform, nor have they made any motions towards that end. The only mention of killing the platform is coming from a hoard of bloggers today, as they interpreted a simple bit of information in the Microsoft quarterly report; sales of Lumia devices last quarter were 4.5 million. The extrapolation towards the end of Windows phones was purely in the minds of a writer somewhere, which has then been copied numerous times to other blogs. If you feel it is that important to make your predictions about Windows Phone, then you need to add Mac and Linux to your list too.