UPDATED 03:04 EDT / APRIL 26 2016

NEWS

Madness at Microsoft: Flagship Lumia phones are now FREE

Microsoft’s flagship Lumia phones, the 950 and 950XL, were the focus of countless leaks and rumors for almost the entirety of 2015 – one of them has now been reduced to a giveaway. The phones have barely been out for six months and now Microsoft is saying that if you buy the larger Lumia 950 XL unlocked at the Microsoft Store before May 1st you’ll get the 950 as a freebie (only available in the U.S.).

This is no small bargain Microsoft is offering. The actual cost of the Lumia 950 is $549 at the Microsoft Store. The 950 XL is now going for $649. There isn’t much different in the cost, and there isn’t much difference in the phones, either. The 950 XL has a larger screen (5.7 inch) – the 950 (5.2 inch)  – and also has a slightly better processor and battery. But that’s it.

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So why would Microsoft be doing what seems like a crazy bit of business? The answer is simply because the new Lumia range has not been selling. When the company released its Q3 earnings last week Microsoft revealed that its mobile phone revenue was far from healthy. This comes as little surprise as Microsoft had earlier said at its Build 2016 conference that the company would not be focusing on phones  for a while. Still, right now the state of Lumia phone seems desperate, or sad.

Only 2.3 million Lumia handsets were sold in the most recent quarter, according to Microsoft. Compare that with 8.6 million sold in the same quarter last year – a drop of 73 percent. It wouldn’t be the first time someone has suggested that the Lumia range is on its way out. We asked that in February when Microsoft released the Lumia 650.

Perhaps the range just isn’t cutting it in the minds of consumers, in spite of design and specifications. One line that has been doing well for Microsoft is the Surface line – looking good in Q3. Don’t be shocked if sooner or later you see a Surface Phone. In the meantime you may as well take full advantage of Microsoft’s phone woes and attendant munificence.

Photo credit: Microsoft and robertstinnett via Flickr

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