Windows Phone is Superior; Why Hasn’t it Taken Off?

Posted Dec 26, 2011 – Updated April 17, 2012

People ask me all the time why, if I think Windows Phone is such an excellent product, sales appear so lackluster.  My belief is Microsoft’s “end-user first” approach with WP7 has a impedance mismatch with the carriers & device manufacturers while Google’s approach reduces friction with carriers & device manufacturers at the expense of end users. The question is: will end-user dissatisfaction with Android’s inconsistencies and fragmentation be strong enough to allow the better product to succeed.

NOTE: This post was inspired by a comment I posted on Hacker News in response to Ed Bott’s article on the Android ICS update fiasco.

The fact that Windows Phone has, thus far, avoided fragmentation (almost every WP7 device from every manufacturer & carrier automatically got updated to WP7.5 “Mango” this fall) actually points to one of the core reasons:

The device manufacturers, mobile operators, OS providers, developers, and end users operate in an overly complex virtuous cycle

A virtuous cycle is one where each side of the market both gives and receives positive value from the other sides. So much positive value is exchanged, with low friction, that the cycle grows and grows, like a snowball rolling down hill. The more sides to the market that exist, the more complex the system and the harder it is for the cycle to start.

In the mobile device space the five primary sides of the market are not actually aligned very well. In fact, there is such deep misalignment that there is great instability. Android has succeeded (in raw unit numbers at least) by capitalizing on that misalignment. Apple has changed the game by cutting out one of the sides of the market. Windows Phone is attempting a different strategy…

The five primary sides of the mobile device market:

Carriers: Own the customer. Own billing. Own Sales. Own the physical pipe. They also own the marketing money. They hate being just a fat dumb pipe, but their capex structure means they will never be anything but a fat dumb pipe.

Device Manufacturers: Own the hardware. Own the industrial design. They hate not owning the customer. But their HW bias (and manufacturing capex structure) prevent them from breaking out of this (there are no proof points of large hardware manufacturers becoming successful software companies).

OS providers: Own the core of the customer experience. Think they own most real innovation. They hate not owning the customer. Their core business models (search, desktop/server OS, office, …), as well as the fact they can’t build HW, means they are always at the mercy of some middleman between them and the customer.

Users: Own the disposable income. They are highly influenced by advertising. All they know is they buy phone service from mobile carriers and/or buy a phone from a carrier. They love speeds & feeds and will generally buy anything they are told to by television ads and RSPs (Retail Sales Professionals).

3rd Party Developers: Deliver the most of the end-user benefit.  Actually own most of the real innovation. They will target whatever platforms have the greatest promise of ‘eyeballs’. Some care deeply about monetization features of the platform; others care more about distribution. They despise the inter- and intra-platform fragmentation that exists.

[EDIT: I edited the above to explicitly add developers instead of leaving them off; my original intent was they were not relevant for the particular point I was making in this post, but it was was clear people mis-understood this nuance.]

As noted above, Apple has been successful (at least in terms of generating revenue) in this space by cutting the device manufacturer out.  They have then used that fact to force the carriers into being even more of a fat dumb pipe. A topic for another day, but my belief is over the long term this strategy will start to deteriorate for Apple; for now it’s serving them very well.

Google has been wildly successful with Android (at least in terms of units) because Android was built to reduce friction between all sides of the market. The extreme flexibly of Android ‘bows down’ to the device manufactures AND the carriers. It enabled device manufactures to do what they do best (build lots of devices). It enabled carriers to do what they do best (market lots of devices). It enabled users tons of choice. My hypothesis is that it also enables too much fragmentation that hurts developers will eventually drive end users nuts.

With Windows Phone Microsoft has taken a different approach by putting the end user experience above all else. By focusing on delivering a consistent, well designed (and therefore less flexible) user experience WP raises its middle finger at both the device manufacturers and mobile carriers. WP says “here’s the hardware spec you shalt use” (to the device manufacturers). And it says “Here’s how it will be updated” (to the carriers).

Thus both of those sides of the market are reluctant. Especially the carriers, but also the device manufacturers. Remember that end users are highly influenced by advertising and RSPs. Carriers own the marketing money and spend billions a year. The money is provided by the other sides of the market: OS providers & device manufactures, but the carriers get to spend it; they are the aggregation point where the money actually gets spent. The carriers choose what devices get featured on those TV ads.  They also choose what devices to train their RSP (retail sales professionals) to push. They choose to incent the RSPs to push one device over another.

This is why, despite being a superior PRODUCT to Android, Windows Phone has not sold as well.  Spending marketing dollars on advertising Android devices is and easy decision for the carriers. Pushing RSPs to push Android is easy.

Spending marketing dollars advertising WP7 requires Microsoft to push hard on the carriers. Getting RSPs to push WP7 requires Microsoft to push hard on the carriers to incent their RSPs correctly.

I would like to believe that at the end of the day the superior end to end experience for the end user matters more than anything. But, unfortunately that is a naïve belief.

The question in my mind is whether Microsoft’s continued investment in WP and close partnership with device manufactures such as Nokia will eventually enable a breakthrough here. I know that MS can be very persistent & patient; it’s been so in the past. We will see.

In the meantime Android devices will continue to sell like hotcakes and fragmentation will continue to get worse and worse.

NOTE: Given this is such a popular post, I’ve made minor edits to this post since I first wrote with the hope of making it more readable. Last update 4/17/2012.


  1. Hey Charlie, this is definitely an interesting analysis. No doubt the carrier relationship has a large impact on device sell through. While I find that Windows Phone is a solid offering, it doesn’t compare to either the iPhone or Android in my opinion. I’ve owned an iPhone 3G & 4, as well as a Nexus S.

    The iPhone is a seamless design through and through, but I appreciate Android’s ability to customize (like loaders, widgets, etc.) as well as the deep integration with Google services (Google Voice in particular is awesome on Android).I’ll admit that I haven’t owned a Windows phone, but have played with a few that friends own – I live near Redmond, it was bound to happen :)I find the tiles on Windows to phone to be boring and garish and a lot less informative that Android widgets. I miss the ability to create new screens with apps, so it’s easy to pin apps to a particular position on a particular screen (vs Windows Phone single scrolling view). I find the iconography on Windows Phone quite confusing – less so than Gingerbread, but more confusing than Ice Cream Sandwich. Windows Phone is missing core functionality (like navigation), though I hear this is coming in the new Nokia devices.

    I’m also not sure end users are quite as gullible as you claim Charlie 🙂 I think there are many smart and sophisticated users who drive early adopter sentiment, and that it’s difficult to make up for a bad product with marketing no matter how naive the users are.

    So at least in one users opinion, it’s a stretch to call Windows Phone superior. Good? yes. Best in class? Not in my opinion.

    1. I appreciate your perspective. I disagree with it.

      We live in a tech bubble. My perspective is that you are talking about a different end user than I am.  My brother-in-law, my sister, and the guy from Chicago I just met by the pool do not live in the tech bubble. While you and other tech enthusiast/early adopters influence to some degree, it is not nearly as influential as mass advertising. 

    2. I appreciate your perspective. I disagree with it.

      We live in a tech bubble. My perspective is that you are talking about a different end user than I am. My brother-in-law, my sister, and the guy from Chicago I just met by the pool do not live in the tech bubble. While you and other tech enthusiast/early adopters influence to some degree, it is not nearly as influential as mass advertising.

      1. That’s a good point – it’s sometimes difficult to appreciate how tech savvy folks outside the bubble are (or aren’t). 

        I do wonder if there is a generational thing at work here as well. I’m willing to bet (without any hard data, so take it for what it’s worth), that those who grew up with the Internet and technology are more sophisticated users. Even if their understanding of *how* the technology works is not in depth, I believe their use of the technology comes more naturally.

        1. Mail4kak says:

          Why isn’t BlackBerry compared in this. I love my Blackberry bold 7 phone and wouldn’t think of using a different OS. Blackberry makes their own phones and OS like apple but I feel that BlackBerry is more for the customer and now is a grat time being a BB subscriber as Blackberry is giving out free apps and free use of BBM music as they try to hold on to their customers.

          1. Unfortunately I’ve never used a BlackBerry so I can’t comment. From everything I’ve read it seems like RIM has fallen far behind in overall experience. I think it’s possible to catch up with OS and UI, but I believe the dearth of applications will hobble any comeback RIM hopes to make.

          2. Scobleizer says:

            Blackberry never comes up in phone conversations anymore. Why? No apps. The developers are treating RIM like the plague and that will not change. They are in a death spiral and everyone knows it. Avoid at all costs.

          3. Agreed! As an app developer I am avoiding Symbian and RIM.  I target iOS, Android and WP7 only because its pretty quick to port over to it…

          4. John Arnold says:

            HTML5 will help address BlackBerry’s App problem. Personally, I own my BB7 Bold for messaging, email and the phone. You will NEVER find something as idiotic as Angry Birds on my device…but alas, I am a member of the top 1%…

          5. Toonces says:

            Are you inferring that playing games is for the lowly 99%? That somehow because you make a lot of money that it’s because you don’t play games? I’m pretty sure the developers of Angry Birds play the game quite a bit, and if they are not there already, they’re on their way to the 1%. Slackers!

            What an asinine thing to say.

          6. Canucker says:

            I’m sure RIM will do really well confining its sales to “the 1%”. And thanks for being a poster child for the rest of us. You also forget that RIM first pinned its hopes on Flash (that clearly worked out well) and then promised an Android app layer in PlayBook OS2.0.

      2. Mikejs78 says:

        Agree on the tech bubble, but I think that’s also why Windows Phone is not going to be seen as a superior product.  I took my non-techie Mother (who calls me in a panic whenever she sees a strange web pop-up because she’s afraid she infected her computer with a virus) to buy a smart phone at Verizon, and showed her the iPhone 4, the HTC Trophy, and the HTC Droid Incredible 2.  She picked the Incredible 2.  She liked how attractive it was and the information that was presented to her with widgets in an attractive manner.  Her comment  on WP7 was that it looked boring and wasn’t attractive.  She found widgets more appealing that live tiles.  She is now very happy with her DInc2.  I think the perception that WP7 is a superior product (or even competitive) is a very tech-bubble perception.  I don’t think that WP7’s metro tiles metaphor is appealing to those outside the tech bubble.  While WP7 has many good ideas and is a solid smartphone platform, I actually think this will hinder it in the long run.  

        1. Samuel Ford says:

          I sort of agree with you.

          I think Android demos well in the carrier stores (sort of how TVs are cranked up to full brightness & saturation in the show room to standout) even though the OS doesn’t really standup well against iOS to a discerning customer (well, to me at least).

          I think the tech bloggers enthusiasm for WP7/Metro is mostly false praise. It’s a dull and lifeless UI. Unique, but uninteresting in the long run.

          As much as the tech crew loves to criticize iOS for “textured” or “skeumorphic” apps, as an app developer I can say with absolute confidence users *love* that stuff and will skewer your app if it’s too bland.

      3. Tadhg Kelly says:

        it is not nearly as influential as mass advertising.”

        Yes it is. Mass advertising is a lot less efficient than you might think if you’re talking blankly to a market. It works best when there’s a tribe of massively loyal users backing it up. 

    3. Murani Lewis says:

      By any chance are you still using the Nexus S? Such a good phone that will NOT be getting ICS.

      If you’ve used the iPhone 3G & 4 and think those two devices are superior to the Titan or Focus S you’re missing out.

      Charlie is exactly right in that Microsoft’s approach leads to reluctance by both key sides to the market.  These two sides being reluctant to participate fully blocks the view of the end user thus artificially creating the continue power gap between iOS and Android.

      I’ve long held the belief that Apple gets selling better than anyone else by a wide margin.  Apple’s ads and even their phone is geared to simple minded individuals.  Show the customer one thing and show it well.  Microsoft sometimes gives the consumer too much credit.  Like Charlie said, users don’t know what they hate.  I have several friends who hate the issues they have with Android but aside from switching carriers to get the iPhone they were left with only one option and that was get another Android device that was just happen to be released every month.

      1. Hi Murani,

        I am still using my Nexus S (though upgrading to Galaxy Nexus in a few weeks). I actually just got upgraded to ICS a few days ago, though I’ve heard that Google had paused the rollout of ICS to Nexus S so not everyone has it yet.

        The iPhone 3G would have a ton of problems competing today because of perf issues (iOS 4 even had issues on iPhone 3G). I don’t recall which WP7 devices I used – my issues are more with the software than the devices, I found the UI quite snappy on all Windows Phone devices I’ve tried. This is an area I definitely think Microsoft has done a better job than either Apple or Google.

        I’d hesitate to call users simple minded. Lacking tech savvy, perhaps, but many are experts in their chosen fields. IMO Apple does a great job providing a ‘computer as an appliance’ and gets the UI out of the way of getting their tasks completed.

        Out of interest, what issues were your friends having with Android?
        Issues I’ve had include lag and UI inconsistencies between apps. Other than that (and lack of Airplay) I’m very happy with Android.

        1. Doug Simmons says:

          Vanessa this guy just read some silly rant about the Galaxy S (June 2010) not getting ICS officially and he’s mixing it up with the Nexus, even though he should know better. 

          1. Ahh, I guess that points to another advantage Apple has – strong and simple branding.Both Android and WP are spread across many devices, with Samsung Galaxy series being the only one coming close to Apple’s name recognition.

          2. Anonymous says:

            Dougie yes I know.  Way too many names to keep track of.  I’m still trying to remember the official Sprint name for their Galaxy S II variant.  I do admit to being mistaken about the Nexus S getting the ICS.

      2. Lee says:

        You said, “Apple’s ads and even their phone is geared to simple minded individuals. ” I think you just don’t get it.  Apparently, most of the Geek Culture world is so obsessed with what they call a phone but really is much more than that.  For us Geeks, it’s a creative tool, it’s a toy, is a business device, it’s an iPod (or portable music player) and oh yeah, it’s a phone.  But for those who don’t download 600 apps just in case, or just want to try out some new crap, the phone has got to work.  Apple’s phone’s work great, and when you have a problem with one, you can go to Apple and get service.  You don’t have to run to ATT, Verizon or Sprint.  The device manufacturer actually handles the problems.  I’ve talked to a lot of people and from personal experience know, if you make a genius bar reservation, you get served within 10 minutes even when it’s crowded.  And I rarely hear people walk away unsatisfied.Make a GREAT phone that you can mass market to.  Make it work great out of the box.  Make it easy to get music and movies and apps on to it and have a lot to choose from at a reasonable cost.
        That’s how you get to win in the phone biz.
        We do live in a world where you get what you pay for.  Android after all is a FREE OS.  Google isn’t making money on anything but the traffic.  Handset manufacturers now only have to concentrate on the hardware, and not the OS.  What a deal. And carriers can customize or lockdown that OS if they want to.

        WindowsPhone7, Android, or iPhone iOS. I say, buy whatever you like that works well for you, but realize that people aren’t buying phones so they can jailbreak them, put male ware on them, or whatever crazy crap you can think of.  No one has shown me anything other than Flash that I can’t do on an iPhone, and mobile Flash is apparently dead.  So the next time you think that slinging a name at the iOS crowd, realize that they aren’t all sheeple.

        1. Vivien Dracon says:

          And that was the best point yet … Apple succeeds because it has far better customer support than Google or MS. I just had an issue … Walked into the Apple store and it was immediately rectified. When was the last time anyone spoke to a live person at MS for a problem and had it solved? Oh … And the support I received from Apple … Was free and given with a smile. That speaks to an engineer like myself as well as non techies like my clients, friends and family.

      3. Canucker says:

        Vanessa, you and Charlie both seem to think consumers are idiots/simple-minded and that advertising is the primary motivator for purchasing. I think you are confusing the issue.  Most people do not appreciate unnecessary complexity. They are tired of spending too much time configuring esoteric aspects of their devices to get them to work. They don’t care so much about specifications as usability. They like the fact that their device works with them rather than against them. That is not “simple-minded” in your sense of the word. It’s a lot harder to design something that is intuitive, removes superfluous input and requires you to learn rather that learning from you. It’s not even about eye-candy (although beauty is easy to recognize). It’s about flow, predictability and consistency. Microsoft has, I think, recognized that it can no longer get away with complex interfaces. It’s made strides in XBox360 and WP7 (which is a vast improvement over WinMo). However, their problem is not the software so much as the “Windows Everywhere” dogma. Moreover, they’ve chosen a favoured OEM and this special relationship must eat at the commitment of the other OEMs. Microsoft wants it both ways and is getting no satisfaction from either. The relative flop of Lumia may force a decision and, either way, it will likely be better for Microsoft than its current dichotomy.

      4. Anonymous says:

        That’s funny, because I’m running ICS on a Nexus S.  Got any more nuggets of wrong information?

  2. Display Name says:

    “With Windows Phone Microsoft has taken a different approach. WP raises it’s middle finger at both the device manufacturers and mobile carriers. WP says “here’s the hardware spec you shalt use” (to the device manufacturers). And it says “Here’s how it will be updated” (to the carriers).”

    Can you contrast this with how Windows Desktop has been distributed? It seems like a very similar approach to me, but I sense you might think it’s very much a different approach.

    Also, WP7 has a real problem to overcome that Android does not.  Now maybe in the model of consumers that are important, it’s not a problem.  But WP6 and I gather earlier, were horrible phones, developed on a completely different model then the one you describe for WP7, and worse, as far as I know, Microsoft did not support them. (Notably, the fun little internet phone kin thingy targeted at teens a year or so ago, which was dropped after four months.)

    Android had something WP never had, which was Microsoft baggage.

    Apart from that, any approach that gives more power to the designers and consumers at the expense of carrier MBAs and OEM marketing departments is an approach I want to see succeed.

    1. Display Name (wish you used your real name!),

      On this:

      “Can you contrast this with how Windows Desktop has been distributed? It seems like a very similar approach to me, but I sense you might think it’s very much a different approach.”

      I could write a tome about it, but there are similarities and differences. 

      The PC ecosystem and the virtuous cycle that Windows drove is also very complex. It included/s the CPU maker (Intel), the OEMs, device manufactures (IHVs), software vendors (ISVs), Microsoft (OS), Microsoft (Office), the retail channel, corporate distributors, and end users.  These all fed off of each other to create probably the best example of a virtuous cycle the tech world has seen yet. 

      A key difference, though, is there was really only one OS provider. The other’s either we basically irrelevant (Apple) or became rapidly irrelevant without figuring out how to compete (IBM). 

      I think Microsoft’s approach with WP7 is different because it’s in a different place w.r.t. mobile. When we started on WP7 Microsoft HAD ALREADY LOST (according to most pundits). So a radical approach of laser tight focus on end-user-value was called for. With Windows the end-user was important, but much less so than with WP7.

      1. Anonymous says:

        maybe that would be the case if Apple or Google stopped updating their operating systems. How do you expect to catch up when everyone’s running at the same speed?

      2. Canucker says:

        Credit is due to Microsoft in recognizing that WinMo was not salvageable (if only RIM had made the same realization a year or two earlier). Microsoft also has a large war chest and uncanny persistence. However, after well over a year in the market including an important system revision, Microsoft appears to be treading water. The competition has grown stronger. The conversion rate for subscribers with WinMo phones to WP7 looks awful and new accruals (which are essential for growth) is tepid. The Nokia Lumia launch was accompanied by huge advertising in Europe with very disappointing results. I remember when Microsoft ran a funeral procession for the iPhone when WP7 made golden master and thought that, aside from being a “fun” morale booster, it was also likely to backfire.

    2. Doug Simmons says:

      And it says “Here’s how it will be updated” (to the carriers).”

      Weird, I remember NoDo differently.

  3. Ravi Gupta says:

    iOS right now is like Walmart – boring but still the real deal. Windows Phone is like a boutique which you like going to, but is fairly limited in what it has to offer. Android on the other hand is like a stolen goods shop, you like it because you get stuff you can’t get anywhere else, but brings all the problems of shopping at shady places with it.

    1. Willarizona says:

      You’re saying people view Apple products as Walmart and MS ones as creative/high end boutiques? Think you may be the only person on earth who believes that

      1. Anonymous says:

        He didn’t say Apple products. He said iOS…and I agree with him. iOS is a bland operating system (rows and columns of icons) running on sexy hardware. It’s utilitarian approach allows the user to get into apps easily, but that doesn’t mean the OS is better or more visually appealing / interesting than Windows Phone or even Android 4.0. It’s the hardware plus slick transitions and software integration that has given Apple the leg up thus far. Well…that and the head start in the modern mobile / touch friendly OS market.

        1. Jim says:

          Trashing refined minimalism as bland, and saluting interfaces that are visually busy simply to fill space, doesn’t indicate insight: it just flags how much taste you lack!

          1. WixosTrix says:

            Calling something bland does not mean your trashing it.

        2. Guest1 says:

          I personally don’t find iOS to be bland.  Familiar, yes.  Bland, no.  Some people though, need something new and different.  Others simply wouldn’t be caught dead using the same phone as [enter name here].   If parents are using iPhones, their kids will demand Android. It’s not always rational.

    2. Eggo says:

      I have a Walmart phone?  Fantastic!  LOL

    3. Anonymous says:

      your analogy breaks apart twice at every sentence. I don’t even know where to start.
      How are any of these operating systems similar to retail stores in any way? Are the apps the packaged goods?

      If that is the case, Metro OS would be the bodega. Android would be the flea market, and apple would be a gigantic boutique(highly curated)

      Metro isn’t small and curated by choice(small boutiques). It’s small and curated because it’s not even 3rd place. It’s not walmart, it’s not costco, it’s small because it’s located in a bad neighborhood with bad foot traffic, no customers, and ugly shelves. It’s a bodega.

    4. Anonymous says:

      In reality, WP7.5 is more like iOS 2.x  They’ve fixed a lot from version 1 (7.0), but still haven’t put in the killer features yet.  I think WP8 will be the one to have.  Hopefully similar to iOS 3.0 (or hopefully closer to 4.0) in that some must have features will be added. WP so far is stepping identically to iOS in it’s early years.  If they want to catch up, they need to step up the releases quite a bit.

    5. Anon says:

      People go to Walmart because its cheap. People wait in line to pay more for Apple products. That is not like Walmart. And you can’t say Apple sells only because of hardware. Samsung has great hardware but runs an OS you can get somewhere else. I thought everyone understood that software defines most of the customer experience already! I haven’t rebooted by iOS device since the last major OS update forced me to. And it hasn’t crashed or slowed down. Unlike most Android devices (and Windows of course). That has nothing to do with UI design.

  4. TobinT says:

    While condescending to users, there is some unfortunate truth to all of this. I completely agree that Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia is going to be key to getting the device manufacturers and OS aligned. 

    1. I apologize for coming across as sounding condescending to end users in my post. Those that know me, know that I am hell-bent on taking a customer first approach in building and selling products.

      I choose the language I did to try to be succinct. All I am trying to say is that “Advertising and RSPs are very effective at influencing the general population of end users”.

      1. Anonymous says:

        The condescension from such a key albeit former windows phone person further solidifies the fact that I will never own one.  

  5. Avro says:

    A basic flaw in your argument is that the carriers are nobodies in the world outside the US.  Promotion is done by the manufacturer and a decision on the carrier (which usually has all phones) comes down to coverage and price.

    1. Avro, You raise a valid point. And this is likely one of the reasons the Microsoft/Nokia relationship has been formed: Nokia is super strong in markets outside of the US and could help WP7 be more successful outside of the US.

      But your point does not paint a flaw in my entire argument. It just says that in other parts of the world the imbalance in the virtuous cycle is tilted differently.

      1. Avro says:

        No, the rest of your argument has much merit.  Just pointing out that the US market is rather unique.  Everywhere else the carriers are just a big dumb pipe.  

        Here in the UK it’s Nokia that looks after promoting the phone.Nokia has a great rep outside the US.  I’m a big fan.  Although a MacUser for many years I would consider WP7 if it had killer hardware, preferably from Nokia.  The Lumia 800 (and Mango) isn’t quite first tier yet though.

        1. David Gordon says:

          In Australia, it’s generally the carriers that push the phone. Telstra even created their own “Androidland’ in Melbourne. They’re all in on Android to the exclusion of all else (including WP7 of which they were supposedly the premium partner).

          There’s very little advertising coming from the OEMs. Admittedly we’re a smaller market than most so the OEMs might not focus on us as much, but it’s all carrier driven here.

        2. Anonymous says:

          Because the rest of the world, most parts of it at least, takes whatever is popular in the US. While Nokia is strong outside US, it’s not as strong as before. If WP succeeds in the US and becomes the “in thing”, it’ll will be the same for the rest of the world.

          1. Avro says:

            This isn’t true at all.  Take a look at cars.  US cars have never made it big outside the US.  The iPhone.  We constantly heard about iPhone “complaints” from the US which were actually AT&T complaints.  Europeans had to ask Americans ‘What are dropped calls?’.  The US Market is unique.

            Nokia’s profits and SmartPhone marketshare were actually increasing 12 months ago.  Unfortunately (at this stage anyhow) the tie up with Microsoft is looking like a death wish.

  6. You raise a valid point. And this is likely one of the reasons the Microsoft/Nokia relationship has been formed:  Nokia is super strong in markets outside of the US and could help WP7 be more successful outside of the US.

    But your point does not paint a flaw in my entire argument. It just says that in other parts of the world the imbalance in the virtuous cycle is tilted differently.

  7. Avro, You raise a valid point. And this is likely one of the reasons the Microsoft/Nokia relationship has been formed:  Nokia is super strong in markets outside of the US and could help WP7 be more successful outside of the US.

    But your point does not paint a flaw in my entire argument. It just says that in other parts of the world the imbalance in the virtuous cycle is tilted differently.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In an odd sense Apple do own the customer as they are entrenched in their ecosystem; if you’ve spent hundreds on apps you’re less likely to switch to something else, you’ll just get a new iPhone 2 years down the track.

    Totally agree about the sales staff, they’re generally hopeless WRT Windows Phone. It will be interesting to see if Nokia can turn this around due to their relationship with carriers.

  9. Henrique says:

    iPhone is the hottest thing in Brazil right now, and not because of any specific carriers. Every other phone pales in comparison because the experience they deliver is worse, at minimum.

    1. Anonymous says:

      The sad and pathetic part is that people like you get the iPhone because you think you’re “creative” and part of an exclusive club. Unfortunately, you’re neither creative, special or part of any exclusive club.  You’re just a schmuck that overpaid for a phone because you think it’ll make people envy or like you.  That’s pretty sad.

      1. Henrique says:

        Troll more. Your hatred is Amusing.

  10. Charlie — You could almost replace Windows Mobile for Android and get the same results. That is why I think Android  is doomed in the future.Not because of Google but because of Google will lose control of Android at some point.

    1. You can make the assumption that Google wants that to happen with Android, and then swoop in with something better monetizable (controlled) on their end. ChromeOS and its successes and failures fits well here, as does Google+.

      1. I don’t think they want it to happen but it has and they cannot stop it. I do not think Microsoft wanted Windows Mobile to go down the path of having carriers bloat and install WM on crap hardware. Microsoft could not stop it and now Google is unable to mandate minimum hardware requirements. This has and will continue to lead Android down a path that Google cannot keep under control and we all know the carrier corrupt anything they can.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Such a silly comment from someone who is supposed to have attained wisdom in all of his years.  Google is the development force behind Android.  They can guide the ship any direction they want to and even change the license any time they want to or even close the non GPL source if they want to.  Get the picture? 

  11. Anonymous says:

    So you’re saying the carriers aren’t pushing windows phone because they don’t control software updates? I doubt that’s the issue. it’s the “here’s the OS, you can’t change it in any way other than including a liited number of apps” that they don’t like.

    1. No, that’s not what I’m saying. Microsoft insisting on controlling the update model is just one example of many where Microsoft is doing things that are counter to the carrier’s natural course. Each represents some amount of friction. 

      Microsoft is doing these things because it believes making customers happy is the highest priority. Google’s model offers almost no friction for the carriers (but at the expense of end user satisfaction). 

      1. Hari Seldon says:

        “Microsoft is doing these things because it believes making customers happy is the highest priority”

        Yes but Microsoft’s customers are the phone manufacturers NOT the end users, this is not a trivial detail. Google knows this, Microsoft used to know this better than anyone. There is only one Apple. 

      2. Anonymous says:

        “Microsoft is doing these things because it believes making customers happy is the highest priority” is laughable. I’m tired of MS’s “me too” products as they are sales first, technology second. Look at the promises Zune, Plays4sure, the Kin, and WinMo made- enough to make any buyer WinCE. Utter folly and abuse of power on MS’ part. Look at Ballmer scoff at the iPhone in 2/07- “I like our strategy”. No interest in innovation. MS comes in late to the market expecting to clean up. Why Bing? Because MS doesn’t want me using Google and wants to monetize me. Well, eff you, buddy. The only people not using Google (and iPods) are MS employees and their children. Since when is burying ones head in the sand a good strategy? Like, “getting zuned” means you got something as a gift that is a knock-off that works, but you don’t really want to use. 
        Look at IE’s market share (which MS doesn’t seem to care about) I wasted far too much time coding around IE6 and IE7 to ever want to use IE EVER. EVER!! Tired off the same old MS crap that makes the day less fun. 
        Okay, let’s say Windows Mobile, er, Windows Phone is the best in the market. Let’s give you the brown star and big pat on the back for having the best mobile platform! Pizza party for MS! Since MS is a sales company, who is on the hook for having a 30% market share in 2005 to 1.5% now? AND has been in the biz since PocketPC 2000? Lees? Ballmer? 
        MS is finally getting squeezed out of a market it has nothing to offer.  
        You ask why Windows Phone hasn’t taken off? It’s Microsoft, that’s why.

  12. Digging the analysis… nearly makes me want to go into this discussion from my own observations: “I’ve yet to meet a person who didn’t like Windows Phone, however I walk often into those with Android devices which offer comments of contempt or indifference – usually because of a sense of not knowing that there is other choice out there what offers as good or better expereinces with ‘X’ carrier.”

    To take off, Windows Phone will have to somehow tilt the impression and movement of users such that it presses manufacturers to “create something beautiful” and carriers to “be as invisible as a utility, but just as valuable.” Neither part is impossible (speaking of the US market, which this article seems sourced best in), but does require a bit different of an approach than simply “taking people’s heads out of their mobiles.” Its got to offer mobile as a window into something more.

    Shame we are so carrier-centric here, because Nokia is almost the perfect partner for MS to make that kind of movement happen.

  13. zato says:

    Windows Phone is Superior; Why Hasn’t it Taken Off?

    “Windows Phone is Superior”  The Microsoft bullshit never ends. 

    1. Anonymous says:

      The false “fear” of big companies bullshit never ends too.  Hey, guess what!  Apple is bigger than MS now!  Fear them!  LOL!

      1. Kee says:

        i don’t really think so, i mean, strategically, MS is still bigger resource and it pushes corporate tools and stuff, what apple doesn’t do. 
        And it’s bigger because of the grouth, it’s not as stable as MS right now. In the next 2-3 years i guess apple will stop growing that fast and will be stable too.

    2. BigChiefSmokem says:

      WP7 is a *superior* product than Android.

      All greatness has its haters I guess.

      1. Guest1 says:

        Without an agreed upon method for evaluating phones, it’s really subjective to state that one is superior to another.  Superior in what way?  To whom?

        1. BigChiefSmokem says:

          To me.

          Do you see how blog commenting and the internet work now? Good.

        2. Anonymous says:

          Android has https with client certificate authentication.   So does Blackberry and iPhone.   WP7 does not.

          So for my needs, Android is superior.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I just went to the mall today. There were many authorized resellers including those for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
    NONE of them sold Windows Phone.
    Some RSPs know about Windows Phones, but they all say that their resellers do not carry Windows Phone.

  15. WebOS used to be superior even to iOS when it came out. That didn’t seem to help it. There are other market forces at work that are much stronger than simply having a better product in some ways.

  16. Quinn Hawkins says:

    Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing.

    To me it seems more to be an issue of timing than anything
    else.  Let’s look back:

    When Apple entered the market with the iPhone it had a drastically
    better phone than any smartphone on the market. 
    By going exclusively with AT&T they gave AT&T a huge weapon to
    lure customers away from Verizon and so AT&T was hugely incentive to market
    the iPhone.  And market it they did.  Winners: AT&T and Apple.  Losers: Verizon and all the other phone

    Google came along with Android and in doing so was the first
    to offer the ecosystem a compelling alternative to the iPhone.  Who was hungry for this?  Verizon and all the other phone manufactures
    of course!  Google gave Verizon and all the
    other handset manufactures something credible to fight back against AT&T/Apple
    and so Verizon and all the other phone manufactures had a huge incentive to market
    Android.   They needed to convince
    consumers Android was as good or better than an Iphone to survive. 

    Then WP7 came along. 
    It was competitive with the iPhone and, let us say, better than Android
    (not everyone will agree, but let’s accept it for now).  So who needs WP7 when it releases?   AT&T and Verizon now have both Android
    and iPhone and all the other handset manufactures already have Android.  WP7 releases on all carriers so no carrier
    can use it as a weapon to attract more customers.  Handset manufactures already have Android and
    are doing quite well with it.   Nobody is
    incented to market WP because it offers them no large advantage. 

    The reason WP7 doesn’t have the support of carriers and
    manufactures I believe has far less to do with the required spec or upgrade
    story and far more to do with timing.  
    WP7 could be feeling the love Android is if it has entered the market as
    the first viable iPhone alternative. 

    1. Ravin Shrestha says:

      And what about markets other than the US?

      1. Quinn Hawkins says:

        Hey Ravin, that’s a good question.  I can’t comment on other markets – neither the dynamics at play nor the adoption on WP7.  If WP7 beat Android to any of other markets it would be interesting to see what happened there.

  17. TwangisKhan says:

    I struggle to understand why people don’t see the obvious: people don’t like Microsoft. Simple.

    They have been forced to use their products because of their monopoly and people don’t like servitude.

    Microsoft seems to believe they are loved because of their billion users. It’s like the prison cook thinking he’s a wonderful chef because everyone eats his food.

    1. Jeff Berard says:

      Great analogy.  I’ve always made the argument — Nobody chooses Windows.  People GET Windows with that PC they see at Best Buy.  Kind of like getting herpes.

      Okay, now some gamer is going to flame me.  

      1. Emi Cyberschreiber says:

        yeah! because you cant install other OS in your computer than Windows! amazing analogy /s yeah, an analogy! only idiots can say is “great”.
        but how is that analogy great when you have choices to A: build a computer with no OS, and B: replace your OS if you want, like linux which is free but oh well, its useless for people like me, or for professionals which means still me, since i use 3dsmax. so yeah none chooses windows /s
        people like you make me laugh. specially “now some gamer is going to flame me.” because you know your comment is stupid like the “great” analogy! above.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Well you are the idiot. Not every user is like you, most people have no idea they can build their own PC and even if they did wouldn’t know where to start. For them, buying a PC *is* just going to Best Buy and buying one. If they do go there they will most likely come out with a Windows PC. Get a broader viewpoint. 

        2. Jeff Berard says:

          I’m not sure how calling me names boosts your argument — but as someone else put it, most people are not like you.  

      2. Joeri says:

        People don’t choose desktop OS’s at all, they let someone else choose for them (even if they’re not aware that they’re doing this). Making a choice presupposes being informed, and 80% of people aren’t informed about desktop OS’s, so they have to defer to someone else’s choice (usually either the default choice, or what the nerd in the family advises).

      3. Anonymous says:

        You are furthering the author’s viewpoint about RSPs.  RSPs are doing the same thing for Android in mobile as they are doing for Windows in traditional computing.

        On a different note, you are an idiot to think that comparing a product to an STD is not flaming.  Then you bate by saying “now some gamer is going to flame me”.  I’m surprised I even took your comment seriously.

        1. Jeff Berard says:

          I’m not surprised at all.  Of course you took it seriously.  You took it seriously because it makes sense.  I didn’t compare Windows to an STD, although, that might actually be fair.  I compared the process of how people acquire Windows to getting an STD.  Think about it.

          As for the RSP argument — I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.  

          Here’s what I do know for sure, and you can take this to the bank.  People who know that they want an Apple product, whether its an iOS device or a Mac, they KNOW what they want, and they’re educated enough to seek that out.  For a very large majority though, they really don’t know what they want.  They know they want a laptop, or a smartphone, or a tablet, and they rely on the RSP to point them in the right direction — but that direction usually isn’t what’s in the best interest of the end user.  It’s in the best interest of the guy working the sales floor who is going to get a bonus because he sells x = y devices or x = z devices.  

          1. Anonymous says:

            I really hope what you’re saying isn’t that, only Apple users are “educated” enough to know what they want in a product. It sounds like that’s what you’re saying. Or were you just using Apple customers as an example of the “informed consumer”?

          2. Jeff Berard says:

            Informed consumer

          3. Freestaterocker says:

            So every single iPhone 4 owner that lined up outside of an Apple store for a 4s for multiple hours was an informed consumer? My best friend is the manager of a Bell retail location (Canadian mobile service provider-one of the “Big 3”) and 90% of the people who want an iPhone want it “because it’s an iPhone”. Alot of them have never even heard of the sgs2, android’s biggest seller atm. They just know it’s “cool”. My friend is one of those rare RSPs that is INFORMED (read: self-admitted tech geek) and cares about what the customer actually NEEDS in a smartphone. He will only sell them an iPhone if they can intelligently state why they want it over another device/OS. He doesn’t sell many iPhones… He actually 1st informed me about WP7 and the then-unreleased Mango, and eventually sold me an HTC HD7 which I am still extremely happy with, even though he personally prefers Android. (he is anxiously awaiting ICS for his LG Optimus LTE)

          4. Brad Billman says:

            I would have to strongly disagree on this point that people that want Apple KNOW what they want.  There are countless people that want Apple because they are being told by fanboys that they want Apple.  Then when they get the device they are completely lost (looking more at Mac OS here than iphone cause iphone couldn’t get any easier to use).  A typical user has little to no clue what they want.  They want to check email and get on “the internet”.  That is the extent of what they know.  And if they want Apple for some reason, it is because someone told them they wanted it or because “it’s sexy” or “it’s cool” or “it can’t get viruses”

            There are obviously more types of people other than the dumb user but they are the masses or the sheep that are just led by the media.  There are those that are more nerdy or tech savvy that might want Apple because they really like the OS or some of it’s features but most of those people are probably savvy enough to know they can go linux for much cheaper (unless there is Apple specific software they need)

          5. Anonymous says:

            Really! you really think ultra books were the ” in ” thing, before Apple sheeple showed the rest of the laptop industry the way forward? Are you now claiming intel is pushing ultra books because of the intense adoration of Apple fans towards Apple’s MacBook air who actually bought an Apple product because an Apple fanboy told them so?

            Obviously you cannot take the thought of the entire laptop ndustry being led by Apple sheeple as something reasonable as it will be an affront to your intelligence – for how can people who like to be cool and hip set the direction for nerds and geeks. That’s blasphemy…

            Or in another perspective – Apple’s consumers have a keen eye on Easy of use and design ethic that gets their work done. They get attracted to Apple for a good reason. The rest of the industry learns from this experience and strives to make something better.

            Put in other words, Apple sets the direction – the rest follow Apple.

          6. Blah says:

            There are MANY reasons why people dont want Windows desktops and seek Apple products. have you ever asked anyone what they hate about computers (Windows)? Too complex to maintain, insecure (relatively speaking), slows down for no reason (see insecure), expensive to update ($199 for  an update is robbery). 

            With regard to WP7, FIrst I think the UI departure itself is off-putting. Had they done some opinion testing, it wouldn’t have made it out of the lab. Second, users dont care about the fragmentation of Android, and most don’t update their phone, only geeks do. Not that this is good, but it is what it is. People want cheap, capable hardware, and open-source allows that to happen. Handset makers and carriers want to sell handsets, and updating to the latest and greatest doesn’t allow that to happen as much. Apple can afford it since they own the hardware. Apple forces upgrades but only if you want the latest and greatest, and thats after like 4-5 years. The same cost advantage is the reason open source is growing throughout the rest of the world, even if closed software is basically given away.

          7. Jeff Berard says:

            I would take issue with your characterization of Android as Open Source.  It is NOT open source.  

            Android is a development platform for carriers and handset manufacturers, not a computing platform for end users.

          8. Anonymous says:

            Are you really that ignorant?  You can download every bit of Ice Cream Sandwich right now and tinker to your heart’s desire.  Then load it onto your Nexus device and be happy.  Do you even know what open source is?

          9. Jeff Berard says:

            Read what you posted and then ask yourself if you know what open source means, k?  Thanks.

          10. Anonymous says:

            Open source, I.e., I can download the source code, modify it, and load it onto my device. Duh. I do that with my nexus s and my Xoom using aosp android. Read that, suckah!

          11. Jeff Berard says:


          12. Jeff Berard says:

            Sorry, the moment you use the F word (Fanboy) — you’ve surrendered the field.  No point in discussing this further with you.  Have a nice day.

          13. cc says:

            Well said Jeff, the the f word comment at this stage of OS use is pointless, and mistakenly dismissive.

            Good call to wish him well on his way down the intertubes.

          14. Anonymous says:

            IMO, most people nowadays don’t make informed decisions about the technological products they buy. they merely want what’s poised as “cool” by the PR department of whichever company is trying to sell them a new phone or tablet or whatever.

      4. Stilgar says:

        WTF are you talking about? I chose Windows because it is the best OS for gaming! 🙂

    2. Anonymous says:

      *EXACTLY*, “superior” is in the mind of the beholder..when this one happens to have viewed the DOG PILE of a code base that is Widows, why else would he think that a SLIM, SLEEK, WHOLESOME code base, developers would LOVE and Devices and CUSTOMERS would come to love! The answer to that in a nutshell is ANDROID. They decide to make a Desktop OS and it’s all over. 

      and MSFT Superior products? Ask yourself, why is THE LARGEST Social Network on the PLANET, using an open source DB when MSFT is one of their largest Partners, (certainly largest “software” Partners). 

      1. JKM says:

        Yes, if only someone made Linux for the desktop, it would be “all over.” Oh. Wait!

        1. Blah says:

          Its not all about the desktop. Linux already dominates all other embedded markets. Linux runs your phone, firewalls, routers, web servers, and whatever else…Now ask yourself why would a cloud computing company use MS tools, when they can build an Open Source Stack and support it themselves for free?

          1. hunter2 says:

            Last I checked building yourself a cloud computing platform and supporting it is no where near free.

        2. hunter2 says:

          I guess you haven’t heard JKM, 2012 is the year of Linux on the desktop.

      2. Guest1 says:

        “Ask yourself, why is THE LARGEST Social Network on the PLANET, using an open source DB when MSFT is one of their largest Partners, (certainly largest “software” Partners). ”

        How about cost?   SQL Server isn’t cheap.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Bullshit. Facebook use open source because they can modify the source.

          Nobody has ever built a database with as much load as Facebook. Nobody.

          SQL Server, Oracle, Postgres, MySQL, Mongo, whatever… None have ever been tested under the kind of load Facebook has. So they use open source – because they can fix all the performance problems they find, and I’m sure they’ve found lots of them.

          They chose PHP for the same reason. It’s not good enough for their needs but nothing else is good enough either and they can easily improve it.

          1. Anonymous says:

            Nobody has ever built a database with as much load as Facebook. Nobody.”
            An unsupportable statement, as you have no idea what sort of load is put on Google’s databases (or Facebook’s, for that matter.)

          2. Dan says:

            Its pretty clear FB has the worlds largest MySQL install. At last count they had 60,000 servers, 1800 MySQL servers, and 9000 Memcached boxes.

        2. Anonymous says:

          Last I heard, they were a *BILLION* dollar company. I know PLENTY of Start UP’s that started with SQL (and built out with them). It’s simply because SQL can’t scale/nor customize like MYSQL can…and the important part of that argument is *CUSTOMIZE* like they want to. 20-somethings DO NOT, NOR WILL EVER accept a “forced upon them” device that’s locked. (yes, I know AAPL is locked—but look how many people aggressively (and succesfully jail break it) The Soccer mom is “Cool” with an IPHONE. you think She’s leaving the PURE BEAUTY of an IPHONE? PLEASE!!!

          It of course is no secret that Facebook MYSQL is the largest 100% customized deployment in the World.
          and you mention COST. Um, last I read, MSFT was a Minority shareholder in FB. Um, you don’t think they’ve had discussions on getting MSFT in there? (especially so MSFT could brag to Oracle type customers on TRILLION page view serve up?!?!?!?!?

          You think a shop that’s use to 100% customization, will want to use a “LOCK BOX” like a windows phone? You HONESTLY think windows Tango is nothing but a *TOY* for children?

          Look at that…LOOK AT IT….would you want to be a Windows 7 Phone sales guy and pull *THAT* out of your brief case to try to sell to an Enterprise like Cisco, E-BAY, FACEBOOK, HP, ADOBE, SYMANTEC, YAHOO!….PLEASE!!!!

          It’s a MSFT Paper weight …look at it…there’s not a simple button to push to simply CALL SOMEONE!!!!

          And, I can’t customize my screen to do so.

          This is what “Windows”/MSFT continues to fail to realize and will be their death nail.

          Oh, and I did read on WmPowerUser, the * LAUGHABLE* quote that you can get an “unlocked Nokia for the low, low price of $799..*LAUGHING*…I kid you not….who are these CLOWNS running the show for Windows PHONE…..(and they offer up “or you can go to Amazon and get one for $500-ish.

          GOD, I wish I knew a buyer/Exec from Fry’s to see how PATHETIC the sell through will be on that. We can only hope some “Mole” releases the PATHETIC numbers on some blog somewhere……

          Keep drinking the Kool-Aid..there is *NO WAY* MSFT will show up at this dance….NO WAY……

          “Microsoft, Your Grandfather’s Software Company”

      3. Anon. says:

        I heard of Chrome OS by Google, and its total BS, It was famous for like a month but I’ve not heard of it since

    3. David says:

      Insightful comment. Thank you.

    4. Mukund says:

      Awesome analogy.

    5. Narg says:

      Terrible analogy.  Some here say it’s good, but they hate MS.  Obviously.  However, the analogy is bad because most folks actually DO like Windows.  And like it quite a bit over any other OS.  Saying otherwise is simply hiding under a rock…

      1. Avro says:

        No proof for that statement.  It is a bit like saying people like Fords better than Mercedes.  Most people use Windows because they are forced to by their employer or lack of funds.  Whether they like it or not is another matter entirely. 

      2. Toonces says:

        That’s complete BS. I work in an environment where I get to see people switching from PCs all the time. Trust me when I say that most people (and by most people I mean non geeks) do not like windows at all. They use it because they think have to for work, or school, or because they think there’s no viable alternative. If everyone was made aware of how much they don’t HAVE to use windows, I think you’d see a much broader shift away from it.

        While small, Apple is beginning to hurt other manufactures a lot, and it’s not because of the shiny gadgets. Their OS is demonstrably better. When people use it, they realize that.

        Internet Explorer is getting destroyed by Chrome and Firefox, and that snowball is gonna keep rolling downhill.

        If people love windows so much, why are these other companies succeeding at Microsofts expense?

        1. Anon. says:

           Erm, my mom bought a Mac and asked me to install Windows on it, which i did, after debating how much faster a good looking Mac is. She simply didn’t want to even learn how to use it.
          My point is, she’s been institutionalised, like a lot of people.
          I don’t hate or like Windows (I like the developer preview of Windows 8) but it has managed to get itself into a position where everyone has to use it, and I haven’t seen major game manufacturers and software makers rolling out Mac and Linux versions of their stuff, and even when they do, the product often feels like an after thought. (I know Mac Office is an exception)

        2. Ian H. says:

          Demonstrably better? I doubt it. Having used every MS OS since 3.11, and having experienced both OS9 and OSX on the Mac side, I don’t think you will find much about Mac that is demonstrably better than Win7. That might have been the case 10 or even 5 years ago, but it is no longer.

          As to why other companies are succeeding at MS’s expense, that’s pretty easy: when you’re sitting at 95% of the desktop market, it’s a lot easier to go down than up.

          1. Darwinsnookie says:

            Oh you’ve “experienced” Mac OS. How convincing. OS X has a far superior interface and internals than the mess of spaghetti code that is Windows.

          2. Anonymous says:

            I don’t see what is funny. Dawrin was right

          3. WixosTrix says:

            I find the Windows 7 interface superior.

          4. Anonymous says:

            The Windows 7 UI is amazing. But I find the OS X UI simpler and easier to use. But we’re all entitled to our opinions.

          5. Guest says:

            The NT kernel is quite good. You’re just judging above the kernel, some of the APIs that are there for  backwards compatibility. WinRT is the new set of APIs that are really modern and designed better. Just because you disagree with the design doesn’t mean that it isn’t correct.

          6. Nick says:

            Hey, Steve Jobs is dead.. you don’t need to suck up anymore.

          7. Anonymous says:

            Cognitive dissonance I see.

            Wake up and smell coffee. In your dream world people love Apple ‘s products and tell others about it, because they want to suck up to Steve Job. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that people love Apples products because their products are great.

            If you get out of your imaginary world you will see the fact that most people who have bought Apple’s products are not Apple’s employees or suppliers and hence never really needed to suck up to Steve Jobs. Now many of these customers of Apple and newer ones too continue to buy Apple’s product even after Steve’s death. All this should be proof enough for anyone with common sense to realize that people who buy and adore Apple’s products do so – not to suck up to Steve Jobs- but because they actually like their products.

          8. trrll says:

            I’ve used Windows since v.2, never with much pleasure, and my impression is that MS’s user interface design, both in the OS and in their apps, has steadily deteriorated since a high-water mark (not that high) back in the 80’s. The tendency everywhere is to attempt to second-guess the user, showing what the software thinks the user needs, and hiding everything else. I constantly see experienced Windows users struggling, trying to figure out where MS has hidden the feature they need on *this* version.

          9. WixosTrix says:

            “constantly see experienced Windows users struggling, trying to figure out where MS has hidden the feature they need on *this* version.”

            It’s called Windows Search and it’s only a click away. In Windows 7 it’s so much smarter. For example, if you ever installed Windows 7 Professional, you would know it doesn’t install with any games and you must add them from the Windows Features. If you search for Solitair in the Start Menu without having it installed, it will actually show “Turn Windows features on or off”. By clicking that, the users will see that ‘Games’, which is the first box, is unchecked.

            You can search for just about any file, folder, program, feature, or task.

          10. Guest says:

            Search is a poor substitute for a UI convention.  It’s the excuse for “that thing you know how to find, they hid it, so you’d better search”.  Search also does you no good when MS capriciously renames features all the time.

          11. Anonymous says:

            How does the user find something they don’t know the name of?  Search sucks as a menu system.

          12. cathode says:

            If they don’t know the name of it, or how to describe it, then they aren’t trying to use it in the first place. Your straw man just got knocked down.

          13. Anonymous says:

            There are many programs whose names do not imply what the program does. Often the user will need to see a list to “jog his memory”. Humble yourself, dilettante.

          14. WixosTrix says:

            Accept change, get friendly with Google.

          15. WixosTrix says:

            If they don’t know what they’re looking for then they shouldn’t be searching for it. What do you want to do: connect to a network? Add a new user? Join a domain? Just type it. Plus, all the run commands: regedit, appwiz.cpl, devmgmt.msc, etc populate when entered as well.

          16. Anonymous says:

            Don’t argue with Apple fans. They haven’t used Windows in 15 years, but magically know everything about it.

          17. Anonymous says:

            Just like how you magically know they haven’t used Windows in 15 years huh?

          18. Anonymous says:

            😉 as much as I’d like to agree with you, drawing conclusions about such a large group of people isn’t gonna do much good IMO

    6. markiz says:

      How does that analogy translate, when if fact, Windows 7 is superior to everything else out there in almost every single way?

      I also think WP is as superior, but i am aware of some serious problems (first and foremost, memory expansion).

      1. Canucker says:

        Hint, when you make the generalized comment that “Windows 7 is superior to everything else out there in almost every single way”  you sound eerily like the inmate who can only ever remember eating prison food.

        1. markiz says:

          I assumed it was given that i also meant “for most people”..
          From finding help in case of the problem, to software availability.
          plus, it looks nice and is quite fast.

          1. Anonymous says:

            And has tons of malware, poor touch interface, only runs on x86, looks garish, lacks an app store, etc.  Windows is trash.

          2. markiz says:

            Malware problem is not nearly a problem as people make it out to be.
            Touch interface? On w7? seriously?
            On all other point also, seriously?

          3. Anonymous says:

            “Malware problem is not nearly a problem as people make it out to be.”
            Sure it is when you have to pay somebody to fix it which millions of people have had to do.

            “Touch interface? On w7? seriously?”

            Touch interface on every version of real windows that has ever existed has been trash. That’s why windows tablets don’t sell.

          4. markiz says:

            I agree, but tablet niche did not even exist until a year and a half ago.

            I’m not a fanboi, but it seems like you, for some reason, just simply hate ms.
            I was not talking about tablets, i was talking about desktop OS. Windows 7 is a desktop OS.

          5. Anonymous says:

            So, if someone doesn’t come with effusive praise, that means they “hate”. I’m just telling it like it is. Don’t get your feelings hurt, dude.

          6. Anonymous says:

            malware: every (major) platform has malware. from Windows to iOS, malware is just something you’re going to have to deal with. Get MSE and be smart about what you download, and most likely you’re not going to have to deal with a load of malware.
            poor touch interface: of course, Windows 7 🙂 let’s waitandsee what happens with 8
            only x86: also just 7. Windows 8, here we come 🙂 but yeah, Linux wins in this department
            looks garish: i wouldn’t say it looks horrible. IMO it does a nice job of focusing the looks on the app you’re running, instead of the OS itself (which is what I believe an OS should focus on)
            lacks an app store: windows 8 😉 but then again, I wouldn’t say that an app store is extremely important on a desktop operating system….people know where to get their apps on the internet for Windows, and, being a platform with over 4 million apps written for it, if Windows had started with an app store, I feel sorry for the person who has to handle the servers serving all those app downloads 😉

            look at Mac,
            has next-to-no malware, but has (relative to Windows) next-to-no software
            it doesn’t even run on a tablet
            only runs on Apple-chosen hardware
            the “looks” of OSX seem to be competing for attention with the actual program a user’s trying to use
            has an app store

            just my 2 cents

    7. Anonymous says:

      I like Microsoft just fine. Even if I didn’t, my like or dislike for them has nothing to do with WP7’s failure. Rather, I see two fundamental flaws that have hindered adoption:

      1) WP7 is way, way too late to the party, full stop.
      2) MS has failed to compensate for #1 with adequate marketing promotion. There is no WP7 “buzz”.

      Quoting Rober Scoble: “..let’s look at the ads on TV right now. There’s all sorts of people
      saying to get their app, including the local TV news departments. Do
      they talk about Android? Yes, of course. iOS? Of course! Windows Phone
      7? Hell no. RIM/Blackberry? I haven’t heard that in an app advertisement
      in, well, forever.
      So, when a consumer goes into a carrier store to buy a new phone, what is going on in the back of her/his head?

      Everything else=not safe.”

      1. JUICE says:

        Perfectly put!!!!!! Myself not as a Microsoft exec. of a carrier sales person, but just the average Joe pump windows phone devices like it was free gas. Yet people stare at me like…”Uhhh When is the apple logo going to come flying out of the screen sir?”
        Microsoft (in light of what you previously stated) is damning themselves out of the game with their lack of an adequate sales pitch to push the product into mainstream light.
        Such a great device but no that no one knows about is almost self mutilation on the part of the company. People just don’t know, and it is either the company (MS) or the various carriers responsibility to inform the end user that their is a much better alternative.

        …Its nice to read great insight on such a topic.

        1. rickroberts says:

          You should put the kibosh on the multiple exclamation marks. That’s how tween girls write — not adults. 

          1. Guest says:

            “That’s how tween girls write ”

            That’s Gay!!!!!!!

      2. fishman says:

        Nailed it right there!

    8. Dan says:

      People buy what they perceive to be the best value on the market. Right now, iPhone and Android are perceived to be the best value. iPhone, because of Apple’s famous obsession with great design (and the iPhone’s competitive pricing), and Android because of its ubiquity and myriad options that Apple won’t touch (like a 4″ screen or a physical keyboard).

      Microsoft problem is that they are a late-comer, and they have an uphill battle to establish a market presence. It ain’t gonna be cheap.

      Remember, the XBox was also a late-comer to the console wars, and it took Microsoft years to establish dominance, but the MS name didn’t hold them back at all. In that situation, however, MS was aided by some high-profile fumbles from their competitors; Sega crashed and burned, Nintendo’s Gamecube flopped, leaving the XBox to go head-to-head with the PS2.

      MS needs a break; they need either Apple or Google to stumble so that they can move into the #2 position, and it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon.

      MS does have a couple of in-house technologies that they can leverage to their advantage: 1) XBox Live integration, and 2) Exchange Server integration. If they can do those two things well, then they will build a solid base.

      1. Matt House says:

        “Remember, the XBox was also a late-comer to the console wars, and it took Microsoft years to establish dominance.” Microsoft hasn’t “established dominance” in the video game market even after spending billions. They were second in the last generation of consoles. They are second in the current generation and, even though they had a full year head start on Sony and Nintendo, trends suggest they might fall behind the PS3 by the end of the year and actually end up dead last in this generation.  Where do people get the idea that the XBox 360 is “winning” anything?

        1. Anonymous says:

          Where did you get your numbers. Last time I checked, Xbox was easily outselling PS3. 

          1. WixosTrix says:

            “Where do people get the idea that the XBox 360 is “winning” anything?”
            Uhh… the fact that the 360 has been outselling both the Wii and PS3 (combined some months) for 15 out of the last 16 months with the one drop being due to holiday shortages last year.  This is dispite the huge failure rates from launch devices.  That’s where, facts.

        2. Brad Billman says:

          360 is the dominating console by numbers.  Where did you get your info?

        3. Nick says:

          Hmm.. where are you getting your facts that PS3 is ANYWHERE near the sales of 360? During Black Friday Microsoft pushed out 1 million units.. IN 1 DAY! During that same time I think Sony pushed out around 200,000 units… So, for family oriented users/moms who want to get fit — Wii is winning .. for hardcore gamers 360 wins.. for people who enjoy sports games PS3 wins.

 where is your trends now?

      2. Absilver18 says:

        I think the question for XBOX.. where is the MicroSoft name or logo?    To get the XBOX to take off required a low key promotion that it is a MicroSoft product.

      3. Freestaterocker says:

        They did both extremely well, but ultimately they are much less likely to convert an android or iPhone devotee than they are to capture a 1st-time smartphone user. This means 3 things are needed:
        1 MS-sponsored incentives for carrier reps (eg: free Xbox to 1st rep to activate 30 wp7 devices)
        2 Advertising on tv, not just YouTube and Xbox Live
        3 MS throwing cash at it until 1 & 2 work.

    9. What I find ironic is that the carriers treating Microsoft in the US is them using their heft unfairly…. Which is exactly what Microsoft has done with a lot of the companies it deals with in other lines of business. 

      This is a situation unique to the US where Carriers demand this level of control. This is why in Emerging markets where users have control the Microsoft Windows combination will be formidable. Both of the brands have amazing name recognition here and the users like them.

    10. Brad Billman says:

      That is a big reason WP7 has struggled.  Look at windows XP and Windows Mobile.  Compared to today’s standards they are awful and they tarnish MS reputation.  I only tried a WP7 because I got it free.  Switched from iPhone 3gs to Samsung Focus with plans to switch to Android after hating the WP7.

      After using WP7 I can’t stand IOS.  It is so clunky, slow, boring, monotonous with the constant entering and exiting of apps (BACK BUTTON PLZ)

      1. Canucker says:

        Try double clicking the Home button…. The problem with the back button on Android is that what you are taken back to is unpredictable.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Actually, it’s not.  

      2. hunter2 says:

        What’s the benefit of a hardware back button? I’m a wp7 user but i much prefer the iOS method.

    11. Robert Moir says:

      I struggle to understand why more of my fellow geeks don’t see the obvious.

      “People” – as in the general public – don’t think like we do. They don’t care that Microsoft got busted for anti trust. They don’t care that Apple is a company epitomised by the phrase “control freak”. They don’t care that Google are spying on them.

      They don’t care about any of that. All they want to know is “Does this new device work good” and “can I get it on sale price?”

      1. WixosTrix says:

        I agree with you 100%  I too don’t know why people don’t understand this.

      2. Brad Billman says:

        Well put

      3. Sumja Brody says:

        your arguments sound convincing & logical but I believe them to be mistaken. Microsoft is hated by non-geeks, too, not just “free software” Linux hacker types. Most people are fashion-conscious in some form, and Microsoft is just not fashionable, Kinect notwithstanding. If there had been only one tire company for a decade or two, many people would indeed choose the competition as soon as it appeared.

        1. Spamhere says:

          Oh really and you have this based on what, anecdote? Did you sample the global population? Have you shown there to be a causal relationship between a hate for Microsoft and the buying of competing product in the global population?

        2. Robert Moir says:

          “your arguments sound convincing & logical but I believe them to be mistaken.”

          Fair enough. Why?

          “Microsoft is hated by non-geeks, too, not just “free software” Linux hacker types.”

          I’ve never met a non-geek who hates Microsoft. I’ve met a few who complain about the cost of their software, but that’s as far as it goes in my experience.

          “Most people are fashion-conscious in some form, and Microsoft is just not fashionable, Kinect notwithstanding.”

          Don’t people who buy computers to make a fashion statement tend to buy Macs?

          “If there had been only one tire company for a decade or two, many people would indeed choose the competition as soon as it appeared. ”

          And aren’t Apple sort of like “the competition as soon as it appeared” except that they’ve always been there for as long as Microsoft?

          1. Avro says:

            I have hardly ever met someone who likes Microsoft.  Not entirely Microsoft’s fault as Windows tends to be on nasty cheapie hardware.

          2. Anonymous says:

            Please, you can’t say Apple *EVER* wanted to compete against MSFT. They’ve ALWAYS marched to the beat of their own drummer.

            They have a VERY LOYAL core following in Design shops and never pretended to be a competitor of MSFT. You think their first computer coming out at $10,000 (in 1980’s dollars)–they expected to topple MSFT with that?

            PLEASE….go take a Business 101 class before your idiotic thoughts. 

            AND, do you *HONESTLY* think someone would shell out $400-$600 for a MSFT PHONE? ARE YOU HIGH?

            Their entire go to market plan will HAVE TO BE “cheapest”. And, how many people will want to pull out a $99 MSFT phone, when all their friends are using an IPHONE7 (by that time)—-from AAPL and *LOVE IT*

            As a matter of fact, we just had this discussion the other night. The 50-year old “Mom” got on Facebook (to keep in touch with her kids at college—she never “Stuck”–didn’t like it at first). 

            She then realized in order to “keep in touch” with her kids, she would need to be able to send/receive texts. She looked at an AAPL, it did PRECISELY what she wanted it to do. 

            Once on AAPL, she reengaged with Facebook. Now, she has 2-data streams to communicate with her Children at College (Georgia TECH no less).

            And you think a $99 (or maybe “free with plan”—phone from MSFT will be good enough for her—-or she’ll “trust”  an MSFT product to WORK 24/7–especially since she’s a NON-Techie. 

            ARE YOU HIGH? What POSSIBLE entry point does MSFT have?

            Again, the only one I see is the “tween”–and they failed *BIG TIME* with that and Facebook (remember KIN—or whatever the heck it was called???). “Tweens” rolled their eyes at it. 

            THE EXACT same thing will happen with MSFT. (Go check out Twitter and all the kids crying they didn’t get an IPAD, IPHONE, etc. for Christmas. you HONESTLY think MSFT will come out with a phone kids will actually TWEET ABOUT, “Hating their parents because they didn’t get one”

            Keep dreaming….”Microsoft, Your Grandfather’s Software Company”

          3. Joe Brockhaus says:

            toy features won’t sell like hot cakes when productivity is the measuring stick. Win8 will roll out, whether people like it or not.

            Just like changes to Facebook; everyone hates it until they have to change to the next new, but no one really wants to go back 2 versions even if they had the choice..

            Apple only wishes they’ve sold as many ‘productivity’ devices as iOS devices. 
            You seem to forget the larger trends that fueled the iOS explosion. Namely, the unification of the mobile phone and portable music player platforms. If Apple had tried to create a phone before the iPod, it would have flopped. It was obvious that people were going to be carrying around mobile music players AND mobile phones. Rather than take the brute force approach that the rest of the market was merrily trudging along with (hardware manufacturers creating myriad devices with specialized purposes for social, music, office, etc), Apple decided to capitalize the vapid portable music player space. Moving to incorporate radio features was then an easy task that people wanted. Microsoft actually dominated the smartphone office-centric market until RIM came along and took another simple (and too narrow, as their impending death has shown) approach and said: “Hey look, we can do push email!”. Which made sense because most people use their mobile devices for consumption only. These were all clues to Apple, and looking back, they are clues for us to see how Apple devised its strategy.So .. what is the next trend? Obviously Tablets and ‘real’ PCs are in competition for being a reasonable form factor compromise with effective computing power, piggy-backing on the touch interface that has become a standard. Initially people were sold on the touch screen concept because it would make hardware design easier, and developers could do whatever they wanted with the completely open interface. But ultimately there is method to the madness of a consistent interface, and still the same struggle exists. Moreover, those interfaces that are empowered by touch-only are not productivity-friendly. And this is where the Win8 benefit comes into play, combined with the natural unification of platforms that is coming down the pipe. For now, this predominantly-consumption-driven metaphor for mobility will suffice, but as it becomes more pervasive, so too will the need to be more productive. And this is where Microsoft has been the undisputed winner. For most businesses to be productive, they need Windows. And no matter how productive Apple tries to make their iOS products, there is another high barrier to entry into the corporate space: legacy applications and corporate security. iOS devices are a nightmare for corporate integration and security in Microsoft networks. What does Apple have in store for consumers on this front? Parental Controls. Having a single OS that spans all potential platforms means that everything a corporation has come to expect from managing Windows Desktops will natively just work for the new platforms. When the time comes for a corp to integrate tablets into their workplace, it will be a no-brainer because they know  their IT mgmt will be able to manage these devices natively, if an app needs to be developed for one platform it will natively work on the others, and given that the hardware will continue to be open and flexible, there will be no limit to the consumer-driven changes that can foster the environment. Everything about the open ecosystem that MS built that led to their dominance in the PC era will stay true and keep them relevant. 

        3. Anonymous says:


      4. Geeker says:

        Spot on

      5. Justin Malcolm says:

        I am not sure you understand the “general public” either. Microsoft as a brand is associated with computers. Computers are seen as complex, unreliable tools that require lots of expensive add-ons (like software) to be useful. That is why “Windows” is a shitty brand for anything other than computers.

        I disagree with your implication that the “Windows” brand is well loved by non-geeks. Microsoft has had many phone products now and they have all failed, even the ones that provided a great deal of customization flexibility for carriers and device makers.

        “Windows” as a brand is simply a poor fit for consumers. It just does not work well (or “good” as you say). The people that decided that the XBox should not be called “Windows Game Console 7” knew what they were doing.

        1. Marc says:

          As long as you’re correcting grammar, it’s “The people who…” vs. “The people that…” in your last sentence.

          1. The Grammarian says:

            Actually both are correct. 

        2. Robert Moir says:

          Justin, a couple of points.

          Firstly the “does this device work good” thing wasn’t as *I* say, it was as I’ve heard *others* say which is why it was in quotes. Still, thanks for correcting “my” grammar; your correction certainly makes a big difference to the point I was trying to make and the way you sneaked the correction in wasn’t patronising at all.

          Secondly, I don’t think that I implied that non geeks “love” Windows. My point was that they don’t even think about Windows in that sense at all. For the majority of non-technical people I deal with, Windows isn’t something that they think about, it’s something that just “is”.

          This isn’t even a “Windows” thing I know several people who purchased Macs because someone told them that “Apple is better” and most of those are equally ignorant about whether or not they’re running “Lion” or “Snow Leopard” or “Tiger” or whatever.

          From these people, I am forced to conclude that the majority of non-technical people don’t care what they have, they just care about how well it works.

          I do agree that calling the XBox 360 the “Windows Game Console 7” would have been a very bad idea though. Can’t help thinking that we’re getting off piste somewhat at this point though.

        3. Anonymous says:

          😉 wasn’t the Xbox going to be called the DirectXBox?

          1. Anonymous says:

            how about no
            From Wikipedia with a citation”
            “During development, the original DirectX box name was shortened to Xbox. Microsoft’s marketing department did not like the Xbox name, and suggested many alternatives. During focus testing, the Xbox name was left on the list of possible names to demonstrate how unpopular the Xbox name would be with consumers. However, consumer testing revealed that Xbox was preferred by far over the other suggested names and “Xbox” became the official name of the product.[7]”
            don’t talk out of your ass

            “DirectX Box” was it internal code name since it’s based on DirectX

          2. Ryan Gadz says:

            “During development, the original DirectX box name was shortened to Xbox” …

            i think that is what i was saying “yep” to lol

            it seems like we all agree, who is talking out the ass?

        4. Anonymous says:

          I don’t believe that the general public hates Windows. Correct me if I’m wrong, but really the largest ‘study’/poll ever done on this would be the Hunch mac vs. pc question? If that’s true, then I’d say is “proof” that people
          1) don’t hate windows anywhere near as much as you appear to be implying
          2) windows/microsoft/pcs has just become a part of many people’s lives, as the point that Robert has been making
          once again, please correct me if I’m wrong on any of this.

          1. Anonymous says:

            DUDE, who paid for the Study?

            I’ve NEVER heard of “Hutch”—did you read the fine print on the study? It was *HUTCH* users, 700,000 of them and they say “Yes Poindexter correlation does not necessarily imply causation”

            I cannot tell you *ONE* person that *LIKES*’s all they know. .

            If they were given *ANY* alternative….AT LEAST 50%+ would abandon windows….Linux is simply not a viable option (YET) for non-techies (Ubuntu “gets it”–but still far away for a stable enough experience for “Turn On, Click to Internet”–

            As soon as Chrome OS is stable to install on PC’s, it’s a WHOLE NEW BALL GAME. 

            “Microsoft, Your Grandfather’s Software Company”

          2. Anonymous says:

            Try before responding to any of my comments, please.
            Hunch is owned by Ebay, but at the time this “study” was done it was independently owned.

            And I personally know many people who like Windows…it’s not all they know.

            Are you attempting to say that the people in this poll were only given one option? They were given three options, “Mac” “PC” and “Neither/I don’t define myself in these terms”.

            Are you seriously telling me that when Chrome OS is installed on PC’s it’s a WHOLE NEW BALL GAME? Um…I don’t know how to tell you this, but Chrome OS is already installed on PCs. They’re called Chromebooks. They're $500, but people just aren’t buying them. It’s the same price for an utterly limited machine that can do nothing but surf the Internet.

          3. Anonymous says:

            Dude, it’s Build 1.0 (if that) for Chrome OS. (and they’ve partnered with Hardware Makers—precisely the plan Windows Phone wants with it’s roll out which is DOOMED to fail)

            As soon as Chrome OS it released like Android–a couple of Geniuses build a REALLY NICE build (Say VERIZON GLOBAL Technology? They’re already married to Android via Droid Razar/Ice Cream Sandwich. You *HONESTLY* think MSFT can come out with *ANYTHING* that slick in the next 2-3 years? PLEASE!

            you think *ANY* C.T.O. will take Windows 8 (first build for Enterprise) and *TRUST IT*?!!?

            how many C.T.O’s do you know that release a GA build, into the wild on the desk tops until MSFT has removed (most)—of the bugs?

            If you can show me *ANY* Enterprise C.T.O. that is willing to release a FIRST GA build of *ANY* MSFT product…I’ll show you a C.T.O. without a Job. You think that same C.T.O. is gonna allow an MSFT product into *HIS HOUSE* that he can’t control—yet *ANOTHER* device to worry about “IP” leaving the building with all the supposed “Sync” Features?

            you honestly think a C.T.O. wants a phone that Syncs with “Office”—the *ONLY POSSIBLE USE* to be to walk out with IP out of the building (I mean COME ON–people WILL NOT NOW NOR EVER use a Phone to use Word, Excel, etc. 

            If I need corporate Email on my phone, I’ll simply IMAP through Gmail. Why bother with ANOTHER client when I can do that?

            Yeah, I know you’re part of MSFT PR, but it’s a sad attempt. Go worry about the 5,000=-ish views your “MSFT PHONE Commercial” has on YouTube after 14-months while AAPL has 6+MM views of Siri in 2-MONTHS….

            *Laughing*—and you HONESTLY believe that MSFT can do voice recognition as well as AAPL. RIGHT….it would have already been released……


            Windows phone is DEAD

            “Windows, Your Grandfather’s Software Company”

          4. Anonymous says:

            You’re overuse of asterixs and capital letters is making it so this will be my last response to you.
   < that's a pretty nice build if you ask me, why isn't it on every PC at Fry's? And please, I've maybe met three people other than you that considers the Android operating system to be "sexy." It's powerful – I'll give you that. But it is not sexy. WP7 is sexy, iOS is sexy, WebOS is a little sexy, but Android is not. Android is a hella powerful and amazingly nice operating system, but I don't think it's a consumer-oriented OS. it's simply not sexy.
            And no, I'm not a part of MS. No one in my family has a job at Microsoft.
            It seems that you're switching between Windows 8 and WP7 in the paragraph…I'll try to answer to both.
            Windows 8:
            You have two arguments here.
            1) No CTO will ever use the first release of an innovative product because it will have bugs in it
            2) Because of all the new consumer-oriented features in Windows 8, W8 will automatically sync all of the sensitive info that a company has onto Microsoft's public servers.
            and to answer…
            1) OK, but that doesn't matter much in terms of Windows 8. Let them stand by until it becomes extremely stable, thats OK. But then again, Microsoft gives away it's beta builds for free, so they are getting a lot of feedback for months, if not years, before the product is released.  Still, I could care less if they wait until W9 to upgrade…all you're proving here is that Windows 8 is an extremely large change to Windows 7.
            2) It's naive to think that Microsoft would release a business version of an operating system without allowing (through group policy, most likely) the option to deactivate autosyncing features. That's simply not true, AFAIK.
            You're arguing that the Office feature on the phone is a problem because if people do their work on the go then the phone could get stolen and the IP taken.
            OK. so there's a problem with doing work on the go…but it's a problem no matter how you do work on the go. You would have the same problem using a laptop or *cough cough* Chromebook to do work….you've just got to hope that the phone doesn't get stolen. Anyways, WP7 is the only phone (to my knowledge) that has native syncing with SharePoint server, which I think would be a large + to a business.
            and finally, you say that Microsoft could never do anything remotely as good as Siri. I'd like to ask you – have you ever used the voice recognition feature on Windows Phone? Or used Bing on Xbox with Kinect? Not to mention the amount of work Microsoft Research has done in the field of voice recognition ( Even apart from voice recognition, where's Apple's Kinect? I doubt Apple could do anything like that either…I mean, while Apple's trying to make touch interfaces work, Microsoft's deleting the interface altogether. You should see the kids using Kinect in the microsoft store. You should see them using Surface or Windows Phone or the Touch mouse…these are the kinds of things that people never thought possible. Microsoft did touchscreens a decade ago; now they've moved on.Oh, unless you're talking about how Siri "understands" what you're asking for when you ask it something like "what's the weather like in San Jose?," try searching for the same things in WolframAlpha. Siri pulls all of it's fact-related answers from WolframAlpha.
            and your sig seemed to change from "Microsoft, your grandfather's software company" to "Windows, you grandfather's software company." what's with that?

          5. Anonymous says:

            “innovative” and “Microsoft” proves to me you’re a PR Clown from MSFT….Microsoft has never innovated anything….done with you….

            “Microsoft, Your Grandfather’s Software Company”

          6. Anonymous says:

            Innovation is…
            1.origination: the act or process of inventing or introducing something new
   idea or method: a new invention or way of doing something
            Have you ever heard of Microsoft Research? If you want to see innovation,
            What would you call Kinect? Xbox360/Kinect was THE FIRST game console (AFAIK) to bring controller-free input to consumers houses. Give me one thing that Apple or Google has produced that’s more ‘innovative’ than that. Many of their products are amazing, but to call them innovative isn’t right. They’re nice, but they’ve been done before. Most of the things that’s being worked on in MSR are truely innovative – that is to say, they are ORIGINAL. Android? Microsoft/RIM/Palm/IBM did that decades ago. iPhone? see above. iPad? Windows for Pen and Touch in the 1990s. the GUI? of course, XEROX PARC. Siri? it’s really just a voice-recognition feature for WolframAlpha, so Microsoft TellMe or one of a gazillion other voice recognition apps. Must I go on?
            Again, I am reiterating the fact that I am not a Microsoft employee, nor am i a “PR Clown” as you prefer to refer to me as. Why don’t you fill me in on where you’re employed?

          7. Anonymous says:

            While you are at it, tell me *ONE* just *ONE* piece of software that MSFT CREATED (ground up)-that is sells today? 

            The entire office suite..Products stolen from other companies (want me to show you the lawsuits settled? Google (sorry “Bing”) where EXCEL originated from. Where SQL came from. Where Word Came from. (actually the office suite is the only profitable piece of this business)they have to GIVE AWAY (at a loss) XBOX and Connect. Search business is bleeding BILLIONS a year (to the point people are starting to scream for Ballmer to exit the space). 

            Go ahead, tell me ONE product MSFT created..

            OH yeah, I remember “BOB” how’s that working for them…*LAUGHING*

          8. Anonymous says:

            AFAIK, there is none. But also AFAIK, there is none for Google or Apple either. And to say that Microsoft is selling Xbox and Kinect “at a loss” would be misleading – AFAIK all major console sellers do this. If they sell the console as cheap as possible, people will buy more games and Microsoft gets more money, in the end, from that. It’s the same thing with the Kindle Fire and PS3. IMO it’s a smart move – sell people your platform for as cheap as possible and they’ll feel like the need to buy apps/games for that platform.

          9. i love lamp

          10. Anonymous says:

            Microsoft did “touch screen a decade ago”…So, I guess the Tablet is dead according to MSFT.

            you need to go back and re-read your PR talking points memo.

          11. Anonymous says:

            I should not have added the “now they’ve moved on” part to that sentence, I will admit. But ignoring that, yes they did. for instance, or 15 years ago. Even some 4 years before the iPad came out Bill Gates was saying that tablets were the future the problem is, Microsoft’s just never been able to get one to work. Now we have to wait and see for W8.

          12. Anonymous says:

            Hey DONKEY! See this news….HA! Wonder how much longer it will take MSFT to catch up? I see on their WMPoweruser they are touting receive a fax from your phone…WHO CARES?? Who would want a fax to their phone…Someone already solved that..called “E-FAX!!!


            MetroPCS….I’ll say that again…MetroPCS..a “pre-paid” Cell Phone provider (using a Samsung—hmmm, Ice Cream Sandwich anyone?). Will launch Live Mobile T.V. 

            Analyst Blog  
            MetroPCS to Provide Live Mobile TV


            MSFT is still figuring out how they can use LAWSUIT to gain a foothold into the Mobile Market and a PRE-PAID 5th place phone company is first mover on Live Mobile T.V. 

            THE ONLY hope MSFT Mobile (would have been) to create such a category KILLER that people would “have to”/”want to” buy an MSFT phone. The last great hurdle (Live T.V.) that beach was just won by MetroPCS. 

            See in you in the Graveyard MFST mobile.  

          13. Anonymous says:

            Dude, their *OWN DISCLAIMER*—READ IT! Says, “we knot poindexter correlation is not causation”

            Who did they question, and of those people, has any Windows user *TOUCHED* an Apple product?

            If you are not polling people who HAD A CHOICE to use either product. I’m saying they have both Windows and Apple in the office they work in and can choose which station to use (or school they attend, etc.etc.)

            I GUARANTEE, we could get a more accurate count.

            My Dad has never seen/nor touched an Apple Desktop/Laptop—so he’d HAVE TO SAY “windows” as his answer.

          14. Anonymous says:

            BEST FORBES quote ever. (and MSFT expect to remain releveant in the 21st Century?).


            One thing that people often forget is that Apple’s mainstream success did not come overnight, and it did not happen because people suddenly fell in love with Mac. But once the iPod arrived, Average Joes and Janes began to take a second, third, and fourth look at Apple products. By the time consumers were done looking, they were the proud owners of several Apple devices.

            If Microsoft has any hope of getting back in the game, the company needs to release a gateway device that inspires consumers to care about Windows again. Maybe Windows 8 will be that product. Maybe it will happen with the next Xbox. It is also possible that, just as Apple stunned the world with the iPod, Microsoft will release a new product that no one could have ever anticipated.

            But even if that were to occur, there is no chance that Microsoft will release an iPhone 5-killer in 2012.

          15. Marco Gomes says:

            And getting a life…not?

          16. Anonymous says:

            I don’t like Windows, I LOVE it, especially Windows 7.
            Linux not a viable option “YET?” Heh, Linux has had its chance with consumers, multiple times. Ubuntu was supposed to be the answer, but even that has failed to catch on. Chrome OS sort of has an opportunity, but until the hardware comes down in price at least three-fold, people will choose Windows most of the time. It’s what they’re familiar with, and honestly, the average consumer just doesn’t care.

        5. Greggd says:

          Nah he was quoting the hoi poloi who do say ‘work good’

        6. Justin Barrett says:

          No I have to totally agree with Robert Moir.

          People associate Microsoft with Office, hell most of them don’t even associate it that far, they just want their Office.  Microsoft has done well to establish themselves in this market but have crumbled in the cell phone market.

          Not because of anything above or people just hate Microsoft, but because it’s not shiny, it’s not on sale, the ads for it suck, Microsoft’s marketing department is comprised of twelve year olds, and because nothing about the phone says ‘killer feature!’

          It’s about as useful as a feature phone but with less apps.

          Seriously, it’s not a Microsoft hate thing.  It’s a “your marketing department needs to be refreshed,” thing.  Their ads suck and they couldn’t hock a hamburger to a homeless man if they tried.  That’s how bad their current marketing strategy is.  This isn’t desktop computers where vendors will help sale the things for you, this is the cell phone market.  People have a bajillion choices, why are any of the twenty phones you have worth more than the other bajillion minus twenty phones?

          Windows is not a poison word in the minds of most people who are in the market to buy a phone.  They just have no idea what the hell these phones do, hell, most people have never even heard of a “Windows Phone.”  The people I ask, ask back, “does it run Office?”

      6. Alex says:

        He phrased it poorly, and took a roundabout path, but I think his ultimate point is correct.  True, people don’t care that Microsoft got taken to court for antitrust violations.  Regardless, Microsoft doesn’t leave a good taste in people’s mouths.  Any time anything goes wrong with a PC, they say “Windows crashed”.  Now you want to put that experience on my telephone?  No thanks!

        The Goodyear analogy isn’t a good one: rather than being a dominant monopoly with an irreplaceable product, they’re merely #3, and have larger competitors selling perfect substitutes.  If Goodyear did, hypothetically, have a dominant market share to the point where people said “dang, my Goodyears died again” for any problem on their car, regardless of whether it was Goodyear’s fault at all, then yes, I absolutely think that people would reject the Goodyear brand if they tried to move into other markets.

        1. Robert Moir says:

          “Any time anything goes wrong with a PC, they say “Windows crashed”.  Now you want to put that experience on my telephone?  No thanks!”

          Most people I deal with just say “My computer crashed” hence my assertion that most people don’t think about “Windows”. But this would certainly be a much more valid and probable reason for ‘normal’ users to reject Windows Phone than the anti-trust issue. I agree completely.

          As for the Goodyear analogy, of course any analogy falls apart when you dig into it the way you’ve chosen to, but I think my overall point is still clear?

      7. You are absolutely right. I have several friends who own decent Android devices, they are not aware that they are not iPhones. The general public is clueless as to what they own (technically) and how it works.

        As long as Microsoft can not get the carriers in line, they are going to lose this battle.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Time to buy a telco…

      8. Sel303 says:

        Talking about the people in general and trying to understand “the people” is the first step to fail in product development. We “the people” are actually quite divers in what we want and consider to be good. We “the people” have a certain degree of freedom to choose which software and device to use but on the other hand (e.g. in a company, market price) are forced to choose a software to accomplish our tasks regardless our personal preference and experience. As long as Microsoft is cheaper than Apple (at least on the first sight) and has spread across almost any company and university like a virus we “the people” are not free to choose the software we want, though we “the people” see the obvious.

      9. Anonymous says:

        @twitter-236597323:disqus , what you fail to realize is “people” have experienced MSFT for AT LEAST 30-years. People have experienced * COUNTLESS* problems with MSFT over the years. “Blue Screen of Death” anyone?

        How many 1000’s of people have lost Data because of MSFT? How many people have been BEYOND frustrated with the products they ship?

        I happen to be a techie geek and early adopter. However, I can’t tell you HOW MANY TIMES, I have my Dad call me to help with some trivial aspect of Windows. 

        And you think he’ll trust MSFT with a CELL PHONE? For his BUSINESS OPPPS? Are you KIDDING ME?

        You honestly think there’s more than a dozen C.T.O’s who will buy off on MSFT Smart Phone as part of their “Mission Critical” infrastructure, when AAPL is first mover *AND* Android opens up the entire code base? Are you on CRACK?

        You think MSFT will rely on a bunch of end users to sell through this product? *MAYBE* they’ll get the “tween” base…but that’s about it and how loyal is a “tween” and how much can you make off a “tween”???
        (and how much brand loyalty will the 13-18year olds coming up (as future programmers)–Show to MSFT when they’ve HAD choices their entire life. THERE IS NOTHING BUT choices for “tweens” these days. How many actually realize (or care) MSFT is what gets them on the Internet?

        Please….You think MSFT could *EVER* come out with something as sleek as AAPL the next-2 years? When they  ship this supposed VAPORWARE Apollo….they’ll be a *FULL* 5-years behind the curve–and THAT is if they ship on time (which they won’t)—so will be 6-years behind the curve and AAPL will be on rev. IPHONE7/8 and Android will be AT LEAST 6-7.

        Kindel has already publicly said MSFT business plan is to give the Middle Finger to the Cell Phone Companies (think he said all they are is the “Pipe”), Wait, here’s his EXACT Quote. Now, you tell me how well this sits with SAMSUNG, HTC, et. al


        With Windows Phone Microsoft has taken a different approach. WP raises its middle finger at both the device manufacturers and mobile carriers. WP says “here’s the hardware spec you shalt use” (to the device manufacturers). And it says “Here’s how it will be updated” (to the carriers).



        Precisely more of the BULLSHIT that comes out of Redmond that NO ONE will tolerate anymore…They don’t have to. There’s 100’s of choices now.

        MSFT is IRRELEVANT for the 21st century. Ask yourself. Why has the WORLD’S LARGEST Social Network (a partner no less of MSFT)—-runs their data on *OPEN SOURCE* software vs. SQL DB’s from MSFT.




        You think 800million people would tolerate all the down time necessary to keep a SQL infrastructure like THAT alive?

        And which Handset maker (besides Nokia—and how relevant are they? How many Nokia phones have you EVER BOUGHT??? That’s THE ONLY real partner they have. 

        You are a crack smoker along with the rest of the MSFT fan boys. Get in bed with “Your Grandfather’s Software Company”–and see how that works for you. *LAUGHING*

        1. Robert Moir says:

          Thanks for the personal attacks and suggestions of drug use. Have you ever considered writing coherent comments in reply to people instead of foaming rants? It might make your points more convincing if they were phrased reasonably.

          I own an iphone, by the way. I’m not sure how that makes me a “MSFT fan boy”

      10. Anonymous says:

        @twitter-236597323:disqus —you want *PROOF* on how IRRELEVANT MSFT phones are….

        This YouTube “commercial” has been up now 14-months

        it has a grand total of 5,088 views. 

        Iphone Siri—put up *TWO MONTHS AGO*

        it has  6,780,060 viewsNow, explain to me how “relevant” MSFT hopes to be? Explain to me why a User would want to be *FORCED* to use the MSFT :”tiles” (and not be allowed to customize as they wish). Where in MSFT roll out is Speech Recognition? How much “innovation” does MSFT hope to do? HECK, Rev 1 had Speech Recognition on an Android Device. MSFT is still trying to figure out how to build a User Interface (*THEY OWN* WILL NOT LET YOU CUSTOMIZE)—while the Ferrari and Lamborghini have done a couple dozen laps around the track in Competition. Windows Phone=DEAD!”Microsoft, Your Grandfather’s Software Company” 

    12. Anonymous says:

      The same thing could be said about Google with Android. 

    13. Anonymous says:

      Every problem I’ve ever had with a Windows computer has been the fault not of Windows, but of the maker of the computer. 
      * HP uses crap hardware with zero quality control. 
      * Acer loads their laptops with adware that’s so poorly made it causes the system to be unstable. 
      * Dell’s support was so horrible I left them forever.
      A few years ago I started building my own Windows computers and have never had a problem with any of them.
      THIS is why I won’t buy a Microsoft phone. I trust them to make a decent OS. I DON’T trust the device manufacturers to put that OS into a usable, reliable product.

      1. Freestaterocker says:

        MS has addressed this problem. They put minimum hardware requirements on OEMs, limited OS access by third parties (carriers and OEMs) so that “bloatware” that an be uninstalled as easily as any app by the end user, and implemented forced update schedules, all to ensure consistent user experience. Give it a try.

    14. EV says:

      Agreed with TwangisKhan — and that chef analogy is perfect because (former Microsoft) kin like Nathan Myhrvold develop extreme hubris and get articles written about him such as how he’s a wonderful culinary chef and then he thinks he can rule the world with patents as a massive patent troll and he even thinks he’s going to stick a hose up into the stratosphere to create global cooling (when the guy never took even an undergraduate course in Meteorology or Climatology)!

    15. Philip Gould says:

      They don’t like Micosoft so much that over 85% of desktop computers are MS based. what are you smoking bud?

    16. Yeah Microsoft has a gun at my head when I bought Windows 7…*not*

      1. Avro says:

        Obviously you have never used Lion or the latest Ubuntu.  Knowledge is power.

        1. Grigorio says:

          Lion yes, about ubuntu i cannot agree with you.

          Put an ubuntu machine in front of the average person that has to work with it for 2 weeks – now would you do that to your parents?

          1. Бригадир Телепатов says:

            As my parents have absolutely no computer experience, it would be equally hard for them to use MS Windows, Ubuntu, MacOS and FreeBSD

    17. Grigorio says:

      i agree that in the geek world microsoft might not be loved. however they have 2 products which in my opinion no one (almost no one) was able to match.

      1. Windows (for desktop) – the only real alternative for the wide public is mac os. Desktop Linux is not an option. i am a programmer and i know how to compile and install stuff, however when i loose like a day of work since i received a kernel update that made half of my drivers not usable, make me seriously consider whether i continue to use linux as my desktop system or not

      2. MS Office – now this is a product which does not have an alternative yet. Period.
      Open and Libre Office they look like the ’90s.

      Google Docs come close, however they are only an online solution 🙁

    18. guest says:

      absolutely agree! Microsoft should change the windows phone’s name to something else, just like X-box not ‘windows box’, then they will have a chance to sell more WP phones. A very simple step, but difficult for MS to take. People just don’t want to heart ‘windows’ in this word.

    19. AnonymousCoward says:

      I hated Microsoft. I still don’t like them, but I use their products – Windows Media Center, 2 XBox-es as extenders. If I had no prejudice I would loved them.
      What you are not taking into account is that teenagers now do not remember when M$ was evil 😉
      My personal take on why IPhone succeeded were “I’m a Mac” commercials. Nobody wants to look like a fool, I meant PC … running Windows. I think what WP8 (too late for WP7) is one arrogant and aggresive commercials campain with a dominant figure that everybody would like. I mean – like a lot.

    20. Jalva05 says:

      I think that you put to much emphasis on what you perceive people like or don’t like, to most people Google is simply a search engine or tool that they use. Apple has the retail presence that allows them to mold customer perception .

      Just because you’re a Google fan really means nothing to most people.

      Windows phone is the better platform period .

    21. bndctc says:

      Exactly. Microsoft is no longer a trendy company, as opposed to Apple. In the general public view, having an Apple product will make them more trendy, and as the aesthetics of the hardware agree with this popular notion, they go along with it.

    22. B says:

      Sure u posted this from a “MAC” right.

    23. DumbDoDo says:

      I don’t hate or luv  Microsoft. I just like using their products like windows OS, MS Office and ofcourse, xbox 😉 ….. for the majority of people, love has got nothing to do with their decision to buy Microsoft products. 

    24. Fred says:

      That….and the fact anything Microsoft makes usually sucks.  At least at first.  It’s the monopoly that has allowed them to continually get away with it in the desktop OS and App space.  If they don’t have a monopoly such as in mobile OS they get deservedly hammered for it.

  18. CZ Obes says:

    I have two observations:
    1) The idea of “owning” the customer differs for your proponents. The carriers “own” the customer as a locked-in possession. It’s almost an owner/slave relationship. Customers generally hate the carriers, picking the least evil from their personal weighting of the service/device/network/pricing/lock-in wheel’s elements. Apple “owns” the customers in a more (from the customers’ perspective) friendly, avuncular manner – they inspire a degree of loyalty from the iPhone possessor. Google “owns” the customers’ eyeballs, largely independent of the carrier, hardware manufacturer, and OS provider. Google’s “ownership” is perhaps only challenged by the potential of Apple’s Siri going forward.

    2) Apple is hardware manufacturer, OS provider, point of sale and customer service for the iPhone, leaving less grab handles on the customer for carriers to hold. The carrier gets billing, the service package, and actual network – they’re invisible unless a) something goes wrong or b) the customer needs something changed.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Charlie –

    I think your analysis of the market is interesting but your analysis of Apple is way off.  They turn your model on its head FAR more than you give them credit for.

    You mention that they cut the hardware manufacturer out, but they go past that and flip the balance of power away from the Carrier dominance you posit.  Apple controls a substantial amount of their own marketing, as well as putting the Carrier (especially when it was AT&T exclusive) in a position where they HAD to market the iPhone and train RSP’s.  

    So now they are the Device Manufacturer without the marketing disadvantage.  They are ALSO the OS Provider without the middleman disadvantage, not only because they could make the Carrier do what they want but because iTunes established the first broadly successful direct relationship with customers to purchase add-ons (apps, media, etc.)  They may not own the customer contract, but they own the customer relationship in a way no one else does.

    Finally, I think Apple has also broken something else you mention – that Users love speeds & feeds.  Users neither know nor care about the speeds and feeds of iOS products, because they compete in a completely different way.  Android/WP7 devices are competing with each other, so they have to resort to speeds and feeds because they have no other differentiation.

    1. One other thing to remember is that Apple has a direct point of contact with consumers that Microsoft, Google, and RIM lack: the Apple Store. Both brick-and-mortar and online, they have the infrastructure in place to evangelize their products without resorting to any of the comparisons between devices and platforms that you would make in a traditional carrier store. As long as the Apple brand carries an ethos that resonates with consumers, they will have a leg up in mindshare.

    2. Anonymous says:

      the skin is the differentiation. If you dont think a part of Samsung’s success isn’t attributed to the fact that Touchwiz looks very much like iOS’s cheaper cousin…then this sentence was worded wrong.

  20. render says:

    superior to what exactly? terrible.

  21. Scobleizer says:

    Charlie: it’s totally wrong to ignore apps. We had two separate parties here this Christmas weekend and all we did was talk about apps. See, this is why Windows Phone 7 won’t get any traction: when apps come up it’s Android vs. iOS time. WP7 never even came up in conversations. 

    Yes, some of the other things matter to consumers, but not really.

    All you have to do is watch TV to see why: several ads for companies came up which said “download our app.” Of course they only mentioned Android and iOS stores.

    Moving along: why does this matter?

    Because there’s only one thing consumers care about when they buy something: not appearing to be an idiot.

    Android and iOS are “safe” because that’s where the apps are. Anything else? Not safe. Every conversation, every ad, and every Techcrunch post, er, Verge post, will remind them of where the apps are.

    Windows Phone 7 won’t have a good year, based on my conversations with people this year at our holiday parties.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I’ve been wanting to tackle you about this.  Blackberry and Symbian are still some of the biggest operating systems in the world, selling tens of millions each quarter, and they hardly have any apps to speak off. Apps are not in fact consumer’s biggest priority, as I am sure you will admit.  

      In UK for example BBM is all the rage, and where symbian is selling well it is brand loyalty to Nokia and years of ingrained user experience which is most valuable, not to mention long battery life.

      The main thing which negates your argument is that Android sales absolutely dominate iPhone sales, despite the smaller app market.  The apps superiority did not secure Apple’s dominance, and while Google is climbing over 50% of the market the iPhone is shrinking to 20% or less.

      While in the media circle you would be very left out by not having an iPhone, this obviously does not apply to the masses.

      1. Scobleizer says:

        And RIM and Symbian are in death spirals. Everyone watching this business knows that. The game has changed and now it’s ONLY ABOUT APPS. If you don’t get apps you are doomed. 

        Look at the results on this poll:

        Symbian and RIM are DEAD.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Clearly thats not true, because Android is winning, despite having less and poorer quality apps. 

          You MUST acknowledge therefore thats is not ONLY ABOUT APPS.Could the cost of the phone have any role, the distribution, the familiarity and trust of the Google brand name etc.Your poll is terribly flawed, simply because we know 10% of buyers are not going to buy a Windows Phone in Q1 2012, and in fact 20x more people will be buying Blackberries, despite the smaller, poorer app store.

          1. Ranthony says:

            You assert that Android having a lower total app count indicates that apps are less important.  I’d counter that it’s the existence of key functionality in apps that is really important.

            Is there a Facebook app?  
            Is there an app to facilitate navigation via GPS?
            Are there various other fun or interesting apps for people to play with?
            Are there apps for power users that let them monitor networks and remotely access them?

            Again, using a raw count of apps doesn’t make sense.  Measuring the functionality available to different classes of users seems to be a better way.  I think both IOS and Android have this.  I can’t speak for WP7 either way.

          2. Anonymous says:

            A) no one said apps were not important, but it is clearly far from the only thing. I hope we can agree on this.
            B) The iPhone was successful before it had apps, as was the iPad. Windows Phone is ramping up apps much faster than Android.
            Apps clearly are not the predictor Scoble pretends it is.

            Sent from my Windows Phone

          3. Anonymous says:

            @surur:disqus  your correct, all i had on christmas/boxing day was people posting a facebook status of there BBM pin. Blackberry is well and truly alive in the uk mosty down to BBM and very competive contract prices, with there bbx coming its only going to get better. 
            Do people really think your average user can afford an iphone’s high monthly cost? personally i think the iphone is a beautiful device but has horrible feel in the hand and no way has the the robustness you get from say a nokia.  android is also very competive in pricing and slowly becoming standard which i see it becoming, it will not however get the same hype as an iphone or blackberry, that i have seen here in uk.

            on another note my mums been using a smartphone having recently having made the switch from a really old nokia, all she has done is complain. she says she got a weeks charge from it now she only gets a day. not all people want top of the range high end. 

        2. PsyBaba says:

          I disagree here a bit, though I use a WP7 device now, and I’ve used both Symbian & iPhone devices before. In emerging markets like India (and I work and stay in India), it’s all about affordability. Symbian used to rule the market due to the intense variety of devices pushed by Nokia. amongst most of the people I meet, 6 out of 10 people own Android devices, 2 own a Blackberry, 1 an iPhone and 1 a WP device. Thats a staggering statistic. Its more from a usability perspective here than about apps.

          The average consumer of a smart phone is your college student and people just fresh into jobs. Their peers use Android devices and that goes a long way in shaping consumerism here. You’d find a fraction of people BUYING APPS, most of them go for FREE Apps, and most of them are good as go betweens to get things done.

          Then again, I’m not a sales guy and I know NOTHING about the dynamics of selling, bla bla bla, but this is the ground reality that I / we see here. Having an agnostic perspective helps 🙂

          P.S. I STILL use my Nokia E71 🙂

          1. College students graduate, and get jobs they pay them a decent salary in 1-4 years.  Those are potential consumers that can not be overlooked.  BTW I disagree with your opinion, I think the potential customers for smartphone is everyone, there is zero demographic.  I know poor people with an iPhone 4 and rich people with a flip phone…Its all personal choice!

      2. Dave Chakrabarti says:

        That’s because you’re analyzing Robert’s argument like a techie. This doesn’t hold true for non-techies. Non-industry “normal” people don’t care who has the most apps, they care about *not looking like an idiot* …which means having access to the apps that people are talking about. People are talking about apps on Android and IOS. Robert’s argument is very valid. 

        Talking to real people, the Blackberry traction is a very long-lasting effect of years of brand loyalty, and the convenience / lockin network effects of BBM. This is bigger in the UK than in the US, but even there, it’s an extension of the same “not looking like an idiot” argument. In Robert’s crowd, buying a Blackberry is an unsafe bet in this regard. In the UK, it’s becoming an increasingly unsafe bet as well; it’s just a slower trend. 

        That doesn’t mean the trend doesn’t exist, or even that it isn’t significant. 

        Lastly, I’ll add that from this perspective, “fragmentation” is the bogey man every non-Android commentator has been trying to conjure up for three years-ish now. End users don’t care about fragmentation, either.

        Ever talked to a 20 year old sorority girl in college anywhere in the US, and asked her how market fragmentation in the Android world affects her life? As long as the latest apps work with the last couple of versions of Android (a safe bet, since no successful dev shops release only on the bleeding edge), Android continues to be a “safe” purchase for that two year contract period.

        The article is very Microsofty, but absent an existing MS monopoly in this space (unlike, say, with desktop OS), it’s an invalid analysis. User experience is everything. Do you really think a guy on the retail sales floor can sell a WM7 phone as easily as an Iphone? Even an Iphone from two years ago?

        1. Anonymous says:

          Sometimes, in some circumstances, not looking like an idiot may mean being able to BBM with the rest of your class, or having a phone which is still able to run 2 days after being recharged.  

          My main argument is that Apps are not the whole story. Would you buy a windows 7 tablet just because it had the most apps?

          I hope you now understand that other issues also influence even your choices.

        2. This is how this works, your sitting at dinner playing a game like Words with Friends. You all pull out your phone, and the one friend that has a WP7 phone sits there and stares off into the distance because that app doesn’t exist on his phone, all the while thinking to himself “Man I look like a jack ass, getting an iPhone ASAP”.  

          You can obviously put any app in place of the one I used, but I have seen this happen many times.  This is reality…

          1. Dave Fry says:

            Dude, I am so glad I have never had the misfortune of landing at one of your parties.  Good lord.

          2. Where do I ever say party? I said Dinner, as in at a restaurant! But I’m glad you couldn’t refrain from being a jack ass about it none the less…

          3. philosophiere says:

            At that point, I figure I would just get some more interesting friends.

      3. Steven Noyes says:

        Except preliminary market share numbers for the current quarter show Apple with large growth numbers and market share between 26-32% and not the “shrinking to 20%” as you post.

        The phone market is fickle.

    2. Al Balboa says:

      The importance of apps overrides any problems caused by fragmentation. Users only care that they can run the apps they want. And there are extremely few apps that don’t run on all versions of Android in use today. So it is invisible to most ” normal” users.

      Fragmentation complicates things for developers, but it mostly bothers power users, who find ways around it, or bloggers that need something to write about, especially the Bott’s and Gruber’s that have an ax to grind.

      1. Stripes says:

        Fragmentation bothers developers, and therefore any users that get a subpar app because it was too hard or actually impossible to make a great app. It bothers any user that couldn’t get a great app because the developer decided not to write the app for the fragmented platform. It bothers the user that can’t get the app because it is on the platform they use, but it won’t work on their phone. Worse yet if it runs well on their friends phone, but not the new phone they just bought.

        People don’t need to know spefically why something bothers them for it to bother them after all, you can get sick without a medical degree.

        1. Anonymous says:

          As an Android developer, anybody that finds it too hard to male a great app is a shit developer.  Good riddance.

    3. Not to mention how Windows Phone 7 is the ONLY platform that has a really great developer story and tools, but de-emphasizes apps to consumers at every turn!  Even the first set of commercials was basically telling consumers you don’t need a phone with apps because our phone does everything you need, just don’t worry about it! 

       I see that now they are trying to slightly alter this reality but its still the same, apps are shoved into a second screen that’s just a basic alphabetical list, the marketplace is a disaster with filters like productivity + tools, and they somehow can’t even keep apps and games separate.  Games contains apps and apps contains games? Really!?

      The app story on WP7 is just one huge dissapointment after another, on Android apps ARE the story, the phone is basically nothing without them, iPhone is a bit better but still heavily relies on apps to make it a great experience and does it the best IMO.  Here’s an analogy, the web is great, but useless without websites.  Thats how they should view the phone, useless without apps! Useless!

    4. Robert, 

      I choose to exclude the apps discussion in this post NOT because I don’t believe apps are important to mobile, but because I wanted to keep the post succinct. My views on mobile apps are deep and there’s no way I could do it justice within this post.

      I stand firmly by my assertion that lack of sales & marketing support from device manufacturers and carriers is the *primary* reason WP7 sales have been lackluster.

      I agree with you that the relatively weak app ecosystem in WP7 also plays an important part. I do not believe it is the most important reason and I think you are wrong in asserting it is. 

      For the record MY holiday party conversations were completely different from yours. In my case the conversations were about how much ATT sucks, how I could help them make the battery on their Droid last longer, and why iPhone rules because it has 4G (I am not joking). In the group I was with there was no discussion of any apps other than my mother-in-law claiming Facebook is evil and should be banned from the earth.  

      So either your personal circle is more representative of the world, mine is, or using personal anecdotal party conversations is an insane way of measuring consumer behavior.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Every conversation is different.  You should talk a little more outside your circle if you want true perspective (and, not just read replies to your stories…)  And, BTW, you have let up that you live on a coastal state, because AT&T still is the best service in the majority of the country.  I travel, so I have experience in this.  I’ll stick with AT&T hands down.

      2. Anonymous says:

        Your mother-in-law has a point.

        I think your analysis of the market is spot-on but I take issue it’s one assertion: who owns the customer? if your assertion is true, I agree that Apple may have a long run but is ultimately doomed. But I don’t think that assertion is true.

        The reason: value-add to what all those providers team up to provide, which is colloquially “bandwidth” but in reality is connectivity to friends and to the world’s information resources.

        Of the three market participants who are not the paying customer, who is positioned to add the most value to the product? Clearly it’s the OS providers. The manufacturers have not come up with a hardware-based value add that is strong enough to keep customers loyal. RIM gave it a shot but is now a dinosaur whose head has not yet gotten the message that the body has already died. And the carriers are doomed by lack of critical mass (and, I would argue, the same capes limitations the

      3. Logically says:

        The conversations and the people involved in the parties may have been different, but neither Charlie’s nor Scobleizer’s parties seem to have discussed WP7, thus proving Scobleizer’s underlying point that “WP7 never even came up in conversations”.

    5. Dave says:

      I disagree with your thought “its all about apps”. Things do change and they always will, just as your judgment and the topic at a party. Its funny to me how the tree never seems to be seen for the forest. As if we are at the pinnacle, ha ha!. The world is still flat, meaning there is no cessation to change, our bleeding edge is tomorrows primitive ignorance.  True the drone masses are followers and so if they are told its all about apps, then by golly they will parrot the thoughtless comment over and over.
                Apple was followed like a cult band, as Steve jobs marketed it as the anti establishment,  anti cookie cutter. Art and cult like followers carried Apple until the Ipod. The ipod was a massive success as it caught the disruption of the music industry  that Nappster blew open. At that point Apple was entering mainstream minds. Then the Iphone, boom another hit, further expanding into mainstream, and then boom! ipad and the mainstream cookie cutter is now apple, they couldn’t be more mainstream. When Grandma who never cared to use a computer her whole life, now knows about and says she wants an Iphone, or Ipad, the trend has reached saturation point. She still cant care about technology or witch OS, or what an OS is, she wants to use core functions that are on any smart phone out of the box, on any platform. But she believes she wants and needs an Iproduct. Its called a trend, trends come and go, and currents trends always seem to elude the masses as though it will last forever. 
              Google partners with corporate gate keepers, while still gets the thoughtless to back Google as open, which is the epitome of ironic. “don’t be evil” some how stuck in peoples minds and thought never crept back in, its a public company in a capitalist system, worth many billions, this is not open altruism, or the age of Aquarius.  Googles Android is pushed by virtual monopoly power;  carriers, oems and retail giants all pushing Android. nothing open about this,  the supply chain all the way to eyeballs to eyeballs sales. The corporate players are smart enough to fool most people, spin and manipulation is how you keep locked up systems appearing non antitrust, and out of court. and this is corruption, and Google has chosen to partner in it.  Would you say a leader or group of leaders that partner with an industrial military complex to cooperate in a mutually beneficial outcome, that some how the leaders are not apart of the war waged by the military. This is hypocritical, to leverage closed locked up systems to advance your position, while promoting your company as open. Android is pushed by carriers, OEMs, and big retail. This is why Android has massive activation rates…
                    WP7 is virtually shunned by carriers, oems, and big retail. This is why its has low activation rates. It is a beautiful, smooth , easy to use, fast, powerful OS, with an original, modern UI. Also a lot of people are stuck on the MS of the 90’s, a lot has changed, the company is making cool innovative stuff. But the minds of the masses don’t allow for new thought to creep in and replace old perceptions. Just as Google carries old ideas of the past “open” and “don’t be evil”, but is now like the MS of the 90’s. And Apple is now mainstream. MS is the underestimated underdog.

      1. Level380 says:

        Shunned by carriers…. What a load of dribble….. In Australia every telco has a wp7 handset for sale…… Still no one buys them!

        1. 1234 says:

          Sorry, but you are manipulated into believing what they interned for you to think. Is chess a simple game to master? Do smart people think about how to win a chess match? Do generals try to win wars?  Do you think there are people want to get money? There are fortunes at stake, this is not a child’s game, its organized, they use strategy, intelligent manipulation. Smiling faces sometimes tell lies. Sorry but its apart of our world, I’m not saying you should not devote your life toward a Utopian vision or not, choosing what to connect with is each to choose. However being aware of things in the world is to pay attention.

      2. Anon says:

        Its weird that the MS that perfected the “forced” distribution and marketing of Windows on PCs by its partners is somehow missing the boat when its comes to getting WinPhone 7 distributed and marketed with the same force.  This article is basically talking about this.

        1. Dave says:

          no MS sells a product. Google gives it away.  Campaign contributions are a problem because of special interest corrupts and influences a persons intentions. You prob wont understand the meaning, or concept underlying these words here. Which is why the fact is missed in the first place. 

    6. Anonymous says:

      I believe that Scoble
      is wrong here to bring up the apps and implying it’s the number one reason why
      Windows Phone is not succeeding.  I do believe it is very important for
      the iPhones success among other reasons:  Apple was the first in my option
      to come up with a “usable” phone interface.  Android on the
      other hand is being pushed by cell phone operators:

      –Verizon really
      pushed it as a competitor to iPhone

      –Sprint and Tmobile
      did the same

      –AT&T at the
      time only had one android phone a year and half, the HTC aria and was not a
      good choice compared to the many on Verizon, Sprint etc. AT&T was still the
      only provider of the iPhone. 


      I am very curious
      about the success of the Android.  I like it because of the complete
      integration of Google Voice that saves money for texting.  But, that is a
      built in feature and I wonder the percentage of Google users set this up for
      texting etc..   If I compare “technologically advanced” Android
      users against “normal” Android users, the Advanced users
      install many apps, while the Normal users used it for basic features like
      calling and texting.  The normal users use very little apps and don’t
      upgrade them.  I believe that normal users are over 90% of the population
      of  smartphone purchasers.


      So, I do believe
      that Android gets more of the “feature phone” market even
      though they are selling a “Smart Phone”.  I don’t think this
      gets enough press since the people writing about this in the tech markets are almost
      always technologists and are very happy with their choices and do not really
      research why and how most “normal” people buy phones.  Mr Scoble is one of the problems in this


      I use an iPhone
      provided to me by my work. 


      But, I really love
      the Windows Phone UI design, features etc. 
      I think it has better and easier to use built in apps (music hub, people
      hub, picture hub) compared to android phones. 


      I was curious as to
      why it wasn’t selling well and went to and AT&T labeled store a few months
      after the release of windows phone.   I
      never saw one in person and wanted to check it out.  The store is in Groton Connecticut and had a
      huge windows phone poster on the outside. 
      I asked to see the windows phone and one after another they were showing
      me android phones.   They even tried to
      bring out a Blackberry.  I kept saying
      “No” that’s not it and showed the person in the store the big sign on their
      front window.  That’s when the person
      said that I didn’t want a windows mobile phone and also told me that they
      didn’t have one to show me.  She did
      mention that the New London store did have one and I could go there.  A few weeks ago, I surely thought that the
      Walmart cell phone store would have something they could show me since they
      have many mobile operator choices and tons of phones on display:  I couldn’t find a windows phone on display.

      I think the main
      observation of the post is correct and people like Robert Scobile need to do a
      true analysis and get outside of their tech circle.  After all, these are most of the people that
      buy phones. 

  22. Edan Cohen says:

    Can someone explain the app situation to me. What apps are missing from WP that would make it attractive to the masses? Instagram? Could that be it? I am a power user and only once was disappointed to not find an app I wanted. Windows Phone is superior to iOS and Android. I have used all three and none of them equal the combination of design, grace, and fluidity of WP. The problem is perception. People have a knee-jerk reaction to all things Microsoft and, frankly, their marketing isn’t cohesive like Apple’s. How can I quantify “it”? Once Microsoft figures out how to market “it” (like Apple does), these phones will dominate the market.

    1. Derek says:

      One possible reason that MS can’t market Windows Phone is because there’s no compelling reason for the platform to exist. In the touch-based smartphone market, you had iOS creating the market (their marketing emphasized amazing new features and the intimacy of human interaction with the iPhone), and Android following (emphasizing variety and specs of hardware, availability on a variety of carriers, and various implementations of “4G”). With these two entrenched, everyone who arrives late to this market needs to give a reason why satisfied smartphone customers should switch to their product. Most of the WP advertising I’ve seen focused on the dedicated hardware camera button, which is a nice little feature, but not a reason to break your contract with your carrier to run out and get the phone.

      It’s not enough to be “superior.” Arguably, WebOS was superior when the Pre came out. Some considered the Playbook’s OS to be superior to Android and iOS in the tablet space. If superior mattered, Windows wouldn’t have maintained its stranglehold on the PC OS market. Dismissing this as a perception problem that can be fixed with better marketing is denial more than anything else.

  23. Les Stroud says:

    Part of Microsoft’s problem is that they have history.  Whether you believe it to be intentional, cultural, right, wrong, or just business, they have made decisions over the years where their were losers.  Those have accumulated to the point, where Microsoft has lost it’s political capital. As a result, they struggle to lead changes other industries that require partners to have faith in Microsoft’s visions.  It’s just too risky to bet established companies on Microsoft’s good will, vision, and tenacity.  

    Google did not try to change the cell phone industry (yet).  They decided to play within the existing model.  Which, as your article has illustrated, has left them with massive update and compatibility problems.

     Apple had the first mover advantage and a reputation for having a vision and the tenacity to make it a reality.  They have changed the model.  That change scares the cell phone industry and they are resisting making the same concession to consortiums of companies (Android, WP7).  I think that Microsoft will have a hard time over coming this unless they make the hardware (see Apple and XBox).  Google appears to see this with their purchase of Motorola.  It will be interesting to see if Microsoft does too.

  24. Mike P says:

    iOS is getting a little boring. Apple never really excited me even though I use a mac for work and own 3 iPhones. 

    Android is getting better and better. Fragmentation? Not a big deal. Temporary, variable statistic. I won’t see whines like yours in the future, I am sure.

    Windows Phone 7 feels bulletproof, solid and consistent. Weak marketplace? Doesn’t matter. Another temporary, variable statistic.

    I own all 3 devices and use them consistently. I have an idea of how they all work. 

    At this point, when someone asks me what phone they should get, I say any of the 3 major operating systems (sorry RIM), because in the end, for the average joe, it doesn’t matter. What they choose may depend what style they may be attracted to; typography, tron, playskool (I bet all of you can figure out what those 3 are), or what they use the device for. 

    I would love to assume that everyone reading this article, when asked the same question, could speak intelligently about the 3 systems and give correct information, positives and negatives, to help the person asking for your assistance.

    But I have a feeling that wouldn’t happen. 

    Oh, and to actually contribute; he’s right. The carriers marketing techniques are ridiculous in North America. I am really disappointed how they present most devices other then Apple. I know Apple controls their marketing materials, but you’d think carriers would actually give a rats ass when trying to push out more devices and really give more choice in the marketing efforts.

  25. qwang says:

    Thanks Charlie, I agree that retail professionals play a much bigger role than what the tech commentary gives them credit for.  The truth is a lot of purchase intent is still walking through carrier stores, where the sales professionals will definitely push an Android phone on you first and then retreat to the iPhone as a last resort.  The carriers have already seen what happens when you give Apple runaway control over the user experience and brand, so that window has effectively closed for WP7 to follow such a confrontational strategy towards the carriers.   Looking back, I think Android’s carrier-appeasing strategy really was the only viable alternative play.

  26. Anonymous says:

    You believe app developers are mostly irrelevant? That’s adorable!

  27. Frank Miller says:

    There’s a glaring omission here in your list of stakeholders, developers.  I had a nice little RSS Reader app for WinMo6 that I was selling.  I tried to port it to WP7, I really did.  I knew going in that I was going to have to rewrite the UI portion.  I think I was actually fortunate that I had written a custom control that was actually pretty close to the widgets that debuted in WP7.  I couldn’t make it work.  After a week or two or wrestling with it, I just gave up.  I can’t believe my experience has been unique.  There were no developer books, I had to pick up bits and pieces on the Internet.  They even changed how you read a file so everything was asynchronous.  No developers = no excitement = no sales…

  28. Jeff Berard says:

    Android is not a computing platform.  Android is a development platform.  So, comparing Android to iOS is the wrong argument to make.  They’re two different things.  

    Microsoft is a blunt instrument, and its approach to the mobile space is no different than its approach to the PC space.  Aren’t PC manufactures required to adhere to specs set by MSFT to achieve certification?  I know I see those Windows stickers on laptops all the time, they must mean something, no?  So why is it a surprise that they do that with mobile phones.

    Microsoft may very well deliver a good enough OS to the mobile space, but who is the customer?  What’s the compelling reason to use a Windows Phone?  Right now there isn’t one, which is why it hasn’t taken off.  I can’t see one on the horizon either, even for people locked into Office.  MSFT isn’t aiming at that business customer with Windows Phone 7 — not with all that XBox and Social network integration crap the kids all care about today that they’ve got embedded into that OS.  Who does that appeal to in large numbers to make a dent in the market?

    Android is a good enough competitor to iOS, and it got to market in time to become such — but there’s no good revenue model there.  Apple is taking all of the money off the table and iOS developers are making some nice bank off the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.  Also, who does Android appeal to? The über nerds and the guy who doesn’t really use his phone as a mobile computer.  

    Sorry, I think MSFT is screwed, and way late to the market.  I also have it on good authority that Microsoft pushed HP to dump webOS into open source to 1) remove a competitor, and 2) clear the way for HP to make Windows 8 tablets.

    We shall see how that works out.

  29. Anonymous says:

    mg siegler has a really good response to this. Basically echoes my own that the virtuous cycle you speak of isn’t just 4 pillars. App is hugely important as it increases lock in, therefore loyalty, thereby, users, thereby carrier support, thereby production, and then feeding upon itself “virtuously”.

    I understand that first time smartphone purchasers( a huge segment) aren’t savvy enough to place app store robustness into their buying decisions. Price is. But they’ll definitely want a robust app store for their second smartphone OS choice. And with iphone and android eating up all ends of the subsidies market, where can w7phone fit in?

    Even if Apple sits still and doesn’t innovate, you still have google to contend with. Metro OS is 4 years late to the party. There’s no reason for loyalists to switch, no reason for OEMs to give Metro their A-design team, no reason for new users to disregard all the new hotness from competitors. You can say all you want about the superiority of Metro UI. I can tell you it’s NOT that much better. It’s not a game changer. At most it’s slightly nicer.

    The only way to break out of a Bad Cycle is to not play the Game. Give up on the App Store. Give up on Nokia. You aren’t fighting against the infirm. Google and Apple have the strongest talents they’ve ever had. They aren’t run by Business School Majors with robotized processes and bureaucratic hierarchy. Steve Jobs picked Tim Cook, a logistics genius, so that Apple would never be out-manufactured and out-priced. Google is undergoing a complete sea change by incorporating as much Apple DNA they can–namely as little hierarchy as possible, as small as possible. No more ugly stuff designed by polling what’s the best shade of blue.

    Microsoft isn’t going to win against these castles. Not without a lot of hurt for very little reward.

    The way forward is to go back to basics. Make everything Good first. New Operating System for Phones. New Marketing. New Name(don’t put windows on it for god’s sake.) New Focus. Play a different game.

    Microsoft Metro OS. Adveritise the hell out of this. OEMs can then say they have Metro-Powered Phones. No more text based Operating Systems. That’s why it took you 3 years to come out with a Chinese phone.

    Face it, it’s too late in the game for chasing or being patient. You need users. You need apps. You need to EAT blackberry’s marketshare like you ate up Yahoo.
    Exchange OS? BBM, encrypted, self owned infrastructure, AND the ability to create your own App Store. What wouldn’t the military give if they could securely create their own App Store? The point here is to grab marketshare. There is no time to do or worry about anything else. RIM is almost asking to be slaughtered; Microsoft needs to eat RIM to survive.

    The next thing is to play dirty and stall for time. Sue Google a lot. Use Other people to sue Google. Play google against apple and vice versa. As for apple, the best way to gut them is make their strengths into weaknesses. Hire away their best people. Offer one of them, not just money, but power. Think about how attractive being CEO of Microsoft would be. Steve Ballmer can step down and be a board member, if it meant gutting apple of top executive talent. Remember, top level talent have their own cadre of loyal people. So for one CEO position you get an entire team.

    This is basically Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The winner inherits the world. It did become a 3 country race at the end and as expected, the strongest, more ruthless country won in the end. The underdog, the runt, could not keep the pace and was destroyed. Right now, w7phone isn’t even in the running. There are 6 more months till carriers start pricing phones to be more attractive to the feature phone market.

    Bring back the Kin.

  30. Len Feldman says:

    Your argument starts falling apart at the point where you say the following about users:  “They love speeds & feeds and will generally buy anything they are told to by television ads and RSPs (Retail Sales Professionals).” Microsoft has been doing a lot of television advertising–massively more than Google does for Android, although not as much as Apple. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to be swaying consumers, whom you seem to see as sheep who can’t tell a good product when they see it. If you perhaps gave the customers who bought your products more credit, Microsoft might have been more successful in the smartphone market.

  31. Anonymous says:

    More “drink the Kool-Aid” ill-fated logic coming from the MSFT Zombies.

    The entire KOOL-AID, ZOMBIE, brain dead approach of “build it, they must buy it”–is long ago dead.

    What, pray tell, does MSFT own in this process (without FUD in the Android space?).
    What has MSFT done, other than “dumb down” an already dumb OS, without any REAL VALUE to a consumer other than a mechanism whereby they can “CLICK HERE” to get onto the “Cloud” called the Internet?

    Once MSFT stops acting like the predatory Gorilla it is, actually works in Harmony with what those “Dumb Pipes” want out in the wild, filling up their cash registers…maybe then MSFT will have some hope. PLEASE, you think MSFT would *EVER* open up the code base to those Device Manufacturers?

    Why, if I’m one of the world’s largest Device Manufacturers, would I go with anything BUT Android? (robust Market place, simple *OPEN* easy to use, 100% customizable code base).

    MSFT is irrelevant in the 21st century. It still thinks, acts, eats and breaths like a 1980’s company. The “We build it, you must buy it be cause we own it” platform mindset is DEAD.

    It’s LAUGHABLE that MSFT thought that App’s would never make it. It’s what makes up a significant “space” (in the minds, “likes” and attitudes of Customers)—-Now Android owns, and will get bigger and more massive in that space.

    I will agree Apple will more irrelevant, the longer it stays married to “ATT” and that’s ONE DUMB PIPE (how that marriage ever started is beyond my comprehension).

    If I owned a shop, and I had THREE platforms to choose from TWO of which made up more than 80% of my (potential customer base)–and PROBABLY in reality made up 98% of my base. Why would I even BOTHER hing a Platform Developer for a Windows Device that can’t even capture 6% of the market? (and they *OWN* the entire desktop)

    Ask yourself WHY? *PROBABLY* because people are sick and tired of the 1980’s garbage that’s consistently repackaged “Windows”….ME? Vista? Hmmmmmm

    Windows 7, is the first nail in the coffin to MSFT’s obsolescence

  32. Anonymous says:

    How does this argument square with the model in Europe, where in most cases it is the HW maker who is doing the advertising?
    Sorry, I do like my HTC Titan and WP7… but I like my iPhone 4s more.

  33. Richard says:

    Ahhh pretty sure the carriers would love nothing more than to have Microsoft be a powerful number three so it would keep the other guys honest. The problem is no one wants microsoft so why waste $$$ pushing it if you can’t move it. You couldn’t have missed the mark anymore than you did on this.

  34. You’re soooo wrong… and that’s precisely the reason MS hasn’t made a dent in this market…

    Ironically they loved the OEMs and the carriers during the Windows Mobile years and, magically, now they’re evil…

    MS does not give the finger to OEMs and gives them the spec, because they are way too good… but rather because Windows Embedded Compact 6.0 is crap and can’t handle beyond a given set of specs. Want a Retina Display… look elsewhere… want NFC… wait 2 or 3 years… want HotSpot… you need X modem…. besides that Windows Phone 7 is not WAY BETTER as you state…. is just eye candy…

    On the iPhone, very app is a first class citizen… YouTube is no better than DailyMotion… only iPod, Safari, Mail and now Siri and Newstand are given special treatment… that was a known fact to Google… so they started making apps for iPhone so they could learn the new mobile spectrum…

    On WP7 side… well… all builtin apps are native done on an unknown SDK… all other stuff is managed… that has a speed limit… you can’t make a Hub just a tile… and the app list just sucks big time… 

    So quit blaming the OEMs and the carriers for WP7 failure… when the only culprit is Microsoft and it’s shortsightness…WP7 is the XBox and you need an XBox 360… and there’s nothing the OEMs nor the carriers can do in between to help you…

  35. on a personal side note, windows phone shot themselves in the foot when they tried promoting their technology at a gdgt la event and a separate event in los angeles. 

    the registration was the most intrusive and ridiculous thing i’ve ever come across -asking for a farther in-depth personally identifiable information beyond just an email and name. it asked for emergency contact name/number/info, mailing address, cellphone number to send an sms, *and* a mandatory installation of a facebook app to register for the event.  this facebook app was a facebook alternative to spyware in that it also lets them scan all your facebook friends, look at your posts, gather your facebook email(if it’s different than your rsvp email), and collect your ‘likes’ and other various and irrelevant data from your personal profile for ‘marketing’ purposes. it was to an extreme standpoint that it immediately turned me off from the two events they had planned. pretty much it looks like you had to eventually sell your soul just to get an advanced look at the device and os. that is beyond where i draw the line just to learn about a new piece of tech.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Emergency contact?  That is just over-the-top intrusive.

  36. I highly disagree with the fact that users “don’t know what they hate” because I do know what I hate.  And so does my dad, my girlfriend, my mom…etc… Granted, not everyone has had the option to play with everything out on the market today, but, at least for me, some of us do, and we continue to recommend different products based upon usage.  I take into effect the uses that the person will use.  Do you need email? A physical keyboard? Gmail fan or corporate? Need Outlook Calendar integration? Expandable? Music player? Fast? Secure? Or just a phone to have fun with that actually makes calls and texts?  
    Seriously, I know I hate not having widgets (yes, I’ve had more than just Android).  I know I hate Apple’s version of notifications, even iOS5’s notifications.  I also love Gmail and Dropbox.  I’ve tried using Skydrive, but until recently, there wasn’t much more a WP7 phone could do for me that dropbox didn’t satisfy.  
    You are flawed when you say users don’t know what we hate… we hate not having apps and we hate being told what to love/hate… 

    Quick… someone tell me to hate him so I can justify not hating him…

  37. Archis Gore says:

    This may sound like a huge repeat, but here goes again. Has anyone ever mathematically put up the null hypothesis that Windows Phone is “good” but not “great” or “awesome”, and given that I can only own one $300 phone at a time, I would optimize my return on that $300 investment of hard-earned money, and WP just doesn’t cut it?

    Let me make my point clear. 

    1. “Dual core doesn’t matter” is the company tagline. It doesn’t matter for OS responsiveness, but it matters for apps. I recently threw out my Focus for the iPhone 4S, and believe me, when I go on hikes, being able to photosynth panoramas and share them on FB is a killer deal. I’m not saying this is the killer scenario for “everyone”, but all I know is, given the amount of money I spend, I would buy a more powerful phone for any apps I _may_ need in the future.

    2. Value-for-money: Given that the Samsung Focus also cost me $300 (microsoft gave me a free one, but when my mom buys it, we have to be objective here), there is NO rational explanation as to why I wouldn’t buy an iPhone 4 in comparison – with the larger storage, front-facing camera, facetime, blah blah….

    3. Apps do matter: Let’s face it. The grand total ‘things’ I can do related to facebook on my 4S is more than what I can do on WP including the built-in features and app combined. Quite a big deal when I want to quickly go back and control ACLs on my past posts, or look at who liked my comments. Once more – you may argue FB is unimportant. Then why is WP integrating it?Yelp app sucks. The Maps app doesn’t rotate maps based on compass (making the compass fairly useless.) Try searching for something in downtown Seattle and not knowing which direction you should go. Maps doesn’t show public transit even though Bing has the data – for someone taking the bus daily, and if I miss a stop, I depend on my life for that feature.

    Similarly smaller apps like pay-to-park don’t exist on WP yet. They’re a big deal when they allow me to extend parking remotely.I’m not saying these are critical features, but the bottom line is, if I have to spend a few hundred bucks _anyway_ why not on a $50 3GS or an Android?4. No clear upgrade story: When I bought my Focus in Feb 2011, I was told more features are coming. What that meant is – newer models are coming. Will today’s WPs match today’s 4S with only upcoming software upgrades? If someone spends money in a $300 WP today, will they eventually after all the time in the world be able to run Photosynth on them? (I only used the Focus 4S so I could make first-hand comments, having used both for a few months, lest I be accused of hearsay. I’m sure Android fans will have similar very simple objective comparisons too. This has nothing to do with me being a fanboy of anything. I’m an educated person who works hard for his money and needs to know I’m getting its worth when I spend it. How is this a SUPERIOR product?)

  38. Anonymous says:

    I think you are too much into the thickets. This is the classic example of being a hostage to one’s knowledge. The primary reason Android is most successful is because it is free. That is why everyone pushes it. Everyone makes more money on free. Google makes money on search that gets put in people’s hands. Google was able to keep Android free because of all round IP stealing. The only way Android is going to lose its momentum in the near term is if Microsoft/Apple/Oracle prevail in bringing Google to account. The chances of that are pretty good. Oracle has a pretty watertright case. They have an email where the Android engineers clearly say there is no viable alternative to Java, and that Google should license it. The Google bosses thought this sham of “open source” Android might cover for the stealing. It fooled no one. If Android is no longer free, it becomes a more level playing field. This issue is of course most important to Apple. Microsoft can keep going as a company without phone revenues. Apple cannot. That is why they most of all are unwilling to legitimize/license the IP stealing. That is why Steve Jobs promised to spend all of Apple’s warchest to destroy Android. This is the key issue.

  39. Why do you completely ignore the fact that Windows Phone 7 comes with the baggage called Windows (if not Microsoft)? There’s a brand problem and regardless of how OEMs and carriers push a phone or not, there is a certain sour taste in many people’s minds about Microsoft products, especially after the dismal experience with Windows Mobile. People simply do not care for a Microsoft made OS on their devices yet. Your argument is valid to the effect that the business model of WP7 doesn’t encourage OEMs/Carriers to market the phones enough to help potential customers get over that baggage with the brand. Of course, now if you claim there is no baggage, then we’re on completely different wavelengths here. 

  40. Gib Wallis says:

    People buy what they want to buy, and when it comes to Winows phones, a lot of the hardware is crap. There are no apps. And none of your friends have any good experience (or bad experience) with them. Other people love their Androids and iPhones.

    Customers don’t listen to the sale rep unless they are the type to listen to one rep and return the device immediately when the rep lied.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Windows Phone needs more games.  Didn’t you guys see the article from a few days ago showing that iOS is for games, and Android is for Apps?  WP is trying to be more like iOS than Android, so it needs more games.  And not just Xbox Live stuff.  Google knew this too, as that’s why you can get Angry Birds free on almost all Android devices.  So, I’ll side with all the folks here that say, “Yes, Apps Count!”.  But, yet in repect to the author of this piece, that is truly a different topic…

  42. Frank says:

    It’s not cool to develop apps for MS Windows

  43. You say of the OS providers, “They hate not owning the customer.” That doesn’t apply to Apple, does it? Yes, the carriers own the monthly billing, but Apple has a credit card on file and has a revenue stream through apps, books, movies, magazines, and music. (This is another way at getting to Robert’s point: apps matter.)

  44. Björn Sveinbjörnsson says:

    Too little, too late.

    Also; as a developer with 25 years experience I find the development story unconvincing. Maybe you can shed some light on this Charlie, being a former GM of the dev platform for WP.1. Why would I opt to code in C# for a virtual machine when Microsoft is using C/C++ to produce native code apps (Office). How great for them. They can reuse much of the C/C++ code on iOS and Android using NDK. Why would I accept to be treated like a second class dev citizen?See what others think of this. 2. I am sure that Microsoft is working hard with a new version of WP that is based on minwin and not the WinCE that powers Mango. Why would I waste valuable time on an OS that has no future.

    3. Try to do spell checking by going through half a million compressed words with C# and the CLR.

    So, yes resellers are not pushing the platform. Carriers are not pushing it either. But the dev story is pathetic.

    1. Anonymous says:

      The problem is that the people in Richmond really thought they could convert everybody away from Java and C++ to C#.  They were only half right, and so they ended up losing backward compatibility with their previous generation, disgusting half their developers, and missing the market by a few years.

      In the absence of strong competition, they might have made it work in the phone segment, but both Apple has its iPod customers, and Google has its Java development base and brand name.  Microsoft was following the Kin, Zune and Vista failures.  I predicted a total disaster at launch.  They bought some time with Nokia, but the clock is ticking.

      They have another shot with Metro native development on Windows 8.   

  45. Anonymous says:

    Why did the “superior” Windows Phone 7 (and is it “Windows Phone 7”, because I’ve heard reports that Microsoft reps consistently drop the “7”?) come out without copy and paste or multitasking? 

    My ancient Verizon Wireless XV6900 aka the HTC Touch, which came out in 2008, running Windows Mobile 6.1 was able to copy, paste and multitask–and it still can (just like my HTC Thunderbolt) yet Windows Phone phones were launched without the ability to do so. It didn’t help that update sent to prepare Windows Phone phones bricked so many of them. 

    That was the Microsoft many of us pc users have come to know and fear (remember Windows Genuine Advantage activation nightmares?), updates you specifically didn’t install for fear of them being flawed and waiting for Cnet, PC World, PC Magazine, etc., to test them out first lest you have to uninstall them and whatever else on your pc said updates got their tentacles intertwined with.

  46. “Users do what they are told”??? If this is the Microsoft culture you left with, both you and Microsoft are doomed. All the money in your analysis comes from the “users”, who are usually called “customers” in a consumer market, and they are actually careful about their decisions. They don’t want to make a mistake, and they are likely to buy what they see their friends and colleagues using. This once worked in Microsoft’s favor, perhaps now it doesn’t. After all, the Mac has been a superior experience to Windows for most if not all the life of Windows, but a fat lot of good it did. A new mass consumer product needs to be  more than better, it needs to be disruptive. The iPhone was disruptive in terms of user experience. Android is disruptive in terms of business model. Windows phone has nuanced superiorities in some areas (some nice UI features for entry-level users), but significant deficiencies in others (functionality, maturity, available apps, enterprise support and hardware). It certainly isn’t disruptive.

    Microsoft should have chased Blackberry, not Android, but it’s almost too late for that.

  47. atimoshenko says:

    When you are entering a platform-dependent market late, being “a little bit superior” (which is, at best, what WP7 is) is not sufficient. In order to establish yourself as one of the leading platforms, a late entrant would have to offer some significant benefit that is fundamentally unavailable on the other platforms.

    WP7’s problem is not with carriers or manufacturers, but with consumers. To the question “why bother?” Android brilliantly delivers “make it your own” while iOS brilliantly delivers “no hassle” (and RIM used to be the only one that brilliantly delivered “full email in your pocket”). What does WP7 (or, for that matter, webOS or MeeGo) do so uniquely? Actually, the inability to provide a short and powerful answer to “why bother?” is why Bing is struggling as well…

    On a side note, I am not sure it should be about market share. As long as a product has strong, long-term profitability, who cares about the volumes it ships in? Porsche does not need to compete with Toyota. The ultimate problem is not that WP7 is not taking off, but that it was designed to haemorrhage money until it does.

  48. capo tini says:

    Windows Phone in dominates top 3 sales in Amazon. What does this means? Mobile Stores don’t give a real chance  to windows phone despite already many  public know the existent of windows phone in recent marketing efforts . And the result is now people desire a windows phone but only who buys online as access to it

    1. Anonymous says:

      Actually, the only windows phones in the Amazon top 20 were 16 and 20.  The top ten was all Android.  Get your facts right, dookie.

  49. Stephc says:

    From a developer perspective WP7 is the worst platform to develop for.

    C#, Silverlight, XNA, and no C/C++, no OpenGL, so we can’t port our games and apps, we have to rewrite them.That won’t happen, and today, a Smartphone without cools apps and games is just a dumb phone.

    This is an Epic Fail for MS.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Isn’t this an outstanding faux pas coming from the now CEO who used to jump up and down at conferences yelling “Developers!  Developers!  Developers!”

      I swear, before Gates left, they must have given Ballmer a lobotomy.

    2. BigChiefSmokem says:

      Use an XNA wrapper

      1. Anonymous says:

        Use a condom.

  50. Keith says:

    Here is one point you are missing. If a human is going to carry a smartphone then they are quite likely to want to fiddle and fuss with the screens, play with widgets and be immersed with all aspects of their devices capability. Its fun and sure beats interacting with the kids or ironically chatting on the phone. We are a race that loves these devices, look around and see the huddled obsessors more focused on their personal handheld than just about anything else in their lives.

    Your previous post where you claim you don’t believe the average smartphone user wants to fiddle and fuss is where you and WP are mistaken, they most certainly do as these devices have a much stronger personal hold than a computer or any other electronic plaything they have owned.

    Smartphones are not for everyone, my wife only has one because she inherited my old one. She users s phone to call people and maybe check incoming email. She would be better served by an old Winmo device frankly. But for every lovely Luddite wife there are ten real smartphone users who have developed a relationship with phones that makes them want to fiddle and fuss which the Android experience offers in spades.

    1. Anonymous says:

      There are luddite husbands too.   Trust me on this one.

  51. Richard Spence says:

    Am interested in how will fragmentation lead to end user dissatisfaction?  How will this manifest itself?

  52. I’m somewhat of an “advanced user” and have been asked to “fix” computers now and then… look, a lot of people know they have windows, but don’t know what an OS is if they fell over one, and think Explorer is what “turns the internet on”. 

  53. Milter says:

    Microsoft was and still is providing feature rich but cumbersome windows os, what should they do with the limited input and presentation capabilities of handheld devices? Well either keep two seperate branches or reduce to least common factor. Both options look quite unsatisfying, don’t they?
    Why even worry? There were mobiles before android and ios and there may be some after.

    What Microsoft really should be afraid off, is that the border between business and pleasure becomes blurred and people tend to choose google service stack over microsofts, thus loosing customers for future development (eg SaaS).

    We will see another huge development step of desktop computing as soons as fiber is broadly available, which again will change our IT expierence permanently.

    1. Anonymous says:

      It’s already happened.   I work with more than a few clients who have switched over their entire office operation to Google Apps.

  54. Anonymous says:

    So WP7’s strategy is to stick it to the carriers. That was also Apple’s strategy, and it’s been wildly successful for them; they now own well over half of the industry’s profits, despite releasing a minimal number of handsets a year.

    What interests me is why Kindel thinks this strategy will start to unravel for Apple and yet become successful for Microsoft? What will Microsoft start doing differently in order to boost sales? Having read this post several times now, it’s clear that Kindel is banking on nothing more than a potential demise in Android, at which point customers will just start buying WP7 phones instead.

    I don’t think that’s a strategy.

  55. paul mooney says:

    Why did it take a YEAR and a HALF for the Windows CE 7.0 bits to find their way into Windows Phone???

    We had a great .Net community spirit five years ago, but Microsoft PR KILLED IT

    At a recent .Net Developer User Group meeting NOT one person had a Windows Phone! 

  56. Anonymous says:

    If consumers were the sheep you make them out to be the rise of the iPhone never would have happened. The carriers could have just thrown some more marketing dollars at their blackberry and Symbian crap. Instead of course, consumers recognized a vastly superior product and the whole android infrastructure was a response to that threat. Microsoft could run more ads, do more direct to consumer sales, then all the carriers combined if they chose. But they have nothing that the typical consumer will regard as clearly superior. The ridiculousness of leaving apps out of the discussion has already been covered here.

  57. Mcorker says:

    The Microsoft brand = 20 years of crappy products. The latest ms tv commercials are awful – the biggest reason to buy ms product is take a video of dad dancing and post it on youtube – wow I’m on my way to Best Buy right now. 

    People love apple products because they are good. Train your mother on Windows 7 laptop with Office and then train your mother in law on iPad. Did you notice any difference?

    Name 1 ms that has created die hard fans?The app story is temporary. HTML 5 means write an app once run on any device. The app story will end very soon as a device differentiatorThat being said what MS must do is start making great products and that isn’t Ballmer. Ballmer = operator. They has a shot with Ozzie but that was extingushed.

    1. Milter says:

      20 years of crappy products? Who else managed to sell crappy products over 20 years?

      Praising iPad as great office expierence? Huh, you definately talking bout reading only, dont you?

      1. Anon says:

        So true. Microsoft Office is one of the best software products out there. I live in Office (at work). But it rides on Microsoft Windows which sucks and degrades the whole experience. That’s why for personal use, I have a Mac at home and its great (Mac Office is very limited compared to Windows but most users are clueless about it). But for surfing, music (yes, even with iTunes), video, pictures, etc. its great. Apple has a way to go for enterprise use.

        MS should promote Office on every platform. But that would require a new kind of thinking and new strategy and they hang on to the old model.

        1. Office 2011 (Mac) is feature-for-feature almost identical to Office 2010 … although it’s a lot slower (Excel is)

        2. Anonymous says:

          I have Office 2010 and I prefer using Open Office / Libre Office.  Like Tiles, the Ribbon was also a monumental UI failure.  

  58. Level380 says:

    Using your terms then…… WP7 is a failure (going by numbers)……….

  59. BigChiefSmokem says:

    As a Windows Phone user, the last thing I want is Android users and their supporters migrating and turning this classy joint into a playground.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Says the dbag with a racist Indian avatar.

  60. Superssc says:

    Unfortunately, neither you (@ Mr. Kindel) nor MS have understood the least – although the launch of Windows Phone Backstage that accompagnied the development and the launch.

    So: Why will Windows Phone fail ?


    – it has come far too late
    – any advantage of Windows Mobile was destroyed in Windows Phone, which led to:
    – existing customers rather change(d) to iOS and/or Android instead of WP7
    – it has no USP compared to Android and/or iOS
    – it is completely ridiculous to come, even now, with models that habe a maximum storage of 16GB (Nokia Lumia Series)

    Which advantages of Win Mobile have been destroyed by MS ?

    – Freedom of choice: Now, Apps can only be bought via Zune, which is a) uncomfortable and b) stupid enough for non-customers not to show apps without registration / download…Would you buy something without beeing able to take a close look on it?

    – storage extension by cards no longer possible…BULLSHIT! Especially when it comes with storage limited models (at present 16GB)

    – and a few others as well, but that would lead too far.

    Please note that I have been a PocketPC / Windows Mobile User from Spring 2003 until this summer (2011) – with different models on different versions.

    If MS had listened to its own “Backstage” platform, I would surely still be a WinPhone User – but this WinPhone 7(.5) is just a (once more, Microsoft!) poor copy from Apple without spreading the “status” that comes with Apple products.

    Mr. Ballmer will have the honour not only to have destroyed MS’ ambitions in phone OS, but this will take down MS as well when it comes to Office and even desktop PCs…See the market shares Apple is gaining on desktops/laptops…

  61. Anonymous says:

    Android “fragmentation” is so overrated.   Generally, even within a family, you stick to one device brand and carrier, so the average person or family doesn’t see or get affected by the so-called fragmentation.   Further, since 2.2, there are precious few apps that don’t work everywhere and the Market hides the few that would not work on your device so you never see what you’re missing anyway.

    Windows phones are just too little, too late and Steve Ballmer is the worst thing to ever happen to Microsoft.   He doesn’t seem to be able to market his way out of a paper bag.  MS is a failure and their stock price shows it.

    1. Level380 says:

      I think tim cook is going to be apples Ballmer … Have you see tim on stage? Dry as paper bag!

      1. Matthew says:

        That’s actually the opposite of Ballmer, who is sopping wet with his own sweat.

      2. Anonymous says:

        So that’s your criterion for evaluating managerial talent.  Hmm, interesting approach.

  62. Level380 says:

    It’s easy to say your don’t have fragmentation when you only have one level of hardware and features……

  63. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft made terrible mistakes and decision on this wonderul platform. It is HORRIBLE.
    There is so much fail I don´t know where to begin with:
    1. While the design is really something new, Microsoft spent awfully much of the time to copy Apple. But they are not as cool as Apple so this had to fail.
    2. Microsoft simply abandoned their huge Windows mobile Community by offering a new product which did not meet the requirements of these users.
    3. Microsoft focused on kiddis and not on business customers. No real person needs Xbox on the phone. It surely is a cool feature but having kiddy stuff on the phone and no real email features is a no go. If MS had focused on business customer they would profit from Rims fall today.
    4. Microsoft pushes the cloud over everything, ignoring all the users who will never ever ever put their contact data, emails etc. into the cloud.
    5. While I relly like the WP gui, most people hate it. Microsoft did not understand that the smartfone is a lifestyle devise and users WANT do customize it to any degree to reflect thei individual style.
    6. Microsoft did not listen to customer before they published WP7. So rather than getting good critics, they got bad ones for missing Copy and paste, tethering etc.
    7. The Nokia deal is brilliant but Nokias phones are WAY too expensive and until now they have no WP phone with hardware keyboard. If they would have offered one, I would have bought one. So I am still not owning a WP7 phone and I will not until there is a Nokia with a hardware keyboard.

    But besides all the critics WP7 offers a lot if only Microsoft would make the right decisions:
    1. The need to put massive effort to glue together WP7, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server, Windows Home Server, Office (esp. Outlook) and XBox. I don´t see it yet, but once the WP phone is basicalle the remote for all of this, it will rocket off. (So again Microsofts desicion not to melt Windows 8 with WP is a missed opportunity)
    2. Pay for the apps. OMG. MS has enought money. Start a contest for application developers: Hand out 1.000.000 U$ for every developer who reached the top 10 of the most downloaded apps in the store. That would not only create a buzz in the developers community, it would create a media frenzy.
    3. Be cool: Let Microsoft employees have the chance to give away phones for family and friends at a heavily disconted price. Suddenly it would be COOL to know somebody at Microsoft, because the phone is 50% off.
    4. Advertise, advertise, advertise. Recently there was a really cool tv spot with 2 kiddies playing with the shopping list on the home computer, while daddy was in the store trying to keep up with the suddenly changing shopping list on his WP phone, demanding for chocolate and other sweets.
    WP is a great platform and once it is an integral part within the windows system, it will rocket off. But until then more work and more effort has to be done and Microsoft has to listen to the users not to the customers.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Apple is both the device manufacturer and the OS provider. It also provides the advertisement. And it provides the ecosystem of apps, accessories, music, books, video, computers and other devices. In Apple’s world, the carrier is largely invisible. The carrier does not get to load crapware, for example, on the iPhone. This is a completely different and hugely successful model for Apple.

    All Microsoft has to do is to buy Nokia and it will have a similar model. Watch and see Microsoft do just this.

  65. Jay Hollenkamp says:

    People do not understand your exclusion of apps because it’s indispensable to your topic – phone sales.

    Trees without leaves may grow faster and higher and may even have the strongest branches around, but all that means a hill of beans to nursery visitors because no one wants a tree without leaves.

  66. Matthew says:

    Also, don’t forget that there are no licensing fees the carriers or manufacturers have to pay to Google for the OS.  Since the manufacturers sell to carriers, they don’t care whether the OS is really any good.  Since the carriers think users are idiots (ever watch a Verizon commercial?), they don’t care about the OS.  Since Android is cheaper, nobody in the chain cares how bad it is.  Apple has defeated this system because they sell the phones in their own stores.  Any other manufacturer, you have to go to the carrier’s store and hope they have the phone in stock.  For Apple’s iPhone, you never have to darken the door of a carrier store at all.  The more Apple stores there are around, the bigger this advantage gets for Apple.

  67. Anonymous says:

    carriers? Really? Well considering its US and few other nations..yes carriers do play a major role.But this is not the case in every country..Carriers for example in India are crying loud about iphone 4s with lots of marketing yet the product has never taken off due to the high price and lack of attractive tarrifs.Android on the other hand has received no attention from the carriers yet its growing at a phenomenal rate! So carriers as such do not exactly play a major role in many countries..Its the end consumer who plays a role in adapting the os.
    So windows phone has still got lots of time to dominate the market alongside android its just that for time being they are still in ”Developing stage” with few devices just like android few years back.

  68. Anonymous says:

    And Apple provides the service. If you have a problem with your iPhone, you do not go to the carrier, you go to Apple. You go to the genius at the Apple store.

    Apple has made the entire smartphone experience a virtuous circle with two sides: Apple and the customer. The carrier is largely invisible – collecting the money and doing little else. That is the Apple way.

  69. Bonaccij says:

    The real reason android is “winning” (and I use that term in the most liberal way) is because of price or screen size. If anyone believes that someone buys an android phone for functionality or OS, and isn’t a techie obsessed with customization, they are just simply wrong.

    I buy mobile phones for a fleet of people 30,000 strong. We have been FLYING away from BB and Symbian because our customer base needs (read that as wants/ me too syndrome) more options when it comes to applications and screen real estate. I have friends in the industry who have blatantly said, “I’d buy an iPhone if it had a larger screen or if it were cheaper”. So… I dunno about all this other hoodie blah.

  70. Anonymous says:

    (arrgh, darn Disqus editor)

    manufacturers are stuck with.

    The OS providers, through apps but also through design elegance and reliability / code stability and update frequency, can add value more efficiently than the other players.

    Consider electricity, a market with similar characteristics. Who adds value? it’s not the pipe providers. it’s the end appliance makers. And so you care a lot more about the design of your lamp than you do your electric bill. This is not to say the markets are the same – the lamp manufacturers are the equivalent of OEMs, not OS providers – but to simply illustrate that market power flows to value adders.

    Microsoft I think has a shot but they were late to market. The company to watch is Amazon. Content is value and they are uniquely positioned.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Carriers like Apple because customers stick with Apple. Thus they have customers they don’t have to convince to stay.

    Carriers like Apple because they don’t have to do much to make money. Apple does all the heavy lifting: the advertisement, marketing, service, etc. Apple us easy money to Carriers.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Android’s customer is the device manufacturers. They need to please their customer.

    Microsoft’s customer is the device manufacturers and the carriers. They need to please their customer.

    Apple’s customer is the user. They need to please their customer.

    Notice the difference?

  73. Tim Boyden says:

    As an IT guy that actually knows the differences between the various mobile operating systems as compared to normal consumers, and who has had experience programming for each of them, I really wanted to try Windows Phone 7 when I was up for a new phone this past Thanksgiving. Unfortunately Microsoft disappointed once again by slipping due dates to have hardware ready in time for the holiday season. Marketing does not typically inform by purchasing habits. I often take a “well ain’t that nice” stance when I see a commercial that a vendor has wasted millions of dollars on.

    Schedule slipping has always been an issue for Microsoft but even more of an issue is the disparity in creating evangelists for their hardware platforms versus their software platforms. They do a great job in seeding software and development tools for their networking and office application products. They do a horrible job in seeding development tools and hardware for their mobile and gaming products. I believe Xbox has succeeded mostly because of the superior technology and work with the big name developer houses (and some subsidy of the product as well). Microsoft doesn’t have that with mobile, as the various mobile platforms are all pretty much on par hardware-wise. That leaves innovation with applications and price as the only places where they can compete. Price is not a good thing to compete on (ask Dell and HP how that worked out for them with the PC market), therefore Microsoft needs to flex its legion of developers to start making innovative applications and services for mobile. That is the only way they’ll have a chance to compete with Android and iOS. Oh, and shipping quality hardware on a timely basis wouldn’t hurt either. Until then, I’ll continue to get by with my Apple iPhone.

  74. Walter Dufresne says:

    Charlie wrote “I would like to believe that at the end of the day the superior end to end experience for the end user matters more than anything.”

    I first wanted to believe that back in the 1980s, during the desktop OS wars.  Remarkable to think Windows Phone gives Mister Softee a bit of Apple’s experience with classic Mac OS.

  75. Brand value of harware vs. mOS in the East is sill disconnected | Sub-$50 Lumia > Which-ever Sub-$50 Android phone Spreadstrum pushes. | 2012 : I believe Nokia + Win 7 will do well in Asia/Europe, not in the US | RIP: Symbian, RIM

  76. Guest1 says:

    It may also be that there’s very little to differentiate Windows Phones from each other.  To prevent fragmentation, Microsoft has stipulated a very controlled hardware architecture.  There’s really not much room for variation.  Whereas in the Android marketplace, every new phone can be significantly different than others.  Of course, this bites them in the butt later when they find they can’t upgrade to Ice Cream or some other restriction.  The carriers (and hardware manufacturers) love to push the hype with NEW! stickers on each phone.  This generates excitement with customers.  When a customer picks up two Windows Phones, there’s very little difference between them.  Well, the case is gray on this one and darker gray on that one.  Oh, but the screen is .1″ bigger on this one.  Tough for the carriers to promote.

  77. Guest1 says:

    One big mistake was to force the “Windows” name onto the product.  Microsoft is really stubborn about that trademark.  Perhap stupidly so.

  78. Samuel Ford says:

    Interesting take. Two questions I’d love to see you follow up on:

    1. What value does Google extract? The only apparent benefit is ad revenue, but it’s a pittence to them (they actually make nearly twice as much ad revenue from iOS as Android and not nearly enough to subsidize Android’s costs). If Google tires of the continued investment, the edifice collapses (since Google is more or less donating significant value at a perpetual loss; one assumes this investment must pay a dividend at some point or be abandoned).

    2. Why will Apple’s strategy deteriorate? Purely commoditization by Google’s donation of Android (isn’t Google mimicking their business by acquiring Motorola [& Microsoft for pseudo acquiring Nokia])? It’s not obvious to me that Apple will fail to extract a meaningful profit from their strategy any time soon.

  79. Spai says:

    I am shocked, SHOCKED, that a me-too fourth-mover isn’t taking over the market.

  80. Jim Moskun says:

    Charlie, great approach to dissecting the market. However, I believe that the smart phone consumer has evolved and is much less influenced by carriers than you describe. In the early market, when most people were purchasing their first smartphone it was often an impulse decision made at time of purchase when they “needed a new phone”. They had not done research and the salesperson had great influence. The market has matured to the point that the consumers are savvy and know what they want – the salesperson/carrier has much less influence. The big influencers are “knowledgeable” friends and family that are overwhelmingly recommending IOS & Android.

    I also believe that you are ignoring timing and market windows. iPhone was a clear innovation that disrupted the smart phone market. Apple’s distribution strategy prioritized control (translates into profits) over marketshare leaving the bulk of the market underserved. This left a mile-wide market opportunity that Google quickly captured. IOS & Android ecosystems are now maturing rapidly from their own inertia making it extremely difficult for another entrant before the market consolidates & settles.

    If Microsoft is to have a place at the table they must change the rules with a disruptive innovation (more than metro) or finding a way to redefine the market from the consumers protective – a very tall order.

  81. Per this analysis Microsoft should get into both the Carrier and the Device Manufacturing businesses:

    T-Mobile is available in the US, maybe elsewhere too.

    Or maybe do deals with various Telcos to setup a Microsoft MVNO.

    HTC is going to start feeling the heat as a small time player among giants like Apple, Samsung, LG, Moto-Google…otherwise there’s always the option of consummating their relationship with Nokia…

  82. desinformado says:

    When Apple feels forced to let the Carriers do what they want, this moment, Apple will be transforming itself into a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Apple won’t ever let Verizon, AT&T and others to mark what the iPhone should/shouldn’t have or what is good for the Carriers vs what is good for the end users.  Apple won’t ever do that.

  83. Nexustoday says:

    Excellent Article but there are some flaws and Bias drift 🙂

    You are trying to paint MS as Saint and Google and Apple as Demons. But let me be very clear on thing. What the hell was MS doing all these years.

    They pushed sub standard 6.5 OS to consumers, exploited their needs. Am i not correct. Shouldn’t they have done better.Now they have WP7 but when u talk about fragmentation, 7.0 is never compatible for 6.5 hardware am i not correct. So basically if you are wp7 mango I am stucked and there is no hope whatsover I believe if MS says no then its No.

    Basically i will tell you why did Android sells like hot cakes.

    1. Independence to consumers.
    2.They shell out less money and get more features.
    3. MS has an attitude where they feel if they can monopolize OS they own our paycheck sorry those days are over.
    4.Google cares even though fragmentation is there but we get our share of choice.
    5.MS with steve balmers only cares about their own stocks and their own propriety s/w.
    6. Not everyone is rich to buy costly mobiles get peanuts.Google gave a way to the world where with 100$ you can buy an unlocked good piece of mobile phone and not worry about carriers.
    7. MS has become very insensitive, very selfish and very very out of touch.


  84. Domenico A says:

    This is my experience with Android (translate) i back to Wp7 with Nokia Lumia! I LOVE IT

  85. Carriers love Android because they can charge data plan prices for what are essentially feature phones. I’m not talking about Nexus or Droid, I’m talking Optimus S, Devour, Defy and its ilk — the so-called “mid-range” and “low-end” phones — where you think you’re getting a deal because they’re significantly cheaper than an iPhone but you pay the same price for the carrier connection.

    Carriers love iPhone because people like and buy iPhones. iPhone gets people to move and Android picks up the slack. Where is Windows Phone in this?

    Keep in mind that now, the best of Windows Phone is the Focus S but the best of Android is the Galaxy Nexus. It’s no longer an issue of Awesome Focus v. janky Nexus S.

    After much use of my Nexus S, I would have to say Windows Phone is better. Damn Gingerbread could barely browse at a usable framerate. But on Ice Cream Sandwich, things are different. The problem now is that the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4 are almost close to halfway decent. I’d say ICS is the first usable version of Android — and if Google trolls the rest of the OEM herd away with their (I believe at this point intentionally) crappy update system, the Nexus can be at the forefront, and at that point Android can become less fragmented but Windows Phone can’t get more carrier love.
    …or can it?

    Perhaps there lies the entry point.

  86. Jeff Wolfers says:


    You say consumers are stupid sheep, that they will buy anything they are told to buy. There is some truth to this, but the last mobile phone shop I was in had at least 50 phones available for sale in all manner of size, shape, function and price.  I think the consumer has a lot of say in what they buy. You are at least 75% wrong here sounding very cynical as well.

    I think it was also stupid to call it Windows Phone.  “Windows” = legacy, old, corporate, desktops, not cool, new or fresh. When MS built a game platform they didn’t call it Windows for Games for cripes sake! Technology is as much a fashion industry as anything else, and buying a Windows Phone is like being forced to buy a pair of Sears blue jeans by your mother.

    Over time, I am sure the greedy, controlling nature of Apple will be offputting to some, and the chaotic Android ecosystem will be the same to others, but I think the very uncool Windows brand will prevent MS for taking more than a niche in this market place.

    This blog sounds like failure and sour grapes to me.   


    1. Steven Noyes says:

      Lots of phones does not really matter.  Where the phones are placed counts more than the number of phones.  When someone asks: “I want a decent smart phone” and the Sales Rep goes to the Android phones.  They don’t walk them over to the iPhones or the WP7 or the Blackberry.  They walk them over to the Androids (or the flavor of the day).

      Even with “choice” most consumers don’t recognize how much of the choice is removed from their buying patterns.

    2. Steven Zahl says:

      Naming Zune, Kin and Bing did not work either.  Hence, they went back to the Windows name.

  87. Woody says:

    Drooling herds of obnoxious MS fanboys and the dickhead CIOs I worked with in the 90’s turned me off to Windows COMPLETELY. I cant even bring myself to try a Windows phone these days.

  88. Kiran says:

    WP7 is better than Android anyday. It’s a shame that Android has garbage all over. iOS and WP7 are lag free unlike Android.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Windows Phone is a piece of shit which is why no one buys that bug ridden WP.

  89. hwickline says:

    ” Apple has been successful (at least in terms of generating revenue) in this space by cutting the device manufacturer out.  They have then used that fact to force the carriers into being even more of a fat dumb pipe. A topic for another day, but my belief is over time this strategy will start to deteriorate for Apple.”

    I’d love to hear more about this. How come?

  90. Rod says:

    One thing I think people miss, is the hatred that many people have for Microsoft, including myself and everyone I know. I have 3 computers right now running windows 7, but I will never buy a Microsoft product where I have a good option. Microsoft has never had to listen to it’s customers to survive, it has had unlimited money thanks to Windows. I am an old man who has had computers since the mid-80’s. I remember when MSN was trying to compete with AOL (all internet was dial-up back then). I was using MSN because it was better, but I had to pay a big phone bill because they had no local number. Then they gave away (in California anyway) 100’s of dollars to tons of people who didn’t even have computers or use the internet, but gave it’s customers nothing because they already were customers. I switched to AOL then (they had a local phone number). I have many other reasons ( most recently Vista). In my opinion Microsoft is and has been for a long time, a incredibility mismanaged company. Nokia makes a great phone, but I bet it will not survive the Microsoft decision.

  91. Windows has reached that point when people take it for granted. Not everyone likes it but people end up using it anyway. PCs are cheap, so more people buy them. If they come pre-installed with Windows, they will use Windows. If cheap PCs are pre-installed with Mac OS, people will use Mac OS. This can be proven if only Apple’s license would allow it. Nonetheless, Windows OEM on a PC model works and Microsoft doesn’t even need to work hard to keep it working for them.

    If only Microsoft realized sooner how poor they are in marketing. Windows can sell with Microsoft barely lifting a finger (and when they try too hard, they tend to miss the point anyway– remember Windows Vista?). With Windows Phone, Microsoft was blinded to copying the authoritarian model that Apple does for iOS. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t know how to play the authoritarian game. Moving away from the do-nothing-because-it-will-sell-anyway PC model they’re familiar with, Microsoft suddenly needed to work hard selling a product. For the mere lack of practice alone, Microsoft just can’t seem to do it right.

    Meanwhile, the most successful Linux flavor in modern time called Android, is enjoying the do-nothing-because-it-will-sell-anyway model in mobile devices. Android devices are the new “Windows” of this generation… and Microsoft has only itself to blame for it.

  92. Joe says:

    I am surprised at the nativity of the line: “I would like to believe that at the end of the day the superior end to
    end experience for the end user matters more than anything.”  Could one not replace WP and Android with Motorola (68000) and Intel (8800/8600), and have made the same claim?   I think a better analogy is to a company like the car company Jaguar.  After SO many failed attempts, it matters little what they come up now.  Consumers shy away for fear of history repeating itself (in both cases, again, again, and again)

  93. Mike Robinson says:

    Interesting post.  I understand where you are going but one sentence ties it all up for me where I think you’re off the track:  You said “I would like to believe that at the end of the day the superior end to
    end experience for the end user matters more than anything.”

    First, that’s pretty ignorant on the face of things.  I think, by end-to-end experience, you’re leaving off things like pricing, distribution channel (ie how easy can I see it/play with it/buy it), enhance it.  You might have the best widget, but if you can’t distribute it, or it costs too much, or etc etc, you’re not going to have the biggest market share.

    Second, as a lot of people have mentioned, superior – besides being objective – has WAY too many nuances.  Do you HATE not having a tactile, physical keyboard?  Kiss iOS goodbye for example.  Does it matter to you that you have a phone like everyone else in your family (by WM7 so far)?  Do you really just need email, a phone, and a few other key apps, or do you really want to put all the latest cool games, apps, etc on your phone?

    In some ways I see Microsoft and Google doing pretty similar things to combat fragmentation – hardware requirements, changes to how updates are manged, etc., and looking more like iOS in the process even though I don’t think they’ll ever get that far.  WM7 is to WM5/6 as Android ICS is to, well, everything before it.  How many WM5 devices couldn’t go to 6?  Or 6 to 6.5?  etc.  So Microsoft figured out one of their big failures, great, but Android is moving that way too.

    I think you are largely correct when you lay out the four key areas of the mobile market, but unfortunately to me you sound like a RIM executive who has fifty reasons why Blackberry is better all the while that their product is dwindling into irrelevance. “But I built the best widget why oh why isn’t everyone buying it – they’re just wrong!…..”

    Maybe you’ve got the best interface/product but your methods needed to get it to the end users just aren’t right, so you can either change the end user (good luck) or your product

    1. Avro says:

      I’m not a Blackberry owner, but Blackberry has 3 out the 10 most popular selling handsets in the UK.  In contrast Nokia has spent $30 million promoting the Lumia in the UK and sales are dire.

      The iPhone is still on top here with 37% market share.

      Looks like Apple is doing something right and not losing sleep (or sales) over schmoozing up to the carriers.

      1. Mike Robinson says:


        Thats along the lines of what I’m saying….even if you’ve got the best widget that is only part of the picture.  Apple may not have the best method in the long run (even the author says he believes this will end at some point) but it all depends on what you define as success.  Apple OSX vs Microsoft Windows, clearly Windows has the market share.  Apple did to the smartphone what they did to the music player (iPod vs Sony Walkman per se) and its worked well.

        However, Apple is a very hard company to pin down in terms of how they do what they do.  They’ve been very successful but in general they do it very unconventionally to most other Fortune 500 companies.  One can’t argue against their success.  So yes, Apple is doing something right, but they’ve got (developed!) such a loyal following that they can do that.

        BTW that article left a lot to be desired….no reference to actual data.  They might have #’s 8, 9, and 10 and only comprise 1% of the numbers but still fit the “3 of top 10.”  And its only a four-week study.

        Any time I hear Blackberry/RIM I feel like I’m listening to Danny Devito’s speech in Other People’s Money.  Everyone else knows they’re toast.  Yes,they made $5Billion worldwide last quarter….but share prices down 75% in a year, tablet is a flop, multiple OSes in three years….unless they change they are the walking dead.

        While I’m at it…OS X is probably in most ways superior to Windows but still hasn’t shifted the market.  Having the “best” product just isn’t the only criterion.

    2. Guest says:

      “In some ways I see Microsoft and Google doing pretty similar things to combat fragmentation – hardware requirements, changes to how updates are manged, etc.”

      LOL. Good one. Where MS is succeeding, Google is failing.

      1. Mike Robinson says:

        I agree that so far Google has (is) failed….but I’m slowly seeing some movement to curtail that.  Time will tell if they get it right.  MS was failing just as miserably as Google until this year.  My point is that fragmentation has its pros AND cons and people want a balance (or they want no fragmentation which means they want iOS LOL).  Eventually I believe Google will get there, just as IBM/Microsoft did with the PC.

  94. Jerry says:

    There are two big problems in your analysis:

    1. “[Users] love speeds & feeds and will generally buy anything they are told to by television ads and RSPs (Retail Sales Professionals).” — Mobile phones are an extremely consumer-driven market. Having this level of contempt for the customer (“they’ll buy whatever they’re told and will never know the difference”) is a certain path to misunderstanding the market and poor sales.

    2. “Apple has been successful (at least in terms of generating revenue) in this space by cutting the device manufacturer out.  They have then used that fact to force the carriers into being even more of a fat dumb pipe. A topic for another day, but my belief is over time this strategy will start to deteriorate for Apple.” — Apple IS the device manufacturer, so I don’t see how they’ve “cut the manufacturer out.” I would be most curious to hear your actual reasons for thinking Apple’s strategy will deteriorate. Right now they have the highest brand recognition, the highest customer loyalty, the largest profit margins.

  95. Apphacker says:

    The reasons include the things you’ve mentioned but also the ecosystem and windows tie-in. Users who are savvy or have savvy friends and family will be wary of another Microsoft product that seeks to tie them with chains to Microsoft’s Windows & Office cash cow. How well will the phone work with a Mac? Will it sync? Will it be able to stream media to or from a non-windows computer?

    I think the problem is your opinion of end users as people who just do what they’re told. That is incredibly naive, and can really only be the result of someone who’s worked on products like Windows. Technical ignorance does mean that people don’t know what they want. And your comment to Scoble about apps being irrelevant is another. If you’re leading the charge with this kind of view of the world, there’s no way this product will ever succeed. There’s a general perception out there that Windows Phone is doomed for failure.

    1. Steven Zahl says:

      Hello KIN 2

  96. Brad Billman says:

    Each OS has it’s place.  People use Windows desktop for the same reasons they want the iPhone or Android.
    1. They think it is the only option
    2. Someone told them too
    3. They “know” it and don’t want to learn something new

    These exact same reasons are some of the main reason WP7 hasn’t taken off.  Quality of the product has very little to do with it’s success because the general public are sheep.  Does McDonald’s make the best hamburger in the world? 

    I bet over 50% of the people that go to buy a smart phone have no clue there is anything other than iPhone and Android. 

    All things considered, even being a techie I still think that Windows 7 is much better than OSX and even if it wasn’t, I would choose Ubuntu over OSX because of the cost point and customizability.  Before Win7 i was sick of XP and MS in general for not having made anything useful for years so I primarily used Ubuntu.  Microsoft has finely started producing quality software with Win7, WP7, and the Xbox.  There are some nice advantages to go with MS in the current market.

  97. I disagree completely with your post. App developers and the ecosystem is all that matters in the long run. “Better product”? Who gives a fuck when my sons want to play Angry Birds or some other game that is only available on the iPhone?

  98. Steven Zahl says:

    Microsoft is not an attractive brand to consumers.Therefore, the Resustance to WP7.

  99. Used Windows Phone  for 3 months, but it is like a 1 ton truck. You can modernize the shell, refine the colours, but its still a truck. 

  100. Hijaszu says:

    What at the end of the day counts: user satisfaction as the owns the money for it. Thus building rules for the manufacturer and the phone service provider is not as important as user experience (but only going for user experience is not enough also). I think this is why Apple makes money from it (even with removing the device manufacturer and charging the phone service providers). Because as user I don’t care how much it costs to the service provider and I even don’t care who builds the hardware. And for the windows phone user experience: Those boxes that I saw as main screen – I would happily dig out my eyes if I have to choose between this and staring that user interface.

  101. The CW says:

    “Remember that end users just do what they are told (by advertising and RSPs).”
    Explain, then, those users that choose products that are simply better and yet not advertised or incentivized. A reading of  Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” might inform your further writing on the subject.

  102. Anonymous says:

    Most end users don’t care about Fragmentation.  That is an enthusiast problem and when it comes down to it Android is the most enthusiast friendly platform right alongside desktop windows.  

    Plus, Android shipped feature complete, each update only makes the platform more and more prettier/usuable.  Whereas in contrast to WP7 and iOS, each update brings much needed and extremely important features.  Simply put, updates just aren’t as important to Android as they are to other platforms.  

    If look at the leading OS’s, (Android and Windows 7), they offer two things that no other platform does…. Adaptability.  These two OS offer great features but also adapt to the user that controls them.  Whether is be customization, widgets, or app 2 app plugging/sharing among other things, these OS’s allow the user to be themselves.  

    On the other hand, WP7 and iOS force the user to adopt a rigid and tightly controlled environment.  It might work for some, but as market share numbers show, not for as many, and certainly not for hardcore users.    Sometimes Metro gets in the way and just looks ugly.  And on iOS, I don’t know how much longer I can stare at a grid of icons.  

    In order for windows phone to succeed, it has to become more like Windows.  Lately, it seems Microsoft is trying to be more and more like Apple and I don’t like that.  

    1. Mike Robinson says:

      I disagree about a lot of what you started with here.   Users do care about fragmentation, they just don’t call it that.  The users don’t know what phone to buy because every week there is a new “best” phone (iPhone you know what you’re getting and you just love it).   They get a phone and in 6 months it can’t run the new OS/updates/etc (iphone in general all updates can be yours w/o waiting for the carrier to update).

      The original author did nail it about the customer relationship…Apple has always owned their customers and b/c of the type of ownership/fan base they can force the carriers to do their bidding.  If it were up to AT&T you would have to buy a new iphone to get any new features because thats how AT&T makes money.  Samsung wants you to buy a new handset because thats how they make money.

      iOS = controlled environment, it does what it does but does it really well and easy
      Android = open environment, tons of features, IMO more new-feature-development, but confusing array of stuff
      WM7 – no one really understands what this is/does
      RIM – Dead Man Walking as corporate moves elsewhere
      All Others – bit players at this point

      1. Anonymous says:

        I would agree except for the fact that most of the iPhones I see in the wild still have iOS 4.

        Plus, think about the what features you’re getting on the latest iOS update vs. the latest Android update. The latest iOS update usually has something new (notifications, multitasking, copy and paste, etc..). Android had that from Day 1. As much as I want ICS 4 on my phone sooo bad right now, it really doesn’t do anything that my Android 2.2 device doesn’t do already.

    2. Guest says:

      “Plus, Android shipped feature complete, each update only makes the platform more and more prettier/usuable.”

      Ha, ha, ha. And I guess if you consider “Android Lag ” a “feature,” it really has only gotten prettier and barely more usable with dual and quad core processors. Where as Windows phones and iPhones are always silky smooth, even with lesser specs.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I don’t know why I respond to trolls, but Android “Lag” is pretty overrated. The advantages you get outweigh that negative. Not to mention, on Post-Galaxy S devices, Lag is really is a thing of the past and pretty much eliminated in 4.0.

        1. Guest says:

          Pretty much eliminated is not the same as eliminated. I have a GN. Don’t try to BS me fanboy. Android 4 is very good, but it’s not the “feature complete” jesus smartphone OS you’re bragging about nor were earlier versions of Android. Get some perspective.

          1. Anonymous says:

            I have perspective kiddo. I had every iPhone (except OG) up till the 4s.

            If you really had perspective, you would notice that just about every feature that iOS announces is something that Android already had.

            Apple chose smoothness as the primary, Google chose power.

            And for the first few years, Apple was completely right. Android IMO was completely unusable before the Galaxy S. But hardware catches up and now Android is really living up to its potential.

          2. Anonymous says:

            Shut up, troll, You can’t even afford a GN. Go fap to some pictures on your feature phone, ya dink.

      2. Anonymous says:

        Why would anyone want a bug ridden POS WP anyway?  The UI is a joke and there’s no apps for it.  It’s not even customizable.

    3. Steven Noyes says:

      “Plus, Android shipped feature complete, each update only makes the platform more and more prettier/usuable.”

      I guess you never used early versions.  From missing keyboards and lack of usable cut/copy/paste, early Android versions on products like the G1 were far from “feature complete”.  iOS, Android and WP7 were all shipped before they were “feature complete” with Android probably being in the worst shape when compared to the other 2.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I don’t entirely disagree with you. It was unusable. But by “feature complete”, my point was that the had the ability.

  103. Carlos Teran says:

    I’m not a Microsoft fan, but I have to admit that the WP7 end-user experience is far superior than Android’s. And whenever somebody tells me about Android’s Marketplace, jeez… most of the apps are ill-designed crap, some work just barely because of the OS fragmentation and most depend on the raw power of the phone to cope with poor design that translates in sluggish performance. Microsoft has a very good product, despite the company’s big bad wolf fame.

  104. Ramamoorthy K says:

    In the smartphone market Google is playing the same game that Microsoft played in the Home computers market, to gain domination. In the long run, the possibility of fragmentation in the Google ecosystem, could end up in multiple set of user selectable environments (skins – like what HTC has done or even just a bunch of home screens). Whereas MS is playing for full control of the ecosystem !

    1. Steven Noyes says:

      And Apple is playing for being able to make a nice product and make a profit.

      Apple plays a very different game than either MS or Google.

  105. Anonymous says:

    Good article, thanks. I worked at Microsoft until recently on Silverlight and left when that product was mothballed.

    I think the platform fragmentation issue is false hope based on Microsoft’s own experience with windows mobile. Android is not windows mobile- it is a decent ios clone and if Google avoids major mistakes they should be able to further get control of the app store and upgrade process. As the market matures the experience gap between smart phone operating systems will inevitably close, not widen.

    The interesting thing about the smartphone fight is the similarity to the pc fight. The carriers back then were the retailers (comp usa, best buy, etc). The device manufacturers were the pc manufacturers (hp, dell, etc). The os market was even similar, as android is linux, iphone is the mac, and windows phone is windows. The only difference at the corporate level is that Google has replaced IBM as the open platform champion.
    With smartphones Apple is first to market again but is making the same mistake they did in the pc wars by not opening up the hardware to more manufacturers. People like choices, and so long as Apple controls their hardware manufacturing the only way they succeed is by being dramatically better than their competition. Since android came along the gap has been closing, and Apple is predictably back on a downward slide to market share irrelevance. I don’t see why they are repeating an obviously failing business plan they used with the mac. As far as I can tell they have squandered the last 2 or 3 years by milking iphone instead of opening up the hardware.For Microsoft the obvious difference is that they are late to market this time while the open source solution is early to market. Imagine if there was a version of Linux that decently cloned the mac in 1993. Instead, Windows beat Linux by years, while ibm messed with os2 at the critical time. Microsoft had the advantage back then of being the first-to-market mac clone on open hardware. With Android and Windows Phone, the advantage is reversed.So as I see it, Android has assumed Microsoft’s position from the days of the pc wars and Microsoft’s position is hopeless. In terms of value to the end user, all 3 smartphone operating systems are already comparable. It doesn’t matter if the metro ui is marginally better- it is different, and being different from the majority of the market is a disadvantage in a maturing industry. People are no longer shopping for an OS- they are shopping for the right hardware on the right carrier at the right price and want to run their apps. They will favor the “standard” OS, and no feature outranks network effects.

    1. Guest says:

      “Apple is predictably back on a downward slide to market share irrelevance.”

      OMG. Slaps knee. Spits coffee on screen, etc. You sir, are not paying attention to what actually matters to multibillion dollar corporations. Here, I’ll spell it out for you P R O F I T S. Did you leave MS or get fired?

      1. Avro says:

        Yes the iPhones are only the best selling handsets in the UK at 37% marketshare.  The end must be near.

        1. hunter2 says:

          You need to look at trends. Blackberry is where it is now because the whole time iOS was catching up to them they were talking down their failings and pointing at their still superior (but rapidly decreasing) market share.

    2. I am no Apple fanboy but the iPhone 4 (or 4s) is simply the most elegant package around in that it gives an excellent, predictable, consistent all-round experience. I guess I could write pages on why this is the case but those who use these machines know it. Simple. Apple makes money on its hardware and is not constrained by being the only iOS hardware provider. With its cash hoard it can add as much capacity as it needs to meet market demand. In fact, by decreasing its margins somewhat it would just kill the Android high end and hurting itself slightly and unnecessarily in the process. Apple simply holds all the cards from the cash to the apps. Game over. If it buys RIMM just for the network (pocket change for it), it also secures the corporate market for good.

    3. Mikez says:

      To make a great product you need to control the hardware and the software. This is Apple’s strength, not weakness. 

      MS gained market share by breaking the law. Their business practices parallel those of the mafia. Windoze is a mess because they blended the application code with the OS code, making both buggy. This was done to support their law breaking by claiming media players are part of the OS.In time the cell companies will just be dumb pipes. Phones won’t have SIM cards, but the OS will support multiple connections depending upon user selections.WP7 is a failure because the user is after the apps. Once one has a collection of apps one sticks with the platform which supports them. The inertia to change platforms is too strong to be over come by whatever WP7 offers.

      1. Guest says:

        Does spelling Windows wrong and making false loose comparisons to the mafia make you feel better about your technological choices? I really do hope so.

        Almost everyone makes errors in analyzing these sorts of things because they get fixated on one thing. You’ve chosen apps…

        It’s never that simple.

    4. Steven Noyes says:

      There are so many things wrong with this post, I simply do not know where to start.

      “The interesting thing about the smartphone fight is the similarity to the pc fight.”

      Uhhh.  Nope.  Nothing like it at all.  One of the many things you are missing is that Apple had no retail presence in the PC/Mac days.  Apple now has a very strong retail presence with their Apple Retail Stores (did you forget about them?) that bring in more per square foot than about every other retailer on the face of the Earth.  That negates that entire point.  I could equally say it is like the iPod/Plays for Sure fight in the MP3 wars and be equally incorrect.  BTW: How did the “open” platform with lots of hardware choice do?

      “With smartphones Apple is first to market again but is making the same mistake they did in the pc wars by not opening up the hardware to more manufacturers.”

      Why would they want to?  Apple was failing when they were opened to other hardware manufactures.  It is about building and designing products people want and being able to charge enough to make a profit.  Apple is exceptional at this.

      “People like choices, and so long as Apple controls their hardware manufacturing the only way they succeed is by being dramatically better than their competition.”

      And (in the US) they choose the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 3GS more than any other smartphone.  Sounds like they are significantly better than their competition. Are you saying that Android, WP7 and RIM are not a “choice”?

      “I don’t see why they are repeating an obviously failing business plan they used with the mac.”

      Because Apple is using this “failing business plan” to make a product people are actually willing to pay for and take in between 55-75% of all profit in the mobile handset business worldwide.  There is a reason Apple’s market cap is about the same as Dell, MicroSoft and Intel COMBINED.  Because of this “failing business plan”, Apple is valued more than MicroSoft and Intel and Dell combined and they have about 300% plus side growth available with the existing product line.  MS and Dell have little room for growth in their current product lines.  If Intel/MS/Dell cannot crack the mobile nut, they will be very different companies in 7 years.

      Because Apple Mac has been outgrowing the PC industry for the past 3-4 years?

      “Since android came along the gap has been closing, and Apple is predictably back on a downward slide to market share irrelevance.”

      So growing their market share by 7-10% this quater is a slide to market share irrelevance?  Really?  Are you serious on this point?  Just asking because it really shows you are out of touch with the industry.

      I undertand that your tenure at MS may have seriously warped your world view into thinking that a component based system is how to build a successful product.  Let me assure you, this only one method to build a successful product line.

      1. Anonymous says:

        The underlying point is that network effects tend to tip operating system usage towards a dominant player as a market matures. It’s not like a console where all that matters is what’s new- with an OS you need to carry legacy applications and an ecosystem of partnerships, software, and hardware.

        I’m no Microsoft fan boy and not excusing how they handled Internet Explorer in particular, but I think network effects explain the dominance of Windows. I don’t see why the smartphone market won’t similarly tip, and Android’s customizability and market share make it the natural choice as that tipping occurs.

        Apple opened up the hardware too late with the mac- long after things had already tipped to Windows. They looked back and said “oops, we should have done that”, but it was too late when they had that revelation. Had they opened up the hardware in 1992 and developed more partnerships when they were ahead then things may have turned out very differently for them.

        Don’t get me wrong- Apple still has the best smartphone OS and is obviously raking money in like nobody else. The control they have over hardware means they can get phenomenal profits and be the early mover on innovative features. The halo effect of ios is juicing mac sales as well. They have a ton of good will on their side on account of bringing something really new to the market.

        Having said all that, I don’t see them as being well positioned 5 or 10 years from now. Android is growing faster in market share and Android has the ecosystem behind it. The strengths Apple has had so far are fading as the smartphone market is maturing. They’re going to have a harder and harder time inventing that next killer feature everyone wants and is willing to pay a premium for and go out of the ecosystem to get.

        1. Steven Noyes says:

          “I don’t see why the smartphone market won’t similarly tip, and Android’s customizability and market share make it the natural choice as that tipping occurs.”

          The term “network effects” is often used with no understanding of the term as in this case.  How many devices do you need to get “network effects”?  1,000,000? 5,000,000? 20,000,000? 50,000,000? 100,000,000? 200,000,000? 300,000,000?  Can you end with a plurality of devices but still not have “networking effects” in play?

          You can have “network effects” fully in play with multiple players in the same field.  In short, it is not a 0 sum game.

          Likewise, utilization is a key factor in establishing “network effects” and this is an area that Android fails on miserably.  Without utilization, there is no ownership of the platform and a lack of monetization happens.

          For example:
          Devices: iOS currently has close to 300,000,000 devices.  Android about 250,000,000 activations.  Android is activating about 700,000,000 devices/day and iOS is selling about 600,000,000-650,000,000 devices/day.  These are both impressive numbers and the concept of “network effects” would be fully in play if only market share mattered. NOTE: iOS sales for the quarter are based on the most accurate analyst estimates.

          Profit: Without profit, companies cannot innovate and come up with new products.  Apple has shown that it can do this through its 30+ year history.  S. Jobs is gone but he has put in place a great team that should be able to lead the company with a solid vision for at least 5-10 years.  When it comes to profit, Apple creates products people WANT to buy.  I suspect Apple will end up with close to 70% of all the profit in the mobile handset market this quarter.  In android world, it looks like HTC is down for the count and only Samsung is going to post good numbers.

          Mobile search: Google currently makes 2/3 of all of their mobile search revenue on iOS with WP7, Android, Symbian and BBOS making up the other 1/3.  In this case, Android’s “network effects” are clearly failing to materialize.

          Paid apps: iOS developers make, on average, about 10X on iOS apps when compared to Android apps.  Google has closed this gap from 18X a year ago but Android’s “network effects” are failing in this area.  From what I have seen, Android would need 4X-5X the number of devices in the field when compared to iOS to justify developing for Android over iOS.

          In App purchases: iOS wins by miles here.  Android network effects fail.

          Ad revenue support: Minor overall revenue stream compared to the previous two.  iOS and Android seem close here.

          Shopping: 90% of mobile on-line shopping is accomplished with iOS.  This is an important consideration for marketers and the platform with the best user to sales conversion wins.  Again, Android is failing this as well.

          You do not have to get 90%, 70%, 50% or even just 40% to “win”.  You “win” by continuing to innovate and make a great product people want to use WHILE making a profit.  You can have several “winners”.  I suspect Apple will end up with “only” 20%-30% of the market but get 80%-90% of the profit.  Is this “losing”?

          Can MS get enough market share to “win?”  They have a great product in WP7 but is it “good enough” to get people’s attention?

          1. Anonymous says:

            Great counterpoint! It may be you’re right- that Apple will keep 20% of market and 80% of profits. I could believe that, but I’d see it followed by 10% market and 40% profits, then 5% market and 15% profit- just like the mac. I don’t see much more room for innovation in the smartphone market and the flop that was the siri was a good indication of that. Or maybe I’m just too old to see the future. We’ll see!

          2. Steven Noyes says:

            BTW: Siri is anything but a flop.  It works great and I use it all the time.  The natural language processing really is that good.

            I am thinking too old to see the future and too young to remember the past.  It could also go that Apple ends up with 20% of the market and then grows to 30%, then 40%, then 60% and then 80% showing the same growth rate of the Mac over the last 10 years ending up like the iPod.
            You are really stuck in a 20 year old mindset and are thinking that Apple is the same company they were 20 years ago.  You are stuck on a Mac/PC war from 20 years ago as a single datapoint and are unwilling to look at all the other data out there.  Apple has been about to fail for 25 years.  The Mac/PC idea being tied to iOS/Android is a tired metaphor based on voodoo and needs an ice pick run through its heart.

            Every company can fail.  DuckDuckGo has easily beaten Google in search quality, for example.  What happens to Android if 95% of Google’s resources slowly go away (Google is still a 1 trick pony)?  Given Android is a money pit (15 billion and counting), will Google continue supporting Android? What if Google finally figures out interfaces and gets Google TV to work without a keyboard?

            What if Apple gets complacent and stops thinking about neat new products they can sell?  Will they turn into a Sony that pushes lack-luster products and an elevated price?  What if Apple does a big TV push and it flops big time?  What if they succeed?

            What if MS cannot break the mobile nut?  Will they shift like IBM?  Will Office and Windows continue to support MS forever?

  106. Ken Woodruff says:

    This argument would hold a lot more water if there wasn’t such a perfect precedent: Zune.  Arguably “better” than the iPod (certainly met people who preferred them), no carriers or equipment manufacturers to get in the way, yet it completely failed.  Like WP7 it was too late, and failed to differentiate on that most important of consumer decision points–price.  I think that Amazon is demonstrating with Fire that the only way to really disrupt an established market is to blow away the current price point.  If consumers walked into a carrier store and saw a “free (with contract)” WP7 phone next to a $199 Android running on essentially the same hardware they’d be far more likely to pick the WP7.  But at the same price point?

    1. The CW says:

      or, based on charlie’s thinking, the end user was not effectively told to buy it by advertising and the RSPs.

  107. Ben Rosengart says:

    Where do you see Apple’s strategy failing?

  108. Pablo says:

    If this is so, MS should buy a hardware company and a telco.  The other approach is to have a unique partnership between Nokia and T-mobile to give the consumers the best mobile experience for the money and see if they can compete. 

  109. Christine Paluch says:

    1. Microsoft was far to late in entering this market.  Windows Phone 7 should have arrived shortly after Android to have an competitive footing in this market.  Instead the device arrived on the market long after Google had already gained significant momentum.  Android arrived within a year of the original iPhone, that is the exact moment windows phone 7 needed to arrive.  Which was the window of time which the operating system had to arrive in to gain a foothold in the market.  Windows Phone 7 on the other hand was plagued with delays in a market that would not tolerate it.  Microsoft was 2-3 years late to the party.  They needed WP7 out in 2007 or 2008, not 2010.  It is like showing up 2 hours after a party is over and asking where all the snacks and drinks have gone. 
    2. Windows itself is not necessarily a good brand, especially in the mobile realm. The minute microsoft realizes this, is the minute they would be far better off.  This is probably the best example of corporate capture, because they did not aknowledge this branding issue.  Microsoft should realize they should have called it anything but windows phone. 
    3. They should have realized the carriers felt burned by Windows Mobile 6 and the Kin.  The carriers have a very long negative history with microsoft, and no matter how great their current product is mending the bad reputation was not going to happen overnight.   
    4. Microsofts initial marketing for the Windows Phone was awful. The “time for a phone to save us from our phones” is bad for a smartphone market where using interactive applications is a big part of the appeal of owning a smartphone.  It was almost that microsoft fundimentally did not understand how people were using smartphones.  Like always bad marketing is a big part of Microsoft’s problems.
    5. Nobody outside of the tech industry, including blogs cares all that much about Android fragmentation.  To your average consumer is happy long as they can get their email and play angry birds. 

    Windows Phone 7 was the failure you could see coming from a mile away.  You know how much Nokia matters in the North American market…very little.  The partnership was not worth much and will probably leave Nokia burned, it also will not save Microsoft from windows phone failing.

    You may have thought you made a superior product, but the corporate capture at microsoft lead to this issue to begin with.  Was there at any point somebody who was not “rah rah Microsoft” basically telling you point blank about the issues you were facing.  Poor timing, poor branding, poor marketing, and poor carrier relationships. You should have not fired this person, but promoted them to run the company. Are most of the people at Microsoft really this blind where nobody is seeing this?  The only people vaguely interested in Windows Phones were visual studio developers, and many of them were already using Androids or iPhones. 

    As somebody pointed out, people do not use windows out of brand loyalty, they use it because it comes preinstalled on their OEM machines.  The tolerate it because its just there.  Until Microsoft does some serious soul searching the problems will continue.  The problems lie with Microsoft’s own history.  Until microsoft aknowledges their own issues and reputation, these failures will continue. 

  110. Sola says:

    The great thing about the way Microsoft is handling things is that streamlining their product across multiple devices makes it easier for developers to make products for wp7. However it is the same controlling attitude that makes it even more difficult to develop for wp7. Long certification times, vaguely worded certification requirements among other things. I think customers are losing patience with Microsoft and if they are not careful, they’ll lose the developer base too.

  111. Anonymous says:

    There is much to agree with in your discussion but your description of consumers doesn’t reflect the observed reality.  If consumers are the sheep you describe them to be, they would not have flocked to the iphone but would have obeyed the carrier marketing of symbian and blackberry crap. Instead, they recognized the superior product and demanded it. The whole android infrastructure was created in response to that threat. More marketing of blackberry would have been cheaper!   Microsoft could exceed all the ads and direct consumer sales of all the carriers combined if they chose.  But they cannot describe a product that *a consumer* would regard as clearly superior.  In your oversimplified model you completely ignore the rational resistance to replacing what works with something new, that must be overcome with a substantial perceived benefit. WP7 does not offer one. 

  112. Richard says:

    Firstly, the article as a whole is well-written but there are fallacies at some parts. There are assumptions that do not really follow logical sense, one for example is assuming and asserting that ALL end users are the same, meaning people don’t do research, don’t read tech news, don’t try out devices and just listen to and believe what RSPs and Advertising say? Come on. Hasty Generalization, if you like. 

    And then you are also assuming that fragmentation is causing headache to all or at least most Android users. I would say people who are power users will find no problem with this “problem” and people who can’t be arsed about the latest firmware updates will not even realize what they are missing, well except unless they do comparisons with other Android users. Then again carriers add flavours to Android so eventually they just won’t be bothered. 

    Lastly, to say that WP7 products are far superior than Android products is just so subjective that there is not even any point for arguing. You like a type of food and someone else likes another; it doesn’t mean the food you like is more superior than the other, right? Just my 2 cents. No intention of hating or causing any flame war. 

  113. Tadhg Kelly says:

    Hi Charlie,
    “Remember that end users just do what they are told (by advertising and RSPs)”

    I think this mentality may have something to do with it. Microsoft tends to spend a lot of time creating software that it thinks is great and then adopting a business model of foisting it on the market through partnerships.

    The one thing they don’t really do well is let word of how bad or good the product actually is filter through to their brain-bubble until its launched. At a fundamental level, they see all software businesses (even games, which they are increasingly getting lost in) as corporate software. Most of the time it’s a failed approach, and the products that they produce when they try to talk to customers tend to be patronising.

    Metro (as seen in WP7 and now Xbox 360) is the latest and worst example of that. It’s too dumb, feels too much like it leads people by the hand and spoon-feeds them, and too much about what Microsoft thinks customers want to see. It radiates an attitude of regarding users as sheep. 

    It simply isn’t “better” than Android by any stretch of the imagination, and nowhere near iOS, in understanding that because Microsoft is culturally not able to understand that.

    That’s why they’re losing. 


    1. Anonymous says:

      Forgive me if I misinterpret your response or I fundamentally approach your argument incorrectly, but how does the development process of Android and iOS differ from Microsoft again? 

      All three attempt to develop software OS they believe will work for the common user, while understanding that they can’t account for every SINGLE user but aim for the majority. 

      As far as I know, Apple does not have an open discussion board for their development of iOS. I would almost conclude that they make a business of their development process privacy. 

      I was also lead to believe that Android was an open source project that had several parties contribute to it before Google purchased it and took it back to their labs to work on in private. 

      I don’t understand why Microsoft is getting singled out in this approach. 

      As far as simplicity is concerned, again, I think all OS are attempting to program for the lowest common denominator.  For a simple example, please take a look at the lock screen of iOS…it literally says “slide to unlock” with flashing letters and an arrow pointing in the direction to unlock. While Android is more subtle, I would argue that WP is probably uses the least hand walking in their approach. Yet still just as intuitive as the others. 

      Just my two cents.

      1. Tadhg Kelly says:

        All three attempt to develop software OS they believe will work for the common user, while understanding that they can’t account for every SINGLE user but aim for the majority. ”

        That’s not a development process, it’s an ambition, and a very general one at that. The companies in question approach product development very differently. Apple focuses on creating products which inspire delight, Google aim for ubiquity. 

        Microsoft aims for ownership of users more than anything else. While all three have ecosystems, Microsoft make the most out of trying to sell users on the ecosystem idea. Use our phone, our PC, our console, our one interface etc. 

        And that’s ok but their products tend to have a lack of respect for users, thinking of them as sheep who’ll take what they’re given. Which they will if there are no other options (Windows) or there’s a strong need to be interoperable with others (Office) but not in an open field. When Microsoft have to compete on product, they usually lose because their stuff is just ok at best, nannying or annoying at worst, and overpriced. 

        So that’s why they’ve had to spend billions trying to keep Xbox viable, why their online services division loses billions, and why (despite their best efforts) nobody is seriously excited by Metro.  There’s a massive internal logic going on inside Ballmer’s company that is self-reinforcing, and if they didn’t have Windows and Office they’d be completely decimated in short order.

        1. Anonymous says:

          I apologize for the general ambitious assumption I attributed to the three businesses. You’re absolutely correct, it was a very general one at that.

          As I have not worked for all three I shouldn’t  attempt to know what their internal development processes are. For that I am sorry.

           I used a broad development ambition to represent what I thought most of the client based majority are privied to. I wanted to refrain from making over zealous character generalizations like “Microsoft is an evil sheep herder only out to trick people out of money. On the other hand Apple is the gleaming light of inspired creativity and freedom. Meanwhile Google is the omnipresent being who just wants to be everywhere.” 

          I think at the end of the day, we just have two fundamentally different ways we view Google, Apple and Microsoft. 

          Where you might see Microsoft doing a poor job of masking their attempts of forcing customers into poorly operated ecosystem and Apple doing a great job of offering an inspired delight of an alternative, and Google trying to be everywhere, I see three businesses striving to sell products that make them and their shareholders money, plain and simple.

          To me, Apple offers a very tightly integrated ecosystem in exchange for buying into their proprietary software and hardware. 

          Google offers a slightly more loose set of applications which work well together across the internet in exchange for voluntary participation in an ad-word supported infrastructure. 

          And Microsoft offers a suite of licensed applications in exchange for buying into their developing ecosystem. 

          I respect them all for what they are attempting and sales numbers speak for themselves as far as their success in those matters. 

          And I agree, Microsoft without Windows or Office, would not be where it is today, but I think the same could be said about Apple and the iPod and iPhone, or Google and well….search engines. None of these companies could stand without their bread and butter product(s).  

          But hey, agree to disagree. 😉

        2. John says:

          You’d think people like yourself who have no interest in honest arguments would have at least abandoned that line about the Xbox by now.

  114. SiliconKiwi says:

    Microsoft do not support independent developers, Visual Studio is expensive and no one wants to use c# which has zero code reuse with the other phone platforms. It’s a world unto itself, and not a particularly appealing one. 

  115. Anonymous says:

    I’m hoping for a breakthrough WP7 experience too, but there isn’t a hole big enough to hold all the technically superior products that lost out due to other factors.  Why do you think Apple’s model will deteriorate over time?  Insane fragmentation has always been an issue for Windows PC’s do you think the mobile market will be more limiting?  Not trying to spam you here, I’m just curious since your post leaves those areas hanging…

  116. moneyguy says:

    Charley Kindel’s attitude toward the customer (”
    They don’t know what they hate. All they know is they buy phone service from mobile carriers and/or buy a phone from a carrier. They love speeds & feeds and will generally buy anything they are told to by television ads and RSPs”) is exactly why MS phones will never take off. You’d think that most manufacturers/developers/OS providers would have learned the lesson the auto industry learned in the 70’s. Apple knows it and lives it.

  117. Ron Christian says:

    Microsoft had a lot to make up for, coming from Windows Mobile 6.  But besides that, Charlie, honestly now, could it possibly be because Microsoft was last to market?  That iOS and Android devices had captured the hearts and minds of consumers long before Microsoft finally abandoned the “Start” button and released an interface that was touch friendly?

  118. Brad Billman says:

    He was as write as anyone making claims of any product being better than the next.  It is all subjective. 

    Coke zero is far superior to diet coke

    1. Henrik says:

      Hey. Coke Zero is better then Diet Coke.

      When cold Zero taste almost like real Coke.

  119. Andy says:

     IMHO, one of the problems of Windows 7 Phone adoption is clearly
    demonstrated by the Microsoft Windows 7 phone television advertising
    spots.  Remember those ?  The ones that showed people whose main purpose
    in life seemed to be to use there phones as little as possible.  A 3
    second use of the phone at your son’s baseball game (or whenever).  Then
    put that phone down and get back to the important stuff, e.g. anything

    The message those spots sent to consumers was “You hate your mobile
    phone and want to use it as little as possible.  We understand.  We want
    to help you use your mobile phone as little as possible.” 

    I’m just not sure if that’s going to appeal to the person who is
    actually looking for a new mobile phone.  Seems about like a marketing
    campaign for a car that says “We know you don’t like driving much;  buy
    our car, you’ll hardly notice it, it lets you get back to what’s

  120. Anonymous says:

    I am a Mac user but bought a Windows phone because the LG Quantum has the lowest RF emissions and it happens to be a Windows phone.  At best it is adequate, at worst annoying.  I look at iPhone users with envy, as they easily navigate around looking for restaurants or pulling up maps, etc.  It’s not that the Windows phone doesn’t do those things, but it doesn’t do them quickly and it’s not fun.  For email and phone, it’s fine, and text messaging is okay and the LG Quantum has the benefit of having a real keyboard.  Beyond that, pull out the iPad.

    Because there is no cell service where I live, I often go out to find that the phone requires an Update.  

    Some days it decides not to bring in my messages and tells me I need to make sure my settings are correct.  Days have gone by when it has chosen not to enable email to come in, and then for no reason here it all comes.

    When I first go out the messages come in without any text, and sometimes it takes the rest of the day for the full message to appear.

    Surfing the web or downloading apps or anything requiring interfacing with the internet is painfully slow and not worth my time.  The camera is okay, not great, but it does download the photos from the camera to my Mac computer.  That’s about all the interface there is for the Windows 7 phone with a Mac.  It can download and install updates via the Mac computer and the downloadable app, but after spending a while reading up on what can and cannot be shared between my computer and the Windows phone, I gave up.  I would have to replicate music and photos using Microsoft products. Not worth my time. And can you please tell me where the setting is so I can forward emails and have the attachments go along?  I’ve spent lots of time hunting for that setting.

    So my experience is that the Windows phone isn’t fun to use.  It is okay, sort of mediocre, and since my usage is limited (though when I travel I do use it and feel the same way about it, not worth my time, grab someone’s iPhone instead), I’ve been viewing my relationship with it with amusement.  That good humor could easily turn to enormous frustration if I really needed to depend on it.

  121. John P. says:

    Wow, amazing: WP7 is the superior PRODUCT even though the MARKET doesn’t think so (at least using it-wise)

    The inferior PRODUCTS somehow managed to overcome (at least units- and revenue-wise)  their inferiority because the buyers just do what the big fat dumb pipes and the minimum wage retail sales clerks tell them to buy.


  122. Andomar says:

    Carriers cannot “decide” which phones gets pushed by their RSPs. Maybe for the official carrier shops, but those don’t sell well. Most sales go through independent shops. And they sell what consumers want to buy.

    As a consumer you know you can root your Android and thus you’ll be freed from whatever ideas your carrier has about upgrade cycles 🙂

  123. Robbie Krumm says:

    Look at the bottom, I believe it is still early days for Windows Phone. 

  124. Tomhermans says:

    i struggle to see why this would mean it’s a superior product… ha.
    It’s just an opinion imho.. and fragmentation on Android will decrease..just watch.

  125. Nothing about that Windows mobile 7.5 is single threaded?
    BTW MSFT have never succeeded in a market where they had competition. Today 94% of MSFT profit is from Windows and Office. Both product in a monopoly market. This is also the reason why Windows phone never will succeed. People are used to working products, something that MSFT are bad at doing since they rely on upgrades.