Can Windows Phone Survive?

by Damon Payne 3. January 2013 21:08

I recently traded in my Samsung Focus for a shiny new Nokia Lumia 920. I like the hardware very much, and generally Windows Phone 8 is nice. I appear to be among those afflicted with what appears to be a poor Bluetooth stack, but I’m hoping that gets patched soon so I’m willing to suspend judgment on that facet.

I continue to be frustrated by the adoption and market perception of Windows Phone. I mean, really frustrated.Nest

My wife got me a Nest learning thermostat for Christmas. Not only does this thing tickle my interest in machine learning but it’s wicked useful in its own right. One selling point, for her, was that “we” could control it remotely. Except the nest app is available for iPhone and Android only. Not only this, but IE10 is the black sheep of the mobile browser world and no amount of rotating or failed resizing makes the mobile version usable on my WP8.

Of course it’s not just Nest. Fitocracy, Pinterest, my bank, and nearly everything else I have interest in is an exclusive club where membership is available only to those who know the secret handshake of the Ancient Order of the Not-Microsofts. Of course it would be great if all these folks started making Windows Phone apps, but why should they? Android continues to sell one trillion phones per millisecond and the iPhone is still considered cool. I can’t even claim to be a part of the solution myself. I am involved in a side project/startup with some folks right now, and the question of a Windows Phone app has never come up. Although it’s entirely my decision and my time I simply cannot justify it. Maybe when absolutely everything else is done I’ll circle back and build one for the home team, but when I put my Business Owner hat on it’s easy to see why the decision to not build a Windows Phone app is so easy.

Microsoft has some of the smartest people in the world working for it. I have to wonder, though, if any of them are in marketing? I’m tired of not being able to participate in Mobile because I bet on the wrong platform. I’ve had well-meaning Microsoft folks ask me which apps are missing: the intent is to contact these companies and try to educate them on the opportunity. Sadly this merely kicks the can down the road a little. When the next new mobile app hotness comes out the overwhelming likelihood is that it will come to Windows Phone last, if at all.

Until it is a must that companies also release their software for Windows Phone, they won’t, and their users will feel the sting of second class citizenship.  Microsoft needs to Fix It, or lose mobile entirely.

Tags:

Technical Community | Personal | Windows Phone

Comments (6) -

Mike Owens
Mike Owens United States
1/3/2013 11:15:39 PM #

My upgrade eligibility on my Windows Phone is in two days.  Two months ago, the Nokia 920 seemed like a no-brainer.  But lately, I'm running into the same thing.  Might have to go with Android.

Reply

Steven Evans
Steven Evans United States
1/4/2013 8:35:09 AM #

Agreed. That's been the biggest reason I'm thinking of switching to an Android phone. I'm tired of hearing about a great sounding mobile app and finding it's only for iPhone or Android.

Reply

David Kuehn
David Kuehn United States
1/4/2013 11:52:38 AM #

This blog post really hit home for me. I am not as bothered by the lack of certain apps for the WP platform as you are. I agree this is something MSFT really needs to fix. My reason for doubting my loyalty to Windows Phone lately is I think WP8 is as much a step back as it is a step forward when compared to WP7. The Bluetooth stack is worse, the cellular stack seems to yield worse signals just about everywhere, my music albums are fragmented in the music hub, they nerfed the sync experience by replacing Zune with half-baked sync software, and the accounts on my phone (MS account, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) only seem to sync over cellular data and not Wifi. I know they had to start from scratch moving from Windows CE to the new kernel but this is unacceptable to me. I’ve had the idea on multiple occasions to go back to the AT&T store and ask them to reactivate my Samsung Windows Phone.

I am keeping in mind that a major update is coming for WP8. I hope it comes soon and does for WP8 what Mango did for WP7. I am also keeping in mind that I have a developer Nokia phone. I don’t want to have to move to the iDictatorship or the Androidarchy. I really like Windows Phone for the live tiles and the hub-oriented organization. I will continue to give MSFT time to get this right … but there is a limit to it.

I am also frustrated by the adoption and market perception of WP.

I think a lot of the problems with MSFT products is their marketing (which you mentioned in your post). Not only do they need more marketing (which they have gotten better at recently) but they need better marketing. They need to show that their eco-system has more to offer than paint programs, fast searching on birds, and Angry Birds Star Wars. I give major props to Apple for their ad campaign with the geeky guy representing the PC and a younger, hipper guy (Justin Long) representing the Mac. I think that campaign had a lot to do with the widely adopted perception of Microsoft products being uncool, slow, and crash-prone. This is what MSFT needs to dispel in their ads.

Thoughts?

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David Snopek
David Snopek United States
1/4/2013 12:24:15 PM #

I remember a time when the only modern browser supported on my platform of choice was Netscape 4.7 and many important websites (like my bank!) would simply refuse to work with it. Everyone required IE!  It's interesting how quickly things change. Smile

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phenry
phenry Canada
1/7/2013 12:17:50 PM #

Here here!  I completely agree!  I'm currently using a Focus myself and find myself waiting to purchase my next phone, just to see what happens in the coming months with Win8 and WP8!  I'm also VERY frustrated at seeing "look us up on the app store" adverts and not seeing WP.  Frustrating MS, get with the program and get out there more!  Single digit market penetration was so last year, you have to get out of the hobby-iest rhelm IMHO!

Reply

Dan Kline
Dan Kline United States
2/7/2013 3:41:25 PM #

I share your pain.

Reply

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About the author

Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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