Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why is the Windows Phone OS a Flop?

Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS was hyped up quite a bit, but honestly, it simply hasn’t really been all that popular. It has fantastic reviews and is available on all four of the major U.S. carriers, so what is the problem? According to Gartner, a company that offers global technology research, Microsoft’s phones were only able to haul in 1.5 percent of the market in the third quarter.

Tech analysts have been thrown off guard by the Windows phones. They seem like great phones, but consumers simply don’t seem interested in them. It just does not make sense that reliable, feature-packed phones, produced by a successful, leading company, aren’t selling. Well, Charlie Kindel, an employee at Microsoft for 21 years and the Windows Phone’s chief developer has offered his opinion as to why the phones are not a slam-dunk success.

Kindel posted a blog post that stated that he believed that the phones and the Windows OS have been unsuccessful because he believes that Microsoft has worked to alienate itself from both phone manufacturers and wireless carriers. He feels that with both its required hardware specs and tight upgrade policy, Microsoft is severing relationships by limiting the freedom of both carriers and manufacturers. “This is why, despite being a superior PRODUCT to Android, Windows Phone has not sold as well,” Kindel wrote.

“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. It ‘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,” he wrote.

“WP (Windows Phone) 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 just do what they are told (by advertising and RSPs [salespeople]). Carriers own the marketing money and spend billions a year," Kindel wrote.

Right now, carriers and manufacturers are still willing to make and sell Windows phones; however, it may be due to the fact that they are afraid of becoming too attached to Google or Apple, not necessarily because they enjoy producing Windows devices.

Some of Kindel’s readers did not share his views and felt that he wasn’t necessarily considering the role of software developers and apps.

"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," blogger Robert Scoble said.

"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," Kindel responded.

Microsoft has been saying recently that it is making a major push with Nokia; however, there have been some very mixed reviews about the Nokia 800 Windows phone in the six countries that is has debuted in so far.

"Analysts said there was nothing particularly wrong with the sleek-looking handsets, other than a software glitch on some models affecting battery life, but consumers were just not biting," a Reuters report said.

Kindel said, “The question in my mind is whether Microsoft’s continued investment in WP and close partnership with device manufacturers 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.”

Sources: cek.log - Windows Phone is Superior; Why Hasn’t it Taken Off? and PCMag - Former Microsoft Exec Scopes Windows Phone's Failure

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