Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

Summary: I argued for the huge growth of Windows Phone in 2012 and lost this week, but I am left wondering how Microsoft and Nokia can realize serious growth of a fantastic platform. Do you have any ideas for how Windows Phone can become the 3rd platform?

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In my first ZDNet Great Debate about the new iPhone the audience voted overwhelmingly against me, yet Jason declared me the winner. Well, this week I debated Larry Dignan on Nokia and Windows Phone 7 and was declared the loser, even with 3/4 of the audience voting with me. Actually, after debating Larry I would have to say I too agree now more with him. Windows Phone will likely grow, but the evidence so far is that it will be a long haul for Microsoft.

Larry brought up some great points during the debate and the moderator, Jason Hiner, took one of the discussions further and stated that rebranding Windows Phone as Xphone would have helped the platform. As stated in our debate, I do think that the Windows brand was something that hurt Windows Phone in 2011. Windows Mobile, the older version of Microsoft's mobile OS, was not popular with consumers and gained a reputation for crashing and spotty performance. I understand Microsoft conducted research and user studies to determine that the Windows brand was well known and recognizable, but I don't think it works when you are talking about smartphones and they really should have done something like they did with the Xbox. Zune had its own brand and failed, but I think that had much more to do with the fact that Microsoft forgot to tell anyone there was a fantastic Zune product out there and available.

Nokia and their adoption of Windows Phone was also a part of the debate and I think they will have a big impact on bringing users to the platform, but more so outside the U.S. Nokia has very little name recognition in the U.S. anymore. I remember back in the late 90s it seemed that everyone who had a mobile phone had a Nokia phone, but then they gave up on the US over the last 10 years or so and lost that name recognition. The low cost Lumia 710 launches with T-Mobile in early January and even though this is the smallest of the four major carriers I think the phone will do well and start getting people to think about Nokia. The Nokia Lumia 800 is a fantastic piece of hardware and that model, or one with even better specs, should launch on U.S. carriers in early 2012 too.

I've stated here numerous times that Windows Phone is a fantastic operating system and one that I personally prefer, but for some reason it still has less than 2% of the market share. People need to try out the platform to see how good it is and I think Nokia will help get devices into people's hands. We will see growth in 2012, but I agree that it is likely not to be "huge" and hopefully Microsoft is in it for the long haul.

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Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Software, Telcos, Windows

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  • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

    Key thing: Don't give up on it. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Another thing: I like this platform a lot. It's different. It's a breath of fresh air in a stagnating market. However, most of the WP7 apps seem to be nothing more than Android ports. Poor ones at that with little to no WP integration. If I was Microsoft, I would try to remedy that. Don't let a wonderful idea get ruined by something it's not.

    Maybe another thing is to look at Verizon and see if they can't get between them and their marriage with Android. After all, I personally think Android is a mess, and needs the slap in the face. Windows Phone might be that slap Google needs to clean up the Android market.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • They might have a chance

      @Cylon Centurion Verizon's quick release of Droid phones hasnt turned out well for them. Remember all of the supposed hits? Thunderbolt, Bionic, Razr...none have done that great compared to iPhone.

      About the only think Android has going for it at this point is LTE support so if you want 4G you have to get an Android phone.
      otaddy
      • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

        @otaddy I dropped iPhone for Windows Phone 7 last year, but Audible dropped the ball and after initially talking about Audible on WP7, they release a WM 6.5 client! Which is why I now use Android.

        iOS seems to have become more bloated and unstable with each new release. WP7 brought back a lot of the things that attracted me to the iPhone, when I bought it - speed and simplicity.

        I find WP7 refreshing simpler to use than iOS, whilst Android is more flexible than either. iOS is starting to feel dated, IMHO and Apple are now having to play catch-up. The existing user base and their collections of iOS apps will keep them loyal for a while, but I think they need to take stock of the market, before they start to lose mindshare.
        wright_is
    • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

      @Cylon Centurion Rome wasn't built in a day. It did burn in one, while Nero fiddled.
      symbolset
    • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

      @Cylon Centurion

      Agree that Microsoft should not give up on it and keep pushing forward. They should have the resources to keep going at a loss until the product captures market share.

      They also need to get the OS on better hardware. I need a backup phone (my primary is an iPhone) and I would really like to get a Windows phone but the available hardware is really lacking.
      gribittmep
      • Why on earth would you need a backup phone?

        Is your life that chained via phone to work? That is so sad.
        ego.sum.stig
      • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

        @gribittmep
        the only lacking hardware is the camera. The rest is just specs and doesn't actually get in the way of the user experience. Android hardware looks good on paper, but not in practice.
        kstap
  • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

    Microsoft needs to open more stores and start to push their own brands. Here in Canada, I have yet to see a working WP7 device in any store. Heck you don't even see them in weekly flyers. The majority of buyers have probably never heard of wp7.
    rwalrond
    • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

      @rwalrond Agreed, Microsoft has forgotten how to market, and when they try it usually is really stupid.

      Having flash backs of "To the Cloud" I really want to do a YouTube parody of 3 college student taking hits off a 3 hose bong and yelling "To the cloud!"
      TGGR
      • They did hire a new marketing firm I hear

        @TardHugger@...
        So it's a step in the right direction, marketing wise. ;)
        William Farrel
      • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

        The phone needs a shorter, catchier name (like xPhone). It also needs commercials that SHOW what makes it so cool. Most consumers don't care about Office integration... but the live tiles... those are cool. The fact that Bing can hear a song from the TV & tell you what it is (without an app)... that's cool. The fact that WP7 has had voice commands for a year... well, that was cool a year ago... now Apple has stolen the show with Siri.

        WAKE UP, Microsoft. No one cares about Office integration. They want a FUN phone that's easy to use & doesn't require a lot of apps to do the basics. The commercials should be saying, "You don't need an app for that."
        metromalenyc
      • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

        @TardHugger@... Most likely, the people making the commercials for Windows Phone own iPhones. In fact, they probably own a Mac & an iPad too. That's the norm in advertising. Many are iFanboys. Just like many in the media.<br><br>I think a lot of people (& phone manufacturers) want to take Microsoft's money, but don't want to deliver. Retailers push Android & iPhones. So do do the telecoms. What's Microsoft to do?<br><br>I don't know... but they better figure it out... and fast. I love my Windows Phone... but, based on what I've seen so far, I'm not optimistic. The engineers at Microsoft have created a brilliant OS/UI... but the suits at Microsoft don't know how to sell it. It's starting to sound like Zune all over again. *sigh*
        metromalenyc
    • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

      @rwalrond it is a Microsoft product. It should need no advertisements. people should realize its a Microsoft product, and blind go out and but a Microsoft Lumia.
      Rick_Kl
      • Why? Apple already has a patent

        @Rick_Kl
        on people blindly buying Apple products.

        Apple would sue MS for copying their sheep. ;)
        William Farrel
      • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

        @William Farrel
        Yes, because Apple is a completely stagnant company living decades off the same monopoly and same base of users.
        anono
    • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

      @rwalrond Aye they have, Microsoft need to replace their current Marketing staff with able and hungry people who can do the job properly!
      Zarniw00p
  • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

    Wp7 market share in Europe is 6 percent for 2011.. Nokia is creating quite a bit of buzz over here and by the sounds of it actually selling a few handsets. Can't wait to see what happens when they open up to the rest of the world.

    http://www.winrumors.com/windows-phone-set-to-secure-12-market-share-in-western-europe-during-2012/
    dirtymagic86
  • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

    Branding would be 1 thing for sure. But getting more knowledgable sales at the various places would be another key.

    Could be expensive but do what HP and other printer companies has done and place special sales for MS Phones at those retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart (yeah I went there), etc. Dont let the lemming-sales @ those retailers push their bonehead i-crap to customers.

    Bigger and better marketing push to the general customers and not just technies. Highlight the benefits of the phones, contrast it against Apple and Android. It's going to be costly at first but there's no other way around it.

    Apple is now the 'cool' thing but really is still more fad driven than anything else. Android is the 'geek' thing. MS needs to approach and push even more the 'just works' or the 'works the way you do and not the way we want it to' that they have started in the past marketing but for whatever doesn't get pushed enough. (the later is somewhat the Android approach but the reality for Android is that it's still a geek oriented device and instability do/will come into play from time to time)
    JJ_z
    • RE: Great Debate lost: What will it take for Windows Phone to be the 3rd platform?

      @JJ_z [i]Dont let the lemming-sales @ those retailers push their bonehead i-crap to customers[/i]. So you want to lemming sales people to push Win-crap? You also do realize that it is not legal for Microsoft to prevent the sales of competing products. It not like the monopoly like power Microsoft wields over the computer OEMs. Microsoft could always give away 1 million <b>Microsoft Lumia 800s</b>. That would inflate the market share number, as well as artificially inflate the demand. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/silly.gif" alt="silly">
      Rick_Kl
      • BS. OEM's stayed with MS because it made them money

        @Rick_Kl They could have always given MS the finger and sold a competing product like Linux. Say, how much money did Dell make from their Linux experiment?

        And why would a special sales deal with Best Buy be illegal?
        otaddy