Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

Summary: Buggy updates. Delayed updates. More buggy updates. No clear sales figures. Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

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Buggy updates. Delayed updates. More buggy updates. No clear sales figures. Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

I'll be honest with you, I was expecting that Microsoft's handling of the Windows Phone 7 launch and subsequent updates would be as smooth as silk. It needed to be. Microsoft faces an uphill battle in the face of iOS and Android. Microsoft is making a billion dollar gamble with Windows Phone (as are the OEMs involved), the risks are high so it's better to keep the foul-ups and fumbles to a minimum.

But the past few months have been a catalog of foul-ups and fumbles. Let's go through a list:

  • No sales data Yes, we've been given some data on the number of handsets sold by the OEMs to carriers, but no data on the actual number of activations. Microsoft has been very open with sales of its Kinect controller, so we can only assume that the reason for silence over Windows Phone 7 is down to sluggish sales.
  • Bricked Samsung handsets When the first update for WP7 (and update designed to update the update mechanism ...) starts to brick handsets and cause problems, there's a serious problem with quality control. But hey, problems happen. When that a re-released version of that update still causes problems for users, that that's both really shoddy and unforgivable.
  • Silence over update roadmap Where's the WP7 update that's supposed to bring much-needed features such as cut/copy/paste to handsets? All we seem to have at present are rumors and speculation. How is this supposed to give owners and potential owners (not to mention developers and OEMs) confidence in the platform? In fact, does Microsoft even have a realistic update roadmap for WP7, or is the plan now a headlong rush to WP7.5 and some sort of rebranding? Is the promise of regular updates the same sort of promise that Microsoft made to Vista owners over "Windows Ultimate Extras"?

The silence (not to mention absence) of updates is really starting to annoy users. Paul Thurrott wrote a scathing piece on Windows Phone Secrets the other day criticizing Microsoft and holding Apple up as a positive example of how to handle updates:

I’ve already written about how frequently Apple updated its original iPhone during the same time frame under which Microsoft and its partner ecosystem are now ignoring the needs of their own Windows Phone customers. (And, please, don’t be idiotic. These really are needs: Windows Phone shipped in an incomplete and buggy state that has never once been updated. This isn’t just “wrong” morally: Shipping a known-buggy product to consumers is arguably wrong legally as well.)

...

Well, here’s an inconvenient truth for you: When Microsoft launched Windows Phone in October/November 2010, the then-current version of iOS was 4.1, released back in September of that year. And since then, Apple has released:

He then goes on to list every iOS update, from 4.2 to 4.3 (five in all). Yeah, five in the time it has taken Microsoft to release one buggy update that failed to installed on 10% of handsets.

Come on Microsoft, you can do better than this. Right now you're just handing more market share to iOS and Android.

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Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Windows

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178 comments
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  • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

    I'm not sure Microsoft ever had hands on the ball in the first place. They sat on their 'laurels' with WinMo for so long and have taken the view that everything is PC that they've no reference for success other than going down to their carrier and picking up an iPhone or and Android. Even then, they tried to 'innovate' and created a non intuitive 'new' interface. If they'd spend a few bucks on a few scientific studies of human interfaces they might have a clue. Being as big as they are they don't have the corporate culture for innovation and agility in a rapidly changing marketplace such as smart phones. That's not even to mention that the 'innovator' who brought us 'tablet PCs' a decade ago has yet to get it right in that field either.
    dheady@...
    • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

      @dheady@...
      Didn't Ballmer show off a table way before iPad?? where is that now?
      Hasam1991
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        [i]Didn't Ballmer show off a table way before iPad?? where is that now?[/i]

        He showed off the original HP Slate last year. Vaporware that went up in a puff of smoke.
        LTV10
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        @Hasam1991
        The HP Slate. There's a 6 week backorder of them right now. But you can only get it on their website.
        Darkninja962
      • No, you can't

        @DarkNinja
        I was hoping you'd be right (since your statement contradicts what I thought I knew) so I went to the HP website and searched for "slate". I got redirected to the HP TouchPad page. The TouchPad runs WebOS, not Windows. It is not the product shown off by Mr. Balmer.
        use_what_works_4_U
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        @Hasam1991
        Surface. Its coming along as 2.0 has now shipped and the form factor is far better: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/
        DP01913
      • Why would you compare a table to a tablet?

        @Hasam1991 ?
        Will Farrell
      • I got the Windows Slate macadam

        @macadam

        http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/321957-321957-64295-3841267-3955550-4332585.html?jumpid=hpr_R1002_USEN
        Will Farrell
      • I stand corrected

        @Will Farrell
        I tried to edit my original comment, but ZDNET borked when I did.

        Thanks for the link, it's nice to see the product page. Although I don't understand why searching for "slate" on HP's site wouldn't take me there!

        Honestly though, I can't see myself paying $800 for a device with a very similar processor as my $349 Dell netbook. It does look like a nice product. My remaining quibble is that it is still the Windows (not touch optimized as some reviewers on HPs product page note) interface. Combine that with the price and it doesn't seem to bring much new value/utility for the dollar.
        use_what_works_4_U
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        @LTV10

        Way to be mis-informed dude. I just went to the link that Will F. posted, placed an order, and got an estimated ship date of 4/8/2011.

        So much for your vaporware, troll.
        babyboomer57
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        @Hasam1991 Yep, a table top that would have touch and supposedly scan credit cards just by setting them on the table surface. You were going to be able to order food or other items and it was going to be in all the restaurants and retail stores making sales clerks, waiters, and waitresses obsolete. Never seen anything more than a demo and a price tag.
        Socratesfoot
      • I was not trolling. I was admittedly wrong

        @Babyboomer
        Thanks for playing along. About eight and half hours prior to your name calling outburst I very clearly admitted my error and thanked Will F for the link. You know, the same one you followed?

        It is curious that for 4 separate attempts, HPs website itself would not show me the product when I searched for it <i>by name</i> and I believe that this makes my error reasonable. I was still wrong, but at least I tried to find the information on my own before posting. A far cry from you who took a potshot at me well after I admitted my own error.

        Real mature, dude. Who's trolling now?
        use_what_works_4_U
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        [i]Way to be mis-informed dude. I just went to the link that Will F. posted, placed an order, and got an estimated ship date of 4/8/2011.[/i]

        @babyboomer57 - I'll bet you yourself didn't even know about this before Ferret even posted that link, did you? You couldn't even find it yourself, now could you?

        And why is it buried away from HP's main page? You'd think for such a 'revolutionary' product that's supposed to be an iPad killer, it would be right up there in the spotlight. No?

        Maybe it's too good to be true, huh...
        LTV10
    • I think their interface is superior

      @dheady@... it's the other details that are lacking. And the lack of communication is really sad.

      Their management is pathetic. Acknowledge the issues, provide details, fix the issues and move on already.
      otaddy
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        @otaddy
        The comparison is Apple delivers, MSFT and HP??? VAPOR..
        Hasam1991
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        @otaddy
        You are well within your right to think that. Others may not share your opinion. I think the UI on Windows phone 7 series phones is not intuitive. But that is my opinion, and thus is correct from my point of view.
        Rick_K
    • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

      @dheady

      Your comment is dead on-the-money...

      But I would note that Microsoft has always been this way. People never really noticed because they owned a 98% monopoly in their product pipeline.

      Now they face a ton of competition in a product pipeline which they only recently acknowledged. Before, Microsoft would simply just copy by brute-force and let its competitors cry fowl or simply buy its competitor.

      How are they suppose to do this now? Buy Google or Apple? They are stuck and can't react other than to try and compete which as you can see, they don't really know how!
      Jeach
      • Nah. I think people have always noticed, but people

        don't choose Windows as a general rule. Their IT departments choose it for them, and then they feel the need to choose one for their personal machine to be compatible with what the company issued them at work. Microsoft has always been a paper tiger. If they ever lose their lock on Windows and Office, it's game over for that company.
        fr_gough
      • RE: Has Microsoft dropped the ball with Windows Phone 7?

        frgough@...,<br>MS still the choice in business and enterprise because the lack of good competition in that market. Do you have a better option than MS Office? What about integration with client and server applications like Windows, Office, Sharepoint, Exchange, SQL and Lync? Does Apple, Google or other vendor have something similar? <br>Other point is management. How do you manage 100's or 1000's of iPad, iPhone or Mac OS X devices? There is Remote Desktop 3 and soon Mac OS Lion, which includes management for those devices. But enterprises a mixed. How do you manage devices, applications and storage from HP, Dell, EMC, IBM, Red Hat and other major vendors with Apple offerings? You can't, while MS have System Center. <br>So in the business/enterprise arena, MS is more than Windows and Office. And that's a market where Apple is far behind.
        dvm
    • Message has been deleted.

      Message has been deleted.
      james347