The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

Summary: Windows Phone is failing to make a dent in the smartphone market in the U. S., and it's the carriers at fault.

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The latest smartphone figures for the U. S. are in and according to ComScore Windows Phone has dropped a percentage point in smartphone ownership. This is not the direction Microsoft and Nokia want to see given the ramping up of the big partnership aimed at reversing that trend. There may be other factors affecting the lack of sales of Windows Phones in this country, but none as absolute as the powerful carriers that aren't getting behind either Windows Phone nor Nokia.

Windows Phone only garnered 5.6 percent of the U. S. smartphone market in September of last year, and the new ComScore figures peg it at just 4.7 percent at the end of 2011. This is such a small share that it is just a blip on the radar compared to the big dogs of Apple and Google. The major partnership between Microsoft and Nokia is no longer a new thing, and the fact that neither is getting traction in this country is at the feet of the carriers.

There is no doubt that carriers have total control over what phones get launched and sold in the U. S. They alone can determine if a given smartphone will do well, or even be sold at all in this important phone market. It's not just Windows Phone bearing the brunt of the situation, it also played a major role in the fall of webOS last year.

While the abysmal sales of the HP TouchPad is usually given as the reason behind HP's killing that platform, my sources within HP paint a slightly different picture. While the TouchPad was indeed a factor contributing to HP's decision, the company was extremely concerned that the flagship webOS phone, the Pre 3, was not picked up by a single U. S. carrier. HP/ Palm had a lot riding on the future of webOS in the smartphone space, and the rejection of the Pre 3 was devastating to the future of the platform.

Hopefully Nokia and Microsoft will be able to turn this tide of disinterest in Windows Phone with the carriers. Nokia and Windows Phone made a big splash at the CES last month, a trend expected to continue with the Mobile World Congress soon to get underway. It seems there is a general interest in Windows Phone and the things it brings to the smartphone. Now the two companies need to get the U. S. carriers to recognize that and start carrying the line. Maybe the ownership numbers will start trending the other way later this year.

Update: The ComScore figures do not account for older Windows Mobile phones in the Microsoft OS category. While the drop of share reported could be Windows Mobile and not Windows Phone, the fact is the pure Windows Phone market share is even smaller than the total indicated.

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

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154 comments
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  • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

    No, it's MS fault. They have abused and lied to us since DOS. They consistently produce bloated crap for software. They constantly force people to buy newer hardware due to their inability to keep their OS working on older equipment, even though Linux can do so easily.

    No, the reason WP? can't get traction is we don't trust MS. Especially not with a mission critical item like basic communications.

    Gonna need to blame someone a bit closer to The Sound.
    timspublic1@...
    • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

      @timspublic1@... you need to get past your blind hatred, and give WP 7 try. It is th most modern phone OS available. WP 7 is more stable, and secure than anything else currently available. WP 7 phone are faster and have better screens than the competition. Overall WP 7 hones are the bea=st you can get, at any price.
      Stephen-B
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @Stephen-B I agree that the OS is incredible. I own all three major platforms in my household and have chosen WP7 for my personal device, however, I don't agree that it always comes on the best hardware.<br><br>I still believe that Apple has the best hardware at least in terms of aesthetics. Samsung is closing in with some of its offerings, but most of Samsung's best hardware is hobbled by the Android operating system.<br><br>I do like what I see in the Nokia hardware and when those darn carriers get the Nokia hardware with Wp7 in the states, I'll probably grab it.
        gomigomijunk
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @Stephen-B

        you must be blind. The UI is nasty, tiles are a waste of space, and it's a lame attempt by MS to be "cool".
        itguy10
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @Stephen-B

        If it's more secure than Android and iOS or Blackberry for that matter, why has the US military not deployed it yet?
        DonRupertBitByte
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @Stephen-B

        I've tried it, and I think it's dire. It feels horrendously cramped. Whilst I REALISE it's not, the impression is lingering. And well, perception is 9/10ths the reason you like anything.

        Sorry, WP7 looks awful, and acts awful (even if it isn't and doesn't)

        Besides its WINDOWS... Not cool.
        Bozzer
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @Stephen-B WP7 feels like a phone, not a smartphone. That's the problem. While I love the UI (except the big tiles), limitations like no multitasking and not as good an app scene as iOS or Android make it a loser for me.
        Also, Nokia's pricing in countries like India (where I am) isn't helping. Their Lumia 800, with similar hardware to Samsung Omnia W is much costlier than the Omnia, and the worst thing is, there's no front camera on the Lumia unlike Omnia, yet is $200 costlier than Omnia. Are they taking that $200 for that body and for Nokia Drive? They need to take care of pricing or they are dead..
        addicted2088
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @Stephen-B Of course to follow up timspublic1's hatred for MS we have you the over the top rabid WP7 Fanboy. Guess you two probably cancel each other out :-)
        non-biased
    • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

      @timspublic1@... Shhhhhh easy boy !! easy !!!
      1773
    • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

      I love the smell of Kharma in the morning.
      dheady@...
    • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

      @timspublic1@...
      Oh boy, we got another kid in the basement going all haywire! If you didn't notice WP7 runs on less hardware than the other guys and is faster than the guys running dual core. Windows 7 also runs on lesser hardware and if you haven't noticed they are making the kernal more efficient and is why they will be bringing the windows kernal and stack to phones with WP8 so may want to check your facts there buddy! Seems the other players in the game are not working on more efficient OS's they just keep adding more cores and RAM to the mix while it sucks your battery life all to hell!
      OhTheHumanity
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @OhTheHumanity

        So what, it runs on lower specced hardware. Do you think the average consumer gives a damn? If anything, they are likely to feel ripped off if its got lower hardware specs than the competition. Try telling them, it's more effecient, and that's why you pay the same price for lower specced hardware than Apple or Android.

        I'm not doubting your logic, it's correct, by your judgement is way off. Especially if you have to try and sell the damn thing.
        Bozzer
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @OhTheHumanity Please, show me a WP7 on phone what has ARM6 clocked as 254Mhz and 256 or 512RAM without 3D acceleration?

        Oh yeah.... WP7 would not even START on that device as Android does. And WP would not even run smoothly as does Android.
        Fri13
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @OhTheHumanity Well, in India here, the SGS2 costs just about $15 more than the Lumia 800. SGS2 has amazingly powerful hardware, great screen, great specs, it runs on Android that has many, many apps and games.
        So for what exactly is Nokia charging so much for the Lumia 800? WP7 runs great on lower spec hardware, but has prices as high as the prices of the best dual cores on Android.
        You wanna sell WP7, set the price right, otherwise it's gonna fail, and it's gonna fail hard.
        addicted2088
    • spot on

      @timspublic1@...
      true hurts, look all the MS fanboy squad full of hate, insulting you for telling the true. And the true is that when there in no lock-in, people massively don't choose windows. Fact.
      theo_durcan
    • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

      @timspublic1@... The person who wrote that post should literally be kicked in the face until he stops moving, and then someone should pimp slap his mother for giving birth to his dumb ass.
      jhammackHTH
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @jhammackHTH Um... joke or not, death threats haven't been legal for a long time now. I think you really need to consider the seriousness of your very ill-considered comments.
        mombo
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @jhammackHTH you sound like another serial killer in the making, what a sick puppy
        mdppat64
    • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

      @timspublic1@...

      It's not just consumers that don't trust Microsoft. Businesses are wise to steer clear of a company whose founder says "we haven't changed at all" after being convicted of anti-trust behaviour.

      Anyone who values true progress and competition should ditch anything they offer.

      Ask all the Vista users who are being dumped on April 10 what they think of Microsoft.

      A company that truly deserves to die.

      That all the MS fanboys are crawling out of the woodwork shows you have hit a nerve.
      Chipesh
      • RE: The all-powerful U.S. carriers: Biggest obstacle to Windows Phone

        @Chipesh
        MS absolutely dominates the business world. Have you ever heard the phrase "No one got fired for buying Microsoft"?
        kstap