Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

Summary: Microsoft has a real PR problem over the nightmare that is Windows Phone 7 updates, but has no one to blame but itself.

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Microsoft has a real PR problem over the nightmare that is Windows Phone 7 updates, but has no one to blame but itself. My colleague Ed Bott may be willing to put the blame for lack of WP7 updates on AT&T, but I'm not giving the folks in Redmond a pass over this ridiculous situation. It's time for Microsoft to get its update house in order.

I agree with Ed, a friend whose work I respect, that AT&T's record on phone updates is not good. They've routinely left Android phone owners high and dry as far as updates go, so it's not a stretch to blame them for the lack of WP7 updates for customers. But where I differ from Ed's outlook is that I believe that Microsoft screwed the pooch if they have allowed the carrier enough leeway in the update process to adversely affect WP7 customers.

Even Microsoft admits that Windows Phone 7 is critical for the company to regain its former stature in the mobile space. Windows Mobile had its hey-day, which is long past. One area we were led to believe that would be different with WP7 is OS updates. Microsoft would control the process to insure phone owners get all updates in a timely fashion. This is not what is happening with WP7, thus the PR spin from Microsoft to put pressure on the carriers to get the updates out to customers.

While AT&T may be dragging its feet with the first WP7 updates as Ed suggests, Microsoft allowed that to happen and is getting what it deserves. The firm getting a black eye from this update situation is Microsoft, not the carrier, so the process allowing carrier control over updates is on Microsoft's back, fair or not. Given the abysmal history of WinMo updates that Microsoft admits was not good, why give any carrier the ability to affect WP7 updates? That almost guarantees a breakdown in the system, which we are seeing.

Apple understood with the iPhone from the beginning that phone updates were critical to maintain customer satisfaction. The company took complete control over iOS updates and removed the carrier from the process entirely. Apple updates the software, and all customers globally get the update at the same time. The carrier is a non-issue and Apple not only avoids a negative situation, it enjoys customer credit for getting the updates to everyone.

AT&T wasn't allowed to interfere in the update system from Apple, so Microsoft must bear the blame for allowing them to create the situation that Ed is blaming them for. To be fair to AT&T, not that they deserve it, few other carriers world-wide are actually providing WP7 updates yet. They all seem to be in one stage of the process or another according to the information provided by Microsoft, yet few owners are reporting actually getting the update. It's a mess by anyone's standards.

Don't get me wrong, Microsoft is not the only company with a platform that is victimized by other parties as far as system updates are concerned. I have long criticized Google for allowing the carriers to interfere with Android updates. Any company that puts the image customers have of its products in the hands of a third party is committing a major mistake. While I mostly agree with Ed that AT&T isn't helping Microsoft's cause, I'm not willing to give the folks in Redmond a pass. Microsoft shouldn't have given AT&T (or any carrier) the keys to the update kingdom.

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

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  • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

    Nice balance to Ed. It's always welcome.

    thx
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • 6 of one and half a dozen of the other

      @Return_of_the_jedi

      The blame game or fan boy comments do not serve any purpose at all. The fact of the matter is that MS is caught between a rock and a hard place. They needed the carriers so badly that they could not dictate the terms of the relationship. They could not get what they knew they needed. As a result they had to cede control and is now paying a price for it.

      Ultimately this is caused by lack of vision/direction and coming late to the party on MS's part.

      Them's the breaks.
      Economister
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

        @Economister ummm where was Jedi's fanboy comments or blame? and how can you open your comment with that and then precede to blame M$? I agree with you, this is a M$ issue for giving up control, but the way you opened that comment just threw me off
        nickdangerthirdi@...
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

        @Economister I bet they don't care. They have the Nokia deal .. that's like money in the bank.
        prof.ebral
      • I was not ....

        nickdangerthirdi@...

        blaming or labeling Jedi. He said the blog was balanced and others said it was biased. The blog was blaming MS in response to Bott blaming AT&T. I just thought I would try to add a bit of perspective to the story. I felt my post needed to be in a slightly more visible position, so I stuck it where it would fit - sort of. It was not my intent to blame or criticize anybody, at least in this particular post. ;-)
        Economister
      • I bet they care a great deal

        @prof.ebral

        If MS has to wait for Nokia to get traction in the smart phone market, they might as well quit now. While Nokia COULD be a success, it could also turn out to be a complete bust, in which case MS's smart phone plans would be in shambles. MS CANNOT afford to rely exclusively on the Nokia deal.
        Economister
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

        @Economister ahhh understood, thanks for the explanation... although I agree with Jedi, this article was a balance to Ed's ramblings about how perfect M$ is. I am not really even a M$ hater, although I use Linux as opposed to windows, I work on windows at work all day so I like having something different to go home too.. but M$ definitely dropped the ball on this one, they could have kept the reins but I think they were too quick to try in impress the mobile market and gave up that control, sadly I am afraid its going to turn around and bite them on this deal...
        nickdangerthirdi@...
  • Imagine this scenario

    Would you let your ISP interfere with your Windows update on your PC? People would scream and scream about this insane situation. Yet, with Android/WP7, they are willing to tolerate it.

    Other phones makers will grab market share because of this stupid attitude.

    I know, I am an Apple geek.
    papyrus100
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

      @papyrus100 yeah yeah, the ONE thing apple did get right was the update process, to bad the started with the wrong carrier, and continue to sell hardware thats behind the others at a premium price....
      nickdangerthirdi@...
  • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

    Haha! here is a story in the news today! "Apple's iOS 5.0 reportedly coming out this fall" It was going to be out in early summer! So why is it so bad when microsoft takes a little extra time to get the update out. I new when I got the samsung Focus that there would be some problems here and there along the way. It is a new os and people forget so fast that it is funny, The iphone has not been without it's share of problems over the years. Stop being fanboys! They are all good phones. It's just what you like and not what is best.
    imsimsj
    • It' not about MS taking time with the update,

      @imsimsj
      It's about MS letting the carriers contoll the updates.
      There is an interest from the carriers to not allow an update to go thru if they feel people will buy a new phone with the latest update as opposed to keeping their old one and updating the OS.
      John Zern
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

      @imsimsj
      When you are raking in 40% - 50% of all cellphone profits and have 20 - 30% marketshare, you can afford to be a little deliberate in updates and new features.

      When you have almost zero profits and less than 10% marketshare, there should be a bit of urgency to your execution. Letting AT&T or any other telco have anything to do with your OS updates is a death wish for MS at this point.
      Synthmeister
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

        @Synthmeister
        Like I said when the iphone came out they had problems as well and when they first came out they did not have 50% of all cell phone profits moron! They don't have that now so check your facts. Yes Microsoft does only have 10% marketshare. The price of the windows phone 7 has fallen down to one penny for two of the phones and fifty dollars for the other ATT phone. I am not sure it will even make it. Android has a strong hold and it just keeps getting bigger! I am not a fanboy to any company. I use what I like and that is it. You screw up see you later!
        imsimsj
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

      @imsimsj : The carrier are controlling the update, that is the point I am trying to make. It is a fundamental mistake. Mark my words, Android will move away from carrier control of the OS within months.
      papyrus100
      • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

        @papyrus100
        I agree!
        imsimsj
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

      @imsimsj

      Microsoft may be doing the best they can but your example of Apple doing the "same thing" isn't the same at all.

      Apple hasn't even announced iOS 5.0 yet, so it is "delayed" from one rumoured date to a "later" rumoured date.

      Apple released the iOS 4.3 update about 2 weeks ago. Since last June, Apple released 8 updates to iOS 4.x with 3 of them being feature releases. To my knowledge not one of these updates were halted by a carrier.

      Microsoft is having trouble releasing an update to their updater. That is a serious problem especially when you're behind several other competing platforms.
      tom_huxley
  • The only reason I chose WP7 over Android..

    Was the promise of "seemless" updates. Currently I'm counting down the days to my next upgrade, which is about 14 months away. Sort it out Microsoft.
    Alansonit
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

      @Alansonit
      Sort it out Nokia.
      Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Windows Phone 7 update problem: It's Microsoft, not the carriers

      How you can live 14 months in illusion?
      hengels
  • Blogger can be so overdramatic

    So what if it takes a month or two for everyone to get the NoDo update? The update isn't critical! Also, so what if MS had hiccups along the way, when it started rolling out its pre-NoDo update? As long as MS is working to straighten everything out, I don't see what's the big deal. Also I doubt MS is in a position to order carriers around. It is carriers who took a chance on MS, not the other way around. Hopefully over time, MS can tighten its control over the update process.

    Man, every incident that happens with MS gets blown out of proportion by bloggers. You don't hear anything close to this level of ruckus over the Android update process, which is older, yet far worse. People, contrary to what bloggers are telling you, the sky is not falling on the WP7 update process; and it is the party that is holding up the process, which is to blame for delays - not the party that is not holding up the process.
    P. Douglas