Microsoft: Of course we threw Windows Phone 7 buyers under the bus

Microsoft: Of course we threw Windows Phone 7 buyers under the bus

Summary: Microsoft supporters felt the company did not desert existing Windows Phone buyers by leaving them in the lurch without the ability to upgrade to Windows Phone 8. According to Microsoft they are wrong.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows

JK Windows Phone 8
The allegation that Microsoft threw its loyal customers under the bus got a lot of supporters up in arms, claiming that the folks in Redmond would never do that. A great debate even addressed the claim and found that absolutely Microsoft did not do that on purpose. Even in the face of such staunch support, an interview with an official conducted by CNET proves that Microsoft absolutely left Windows Phone 7 owners in the cold, and by design.

The bus throwing incident in question involved Microsoft's recent announcement that the next big version of Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8, would be the greatest thing in the platform's short history. The bus pulled into view when Microsoft added that no phone sold to date would be capable of running Windows Phone 8. Even phones that continued to be sold to this day (and after) will never get to run Windows Phone 8.

According to the CNET interview of Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's senior product manager for Windows Phone, this clean break for Windows Phone 8 was by design and in fact part of the plan for the platform from the very beginning. Back when buyers were grabbing the very first Windows Phones, Microsoft was already working on Windows Phone 8 for future buyers only.

Why would Microsoft's plan involve leaving early supporters in the cold? Apps, according to Sullivan, or more correctly developers building Windows Phone apps. They needed an installed base to get developers interested in creating apps, so they pushed Windows Phone knowing it would be forked in very short order.

Microsoft has stated clearly that Windows Phone 8 requires phone hardware that no existing handset possesses, and thus the need for leaving older phones behind. That may be so, but unsuspecting buyers of Windows Phone between now and the rollout of new Windows Phone 8 hardware will never get to experience what Sullivan admits is cooler than anything to come yet.

"There are a whole series of... new capabilities and features that will come that we haven't talked about and there's integration with Windows 8 that we'll demo closer to the date," he says.

Sounds pretty nice but new buyers of a Windows Phone, even those who buy after this is written, will never get to run Windows Phone 8. The bus has left the station and Microsoft is firmly behind early Windows Phone buyers.

Topics: Microsoft, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • How is this different?

    Android comes out with a new version, and the bus rolls over current owners. Apple comes out with a new version, and they drag users behind the bus, relegating them to an unpleasant existence unless they buy the version the new OS is intended for, and thus temporarily getting a seat back on the bus.

    How is there ever supposed to be any innovation if each product ever released must support its predecessor? Why can't you let WP 7 be what it is (by all accounts, a good product in it's own right) without lamenting that it is not a device from the future?
    • Because those that are afraid of competition

      find the silliest ways to hide that fact.

      The funniest part of it all is that these are many of the same people that claim that Windows biggest shortcomings is MS's unwillingness to leave the past behind, that they keep deciding to
      support the older legacy systems and programs.
      William Farrel
      • Afraid of competition? Like Microsoft? On desktops?

        Remember Ballmer once called Linux a "cancer". And you still seem to be threatened by that 1% all the time.

        Silly Wilie, Trix are for kids!
    • A wee bit different

      When an app for Android comes out, unless it is specifically built for a specific version, it just works. I have phones with 2.2, 2.3, and 4.0 on them and they work on all versions (phones).
      I can't say the same for my iPhones if they are on different OS versions. I find more iPhone apps are version specific (no legacy support).
      • compatibility at a cost

        Developers have to decide that lowest common denominator to develop for whether it's 2.2, 2.3, 3.0, or 4.0.
        • and how many android devices out there are on the lower end?

          lets say its 100 million android devices out there and 75 million are running 2.2, 20 million running 2.3, 4 million on 3.0, and just a mere 1 million running yeah it make sense to develop for android 2.2 cuz it'll be operable across the newer hardware.
          Tyrelle Watts
    • Pointless

      The debate is mostly pointless because: Show us one WP that has shipped that's got an extra, unused core? How many have an SD slot? How many have an NFC chip? How many have a GPU that will support 720p screen resolution? Okay, Skype users have got something to bitch about.

      App compatibility. Sure. There's a gripe here. But even JK has known for a year that WP8 would be converging to the NT core. When was the last time Apple or Google replaced their kernel and kept a high degree of backwards compatibility, especially in the apps space? Never! Of course, because neither company has done anything on this scale before.

      Absolutely much to do about nothing.
      • Replacing the kernel

        If you do your homework, you won't have to replace kernels every few years.

        That simple.
    • Differentiator

      But wasn't getting software updates on time one of the big selling points of Windows Phone when it first was announced?
      With Microsoft "locking down the hardware specs" and all...
  • Welcome to the new ZDNET!!!!!!

    Oh wait. Nothing's changed. Still the same sensationalistic link-baiting headlines with little true journalistic content.

    Carry on.
    • Well don't let the door hit you in the ass

      ...on the way out.

  • Trade-in rebates from carriers would help

    You can't really blame Microsoft for trying to catch up in a hurry. They entered the mobile-ecosystem race a bit late, and now they are rushing to get an edge over iOS and Android in having a unified, cross-platform OS kernel running on the latest hardware.

    I blame the the carriers and their antiquated scheme of two-year contracts. The least they can do is offer a good rebate for Win7 users to trade in their old phones for new ones.

    The problem is, MS doesn't have that much clout over the carriers to push this through, without giving a way a lot of money as subsidy.
    Tech watcher
    • Microsoft should be footing that bill.

      "I blame the the carriers and their antiquated scheme of two-year contracts. The least they can do is offer a good rebate for Win7 users to trade in their old phones for new ones."

      So the carrier should first subsidize the phone, then take a hit for Microsoft's poor decision? Here's a hint for you... Microsoft published the specs for WM 7 phones. Microsoft knew in advance these phones wouldn't cut it using a newer OS, but had to do something rather than give the competition more time to move people off in a new direction. Microsoft slapped some lipstick on the pig and said "It's a new OS", knowing the creaky old underpinnings were going away in roughly two years. Then they called their employees (Like Matt Miller) to proclaim it's the best. Peole with proper cognitive skills could figure it out, why couldn't you?
      Jumpin Jack Flash
  • Just move on

    James, you lost all objectivity with regard to Microsoft products a few years ago. Just move on and limit your reviews and opinions to Apple products. That's the only market where you start off with a neutral slate.
    • I agree

      he should ditch mobile and join the Apple Core as he doesn't belong in Mobile Tech...

      First, he didn't. Know the difference between a Dev kit and source code and then, he needed support to troubleshoot his wifi router...

      For a man doing this stuff 18 years or more, he gravitates toward the stuff that is overly simplified and cannot solve the simplest problems with his mobile tech.
      • If you believe that

        Then Matt Miller should just join the "Microsoft Report", or better yet join his good buddy, and fellow Microsoft Schill George Ou...
        Jumpin Jack Flash
        • Bored with you now...

          ...if only there were a way to flag you for ignore...
          • What happened to voting down comments?

            That was the best method to ignore these chumps.
          • Well @PollyProteus and @kstap

            You two sock puppets could always get lost. That way you won't have to read him anymore.


            Btw, I had a nice 4th of July. Two bad you two were cooped-up flaming Jumping Jack Flash all day.

    • Nope.

      I don't know where you get that James is losing objectivity. I've been reading his articles since a long time ago and I can tell you that James calls it as he see it.