The Smartphone Conspiracy
Why Microsoft had no chance with Windows Phone
For end users, the Microsoft Windows Phone is the dream phone they’ve always wanted, but probably haven’t seen. It’s brilliant. Apple fans can’t stop raving about the OS. Even the The New York Times published an article raving about the new Windows Phone. If you haven’t read the article, you should. Windows Phone is incredible because it lets you perform tasks that take numerous steps on an iPhone or an Android device, in one step. It merges social media with everything in the phone. Active tiles that give you real time information make icon’s feel dated and old. If you want to see a full review of the phone that will make your jaw drop, just check out this video. It’s a sleek phone that continues to improve, while at the same time running faster and faster on the same hardware you purchased a year ago!
So a great question would be: “If this phone is far superior than an iPhone or an Android device, then why isn’t it selling?”
Why Windows Phone has stalled
There are two major reasons the Windows Phone has not been selling. First off, phone carriers like AT&T, Rogers, and more, have no incentive to sell Windows Phone. And by no incentive I mean the carriers don’t want to sell them. And to make it worse, they make it hard for the sales reps to sell them. Read further to find out why they have no incentive.
Secondly, Microsoft hasn’t been able to get Samsung, HTC, or other hardware vendors to build a killer device that runs Windows Phone. With Nokia now exclusively using Windows Phone as their smartphone operating system, this problem may go away soon.
My experience trying to buy a Windows Phone
I was in Chicago a few weeks ago and I thought I would try and buy a Windows Phone. I walked into an AT&T store. The first thing I saw was the Apple iPhone display. A massive display that made it hard to notice anything else, followed by rows and rows of Android phones. I had to look incredibly hard to find the Windows Phone. When I asked the sales guy about the Windows Phone, he said, “Hey, you don’t want that phone, you look like a guy that needs an iPhone, or an Android, what are you looking for?”
So after hearing his pitch, I told him that I was a Microsoft MVP, and that I did a lot of work with Microsoft, and I honestly wanted to know how many Windows Phone’s he’s sold. He said he had sold one, in the last 6 months. I then asked him why. His answer? “Why would I sell this phone, hey I love Microsoft and all that, but the reality is I’ve received no training on what the Windows Phone does or why it’s better. I sell iPhone’s to people that don’t want to customize things and just want things to work. I sell the Android to people that want to customize their phones.”
I won’t even tell you how hard it is to buy a Windows Phone in Canada. You basically can’t unless you are willing to go through a lot of pain and aggravation.
The problem with Android is it’s a brutal phone operating system. It has done well only because carriers love it, not consumers. Carriers love the phone because they can customize the phone however they want. They can load all of their junk software like music players, custom web browsers, custom weather applications, and more, that make the user think these are the official applications to be used for those purposes. They can lock down the phone. They can even block updates so that certain phones simply won’t get updates forcing consumers to buy another phone.
A perfect example: If you own an Android Phone in the USA, there is a 90% chance you will not receive the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich for your phone.
Microsoft changing the game
Microsoft has figured out what’s going on and they are about to make some incredible changes in 2012. Later today, Microsoft will unveil the Nokia Lumia 900 at CES in Las Vegas. AT&T will also be making a similar announcement around the Windows Phone from Microsoft. Microsoft will also kick-start its $200 million marketing campaign for 2012 today. The campaign will feature a cash incentive for every sales agent who sells a Windows Phone.
Let me summarize
Basically Microsoft built the perfect phone operating system that consumers would love, and phone carriers would hate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what consumers want, it matters what phone carriers want. Carriers want to sell more phones, and force consumers to use their software, and decide when consumers get new software. Microsoft has figured this out, and is going to try everything they can to get around this issue by delivering products that are far superior to Android or iPhone. Partnering with Nokia will finally allow Microsoft to create the perfect phone hardware, tied with the perfect operating system. Adding the clout that Nokia has around the world, with Microsoft’s operating system, carriers will have to start carrying the phone. With Google buying Motorola, carriers will soon be looking to get off the Android bandwagon.
Maybe next time I walk into an AT&T store in Chicago, the sales guy might try and sell me a Windows Phone, and I might just buy something.