Why Nokia's Elop is wrong about mobile sales: users aren't idiots

Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, still isn’t quite understanding why Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 isn’t selling. He thinks it’s about hardware.

“Windows Phone scores better than Android and iPhone with consumers, but OEMs are doing their best work for Android. For Nokia our best work will be for Windows Phone. You will see waves of families of devices that deliver on the promise of Windows Phone 7,” Elop said in a keynote at the Open Mobile Summit in London today.

Here’s the deal. It isn’t about hardware. It’s about apps and the professional VC-backed app developers are actively ignoring Windows Phone 7. Not to mention that even the apps I’ve tested that are on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 generally aren’t as good on Windows Phone 7.

Users are not idiots. They buy use cases, not hardware.

Now, lots of people love to argue with me saying apps don’t matter. But they do. And if you say they don’t then you are betting that there’s a huge market of idiots out there who don’t care about apps. Hint: that market is shrinking all the time.

Think about it. If you buy a phone and then you sit next to someone with an Android or iPhone, and they show you all the apps they are using that you don’t have, won’t you feel like an idiot? Of course you will.

Now, to the point. I’m going on vacation. I’m testing out a Windows Phone 7 device (a Samsung model) and an Android device (a new Verizon Droid X2). First thing up, who has the best Disneyland apps? iOS, of course with Android coming in strong too. Who has the best restaurant apps, like Foodspotting or Chewsy? iOS of course with Android coming in strong too. Windows Phone 7? Not even in the same ballpark. Shall I go on?

So, until Microsoft figures out how to get professional app developers (hint: they are mostly venture funded because that’s what it takes now to hire a team of six developers, like what Instagram has) excited about its platform it will continue not selling, no matter how shiny the hardware is (and, hint, Android’s hardware is pretty damn good, that’s not my problem with that platform).

Here is a hint. Recently Finland’s “Y Combinator” came and visited me. They call it Startup Sauna. Not a single one of those companies showed me a Windows Phone 7 app. Not a single one, and these are Europe’s best developers from Nokia’s backyard. You should have heard what they said off camera. It was stunning. They are betting their companies on iOS and Android and if you care about the apps these startups are showing off, that’s the platforms consumers will bet on too. Unless you think they are idiots.

Don’t believe the Finnish developers? Visit my YouTube Channel. I have more than 700 videos up there. Count how many professional developers show me Windows Phone 7 apps. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I did, three. Out of 783 videos. And that’s not counting the additional 245 videos we’ve uploaded to Building43′s YouTube account (not a single Windows Phone 7 app over there).

Here’s the Startup Sauna videos:

1. Here founder Kristo Ovaska explains the program and what they are doing in California. You can follow Kristo on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/KristoOvaska

2. This company is Fund Friends which is a game that helps you with your investments http://www.fundfriends.se/ and here the founder Mikael Andersson shows it to me.

3. FutureFul shows me a new kind of way to discover news and information about topics you care about.

4. http://www.campalyst.com/ is a social media analytics software that measures conversions and ROI for your company’s social media campaigns. Here’s how it works.

5. Guntis Smaukstelis, CEO, of Mighty Fingers, shows off his new real-time game engine, which builds HTML5 games. Pretty cool stuff. Learn more at http://mightyfingers.com/

6. What’s better than Red Laser? Scandit, which is one of the companies that visited me with Startup Sauna, a Finnish startup incubator. Here Samuel Muller, CEO, shows me the app and explains how it competes with other barcode scanners on iPhone, Android, Symbian, and PhoneGap platforms.

Comments

  1. I keep hearing the MSFT will produce great development tools, then pay developers to develop (perhaps labeling it advertising rebates or whatever) and that WP7 may not have as many apps, but it has enough and that Apple/Android app numbers are pumped up with a lot of sub par junk, besides which WP7 is a great easy to use OS

    I don’t really believe this, but I hear it a lot.

    1. If a platform “owner” has to pay for apps, the platform is already failing.

      It will attract all the wrong developers for the wrong reasons. It is a flaw of the platform if it’s not attracting developers by itself.

      It will even scare off the really small developers looking for a niche because they never know about the deals made with bigger devs.

      1. Exactly, and it’s the long tail of apps that will really roar. You telling me Microsoft is going to pay my bank to deliver an app? No way.

      2. People get paid all the time to work for other platforms, it’s called recruting, Look at how much Google has offered employees to stay with them instead of going to FB. Look how much Google, Apple, Microsoft have paid to hire new talent or specific talent. Any company aquisition is the same thing basically, Facebook buys companies for the talent all the time, as do other companies.

        Companies pay for quality, whether you are Apple, Microsoft or Google, no way does it show that the platform is “failing”.

        1. But you would think that MS wouldn’t have to pay if the WinMo 7 sdk is so easy for the HUGE pool of  MS developers to use and if there are so many great ways to integrate Windows/Office with WinMo7.
          Why doesn’t MS show us a fantastic implementation of Halo on WinMo7 or how to use a WinMo phone as a Wii-style motion controller for an X-Box game, or integrate VOIP right into a WinMo7 phone (Skype) so that it is completely seamless with wifi or 3G or show us a Movie editing app on WinMo.

          Sometimes, I think MS forgot the last part of their name.

          1. You have to remember MS isn’t paying all developers to build for the platform, only a select few (die hard iOS people).

            MS doesn’t have to pay MS developers because they will already have plans to build for WP7 they don’t need to be convinced. Plus if MS developers were to “recreate” existing iOS apps from scratch it would take to long and not a logical solution since people are attached to the name of the product and not always the product itself. Just look at Angry Birds, there are other similar games out there but Angry Birds wins for whatever reason.

            The development platform is easy to use and yet quite powerful.

            Microsoft did show WP7 interacting with XBox at CES I think it was, there were people on the couch using a phone and interacting with the game the person standing up was playing with Kinect.

            VOIP will come, as you said Skype (the deal isn’t even final yet, so give it some time).

            What normal person wants to edit video on their phone? Seriously? I’m sure it could be done on WP7 if someone really wanted to.

            Microsoft builds the software/tools to enable developers to build software, what part of that shows that MS forgot how to do software? What other company offers as wide of range of software development tools and languages as they do? No one, that’s who.

          2. Paying only selected developers to work on a platform is making things worse. Believe me, I have hands-on experience with this.

            Developers might have a preferred platform, they might even be “die-heart” fans.

            That doesn’t mean developers are stupid.

            This all implies that your platform is not cool enough. 

            Even worse, it implies that the platform owner doesn’t believe in his own developers.

            There’s no easy way out. A smartphone platform can only succeed by its own strengths, not by “cloning” other more successful platforms.

          3. Agreed. Microsoft lanuched a very cool WP7 app called TouchStudio. It’s an app that can be used to make apps!!! It’s getting excellent reviews from users and developers, but you do need a basic knowledge of coding/scripting. So Microsoft certainly know to do software and “cool” together – you only need to look at X-Box and Kinect as the best example of this. Their motion API and test tools in the new Mango SDK are also very cool.

  2. wow..great post..i really wish to be a part of these kind of projects one day. thanks for the coverage. And its sad to hear even the Regular finnish people have also got iPhones…too bad for nokia.

  3. I think the train may have already left the station and MS has been shut out of what is the next generation of computing. These woes will continue on W8 tablets as well. Devs are putting their time and effort into making the best iOS app possible and making a WP7 app after they do an Android version. I don’t see Nokia significantly changing MS’s fate considering that there is really nothing that locks in the user to staying with a Nokia device. At least RIM had that with BBM but Apple may have just killed that with iMessages.

  4. Elop also said it’s about the ecosystem, which includes hardware, software, developers, users and experiences. Apple, Google and Microsoft all have an ecosystem which is why all 3 will be very successful.

    Clearly someone must be developing apps for WP7, it’s been said numerous times that the marketplace is growing very quickly. Are you going to the BUILD conference this year? Would be interesting to see how many people there are developing for Windows/WP7 versus iOS and OSX/Lion. Have a feeling the tables would be flipped.

    You are also forgetting the average user who doesn’t need 150 apps, who doesn’t even need 50 apps, WP7 for the average user (which most people are) is more than enough and it will only get better which will make th hardcore users happy.

    Out of all the videos above there is MAYBE two that would be useful for the average user, 2.

    Can you at least do one post that highlights some of the positives of WP7 that the average user would enjoy. You can’t honestly say there isn’t anything positive about the platform that average people would enjoy.

    1. Most of the apps I’ve seen have been built by .NET types who are playing around. NOT professional developers. Plus, growing quickly is saying nothing. They only have around 20,000 apps. Apple has 500,000 and the ones I’ve compared head-to-head aren’t close to the same quality as those on iOS.

      1. So people are out there building apps for WP7 who aren’t professionals and trying to learn the platform is a bad thing? Isn’t that how it worked with iOS? There are plenty of professionals out there building WP7 apps, go to some MS conferences and you will see that.

        .NET people aren’t professionals? Ouch

        Of course they aren’t the same quality, it’s a brand new platform, it took 2 or 3 years before apps on iPhone were really decent. I have used a lot of Android apps and they aren’t as good of quality as iPhone either, but look how poplular Android devices are.

  5. it is about the developer/app ecosystem.

    with such kind of comments, it is very hard to distinguish if elop today represents nokia or microsoft…

  6. I’ve heard plenty of developers saying they aren’t into WP7. I’d be prepared to stick a little bit of cash on them changing their minds when there’s a market for them.

    Hint….even though Symbian is crap, and market share is falling, Nokia are STILL the biggest global smartphone makers.

    1. Yes, but Nokia’s app store revenues were squat last year, around $110 million. Meanwhile, Apple’s app store revenues were $1.7 billion and they’ve paid out $2.7 billion to devs since the app store began. 
      Developers will go to the money. With four distinct platforms (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and AppleTV) and 200 million users, the iOS ecosystem is a lot more attractive.

      Add to that the fact that Nokia’s leaders couldn’t even give guidance for next quarter. That’s very, very scary for Nokia and anyone thinking of spending time on a NokiaMo app.

      1. I found the figures that you seem to be quoting. Nokia revenues were well behind Apples. But ahead of Androids. Marginally. By that logic, Android is also doomed. Yet developers are pumping out plenty of apps. Of course it’s not as simple as that, and it’s only fair to point out that Nokia and Android, as close as they are in revenue, are most definitely moving in different directions.

        A lot of people are claiming the future depends on apps, or on hardware, or on marketing, or on etc etc etc. I would argue that the future of all brands relies heavily on getting the right balance of all those factors, not just one of them. Robert claims its not about the hardware, but the apps. He’s wrong, but then (and I mean no disrespect) Robert tends to live in his own world sometimes and his posts are often autobiographical and tell us all about Robert and what he wants – what the rest of the world wants is a different matter altogether. I still remember when he moaned on and on and on and on about how crappy Facebook was for only letting you have 5,000 ‘friends’….because we all need to add more than 5,000 friends, right? :)

        I think Microsoft has a lot of things right with WP7. The core infrastructure is spot on. The OS is good. The core apps will suit most people just fine. Maybe not Robert, nor me, nor you…but most people. WP7 biggest problem as I see it is simply Windows. The name. You say Windows in the context of a phone to the average person and….well, it’s not a good reaction you’ll get. A lot of people have personal experience of older Windows Mobile devices, and not good experiences. How do you convince them to go back and give the new version a try? How do you convince them it really is a new OS and not a rehash of the old one? Advertising alone won’t cut it.

        I think that’s where Nokia is a good move for MS. A lot of people the world over have had a Nokia handset, and have had positive experiences. There’s a lot of people who I think will look past the Windows name and trust in Nokia to give them more positive experiences. They don’t need to beat Apple or Android, in the same way Nintendo didn’t need to beat Xbox or PS. They just need to put a different twist on their product, appeal to a broader market, price themselves competitively. 

        In the post, Robert says “Think about it. If you buy a phone and then you sit next to someone with an Android or iPhone, and they show you all the apps they are using that you don’t have, won’t you feel like an idiot? Of course you will.”

        That will work both ways. If the average person sits down next to another ‘normal’ person with a WP7, and they show him or her how slick it is, easy to use, and how it actually does everything they really want it to do, won’t they feel like an idiot? Probably not. They might buy one though….

        1. Microsoft’s market research told them the Windows name has value with consumers, so that’s why they kept it. I’m positive they were willing to get rid of it if they thought it would help (ex. zune).

  7. I think you’re wrong to an extent.  For me apps are very important, but I’m very techie.  For my wife though, if the phone has Facebook and plays solitaire she’s happy.  Big plus if the battery is good and it has a keyboard.  After seeing a windows phone she’s switching to it because it’s easier to use and the battery is better.  

    There is a large portion of the population that isn’t going out to eat all the time so they don’t need to food apps, they don’t need the travel apps, they don’t need most of the apps.  Give them a few good games and the basics and they’re happy.

    1. Agreed. App freaks are only a part of the pie. They may or may not be a game-changing part, but WP7 could sell millions of devices before it ran out of the average smart phone user who just wants the core apps.

      My girlfriend is testing out her first smartphone right now, a WP7 Dell Venue. It has a physical keyboard, which she still says is a must. I’m an android power-user and I’m hard pressed to come up with apps she really wants that aren’t on wp7.

        1. I had a look at your list of apps. Bear in mind that I’m in the UK so any USA apps are of no interest to me personally. I tried to find as many direct matches as possible. Some are virtually identical or superior alternatives. Some I just don’t know about. BTW, I noticed that Business Insider has an app for WP7, but unfortunately the developers have not utilised the WP7 capabilities properly. Anyway, back to your app list…

          SOCIAL MEDIA (planty on WP7)

          Twitter app. Available on WP7. Other twitter apps also available.
          LinkedIn apps. In Mango this will be natively integrated.

          NEWS APPS (there are loads on WP7)

          NPR News. NPR Listener on WP7.
          CNN.  – CNN Reader available on WP7.
          NYTimes. Available on WP7.
          HuffPost. Huffington Post available on WP7.
          BBC News. Nice app on WP7.

          TRAVEL (loads of apps on WP7)

          TripAdvisor. Available on WP7.
          Kayak. Flights and hotels – available on WP7.
          FlightTrack. See Flight Tracker on WP7. Plenty of others available.
          Travelocity. Available on WP7.

          MAPS (loads of map apps on WP7):

          Trapster. Other WP7 equivalents available.
          Goby. Bing in Mango does that natively, but lots of WP7 apps around.
          AroundMe. Available on WP7. Not sure if same thing.
          Find iPhone. WP7 has Windows Live Mesh for that.
          SitOrSquat. iToiletFinder in WP7. There are a few others too.

          LOCATION: (plenty in WP7)

          Foursquare. Foursquare client available on WP7.
          Glympse. Check out Here I am on WP7.
          RunKeeper. Check out Outdoor Navigation in WP7 – really nice app!Geocaching. Check out GeoCaching on WP7. Not sure it’s a game though.

          SHOPPING (lots on WP7)

          eBay. Available on WP7.
          CardStar. Available on WP7.

          PHOTO/VIDEO (as well as 3rd part apps, device manufacturers supply their own).

          Instagram. WP7 has native integrated photo sharing, inc native Facebook photo sharing.
          360 Panoramic. Check out ZTITCH on WP7.
          Ustream. Available on WP7.
          Path. See integrated Facebook on WP7.
          Hipstamatic. Check out HipStar on WP7.

          Let’s be honest, that’s most of your list covered!!!

          1. Now, let’s go through the app quality. I have my WP7 phone filled with apps but they suck when compared to iOS versions generally. Especially the biggies like Twitter and Foursquare.

          2. Quality varies, yes, and many of the first try’s on WP7 were not as good as the versions that have been refined on iOS for various reasons.

            However, I really think WP7 offers a great design language that (properly applied) leads to greater usability and consistency.

            Foursquare, for instance, has a third-party implementation in ’4th and mayor’ that blows away the Android and iOS apps.

            The Geocaching app is also better on WP7 imo.

            I think WP7 app quality is improving as developers get used to it.

        2. Funny thing is a large number of these actually do exist for WP7…so what’s your point? Plus as another person said…not everyone cares to have a mobile app that can manage and do something related to every aspect of their life.  Sheesh…you act as if these apps are are essential to one’s existence.  Get a life, interact with real people and enjoy the real world around you and get your head out of your device.  I just don’t get it…and people like you who are facedown in their device instead of paying attention to the world around them.  What a shame all of these “essential apps” have done to us as a society.  It’s a phone…first, a way to communicate and manage somethings on the run and keep me entertained just like everyone else.  Difference is I don’t rely on it for anything…let alone communication. 

  8. I think you’re wrong to an extent.  For me apps are very important, but I’m very techie.  For my wife though, if the phone has Facebook and plays solitaire she’s happy.  Big plus if the battery is good and it has a keyboard.  After seeing a windows phone she’s switching to it because it’s easier to use and the battery is better.  

    There is a large portion of the population that isn’t going out to eat all the time so they don’t need to food apps, they don’t need the travel apps, they don’t need most of the apps.  Give them a few good games and the basics and they’re happy.

  9. Scobleizer, let me quote you here:

    “…Think about it. If you buy a phone and then you sit next to someone with an Android or iPhone, and they show you all the apps they are using that you don’t have, won’t you feel like an idiot? Of course you will.”

    Do you have some kind of inferiority complex? Do you feel ugly or something? Do you really need your phone and your apps to enhance the size of your genitals?Most rational people don’t feel stupid at all. Sure, some may take an interest in other’s apps, but feeling stupid? Why? I mean that is the craziest thing I have heard in a long time. I could not give a flying turd about what apps someone else has. That’s their personal choice. I have the apps that I want, and that’s all there is to it.

    This article clearly demonstrates the idiotic mindset of many phone users, and you have proved to be one of them.

    1. You hit the nail on the head!  It also speaks to the ridiulous commercials from Apple…about you don’t have an iPhone….like I care.  Those that do care have some personality issues that they feel the need to own something so they are somehow more of a person or cooler or more important.  sheeesh. 

  10. Well, the question now is – is the game to create viable mobile platforms over? I don’t know the answer – it might very well be, iOS/Android won – they have all the developers and apps – and everybody else are just spinning their wheels now. 

    Or it may not be. And Microsoft with Nokia are betting that they will be able to create that third ecosystem. Right now they have a sort of chicken and egg problem – nobody wants to write apps for them because there’s no device volumes. Few buy WP7 phones because there are no apps. Their hope is that with Nokia distribution muscle and carrier relations around the world they will be able to get devices volumes up there, and that will jump start app development for the platform. 

    The market, as you say, is shrinking. But it is still huge and there some 60 or 70% of Americans and probably 80% of the rest of the world to cover.  With Verizon (Droid) help Google/Android was able to solve this problem with worse hardware and less, lower quality apps, when most of the developers were writing mainly for the iPhone. 

    Microsoft/Nokia may still have the chance to do the same thing too. Well, with their history of execution I’d say it’s not much better then 50/50 chance now. But it’s still there      

    1. Which is exactly why they’ve chosen to fund people to build some of the most important apps, so they can get over the initial hump. They bet, and I agree, that if you just get the top 20-30 iOS and Android apps ported, then a majority of the user base will be covered. We have plenty of studies out there already that show most smartphone owners don’t have more that 10-15 apps and they use even less of them.

      First you get those users, then you get enough installed base to attract new developers, which starts attracting more users.

      If it were impossible, how the hell did Android do it? By Scoble’s logic, I don’t see how they could have gotten where are.

        1. So,  

          Do you think it’s already a game over for mobile platforms and it’s Android and iOS only now until next disruption?

          And then, how do you think Android got to here from September 2009? When, everyone in long tail was writing mostly iPhone apps, venture capitalists like Kleiner were doing iPhone only funds and Android vs iPhone device sales were something like 1:10?

        2. So,  

          Do you think it’s already a game over for mobile platforms and it’s Android and iOS only now until next disruption?

          And then, how do you think Android got to here from September 2009? When, everyone in long tail was writing mostly iPhone apps, venture capitalists like Kleiner were doing iPhone only funds and Android vs iPhone device sales were something like 1:10?

      1. Android gave free phones to thousands of developers and beat Microsoft to market by two years. They also got sales by deals with carriers, who needed a competitor to Apple. That door is no longer open which is why Microsoft’s sales are sucking.

      2. I agree, MS can get some major apps on their platform very quickly, for marginal cost with no ovehead as far as long term employment costs if they were to do it in house themselves. Those developers could sit around for 12 – 18 months to see how the platform takes off or not, or MS could pay them right away to get big names on the platform to help kickstart the interest among consumers.

        Plus, those developers now know how to develop for WP7, which increases Microsoft’s developer base even more. Now MS has their normal developers, Android Developers and iOS developers who all know how to build for WP7.

        If the rumors are true that Silverlight/WP7 apps will indeed make it’s way to XBox, and the new Windows 8 UI/experience then developers will have a HUGE potential customer and device base to build for. Tablets, Desktops, Laptops, Phones, XBox, Corporate, General public, Techies, non-techies. It’s HUGE potential.

        All these Finland iOS developers and beyond who are only focusing on the saturated iOS platform are shooting themselves in the foot and missing out on millions, if not billions of customers that the MS ecosystem will enable.

        But if they want to stick with a platform that has only paid out 2.5 billion dollars across thousands of developers, that’s their loss.

        People pissed and moaned about MS “forcing” people to use their software/platforms, guess what, Apple is far worse than MS ever was.

        1. “…All these Finland iOS developers and beyond who are only focusing on the saturated iOS platform are shooting themselves in the foot and missing out on millions, if not billions of customers that the MS ecosystem will enable.”

          Agreed, and I can’t understand why they don’t see it. Think about it, MS is abour to bring a whole new update to X-Box, which will include Fun Lab, Live TV and cloud integration amongst other things. They are about to launch the Kinect SDK – awesome. They are about to lanuch Mango for WP7. They have Office 365 due out and they are working on Win 8 which will work on loads of devices, both existing and new. And they have Windows Live Mesh already running - the equivalent to iCloud.

          Microsoft already have a huge ecosystem, but when they join all these new dots together, this existing ecosystem will be astronomically huge beyond. Honestly, IMHO these Finnish developers must be extremely short sighted for failing to see what is just around the corner. Nokia is only part of the equation and even WP7 is only part of the euqation.

          1. If someone is a “Pro” developer then they will know and want to know multiple languages and target multiple platforms because they know that the more widely available you are to potential customers the more successful your app will be.

            Your pro developers who are only targeting iOS are idiots, why would they limit themselves so drastically? Just because they are ignoring it and you claim that as a good thing, doesn’t mean they are doing the right thing.

          2. Why limit themselves? I just spoke at IdeaLab today. They are NOT developing any Windows Phone 7 apps. Why not? Limited resources. And this is one of the best funded incubators in the world. Google them.

          3. Wait, I thought iOS developers made lots of money since it’s THE platform to develop for, there should be plenty of cash to expand into other platforms. So yeah, why limit themselves to one of the smallest ecosystem in the world? Brilliant move.

            In IdeaLab’s introduction they say they “challenge the status quo”, or not.

            If the best funded incubators in the world can’t expand into new markets because they are strapped for cash, then why the hell would anyone want to work with them. “Sorry we don’t have the resources to help you grow” – that’s who I’d want to partner with. Or not.

            For someone so smart I’m astonished you can’t see something so obvious.

  11. nokia is inherently evil corporation

    no wonder they picked microsoft because nokia thinks of themselves they are microsoft of cellphones

    but times are changing and you Robert Scoble point it out nicely

    and nokia being Finnish innovation – it’s over – now nokia is just a box pusher without their own innovation as most innovation now is in software

    finally: I am disgusted by a lie that nokia CEO said that windows phone scores better at consumers than android and iphone. It’s simply lie. 

    this guy – Elop – was presiding over Microsoft office division i.e. quasi-monopoly division that was bringing profits no matter what. Similarly like Roz Ho who was leading Microsoft Office for Mac division (once again with monopolistic position) but then she promised to write a book about breakthrough-cellphone – Kin – that died.

    my prediction: sales of nokia-made windows phones will be extremely low, much below expectations and in 2014 nokia will adapt android and will be overtaken by samsung is the number cellphone maker worldwide.

  12. On a different note…

    Developer interest in WP7 has risen very sharply recently (now higher than for iOS according to a recent report), and one reason is because of the Mango update due out later this year. Microsoft released the Mango API in May, and having seen the dev tools at the MS Tech Days conference, I was blown away. The Mango API and dev tools are, honestly, amazing. If your Finnish friends can’t see that, then frankly that’s their problem. But the developers who have knowledge of the Mango API know full well that they are able to leverage the new WP7 phone capabilities much faster than is possible with othe platforms. WP7 (and Mango in particular) IS better than iOS in many areas. That’s a fact and most rational people know this.

    You may not be aware, but the Mango dev kit opened up the XNA framework to VB developers, whereas previously it was only available to C# developers. That means that suddenly Microsoft can leverage the entire VB developer network to make games and XNA apps for it’s platform. Not only that, but these VB developers can target the existing WP7 system with this XNA-VB Mango API. These are just a few of the details that you are clearly missing in your analysis. The apps are coming – of that you can be assured.

    Oh and one final thing - just becasue the apps aren’t there for you doesn’t mean that they aren’t there for others. I have all the apps I need on my WP7 Samsung Omnia 7 – and there’s no real countering argument to that – my WP7 phone does what I want. Period.

    BTW, check out the new WP7 British Airways app – and I’m not talking about their current WP7 app which is goo anyway – I’m talking about their Mango app.

      1. 1. You’re very welcome.

        2. Well, we can only wait and see. Either way, it doesn’t stop the development of apps for the other handsets available, which are actually very good anyway, in particlular the HTC and Samsung devices.

  13. In my experience the apps on WP7 are much better than the Android equivalents. Android apps are mostly very lazy unpolished iOS ports. The Windows dev tools are significantly better and Windows Phone has a nice unique design language. I don’t see WP7 having any troubles attracting developers since the app store has reached over 20,000 apps in less than half the time it took Android.

  14. Well see, the problem with what everyone is saying is that after 8 months they want Windows Phone 7, a complete reboot from all its past versions, coming into a saturated market where Android currently rules the tier that Windows Phone 7 is aiming at, to be attracting the best of the best app developers. Let’s get real please? I’m an Android user and I ought to know what the Android app market is like. I don’t care two toffees about numbers for the app market when you can find hello world apps in there. And not just a few. I can keep scrolling down until I feel bored. 

    And this is all after Android has been around for so long. Everyone still goes and develops the best apps for iOS still. Here’s a problem. Chicken and egg. But while everyone is screaming about no apps no one really realizes that there’s just one way to solve it.

    MS.. must.. shift.. tools…. to MAC. For their own sake if they don’t realise this they are being pretty stupid. It’s not their fault though. Tech Social Stigma demands that a pc running Windows 7 isn’t cool and doesnt work (which in my opinion is no longer true at all) but if MS can’t change this then hard luck. They need to develop their tools for Mac as well.

    Frankly speaking. If you have developed for all three platforms you would honestly realise that the tool set for WP7 is definitely amongst the best you could have. Miles and miles and miles ahead of Android at least. I bet a lot that if they do that, tomorrow itself developers would start showing a renewed interest in it. Period. 

    1. “…MS.. must.. shift.. tools…. to MAC. For their own sake if they don’t realise this they are being pretty stupid. It’s not their fault though. Tech Social Stigma demands that a pc running Windows 7 isn’t cool and doesnt work (which in my opinion is no longer true at all) but if MS can’t change this then hard luck. They need to develop their tools for Mac as well”

      Actually, MS don’t need to port anything because Windows 7 can be run on a Mac anyway. So in order to get Mac developers on board, all that is required is for those developers to run Windows 7 on their Macs. Then they can simply download and install the WP7 development tools (which are free) and, ta-da, Mac developers can make WP7 apps!

  15. scoble, everybody understands what you wrote including elop. he has said that several times. but what you do not know is how to get to that number of apps as ios/android have. elop knows that. he needs to start where his company and his partners have strength. his company has strength in hardware.

    all this is positive feedback loop. in your terminlogy, apps are needed to attract consumers, but consumers are needed to attract the app developers. everybody understands that. but what you scoble do not understand is how to solve the chicken/egg problem. nature has taught us how to solve that problem. bring ostrich, and let their dna gradually converts in to a chicken dna. so to solve chicken/egg problem you need to start from ostrich (that means an existing bird).

    what is an existing bird for nokia? it is hardware.

    that is why you do not have a position of responsibility as elop has. tens of thousands of families depends on him for their future. fortunately they are not depending upon you, as you are a step behind. you always remain at a problem stage, when other people have already understood those problems and are at a solution stage. the solution may or may not work, but problems will definitely not be solved if you remain always at a problem stage.

    1. Can I add to that? What you made is a valid point on how Nokia should be at the solution stage. But it isn’t just Nokia responsible here right? It’s Microsoft too. And frankly speaking, while no one can get past the follow the herd mentality that windows 7 is bad when it is in fact a perfectly adequate dev environment, I think either Microsoft needs to change that. Or attack on a completely different level which is to port its tool entirely to Mac as well. Big investment but I believe in the long run the payoff is way better. What do you think?

  16. How many apps did iPhone have after 6 – 7 months? Answer: 0. What about Android, not much. BTW where is Google TV? and Apple TV? MS TV is xbox and sold more than 60 million. A little bit of Microsoft’s history for those short memoried guys. When Playstation came out and xbox launched later everyone had the same opinion as Train already left the station. But today XBOX is the most popular gaming system by recent sales numbers. Guys the game has just begun, its not over yet. Just enjoy your phones and let Apple, Google and Microsoft innovate, we as consumers win irrespective of which OS / company wins.

  17. I sternly agree to the title! Nokia
    CEO Elop has intentionally or accidently put his toe in his mouth. Androids are
    created by Apple was his statement and I personally opine that it is absolutely
    a lame comment. If Nokia concentrates on innovation rather than just empty
    talks, they can think of a better standard than Androids that will make the
    mobile space take up by storm!  
     

  18. It’s not about the apps or the hardware at all.  It’s 100% because of the live tiles: Sesame Street GUI for the Millennials.

    There just isn’t any interest in WP7 GUI.  No one gives a rip about Mango.  You can’t even get a single WP7 user to outline the top 20 changes Mango brings.

    Do yourself a favor and check the Google Trends for Android and WP7.  Then compare WP7 Mango to Android Honeycomb.  There is a huge rise in interest in Honeycomb the last several months, while Mango earned a little bump, but other than that, it’s been blah.

    Meh…let Nokia fail and get sold to MMI, so that we can have the real showdown between GOOG / MMI and MSFT.

    1. As a WP7 user, I’ll list 20 for you…

      1. Seamlessly integtrated native support for Twitter, LinkedIn, IM, Facebook (already exists in current version of WP7).

      2. IM+ equivalent integrated into messaging system so users can have threaded conversations using the integrated messaging systems and it can automatically switch the chat protocols based on who’s online on which chat system.

      3. Multiple calendars with integrated task manager. Calendar also seamlessly integrates with Facebook calcendar.

      4. Live Tiles further enhanced. The current unified notification system is improving further by allowing information on the live tiles to be displayed on the front and back of the Live Tiles. They flip automatically with a nice animation to show the information on both sides. This feature is available to all 3rd party apps, not just the native apps.

      5. Background file transfer service.

      6. Multitasking for 3rd party apps, using similar method to iOS. Multitasking already exists for some native apps in current version of WP7. Multitaksing also includes automatic optimisation for performance and battery life.

      7. Automatic face detection when uploading pictures to Facebook, which then automatically prompts you to tag the faces.

      8. Office 365 and SkyDrive –  Further improved cloud integration in Microsoft Office using SkyDrive, which is already used for syncing media to the cloud. All natively integrated.

      9. Support for gyros in the new hardware, which enhances the motion-aware system. Current handsets only have accelerometers and a compass.

      10. App-Connect. When searching using Bing, any relevant apps from the market place are also searched and displayed, and can be installed directly from the Bing results. Any relevant apps you already have installed are also displayed and can be launched from the search results. Quick cards and Local Scout further improved the Bing Search.

      11. Improved X-Box live integration, including things like avatar editing on your phone.

      12. Improved app management. The current long list of apps is now split into alphabetical groups which can be searched and has a jump-list.

      13. Visual voice mail.

      14. Enhanced threaded converstation email system where individual or grouped inboxes or email threads can be linked to the start page. This allows for very flexible short cuts for managing email converstations by pinning them as Live Tiles.

      15. IE9 with HTML5 support and GPU accelerated rendering.

      16. Deep Linking for 3rd party apps - You can already pin a shortcut to an app as a Live Tile, but this will be enhanced to allow you to link the shortcuts to any activity within an app, rather then just to launch the app itself.

      17. Information Rights Management – allows corporate control over the email system

      18. Bing Vision – things like Barcode Scanning for automatica product identification will be natively integarted.

      19. Song identification natively built into Bing Search audio engine, a bit like Shazam.

      20. Turn-by-turn navigation.

      1. Sir, my hats of to you. Thanks for showing these ignorant people how powerfull wp7 is.

        Scobleizer sounds like a little girl with her fingers in her ears and keep on yelling that she is not hearing you.

        1. You know, the strange thing is that when you think about logically, people should be hoping the WP7 platform does well, irrespective of whether they like it or not. It’s a new smartphone platform from one of the big 3 players, which means it provides extra competition in the marketplace. That is beneficial to all consumers because it forces competitors to innovate and refine.

          Take Windows 7 (desktop) as a good example. Lots of my Mac owning collegues acknowledge that it’s a great operating system and they like using it, as do I. But I don’t think Microsoft would have given us Windows 7 had it not been for Mac OS. It proves that competition is good for everyone, and it competitors cannot be complacent anymore.

          1. Uh, no.  I’ve posted this question on many different sites, and you’re the only person to respond to the open book challenge.

            Again..One person.  At this rate, I can see excitement building for WP7′s Mango in….10 years?

    1. And I actually LIVE in Europe and work with European clients. Of course there is an iOS bias at the moment, but in many European countries (unlike the USA) the WP7 phones are selling much better and apps are being written for them. It’s almost like you “want” the world to ignore WP7. Why? It makes no sense. Competition is good for all of us, especially the consumers.

    2. And I actually LIVE in Europe and work with European clients. Of course there is an iOS bias at the moment, but in many European countries (unlike the USA) the WP7 phones are selling much better and apps are being written for them. It’s almost like you “want” the world to ignore WP7. Why? It makes no sense. Competition is good for all of us, especially the consumers.

    1. Beautiful app.  I don’t have a WP device yet, but when I get one (I’m one of these non-existent people waiting for a Nokia WP device) I’ll be sure to check this app out. 

  19. Actually, you don’t even need to make money from the apps directly in order to make money from the platform. I know several companies who monetise from an enterprise perspective, and make apps for all the platforms including WP7 for free, with no advertising. Their apps are simply a way of feeding data to their profitable enterprise solutions.

  20. That’s what I thought when WP7 first came out. But it wasn’t until I actually tried the new tools that I realised that the framework is very similar and therefore easy to develop apps for.

    Deployment issues? Are you kidding? I mean, you can deploy to your own phone by clicking on the play button!!! One click to deploy – a single click - and you’re saying that’s an issue?

    BTW, I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore silverlight just because of WP7. You can also code with XNA for WP7 and even have Silverlight and XNA combined, which is extremely powerful. But when silverlight apps come to X-Box, then you already have an established multi-million user base. And if you are already familiar with Silverlight for WP7, then you have a head-start for X-Box.

  21. Your Nokia/Windows Phone 7 analysis is one-dimensional and simply following the herd of IT pundit conventional wisdom.

    A 1st observation is that people tend to trade-in smartphones every 2 years. I don’t know a person in IT who isn’t counting the months left in their carrier contract 6-18 months in. The technology keeps reving that quickly. The obvious point is there’s lots of opportunities for Microsoft to cash in on that heavy churn, particularly Android and Blackberry users. The problem with iPhone for Microsoft is the fanboy loyalty (I’m not the only person who knows Mac-aholics that have to buy every new toy Jobs pimps) and the fact a high percentage of iPhone users buy apps so they won’t want to lose their investment.

    No doubt WP7, like the Android which proceeded it, is behind the iPhone power curve. However, most of the lacking features like cut and paste are addressed with updates. What the IT pundits who love to bash Microsoft overlook is the Blackberry – which they never pile on like WP7 – isn’t even treading water.

    Certainly, apps – as you point out – are a problem for WP7. However, the iPhone’s 700,000 (or whatever) numbers game is a joke. Who needs another fart app? The iPhone developer market is pretty much saturated. Android is catching up in numbers but it’s problem – and I speak from experience – is so many of their apps are crap. I’ve learned a new term using Android: “forced close”. In fact, apps like the Skyfire browser and AP’s news app were far better on Windows Mobile 6.x! I’ve contacted Comcast repeatedly because their Android Xfinity app is unusable it’s so buggy.

    One huge advantage iPhone and Android have is cross-development tools. Write for one and you can write for both. That isn’t likely to change any time soon.

    However, Microsoft’s .Net developer tools are far superior to iPhone’s native Object-C or Android’s native Java. There’s a huge army of over 3 million .Net developers who can easily leverage their skills to develop WP7 apps. Another advantage with Microsoft is I’ve read tales of some early adopter developers making more money off of WP7 than Android or iPhone. Again, the later are reaching an app saturation point and Android users are notorious for not paying for apps.

    But Microsoft’s real application advantage is tie-ins to its huge suite and experience in business applications. I see Microsoft eating Blackberry’s lunch as WP7 matures as a business platform. It’ll likely never match iPhone’s popularity with consumers. However, Android has another huge problem with consumers like me. Their recent security scare – which they were able to patch at a server level – points out the fundamental mess of Android’s UI fragmentation (and a main reason I plan to soon dump mine). Buy a device which invariably is customized by a manufacturer because the stock UI sucks and you’ll be lucky to see an update. The aforementioned security bug was patched in, I believe, Android 3.1 but what device currently on the market will ever see it?

    The bottom line is, I believe, WP7 app growth is on par or even ahead of where Android was at a similar juncture.

    Finally, I disagree wholeheartedly that hardware isn’t a problem with WP7. I’m close to trading in my Evo 4G for a Sprint WP7 except they only offer 1 hardware configuration which doesn’t have 4G yet is premium priced, The Sprint WP7 is generic and boring too. Unlike every new Android phone with hot new features and technology. So I see Nokia bringing a lot to the hardware table which certainly will get my attention. In fact, with most OEMs largely ignoring WP7, I’ll probably have to wait for Nokia’s end of the year releases to ponder switching (assuming also-ran Sprint gets any).

  22. Dude, I have a WP7 device and I’m trying out every app people are recommending to me. The apps aren’t nearly as good quality as on iOS or Android. Get your facts straight.

    1. android apps? the quality is terrible. WP7 has a way to go, but it does have good quality apps. on android that was rare. but more importantly the OS user interface is vastly superior for common day-to-day tasks than iOS or Android.

  23. QUALITY v QUANTITY

    Robert, one thing that struck me in the replies and comments is the topic of app quality. It’s clear that most of the apps you need are already available for the WP7 platform, either identical versions or similar equivalents. So in terms of quantity, most of the apps are there.

    But what about the quality? Obviously the definition of quality is something that will vary from user to user. And it’s not always clear-cut. IMHO, quality is not necessarily about the fancy graphics. It’s about the user experience.

    User experience is something that Microsoft went into great depth at the recent TechDays conference in London, with two days dedicated to WP7 with one day for Mango. They focused on the user experience because Microsoft want that the quality of apps to be high.

    The difference in quality between apps was made quite clear with some demos. Microsoft showed that apps can look fantastic but actually be a poor user experience. Likewise they showed apps that were very sparse on nice graphics but offered a good user experience. But they also showed examples of WP7 apps that had both great appearance and a good user experience, and these were apps that delivered the “wow factor” – apps that people pay good money for purely because of that great overall user experience.

    What’s interesting is that those apps that deliver the “wow factor” don’t necessarily stick rigidly to the Microsoft guidelines for WP7 app design, but they do utilise the full WP7 platform capabilities and the Metro style, which when used correctly can create user experiences superior to iOS and Android. However, what Microsoft also emphasised is that these “wow factor” apps were created using two skills sets – designers and developers. And this is the key. You implied that .NET developers are just playing and are not professional. That is not true at all because most .NET developers are professional and do make high quality software. But where they can be lacking is in “design” expertise. A good phone app requires a designer and a developer in order to create a great user experience. In some cases the same person can do both. But in reality, many .NET developers are not designers. This is why Microsoft released a tool for this aspect of app development called Expression Blend. This is a tool focused on design rather than development and it is designed to work with other graphics design tools. iOS developers have had several years to perfect the “design” aspect and it’s a natural part of the developer mindset. What you’ll start to see in the near future is .NET developers doing the same – the design aspect will start to improve dramatically (the tools are there) and it will become part of the natural .NET developer mindset. As a result, the “quality” of the apps will improve dramatically.

    So, give it time and the “high quality” you crave will be there in all the apps. Mango in paticular will change things significantly because it offers developers access to many more parts of WP7 that will help deliver superior user experiences on this highly capable platform.

  24. I really don’t think Android being open source was the key to its success. Android didn’t start selling well until the Motorola Droid (see youtube visualization of Android activations over time). Motorola had plenty of budget to pay for OS licenses if they needed to. It’s not like some startup came out of nowhere with an amazing Android phone with modified source code.
    Microsoft is using a hybrid of Google and Apple’s business models. They are closed source and require in-depth application review, but they allow their OS to run on lots of different hardware (as long as it’s _good_ hardware). I think it’s a good mix of both approaches.

    1. That’s a misreading of the stats.  Android gained immediate market share from the beginning with just the HTC Dream / G1.  If you’re comparing it to WP7, one can only see bad news for WP7, considering the HTC Dream / G1 was slow to expand to other markets and was the lone model for 6 months, but it increased market share, whereas WP7 with several handsets in several markets has caused Microsoft’s market share to decrease.

      Did Droid massively increase market share for Android?  Yes, but growth wasn’t limited to Droid.  After all, Motorola makes up a small percentage of current Android handsets, so it can’t simply be a case of Motorola carrying Android.

  25. I don’t understand the tiles UI,  PCs use icons, why make the transition difficult to customers? 

    Elop is just looking for excuse. it’s not our OS, it’s the OEMs’ fault. It can’t get any more obvious, he’s working for MS, he’s a trojan. 

    1. Windows 8 and the Xbox Dashboard are going to be dynamic tile-based as well. It’s called progress, static icons are an outdated paradigm. 

    2. Windows 8 and the Xbox Dashboard are going to be dynamic tile-based as well. It’s called progress, static icons are an outdated paradigm. 

        1. How is it not progress to go from a static grid of icon shortcuts to dynamic shortcuts that are constantly updating w/ glanceable information?

          It’s pretty hard to make a case that Live Tiles are a step backwards. You don’t even have to open the app to find the information you are looking for. The Calendar tile shows you your upcoming schedule on the home screen, the weather tile tells you the temp and shows you the radar. That is clearly progress. Maybe it’s always 73 degrees and sunny in Cupertino, but that doesn’t work for the rest of the world.

          1. 1. I want to have wallpaper. 2. I want stuff to show up when I want them to, not constantly refreshing. 3. You can always get widgets if that’s the sort of things you want.

          2. 1.) Live tiles have nothing to do with wallpaper.  The Xbox dashboard coming out is using Live Tiles and you can set whatever wallpaper you have. Don’t know enough about Windows 8, but its likely the same there as well. iOS didn’t have wallpapers until this latest version either. I suspect it may have to do with optimizing battery life and performance on a smartphone. A black background saves power, but I agree it should change going forward. I would like to see a nice pivoting walpaper like you see in the WP7 hubs. You can customize the wallpaper used for the lock scren and the Pictures hub.

            2.) Its not glanceable information if you have to click or tap first to get the info. If you don’t want the Live tile then don’t set it up. You can launch apps without having to setup the Live Tile shortcut.

            3.) Live Tiles are basically a hybrid of widgets and standard icon shortcuts. They’re uniform in shape like icons, but they offer dynamic info like widgets without using as much resources or taking up as much space. Widgets aka ‘gadgets on Windows desktop are horrible, good riddance!

  26. Eh, whenever a post about Microsoft is on this blog, it is to be ignored.  The writer works for a competitor of Microsoft(Rackspace)…..  When have you ever known a competitor to write nice things about another competitor, or pimping their products?
    Could you ever see someone from McDonald’s saying Burger King ever has a good/great product compared to theirs? No!

    Rackspace’s Cloud Hosting platform is a Direct Competitor of Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud platform.

  27. When someone says, “Who needs Flash?” your response is, I’ll bet, “We want the choice.” If there are half a million apps and climbing, you get a lot of choice. No, no phone has room for hundreds of thousands of apps. But if you get to choose from a dozen turn-by-turn navigation apps, you get to pick the one you like best. Questions?

  28. CLASSIC FUD! The Mango update adds access to over 1500 APIs to Windows phone development tools. Meaning that once the Mango update is out you’re going to see a huge jump in the sophistication and functionality of WP7 apps. Apps will now be able to access the camera, compass, gyroscope and other sensors in ways previously not possible making augmented reality apps possible, better chat apps will be possible with sockets support, multiple live tiles per app will be possible and direct linking to specific functions within apps, background audio will also be enabled for 3rd party apps, multiplayer gaming will be possible, etc. The point is that the apps on Marketplace is not indicative of what will start coming out for the platform after Mango. Too bad Scoble missed MIX ’11 otherwise he’d be more clued in to what’s about to happen with WP7. Scoble is living in a bubble and doesn’t realize there is a much bigger world of developers living outside that little bubble.

  29. I have nothing but respect for Robert Scoble but in this case i believe he is wrong on 2 things.  

    Number one being consumers on the whole are stupid.  They buy pretty things and are easily manipulated.  Apple’s entire business strategy is built on that. 

    Number two is the number of apps does not matter.  You just have to have the right apps.  In my use case i need the following:  good email, twitter, facebook, good music player, office stuff, and TWiT app.

    Windows Phone’s interface allows me to fly through each one on those things faster than i could on iOS and Android.  The ZunePass/music hub music experience is hands down better than anything apple and android have.  I listen to a lot of music and no longer have to carry separate devices.

    Microsoft is not going to let Windows Mobile fail and Nokia brings beautiful hardware to the game.  It’s a win win for both companies.  I would even goes as far to say Microsoft should buy RIM for another OEM to put Windows Phone on. 

  30. Yes, but it’s a measure that works, as seen with several of my collegues who have done precisely that. The only extra investment required is the Windows 7 OS, since all the actual dev tools for making WP7 apps are free.