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.