Oh, Charlie, you should have been here for Christmas

Oh, Charlie. Charlie Kindel, that is. He used to work at Microsoft. He still has Microsoft in his blood as he tries to explain why Windows Phone 7 hasn’t taken off.

I thought about posting this over on Google+ or Facebook or Twitter, but I like the way MG Siegler is treating it. All the stupid stuff goes on the blog and all the important stuff goes on YouTube, Tumblr, or Google+. Heh.

MG mailed Charlie’s post back with a “way too late” headline and pointed out that apps do matter.

It’s worse than that. Sorry Charlie.

I had dozens of people here for several events this weekend. Phones came up in nearly every conversation. Not a single person brought up Windows Phone 7.

While watching TV I was reminded again of why: it’s all about apps. Yeah, Charlie, all that other stuff matters a bit. You know, what Carriers decide to push and all that. But only if the customers are willing to go along with the push.

See, I used to work retail and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t unload crappy products on consumers. They generally are smarter than that.

One thing I learned working the counter at several Silicon Valley consumer electronics stores is that there’s only one thing people really care about when it comes to buying things:

Not looking stupid.

Now, let’s look at the ads on TV right now. There’s all sorts of people saying to get their app, including the local TV news departments. Do they talk about Android? Yes, of course. iOS? Of course! Windows Phone 7? Hell no. RIM/Blackberry? I haven’t heard that in an app advertisement in, well, forever.

So, when a consumer goes into a carrier store to buy a new phone, what is going on in the back of her/his head?

Android=safe.
iOS/iPhone=safe.
Everything else=not safe.

Why? Because all you had to do was come to my Christmas parties to see why. Everything around you showed that having an Android or an iPhone was “safe.”

When I go around interviewing startups I hear over and over that they are staying away from anything that isn’t Android or iOS based.

That means that any product not based on iOS or Android isn’t “safe.”

End of discussion. Until RIM or Microsoft changes that belief among app developers in a demonstrable way Microsoft will continue to struggle.

And don’t tell me that Nokia is gonna be able to change this in the developing world. Anyone who is on Twitter now can watch this search:

https://twitter.com/#!/search/apps

Go ahead. Put that search into a good Twitter client. Every second or two a new Tweet gets made. Now watch how many of them talk about anything but iOS or Android devices: nearly none.

I watch this search every day on StreamBoard on my iPad.

It shows why Charlie is so wrong: apps do matter and matter big time and TODAY matter more than carriers. UPDATE: Charlie claims he didn’t say apps don’t matter. Just that they don’t matter for his discussion. I disagree. Here’s why: Carriers are no longer hungry for a competitor to iPhones the way they were back in 2009. So, the “lever” to the market will NOT be carriers. But Android and iOS DO have a “lever” called developers and apps.

That will not change in 2012, no matter how much Microsofties (or ex-Microsofties) wish to hide from that problem.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

193 thoughts on “Oh, Charlie, you should have been here for Christmas

  1. Hi, the problem I face in the windows 2006 is that I cannot sign in to my skype account, but from other windows i can login easily..suggest me any solution  plz..:0
     Arduino

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  3. It’s good to hear so many MS-haters starting to talk about WP7 lately… 1 2 3 he’s coming for you :)
    Scoble I encourage you to try a WP7, seriously! You might fall in love.
    I first used iPhone, and though “ah, fine”, then Android: “no way, I’m not a punk”. Finally WP7 (with all its imperfections) and I can’t think of anything better.

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