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. “What happens today is what counts. If you’re going to draw a projection chart of MS rising to the stars based on the figures, then do one on Android and IOS too.”

    Interesting. What if I’d said the exact same thing about Apple 5 years ago?

    What happens today is important, sure, but it doesn’t give you ANY indication of what will happen tomorrow.

  2. It’s all about apps.

    Well Ok then.  Can anyone tell me what apps specifically I’m missing under WP7.5 that I could get elsewhere and realistically be interested in or which don’t have a satisfactory alternative already?

    Anyone?

    1. Mark,  I think there are a few.  I’d love to have the Southwest App, American Express, Skype, eTrade and a few others but these are all providers that have mobile versions of their websites that are very consume-able on WP.  I think the point is relevant but I don’t think its everything. I still contend that the platform that wins is going to be the one that enables its users to consume great content and do what they need to do in a connected mobile experience. For the vast majority of users out there who buy smartphones I have to believe that Microsoft will be relevant and important choice for them to have.

  3. You, sir, just hit the nail on the head.

    The world is NOT the twitter-connected technorati of the US of A. In fact, that’s not even 10% of the world’s population.

    1. I agree.  People need to realize the tablet / smartphone market potential is much bigger than the traditional PC market.  It’s at least 3X bigger & the last time I checked the PC market is about 1 billion strong.  So I think there’s more than enough opportunity for MS to be successful with Windows Phone platform.  All three platforms, iOS, Android, & WP can be successful without killing each other.

  4. Apps matter to the same people who talk about #apps on twitter. I.e. a very small portion of the population. I routinely see businesspeople with iPhones with NO APPS besides the stock ones out and about in the city. They don’t buy iPhones because of the apps, they buy it because it looks good.

    Most apps that matter are already on Windows Phone. Angry Birds, Facebook, Spotify, Fruit Ninja, Foursquare..

    Windows Phone also has much more social functionality as part of the base OS than does either iOS or Android. Facebook and instant messaging come to mind.

    Also – WP is taking a different marketing route – Nokia will probably deeply market this phone system in the Asian and European markets. I can understand that this troubles the US-based technorati, but it might still be a valid way forward. The US has never led the world in mobile – your networks and technologies are FAR behind European and to a certain degree, Asian standards.

  5. I really think this rant is short sighted Robert.  You are correct that Windows Phone has some work to do from an Apps perspective, but I don’t think content that exists or is created on a phone is the only thing that drives success.  I think its about a connected experience and while Apple and Google have a leg up from a pure “mobile” content perspective today they may start to lose ground going forward.  Windows 8 (consistent dev experience), Microsoft’s Cloud initiatives, XBOX and Unified Communications and Collaboration technology and solutions are all going to be significant contributors from a mobile app perspective.  So while today you might be right I strongly disagree with you going forward.  I don’t know who you are talking to but everyone one that I’ve talked to recently has Windows Phone on their radar from a dev perspective.

  6. Robert is so divorced from reality that he thinks Aston Kucher is a typical user. 50,000 Windows Phone apps is plenty for the non-hipster crowd that Scoble ignores. Why are “crap” Windows Phones rated higher than Android phones on AT&T website? If Scoble can’t see the quality in Windows Phones, you have to wonder why anybody should listen to his opinion at all. It’s no shock that Google is stealing design ideas from WP in Ice Cream Sandwich; 
    Matias Duarte is simply stealing from the best.

  7. Looking forward to more such posts from you…
    With WP7 gathering momentum, your trolling will get an increasing backlash.
    Good for your site’s rank, you know what I mean?

  8. Once Microsoft cancelled Courier it was clear that their Vision wasn’t [clear], and that they still had trouble understanding this key part of the marketplace. Courier needed to fork a version of Windows so they could innovate and release updates at the speed of the mobile marketplace. The ponderous Microsoft Release cycle just doesn’t fit. Let’s mention the HP Tablet debacle – 2 years late and hijacked by the WebOS team.

    I lost the last vestige of my Microsoft fanboy loyalty after I excitedly bought a large memory card to use ‘sync and go’ to get my podcasts across to my Msoft PDA. That was when I discovered all mp3 synchs (including Podcasts) needed conversion.

    In my little story and lost in the comments above is the key concept of ‘efficient ecosystem’. The apps are important because they are part of a productivity environment. I don’t use an iPhone because it has 500K apps. That becomes an obstacle to productivity. I use it because Evernote, Skype, DropBox and rememberthemilk run on my desktops (Mac & Win 7) and my Android tablet as well as my iPhone. If a device doesn’t run those, it doesn’t get past ‘go’. I also use an iPhone because it is easy to synch. Once I left the Microsoft player ecosystem, I couldn’t easily return. I would have to resubscribe all my podcast feeds, reload all my music selections. It doesn’t sound like a  lot, but it’s enough.

    What would make me go back and give them another try? Why would I move now? It would have to be a compelling story. One of integration, productivity, ease of use, comfort told by people that I finally believe understand how I want to use my technology, they really get it. Reading the comments above I feel there are two main camps – existing or experienced users that can’t believe that Microsoft don’t even support their own environment well, and true believers that say ‘it will happen, given time & money’. Neither give me the feeling that I see an adequate Vision and compelling product set to make me or my Company move. I haven’t had the feeling that Microsoft ‘get it’ for some time now.

    What about our clients? Well, one is developing for Win Phone. They specialise in the large corporate marketplace and believe there might be a niche. It’s a gamble but they are willing to take it. None of the others are even asking if they should.

    Do apps matter to new adopters. “No” says one group here – only Geeks care. Well, that’s true as far as it goes, but ignores the impact of influencers. People that really don’t know ask people like me… and we all say iPhone or Android 4. Then there’s the reinforcement effect. Some people don’t ask… but they know about the iPad and they know the iPhone is related, but they don’t even know what a ‘Windows Phone’ is. Noone they know has one. They are not going out on a limb to try it. Which is sort of Robert’s point.

    So .. Microsoft is late, really late, to the party. They have an enormous task to win users back. People that are new to smart phones aren’t going to risk it. People that have years of experience under their belt don’t want to face the work of swapping unless there’s a good reason – we didn’t buy the Zune, and we’re not going to buy this unless we see good reason. Influencers that want to keep our reputation give the safest recommendation: 1. iPhone and 2. Android – there is no 3. Investors that want to see sales support iPhone and Android app development. Influencers are influenced by apps, and show them off to friends. We can only show off if we are at the leading edge of clever software – and that means iPhone or Android. Without a Vision Microsoft can keep throwing money and resources at it until something sticks, but right now I’m having a problem seeing where Robert is wrong.

  9. It’s Android vs iOS in the USA for now.  ROW?  If MS/Nokia are successful in managing the carrier relationships they have in ROW, they may still have a shot at relevance  http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/12/smartphone-penetration-rates-by-country-we-have-good-data-finally.html

  10. Apps matter far more now than when the iPhone launched. Jobs initially didn’t want native apps and reversed himself (smart move). The key difference was the price structure/ease of discovery/installation and the sales volumes that enabled this price structure. Windows Phone 7 is struggling because it is seen as a me-too product using similar/identical hardware to Android devices but requiring lock-in to Microsoft. The people who don’t mind or actually welcome lock-in (walled garden, etc), go with iOS. Microsoft has a real and present competitor in Android, and its lunch is being eaten. I very much doubt Windows Phone will ultimately fail, but its going to be a long path.  To break out of sub-5% share, it needs to soak up the disaffected RIM owners in business and to find some real differentiating factors. It’s also possible that if WinPhone fails to breakthrough this year, that the OEMs will not only put WinPhones on the back burner, but drop them (unless that breaks some contractual licence to do with Android licensing). In that case, Microsoft/Nokia will form the equivalent business model to Apple (except 4 years after the fact and with a nascent ecosystem).

    1. Canucker, I agree. I think in order for Windows to really have a chance at breaking out and attaining more market share they will have to find a way to convert RIM users to Windows. From there in order to attain loyal Apple and Google OS users they will have to do something breakthrough or have a superior product in order to get iOS and Android users to switch.

  11. I think it’s only obvious this is all about apps. Who should know this better than MS?  Apps made MS the monopoly they were. It’s a multiplier effect. The longer it takes for MS to challenge this the more difficult it gets. IBM with their OS2 knows this. Apple, and certainly MS is well versed in this. It seems only fitting though. Like a good refreshing dose of Karma.

  12. Like I said: “Amazon has launched an Android AppStore, not a Windows AppStore”!

    Why not Kindle with Windows CE?
    HP Pocket is the answer

    Apple iOS and Android are great-grandchildren of Unix.It’s why they run flawlessly with the hardware.

    Windows7 or 8, are great-grandchildren of DOS: “NO”.
    Microsoft need to reinvent everytime their OS.
    Microsoft has limited vision of everything:”No one will need more than 637KB of memory for a personal computer. 640KB ought to be enough for anybody.” –Bill Gates

    No need to say anything more.

  13. I tested a windows OS phone and it’s not that great.  Buttons were in annoying places and poorly thought out items of thumb reach and ease.  Giant fonts were awful.  For the life of me I couldnt figure out how to downsize the giant fonts.  Email fonts were huge.  I was like did they make this for a almost blind old man?  It sucked in all my ms contacts and fb without warning me and made a mess.  I have big fingers and trying to play angry birds I kept bumping out of the game by knocking another button.  The iPhone is so well thought out and the windows phone showed why it wasnt even close to better.  The body was cheap too, when you hold a iPhone there is a feeling of quality, it doesn’t looks like cheap plastic.  The win phone body felt and looked cheap to the eye.  Its not in the league of droid or iPhone.  Not even same planet.  The Apps didnt matter – the phone nuances were awful.  

    Scobles right – the consumer isnt dumb.

  14. “for Xbox fans the Xbox live app for iOS is actually better than for windows phone”

    Uh, not so much.  It’s not cross-phone integrated, for starters.

  15. 3 euros is not a high barrier to entry.  NOBODY is sitting there saying “oh, I prefer the Windows Phone, but AB is $3 on WP while only 99 cents on Android, so I can’t get the WP.”

    Most people haven’t used WP, so they don’t even know about it.

  16. Robert, you don’t need to argue with Microsoft’s Fans.

    Just show what is happening around:
    Amazon has launched an Android AppStore, not a Windows AppStore!

    If it were a real threat, it would be a Windows AppStore.

    In the scenario of games the XBox outsell PS3, but only because it is cheaper, not because it is better. And because titles can be easy pirated.

    Apple products have always been objects of desire such as BMW.
    But the Android advent filled the gap that was missing: the price.

    As Robert said, Apple is the BMW.
    No matter how hard others try, they always copy and run behind their ideas.
    See BMW prototype of some 20 years ago and see how the cars look today.
    Who invented the xenon headlights?

    Google to me is like Renault, every other car has an engine from them.
    But compare Google with Hyundai, seems to be true at the time.
    Everyone loves what they do at reasonable price.

    Or do you think everyone can afford an iPhone 4S around?

    So, if you can not have a BMW 118i you would like a Hyundai i30.

    There are 7 billion developers in the world?
    Don’t, But users and consumers. 

    Companies that realized that early changed the game.

    Apple and Google focus are not selling hardware, but vehicles.
    Vehicles to what?
    Other sources of budget, like Ads, Music and at last Apps.

    Microsoft still believe in selling software locked to devices.
    Apple and Google sell accounts locked to users, no mater how much devices.

    Then: Nokia + Microsoft = Two frozen giants using flawed methods.

  17. If Microsoft released a Skype based Windows Phone, which did away with minutes and SMS limits, and included a reasonable amount of for $75. Microsoft could move into a close 3rd place.  There is no compelling reason to recommend a Windows Phone today.  

    I also feel that Microsoft screwed up the naming of Windows Phone, just as calling the X Box the Windows Gaming System, would have slowed sales for it.  It sounded old before it even was released.  

    Microsoft needs to create a new model of throwing big money and talent at new ventures far removed from Redmond.  I guess my point is, if Microsoft wants to win or even truly compete, they have to do something radical or first (or maybe a close second).  Apple reinvented the smart phone and Google released an alternative, with free navigation.  There’s no room for a big 3rd, in a world where Android has so many offerings in the market place.  

  18. I had the same response.  Non-techie consumers, even if they are smart professionals, really don’t base their phone purchases on apps, because they don’t know what apps they want yet, or what an app really does.  Yet Scoble is saying apps are everything with respect to consumer behavior…?

    iOS’s apps are vital to Apple’s success.  But Android cracked the market through another route.  And now the game is changing again and phones are relevant to the larger user space not just through apps but through TVs, Office integration, connected gaming, etc.

    Among mainstream consumers, iPhone is currently THE safe route, and it’s true that not looking stupid is a major factor in consumer choices.  I mean, I’m a WP7 advocate but wouldn’t recommend it to a colleague or family member without some major caveats; much easier to say “get an iPhone”.  But all that means is that WP7 has to demonstrate where it’s smart (while also plugging its most gaping holes like Skype integration and LTE/4G).  That will cost some MS serious money, but is not impossible.

  19. Counterpoint:
    1 China and India are to a degree worlds unto themselves. MS+Nokia+oodles of cash offers WP7 a fresh start
    2 When the first Droids launched, they were somewhat rough and had no apps vs iOS. Yet carrier support and oodles of cash electroshocked Android into life
    3 Android will run into horrible headwinds in later 2012/13 when consumers (and not just geeks) realize what a crappy aftersales experience awaits them re: no updates. (As you say, people don’t want to feel stupid, and if your Android phone stays how you bought it, but iOS and WP get nice updates, you’ll feel stupid.) Android is headed towards a big reputational iceberg

    1. When I visited China they all wanted to use American services. At least until they put the firewall up, then they used the Chinese copy. I recently talked with the CEO of Fotopedia. He says China is his biggest market for iPhone apps already.

      1. In some cases, yes. But location-centric services like Yelp/Menupages/Seamless are useless in BRIC countries (they have their own versions), and media-centric ones like Spotify will also be different there.

        I’m just saying there’s much more opportunity for a third platform in greenfield BRIC countries than in the USA.

    2. No updates? LOL
      I just bought a Galaxy SII in July/11 and had updated already 2 times (2.3.4 & 2.3.5).An update to ICS (Android 4.0) is already planed to Jan/12.
      Androids updates are complex, because there are too much hardware involved.
      It’s doesn’t depends on Google itself, but manufactures (LG, HTC, Samsung, etc).

      You’re thinking like Microsoft, that forced a WinXP extinction.But how old hardware can’t support Windows7.Windows Vista was a shame like Windows Me.Crappy is IIS with 15% web share and must dead IExplorer with the EPIC CRAPPY Silverlight.IE ranking gone 60% early this year to 40% and chrome come up to 25%:
      http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/01/statcounter-chrome-leapfrogs-firefox-for-the-first-time-still/ 
      ISS ranking gone back to 1997, yes 15 years:http://royal.pingdom.com/2011/09/16/microsoft-iis-web-server-market-share-loss/ 

      Have ever seen Google Chrome Webstore?
      It’s a Dream.

      I had tried web apps since 1998 and stuck with IE6 nightmare.
      Too many tweaks to a non standard browser that invent his own rules, year after year.

      Microsoft, must change Windows Phone name to Micro-Phone. :P

      1. Samsung *just* conceded that the Galaxy S2 will get Android 4.0. It was by no means a slam dunk, and they had seriously considered only making that available on the Nexus for now.

        You bought your phone five months ago. Wait until a year or year and a half has passed and the “S3″ is the next phone in that same lineup. Byebye updates. This cycle has repeated itself for pretty much every Android handset in existence.

  20. From Charlie’s post: “To my kids: No, just because I don’t work at Microsoft anymore you may not use Google. Remember, every time you use Google, a puppy dies,” Kindel jokingly added.

    It’s no joking matter.  When Microsoft (or any firm) prohibits employees from using competitors’ products, they cut off their own source of free competitive research.  You *have* to use the competition’s products to know what is appealing, and where the weaknesses are.

  21. wow, it is way early in this game to start making any assumptions about the mobile space…

    here is some reality, i am currently an android user. i like it but honestly there a lots of annoyances, and i am getting bored with it. as soon as i am eligible for an upgrade i am going to get a windows phone.

    i am not or never have been a ‘microsoftie’. i am a developer in boulder, co (mostly open source web stack) and i just think windows phone looks really cool.

    i am also anxiously awaiting the day when html5 or whatever is going to be make all this proprietary app non-sense a thing of the past.

  22. All users, and geeks, all tech bubble has discovered all the horrible flaws in WP7.
    High App Pricing.
    App lack.
    Crippled Bluetooth.
    Crippled GPS.
    Bing.
    Mediocre apps for the same. 
    Bing Maps.
    I want a phone where I can actually do all the cool stuff I used to do in Android or iOS, 
    WP7 doesn’t even do the half, all i can use that is cool is the interface and the music player.
    Even IE for WP is mediocre as hell.
    Sorry Charlie but that was just a desperate try to make something that born failed in 2011. Too late  bud. I hate marketing and carrier crap. You should 

  23. My personal opinion is WP7 is climbing closer and closer to a tipping point of consumer awareness/desire.  When it reaches this tipping point, which it WILL, then the apps, carriers, developer, etc. will fall into place due to consumer pressure.

    It’ll probably never beat Android in pure device sales because Android is using the Windows model that Windows used to trounce Apple, but it will definetly be a player.

    My best guess is that the tipping point will be reached in late 2012/early 2013.

  24. Well, I am WP7 user, and I bought it because I wanted something new and fresh. And I am satisfied with my choice. And nobody around me doesn’t have WP7. And it should be, because statisticaly just every 100th smartphone is WP7. But when you show my friends WP7 device they become interested, and at least a little intrigued by the concept of Metro UI. And there are apps; 50.000 of them and everything that I need I find on marketplace. And developers cannot ignore WP7 anymore, because next year new big marketplace will come (Windows 8).

    1. You can’t find Flipboard there. You can’t find Band of the Day there. You can’t find Skype there. You can’t find Photosynth there. You can’t find Workday there. And on and on and on.

  25. It’s about ecosystem. Open source and free has won, there is no chance Microsoft can start a new proprietary closed ecosystem. Apple is loosing also more and more every day. Microsoft’s only choice is the fork ICS into Bingdroid.

    1. No, the *opposite* of open source has won. Proprietary apps in proprietary marketplaces, with near-zero ‘freedom’ for users. In practice, Android is no more ‘free and open’ than WP7. And users neither know nor care what free and open means. 

      1. ICS is 100% open source and free, you can find the source code at http://android.com These types of arguments are lame. Google doesn’t yet invite everyone into their Mountainview HQ to monitor in real-time how they are working on the next Android versions, but that DOES NOT mean that Android isn’t open source and free. GPL means it’s poerfectly fine to evt add proprietary drivers on top if GPU providers and other hardware component want to use proprietary drivers, it’s even OK to take that open free source code and close it down and sell it for some money, which is partly what some carriers and manufacturers want to do. You are completely wrong to think that just because the software is free and open source that it should somehow force companies to provide the hardware and services for free also. Companies take the open source and free Android to better be able to compete on non-free hardware and services, that is the whole point. The reason Android dominates and destroys all competition is because it being free and open source it can be supported by ALL HARDWARE, by ALL MANUFACTURERS, by ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS, and all developers, service providers can thus target the WHOLE MARKET, the WHOLE INDUSTRY, by just developing once.

        1. Yes, ICS is open source and free, but only because they violated all sorts of intellectual property rights. Just because I PDF a John Grisham novel and publish it online, that does not make it ‘open source and free’. Hubris begets payback.

          Google is no Ubuntu, or even a Sun. Open source is a means to an end (profit). They are not some rebel alliance fighting the empire.

          Finally, carriers and OEMs abuse the open sourced nature of Android in order to layer on proprietary extras. Like Samsung refusing to update the Galaxy to ICS because the shitty TouchWiz iFauxne overlay will not fit also. This is anti-consumer and another piece of hubris that will bite them in the ass.

          1. That is typical lame argument by BS lawyers working for Microsoft and Apple to claim that Linux and Android is violating intellectual propriety. Microsoft and Apple are completely desperate, they are crying in their corners, they are sore losers, they are completely desperate.

            Android is 100% free and open source and NEVER stole any patent, does not infringe on any copyright, intellectual propriety. Microsoft and Apple should be ashamed. Governments should fine Microsoft and Apple with $30 Billion each with immediate effect just for claiming that they should be allowed to sue Linux Android implementors worldwide.

            Sun released most of Java as open source and free code, Oracle is desperate thinking they can “change their minds” and revoke the open source and free aspects of Java after having acquired Sun, that is not how software laws work. If you release software in open source and make it free, you CANNOT later change your mind and require that people who used it now have to pay you.

  26. There is also a huge problem with pricing…Angry Birds and Doodle Jump are 79 Cents at iTunes and Android Market but 3 Euros at Windows Phone Market…why should I pay the extra?

      1. There are also free versions at iTunes. I just meant that you have pay an extra to get Angry Birds on a Windows Phone device…which is also a reason why this platform will certainly not take off anytime soon…

  27. Microsoft is irrelevant except possibly for Windows 8. That is the first system where they treat ARM like it is not a toy.

  28. Seems to me that windows phone is mainly competing with android, people that want an iPhone will get one, most android phone owners that I know, have the phone because it was cheap/free.

    Also, windows phone and android are competing for the same OEM manufacturers, it is becoming obvious the android is patent encumbered and not necessarily free to the manufacturers. I would guess that this gives microsoft an edge in negotiations – e.g. license WP and we will not sue you for android handsets that infringe our patents.

  29. “It’s all about the apps”. Thats true – kind of – in fact for the vast majority of people (ie non geeks) its really mainly about the GAMES. iOS has some great games but Microsoft have something that no-one else can touch and that is xbox live. People are very fickle and when their phone contracts end they are quite happy to look around to see what the latest and greatest phone is and if they can get a phone that has xbox live integration that is a BIG selling point. Remember too that the vast majority of people still do NOT have a smartphone and most of those people will be windows/xbox users.  I think there is still plenty of time for windows phone to make an impact.

    1. Xbox live app from microsoft for iPhone is superior to Xbox live in windows phone, so it is not selling point for windows phone anymore.

  30. Robert Microsoft has 2 things Apple and Google do not have
    > A huge community of Software developers for windows which is now adopting WInP7 and soon 8 to develops cross platform apps
    > a huge community of game developers for Xbox which is also being ported to winp7

    Microsoft is arriving late but i believe the inertia of those 2 elements that is massive will help solve the problem of apps

    The fact you re not hearing and that we re not hearing YET about apps for that plafform is not meaningful right now.

    I would give it another 12 months

    1. How many people will buy a smartphone if its biggest selling point is a gaming device, especially when a decent one (iPhone) already exists? I don’t get the market-WP7-with-Xbox line of argument in these discussions. 

      1. Would you agree Xbox is a popular gaming platform? if so would you agree that if you are an Xbox fan you will probably appreciate extending your experience on the mobile?

        My point is that Xbox is a strong dimension to the decision because it will bring it s massive catalog and fan base with him in the decision process

        1. recently Microsoft released Xbox Live client for iOS (iphone+ipad+ipod touch) that is better and has more functions and better usability than Xbox Live client for windows phone. So your point is missing here. 

          1. you are totally missing point and you are totally wrong because for Xbox fans the Xbox live app for iOS is actually better than for windows phone and not unique to windows phone anyway

            so actually xbox fans are better served by buying iPhone not windows phone. your assumption is that xbox in windows phone will attract xbox console gamers is therefore false and extremely naive.

  31. OK, except that I watch https://twitter.com/#!/search/apps and so far it’s Android and iOS. You can say I’m living in a bubble but that bubble is a world-wide bubble and easily watched by anyone. Go ahead and say I’m wrong. Let’s meet back here in a year and see who is right.

    San Francisco-based companies are in charge of the mobile world.

    NOT companies elsewhere. At least not this year. I’ll let you know when that changes. Or you can just watch Twitter and see for yourself.

    1. You miss the point completely. As per you, the smartphone war is over and already iOS and Android has won. What I’m saying we are just in the first phase of a long long battle. There is always a chance for a third incumbent.

      1. You sound like one of those OS/2 or NeXT advocates back in the 1980s. Or, even worse, one of those Linux freaks back then. No, sorry, once consumer belief and behavior is set in place it stays that way for decades even if better technology comes along.

        1. I’m taking that as a compliment. Let’s see how it turns out. BTW, I’m not anyway a MS fan boy. I do own a Windows phone (Focus). But chose PS3 over Xbox and Ubuntu/Linux over Windows and appreciate iPhone 4′s industrial design. I use what works for me and not because of it works for others.

        2. Now you’re kidding.
          “640KB of memory ought to be enough for a computer” Rings a bell?
          If you want to bet big on consumer behavior, you should be selling Atari’s.

    2. I think you need to rethink that last post Robert.  The smartphone world maybe run out of SF but smartphones are still only a percentage of the market for total mobile subscribers US and abroad.  Some study of market research would indicate that Microsoft and other smartphone OSs have some growing to do given that of the 248MM subscribers in the US of Mobile services only roughly 50 million have adopted a smartphone platform.  An interesting note is that of the non-smartphone users Nokia has the largest market share % of ANY mfg.

    3. Wait, what?

      Most of the advances in mobile technology have come from Europe, Robert – NOT the United States. Only very recently did the US catch on to this wave, and when it did, Apple, Google and Microsoft finally saw the mobile opportunity.

      The San-Francisco based companies caught on when “the internet” basically found its way into your pocket via the iPhone, which also woke the US up to smartphone technology.

  32. Robert, 

    I choose to exclude the apps discussion in my post NOT because I don’t believe apps are important to mobile, but because I wanted to keep the post succinct. My views on mobile apps are deep and there’s no way I could do it justice within this post.  

    I stand firmly by my assertion that lack of sales & marketing support from device manufacturers and carriers is the *primary* reason WP7 sales have been lackluster.

    I agree with you that the relatively weak app ecosystem in WP7 also plays an important part. I do not believe it is the most important reason and I think you are wrong in asserting it is. 

    I think you are even more wrong in putting words into my mouth; asserting I said something that I didn’t.For the record MY holiday party conversations were completely different from yours.

    In my case the conversations were about how much ATT sucks, how I could help them make the battery on their Droid last longer, and why iPhone rules because it has 4G (I am not joking). In the group I was with there was no discussion of any apps other than my mother-in-law claiming Facebook is evil and should be banned from the earth.  

    So either your personal circle is more representative of the world, mine is, or using personal anecdotal party conversations is an insane way of measuring consumer behavior.

    1. Thank you! “What people are saying to me” is not a scientific anything, hard numbers are and the WP Marketplace grew 400% in 2011 according to Distimo, making it the fastest growing app store on the planet.

    2. Thank you! “What people are saying to me” is not a scientific anything, hard numbers are and the WP Marketplace grew 400% in 2011 according to Distimo, making it the fastest growing app store on the planet.

    3. microsoft owns skype but there is no skype for windows phone, also no photosynth for windows phone – but both available for iphone – and here former windows phone manager claims that in fact apps are not important

      you are wrong Charlie Kindle: app are important : if skype and photosynth not released for windows phone by February 2012 i am dumping my windows phone.

      and you Charlie Kindle dont claim you know better than i, end user. 

    4. microsoft owns skype but there is no skype for windows phone, also no photosynth for windows phone – but both available for iphone – and here former windows phone manager claims that in fact apps are not important

      you are wrong Charlie Kindle: app are important : if skype and photosynth not released for windows phone by February 2012 i am dumping my windows phone.

      and you Charlie Kindle dont claim you know better than i, end user. 

    5. OK, I updated my post. When I saw “I’ve left off app developers. They are another side of this market, but for this discussion I believe they are mostly irrelevant.” I thought you meant that apps and developers were mostly irrelevant. You should have made that clearer in your post.

      By the way, forget about my Christmas party (although it matches other things I’ve been a witness to, and is completely damning that Windows didn’t come up once, something the non-geeks used to LOVE poking the geeks with). Instead just watch https://twitter.com/#!/search/apps for an hour or two and see what comes up. Mostly iPhones and Android apps. 

      I believe that this matters a lot more now than carrier marketing. Carriers are no longer hungry for an alternative to iOS. Or, like MG Siegler says, too late!

      1. he said that “app developers … are mostly irrelevant”….. whereby he forgotten the most important windows phone app developer: Microsoft itself. No skype and no photosynth for windows phone even now, year after release of windows phone. REALLY?

      2. Robert, I think what you mean is perception about the availability of apps matter. Many studies have shown that an average smartphone user rarely uses more than handful of apps and those are usually the one that help them get by on a daily basis (mail, facebook, txt msg). So while your argument that WP7 suffers from the lack of apps may be partly true, let us also be more precise about what exactly users care about at the point of selection of a device for the next 2 years. 

        1. Right. It doesn’t matter how many they actually use. It matters that they know they COULD use the right ones (like Skype, for instance) in the future.

          It’s like when I sold cameras. Pros were given Nikons. So when the everyday people came in they bought Nikons too, even though they wouldn’t use 1/10th the features that the pros use.

          1. I also think that a big point many of the commentators (unfortunately including you) are missing is that Windows Phone 7 comes with an enormous baggage called Windows. Branding matters and Microsoft has just left a terrible sour taste in many people’s minds. One of the best indicators of that sour taste/baggage is the rising demand for Macbooks on college campuses and probably at work too (if a company supports consumerization of IT, etc). 

            I mean, come on, did they really have to name their mail app OUTLOOK? I know there are Windows power users out there who love outlook, but we all know the history of Outlook with regards to trojans and viruses. Did they have to call their browser Internet Explorer?? And even if they did brand those apps in a new way, people (again, like me) would still be aware of the fact, that this phone ties heavily into the Microsoft ecosystem and that ecosystem is just not as popular as the Google ecosystem (search, mail, calendar, maps). It’s like you can bring Ford Sync into your car, but it’s still a damn Ford (apologies to Ford lovers). I think this is where Charlie’s argument actually holds water as the reasons he explained are preventing the OEMs/Carriers from making that powerful marketing effort that would help customers (like me) overcome that bias and actually reach out for a Windows phone. 

            So just as you say apps matter, brands and ecosystems matter too (at least for people like me). 

            Based on all the arguments presented over the last few hours, I thus see two parallel reasons why WP7 is not selling well: 
            (a) a smart user who is usually aware of a device regardless of the publicity by the OEM/Carrier has an inherent bias (including the brand/ecosystem issue and your apps argument) and end up going for an Android/iPhone and 
            (b) a platform-agnostic user is being driven by the OEM/Carrier publicity and they take what the sales people convince them. It is the second reason where Charlie’s argument works.

          2. I agree with both of your points.  Especially about branding.  Microsoft hasn’t been an insurgent anywhere for a long time, and they have to get serious about shedding some of the Windows baggage, albeit selectively, to give the sense of something NEW.

            Because whatever consumer like or dislike, they like new things.

  33. The only way that Windows Phone is going take off is for Microsoft to put in a prolonged and very expensive ad campaign – say 1 billion a year or more.  Microsoft doesn’t have consumer mindset in the smartphone business. It will be non-competitive until it has the word out.  It has to keep advertising, advertising, and advertising. Period.

    1. 1 billion dollars, besides being a number you just pulled out of your ass, really isn’t a fortune for a company like Microsoft. They *MADE* (i.e. profit) more than 6 billion dollars last quarter alone.

  34. you even don’t know how right you are Robert:

    There is Microsoft-owned Skype available for iPhone and for Android but still not for windows phone despite Microsoft spending 8 billions on buying whole Skype company

    PhotoSynth app of Microsoft for making 3D panoramas available for iPhone (and iPod touch and iPad with cameras) but not for windows phone

    Microsoft released recently their own Xbox app for iOS iPhone/iPad where you can even set beacons, what totally destroys

      1. In fact I have windows phone but I am dumping it if Skype and PhotoSynth are not released by February 2012. I am just tired of waiting and tired of unfulfilled promises, and tired of my iPhone owning friend showing me microsoft’s xbox app for iPhone and saying it works better than windows phone version (he is right: in windows phone’s Xbox app I can’t use various gamer tags just one – the same as in app marketplace).

        No skype, no PhotoSynth, Xbox user experience worse than on iOS

        Windows phone sucks badly

        1. Agreed, this needs to be fixed.  If Microsoft doesn’t have a Windows Phone first mentality, the platform will suffer.  I think the Xbox companion app is a good example of where they got it right.  For those without WP7, it basically acts as a controller for your Xbox.  Very cool.  But, it is the only example that I can think of off the top of my head.

    1. MS needs to hang in there with WP7. It is always possible Google will get nailed for its short cuts over people’s IP. If Google stumbles (and they have in other areas off their core competencies) MS might step in appearing much safer than Google. A long shot? Maybe. But still the only real shot MS has and perhaps not as long a shot as it might at first appear.

      1. But google was always supporting android first (if not exclusively) by releasing google apps first for android, and the best for android

        Microsoft, stupidly, has not released yet their own Skype and PhotoSynth for windows phone

        besides: many apps available for other platforms have very primitive simplified version for windows phone: e.g. Kindle app for wp7 doesn’t have search and dictionary – available in kindle app for iOS

  35. I live in indonesia, windows phone global publisher program is rubbish; people here can register as apple developer, can at least  enter 2 android markets

  36. From MG’s post…

    ” but the others I’ve seen are largely the same crap that Android phones run on. The iPhone blows these phones out of the water.”
    insightful I guess?

    Not! Pathetic…

    1. We did a bunch of comparisons at my house this week. I actually agree with MG’s analysis. Even top of the line Android phones still feel crappy and still jitter when you zoom in and out and scroll text when compared to iPhones. They also really don’t have an answer to AirPlay, which is the coolest new feature.

      1. I recently bought a movie, and ripped it (oh, God, excuse me!) and put it in iTunes. When I played it, I got a surprise: I had left iTunes in Airplay mode. All of a sudden, it started up on my Hi-Def TV. Gorgeous. Instantaneous. With WiFi n, there wasn’t a stutter, no glitches, nothing. Watching it was simply watching a movie. Sure, Airplay is based on pre-existing standards, which no-one else has packaged to work this easily. But it’s one setting on my copy of iTunes. Bang!

  37. I think everyone is wrong about everything — on multiple levels. The main reason that iOS and Android are so successful is that consumers were 
    already using the Apple ecosystem (iTunes) and the Google ecosystem (Search, Maps, Gmail). I don’t think the average consumer cares about apps shoveled onto the platform en-masse or what platform has the most developer mindshare. Games are an important (if not most important) component and Microsoft will be able to compete on that score because the XBox brand isn’t a complete failure.  

    Nevertheless, I do think that anyone sophisticated enough to purchase a smartphone has learned that Hotmail sucks, that Internet Explorer is an inferior browser, that Windows is a crash prone operating system, and that they should use Google instead of Bing. Does it matter if any of that is true? No. At this point, Windows Phone is stuck with those associations. Windows Phone is having to carry all of that baggage. 

    I’m not sure if rebranding would help. Let’s not forget that the software used to sync the phone with the desktop is Zune. Thankfully, the people hub isn’t called Kin.

    1. Sorry, you are absolutely wrong NOW. Maybe your analysis wasn’t wrong three years ago, but it is now. I talk with lots of consumers and watch their buying behavior. They absolutely care about apps. iOS and Android are “safe” choices. Everything else? Nope.

    2. I mostly agree with you, it makes sense from a certain perspective. I strongly considered an iPhone right before buying the G1. Gmail sold me, and I haven’t looked back. However, I have been an xbox player and Windows user for much longer than either of those platforms have existed and xbox live and other MS product integration isn’t enough to sway me. Despite the ease of development for their platform (as an 5+ yr .net developer) I have no desire to build for the platform, mostly due to the lack of users and therefore money.

  38. I am going to put this out there:  Windows Phone does not have to be successful in 2012 to be successful in the long run.  Saying “it is about apps” is a an over-simplification.  Yes that is true in 2011, but the next 5 years in tech is not just about apps, it is about ecosystem.  Who has the best apps on phones, on desktops, on tablets, and on the TV?  Microsoft looks to have a solid position on the desktop and is absolutely killing it on the TV with Kinect and Xbox.  What they need to do with tablets and phones is just get their foot on the door.  Build something beautiful that is well integrated.  Keep improving it.  If they can manage to win the TV and keep their strong position on the desktop, they will be just fine in mobility.

    1. I have the same line of thinking. I’ve already invested a lot on the Microsoft ecosystem, starting with the PC desktops. I would be crazy to invest on others like iOS and Android that won’t interface well with my PCs.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice right now. Microsoft still has a chance to put out the game changers Windows Phones and Tablets.

      1. I could be completely wrong here, but I really don’t see anyone putting out a “game changing” tablet or phone over the next couple years.  The category is pretty much defined.  They are just going to get smaller, cheaper, faster, and more integrated.  The next focus for the big three in the ecosystem space is going to be TV.  If Apple or Google are serious, they will buy Nintendo or Sony just to be competitive.  But, I really don’t see anyone catching up to Xbox in the next 5 years.  Scoble’s Christmas may have involved a bunch of people talking about iPhones, but my Christmas was the family huddled around the Kinect.  It is really an amazing piece of tech.  If the Windows Phone team focuses on making the Windows Phone the best Xbox compliment, they will sell enough phones to carve out a decent niche.  

      2. I hope we don’t all become monogamous to one particular ecosystem. Inter-operatability is important. Microsoft has just released a few nice apps that bring XBox Live to iOS. Again, a little late, but I think this is a good move as the company needs to give up on the idea that to be successful one must be dominant. I sincerely hope we don’t see a dominant operating system emerge and the signs do not appear to indicate that will happen. The question is whether it will be a two-some or a three (or more)-some.

    2. They have their foot in the door and its being squeezed. How can Microsoft build anything in this space.  They can hope/help Nokia perhaps. You are also assuming that they will win the TV space. Predictions are very difficult, especially those involving the future…and technology.  But then, without predictions, blogs and comments would be a lot more mundane.

      1. After owning a Kinect and seeing how people respond to it, I have a hard time believing anyone is going to compete with it without copying it.  If the next one is as good as rumored, they will have a huge market share in the next generation of TV devices.  Now, if Google or Apple manage to build a cable replacement, then I could definitely see them winning the TV.  But, it would have to be exclusive.  And, that is the tough part.  Microsoft has a chance, they need to win TV with the next generation of the Xbox, and then integrate.  People will buy mobility products from Microsoft if they offer the best ecosystem.

  39. Keywords here are “game changing”. I think the apps and “not looking stupid” are major factors, but it still boils down to “bang for the buck”. If Nokia/Microsoft followed the lead of the HP Touchpad and the Kindle Fire, and sold the Lumia at low-end Android phone prices, they could change the game. 

    1. Sorry, that just isn’t true. There are lots of companies selling low-cost tablets that don’t matter. Amazon matters because it brought three things to the table:

      1. Bet on an OS that developers are supporting.
      2. Brought a low price.
      3. Brought an ecosystem that can support the low price (and the developers).

      #3 is most important, in my book. Otherwise we’d all be using Archos devices, which are quite nice and quite cheap.

  40. @Scobleizer:disqus What about the predictions from Gartner/IDC that Windows Phone will overtake iOS in 2014-2015 ?? You are against the market research firms ! !

  41. What Windows Phone needs (or Android or iPhone) is THE KILLER APP.
    The one app to rule them all, in a sense.
    In the beginning, just having apps is all it took for the iPhone. Next, it was the number of apps. Then the quality of apps. Finally, it’s the number of quality apps that Android and iPhone are comparing.
    Whoever creates THE KILLER APP will win.
    I have an idea for one but since I don’t have the skills to develop it yet, I’m keeping it a secret.
     Eventually, we’ll all just have a neurological connection to the net for communication anyways. Who needs a phone.

    1. The problem is if you do develop a killer app and it goes huge on WP7 then people will invest in your company and the first thing they will ask you to do is port it to Android and iOS, which is where the market is.

      Over at Kleiner Perkins (famous VCs) they told me they don’t care about any phones other than iOS and Android. Until Microsoft changes THAT there WON’T be “killer apps” on only WP7.

        1. Right. When I was on Fox last week my advice was “get rid of all your OS’s and go onto one that developers will support. That means iOS or Android. Period.”

          1. OK if you think no one can compete, then Microsoft or Windows Phone is not the topic here since no matter what they do, you think they are doomed. Sorry man, but that is ridiculous, this market is a few years old, it is in diapers and the phones of 2012 or 2015 will look and act NOTHING like the phones of today. OF COURSE there is still room for competition and Microsoft is making all the right moved from the get-go, something that was NOT true about neither Apple nor Google in the early mobile days. You like to call everything dead or amazing, but Nokia sells one million devices a day in places people have never heard of an iPhone let alone be able to afford one. The Windows Phone OS on Nokia hardware with that kind of reach plus a new Lumia in the US for FIFTY dollars are all some very good signs that this platform  WILL survive in the long run and maybe even dominate.

          2. You acknowledge an important point which Scoble originally made – consumer behavior behavior is the kingmaker.  You point out that MS can buy its way into the market by subsidizing devices.  Consumers (by definition) can basically be bought, but man is arriving late going to come dear.

          3. You are confusing a number of things here.  Firstly, Microsoft is not seen to be innovating in this space. The Metro GUI is interesting and distinct, but it is seen as a skin (much like TouchWiz). The thought leaders (in the publics mind) are Apple and Google/Samsung/maybe HTC. Secondly, it is much easier to follow the trail than to lead it. Bringing your feature set up to par with Android/iOS is not going to win kudos, despite all the work, because its expected. It is never enough to maintain parity. Thirdly, price is not a factor. Phone/data plans dominate actual smartphone expenses in markets with telco subsidies and saving $50 on the purchase between various handsets is not a deciding factor for most people. Far more important is what their friends/relatives/business colleagues use. This is largely why RIM is still managing to make money (BBM). I do think WinPhone will survive. I don’t think WinPhone will dominate at least based on track record and the fact that their competitors have even deeper pockets. In other words, Microsofts traditional modus operandi of throwing money at the problem is effectively neutered.

      1. Wasn’t that the same case with iOS a year ago? I’m pretty sure I remember you saying that no one was investing in ANYTHING but that platform at the time.

        1. I was mostly talking about tablets in that post and I am pretty correct in that. At least until the Amazon Kindle Fire came out.

          By the way, most of the “pro” developers are still building for iOS first. Why? That platform still monetizes better. Even with Android selling 3.5 times more devices. Even for Facebook iOS was in the lead until two weeks ago.

          1. I won’t disagree with you there, my only point would be that there is always room for more competition. I’m a developer and use an iOS, Android and Windows Phone device daily. I can say that hands down Windows Phone is a distant third place in this race. Not only is there a lack of apps, but also a lack of consistent experiences in the cross platform apps that do exist.

            The live tile feature is great, yet Twitter and Facebook don’t make use of it. Yelp is there, but it’s so scaled back that it’s pretty much pointless. Of all the apps I have installed, Foursquare provides the most complete experience, while still taking advantage of the Metro UI.

            From a performance perspective, I definitely prefer my Windows Phone over Android, if for no other reason than my apps “work”. In the month I’ve had the device I haven’t encounter a single “force close” or app slowness. While this means a lot to me, until more and better functioning apps hit the platform, when the average consumer has the choice between an iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone, in most situations Windows Phone will lose out.

          2. The average consumer won’t consider a phone until they see advertising about apps for it. Android and iOS are “safe” choices. Microsoft has to become one of those “safe” choices. It’s a tough spot. But I’d rather be Microsoft than RIM.

          3. The one thing I see Microsoft doing right here is providing incentives for developers to make apps for their platform. Currently I’m using a Samsung Focus which I received free from Klout, in a few days I will be receiving a Nokia Lumia 800 as part of their developer program.

            I would take things a step further and entice top developers on iOS/Android by actually paying the development costs to port to WP7. Taking that a step further they then need  to figure out the best way to showcase these apps to the public. To date all the commercials I’ve seen have been about the platform itself, now they need to focus on showing the apps that run on it.

          4. Be careful, though. I’ve had several developers tell me off the record that Microsoft didn’t pay them anything close to what they were promised. Word on that getting around the community will kill all efforts dead. And, several, like Pandora, have just turned down all money because it would defocus their businesses from what matters, which is dominating iOS and Android.

          5. Well yeah if you make a deal to pay developers and then don’t do it, you’re dead in the water. I’m sad to not see Pandora on the platform, but Spotify works wonderfully (I actually forgot about that).

            I’m sure there have to be some very popular apps, but small developers that would do extremely well on the platform, especially if the cost of development was covered by Microsoft itself.

          6. I can say on the record that getting the free phone from Klout was a huge mess, solely because Microsoft totally botched the fulfillment process. They must learn how to do these small things much better if they want to succeed in the long term.

          7. Interesting to me to hear this comment about WP, since app UI inconsistency between apps is a major complaint about Android. I personally don’t mind the different UIs, so long as they make sense and can be used well.

            WP is going to be a solid 3rd place for a loooong time, especially considering MS’s recent onslaught of Android/iOS apps, even they are going where the market (money) is.

          8. UI consistency isn’t the problem here, it’s more of a functionality problem. I don’t care if you change the layout, but don’t take away features, especially key ones.

          9. “At least until the Amazon Kindle Fire came out”

             

            This destroys your whole prediction path! Read “The Black
            Swan” for details on these prediction problems. 

             

            Talking about predictions is fun though. I think Microsoft will come out
            with Windows 8, get it on tablets and push it down to the phone. The big
            problem with this approach will be quality hardware at a good cost. Windows
            Phone 7 is to experiment with the new UI design and a stop-gap to try and
            prevent haemorrhaging, which so far it is not working too well.

  42. @Hillel…that’s the point…why are you saying to wait a year or two? Because by then you think there will be more apps for the platform. That is exactly the point of this post.

    1. Um, so no new company can compete is what you are saying? Yes, of course there will be more apps! Microsoft has development tools that are WAY better than Android’s and developers are starting to create apps on Windows Phone. I judged an app contest at Microsoft Israel three weeks ago with some HUGE Android and iOS developers who LOVED creating apps for WIndows Phone. It is unfair for @scobleizer:twitter to compare Windows Phone to iOS or Android at this point, Windows Phone is just getting started.

      1. Wrong, it’s not unfair. Microsoft has $60 billion. They are late. They didn’t play their best hand. The management team there is in disarray. They aren’t able to change market dynamics. This won’t turn out well until they do. http://gopollgo.com/will-your-next-phone-be-an-ios-based-one-apple-or-an-android-based-one-google-or-a-windows-phone-7-based-one-microsoft says it all.

        1. “The management team there is in disarray.”

          Genuinely curious, but how did you come to this conclusion?

        2. They are late is an undeniable fact, but better late than never and the question now is not whether they were late, the question is whether they have what it takes to become relevant, to BECOME, not that it is there yet, and the answer is yes.

          1. I agree with @twitter-15930061:disqus  the platform had taken huge steps and rather quick, true it’ll be tough to get (if ever) to Android or iOS app numbers, but to take off they only need some essential apps. Just give it a little time to marinate.

            Oh, and mind MS Office and Xbox Live.

  43. Robert, you and MG are oversimplifying. Windows Phone (not 7 anymore) has over 40k live apps, a number it reached WAY faster than iOS and Android. It has copy/paste, and it has multitasking, things it took your beloved iPhone years to get.
    The UI is fantastic and the hardware is remarkable. The problem with all you (us) geeks is that everything is too binary, or black and white, dead or alive. And we get that from our guru, Jobs, but you know what? Windows Phone is not (yet) the best thing to ever happen nor is it crap. It is the beginning of a fantastic platform that offers developers nearly unprecedented development tools and has some seriously creative advertising campaigns. I am not 100% sure it will take off, Gartner is, but you say they are paid by Microsoft.OK, either way though, it is too early to declare this OS dead, if anyone has the money and brains to make it happen, it is Microsoft, like it or not. Let’s talk again in a year or two and watch how iOS is behind WP in market share..

    1. Sorry, most of the apps that people keep hearing about are on Android or iOS. Not on Windows Phone. Most developers tell me they are actively NOT developing for Windows Phone. I’m talking about the “pro” developers, not the .NET ones who are playing around. I very rarely hear a developer talk about Windows Phone and when I do I ask “did you get paid?”

      The answer is always yes. So far. And several told me that Microsoft didn’t even pay what they promised them. Word about that gets around the developer community too. 

      1. Yes, most people develop for iOS and Android NOW, how does that prove anything? These platforms have been around for years, Windows Phone has not. That says zero about where this platform will be in three years. Good hardware? Check. Awesome UI? Check. Easy development? Check. Global reach? Check (unlike iOS and Android) Endless money for marketing? Check. The point is, give it some time. I wrote my thoughts about this in detail here http://is.gd/kVqtwM

        1. Three years from now? You are smoking some good crack if you think that’s gonna be in play. Once momentum sets in place it doesn’t change for decades. Microsoft taught me that when Windows smashed the “superior” Macintosh. Why? Apps. Developers. Apps. Developers. In fact remember Steve Ballmer yelling “developers, developers, developers?” I do. Why do you think he yelled that so much? It’s the only thing that really matters in the platform game.

        2. Three years from now? You are smoking some good crack if you think that’s gonna be in play. Once momentum sets in place it doesn’t change for decades. Microsoft taught me that when Windows smashed the “superior” Macintosh. Why? Apps. Developers. Apps. Developers. In fact remember Steve Ballmer yelling “developers, developers, developers?” I do. Why do you think he yelled that so much? It’s the only thing that really matters in the platform game.

          1. I believe iOS had momentum AND apps until Google came in the game and crushed it in terms of market share. Momentum is not everything when you have a good product and Microsoft does. And yes, my crack is excellent, thank you very much :) We grow em well over here in Israel. :)

          2. If you think Google has crushed iOS you are sadly mistaken. It’s crushing everyone else, yes. But I’m not so sure we’re going to see a monopoly here this time. And apps are decidedly keeping iOS in the game, as it were. If it weren’t for them the market WOULD be completely Google’s.

          3. Yup. I think this is breaking down like the car market. Apple = BMW. Android = Toyota and Honda together.

            The problem is that Microsoft is Nissan, or Kia (or worse), and that’s not a position Microsoft is used to.

            Thought leadership goes to Apple. Marketshare goes to Google. What’s left for Microsoft?

          4. I am sure BMW would love there to be no Mercedes in the world, unfortunately for them, there is, and guess what role Windows Phone will play in the near future…

          5. Microsoft are just running after the lost time. They stuck into 90′s…

            There is only one truth: They bought everyone. The only problem is that started buyingthe wrong things. Ex.: TellMe instead of SIRI ;)

        3. Uh…Windows efforts for mobile stretch all the way back to palmtop PDA devices, and then into smartphones, spanning years of product development, user testing, and marketing attempts. Robert’s right; they’re late to the game, and seem unable to figure out how to compete in a non-monopolistic market. Their product development and overall strategy needs more agility, which companies like Apple and Google (also very large, institutional, corporate behemoths) have figured out very quickly and iterated on several times. To use a project management analogy, MS seems to still be operating on the waterfall model: build a giant product in isolation from the market, risk being deemed irrelevant, then spend tons of marketing money to try to become relevant. As in project management, this only works on captive clients…in this case, captive (monopolistic) markets.  

        4. How many items on your checklist apply to the. Zune, to Bing and even the Kin? They all apply to Google Plus. They might have applied to AOL. With technology, speed matters as much as the product. Consumers are already selling eachother on the competition, training eachother how to use their products. Something two years late might as well not exist.

          1. Is it possible that one X factor is the significant number of Blackberry users wandering in the wilderness, waiting out their contracts and migrating to new OS’s?  WP7 does productivity well – better than iOS or Android, if you’re a desktop Windows/Office user.  This seems like a substantial natural constituency for WP7 phones, IF they would just get their new devices out there!  

            Even more so if HTC/Nokia release some high quality QWERTY devices.

        5. Global reach checked? Unlike iOS even? That is so wrong. I am a developer from Estonia and neither WP7 or Android allow me to sell apps. Apple accepts me with open arms though, so that’s where my stuff goes.

      2. Doesn’t prove anything. Androind had handful of apps (compared to App Store)v when it launched and it took its time. So again why would Windows Phone be different?

          1. I’m sorry. I have no idea what you are talking about or what that Poll (which looks like a Beta test of sorts indicates). Maybe I just don’t “get it”. We will see a year later. 

      3. And they do not care about MS catching up to what Apple / Android has, they care about that AaA have more today. Whatevery you want, your app is there. Well on ios it is, on Android maybe. I cannot remember ever seeing a “download the win app here” like we do with the app stores of ios and android.

        Being late to the party does not mean that you get a free pass like “look how long it took X for doing it” – that is the same argument I get on G+ for them not doing what is state of the art on facebook and twitter. That is the airbag argument: “look how long it took the automobile industry to develop it and put it in every car!” Yet if you start selling a car today you better have airbags built in, because they are standard.

        Microsoft has some really great products but has been notoriously bad about teaching / informing people about it. And at the same time not aggressive enough about showing how open they are to other apps and systems.

        The chance I see for them it to integrate gaming and home usage into the phone. Android wins on the integration of contacts and mail (thought that is made far to complicated for normal users but that is another point) and it hurts them in the Exchange business. Apple is winning on music – people do buy music through itunes and only in limited form through other networks. This and Amazon with the kindle will take care of the rest.

        But none of the others has a gaming platform which can integrate with the mobile world. Why not make / encourage games with a mobile aspect into the gaming?

        The advantage they could have for small families is to set up everything proper for sharing into a small group – ios devices only work this way when every one has their own, shared devises are a nightmare in regards to access to apps and data (try handing out your ipad / iphone to a stranger and let them confidently play around with it … )

        There are chances, big ones, but they need to be taken.

          1. Not gaming on a phone but _connecting_ the mobile gaming with what you already have on your gaming console. I am not into consoles so I cannot go into the specifics of the microsoft platform but imagine this:

            take your phone and participate in your Wii sport from mobile. Hook up your nike running not to facebook but let the data run into your console and be displayed on the screen, etc.

            itunes per se is not great. it is just a tool for connecting the music and other stuff to your mobile devices like an ipod, iphone, wireless streaming device. Gaming is one of the options not taken care of by others at least not at that level.

          2. Since iOS 5, itunes is no longer the center of the universe.  The gaming integration has been demonstrated and it will come in a big way this year. Apple sees their role as providing the connection technology and letting third parties innovate with it. (BTW, the integration innovation will extend well beyond gaming.)

      4. Sounds a lot like the same venom spewed during the Direct-Xbox days, we all know how that turned out.

      5. Great ensuing discussion here. I must say @twitter-15930061:disqus has gotten the point across. Having read the entire conversation I’m convinced. But I guess we’ll all have to wait and see. 

      6. Robert, I have many friends that have Android Phones and work for a tech development company.  I have a company issued iPhone and recently purchased a used Windows phone to to check it out.  I personally like the Windows Phone over the iPhone.  But, I only have about 10 or so apps that I use daily unlike the several thousand that you probably use.  My geek friends love to play around with their Android phones using all kinds of Mods etc.  

        However, I rarely see my non geek Android friends use many apps.  In fact, most of them do not know how to install them–they don’t really know where to go. I ask them how they get music on their Android phones and they have no idea. Apple makes this easy as well as Microsoft on Windows Phone.  Many of them use the standard apps that come on the Android phone and never bother to upgrade them. They typically use their phones for talking, messaging and web browsing and not much more.  I believe this is the how a very large market share of smart phone users use their phones.

        So, I think you are over simplifying the App play on your argument.  I’m not saying that its not important, I just don’t think it is the main reason or even very high on the list as long as you have many choices, which Microsoft now has.  I also believe what Mr Kindel says has a lot of truth to it.  The only thing I really disagree with is that I think Microsoft came to the market late and that really wasn’t mentioned much:  Apple has the Brand recognition and Android has the masses of devices and support from these companies.  

        I’m more in line with what Gruber has to say and think you need to look past your hatred of MS.    

        1. It is a sum of all part late to the game, for  carrier and hardware maker and apps. Android is a better choice. You don’t need to use many apps to have a problem if your favorite apps is not on WP7, it is a PROBLEM.

          And like said Robert, We don’t know who will be the next BIG apps, if VC backed app publisher prefer stay safe with IOS and Android. It is a problem…

          1. I have an iPhone 4 (provided by work), a Samsung Focus (windows phone) and my wife has an HTC Aria.  Like I said, I don’t have several thousand apps installed and believe that most users typically use less than 20 apps.  They may have more installed, but use far less on a daily basis.  The advantage you stated regarding the “Killer” app is true, but don’t believe it is a big deal on  phones, but will be for tablets. Also, you are arguing this from a developer standpoint and I’m discussing from the user perspective.

            iPhone users are extremely loyal and I don’t believe will switch.  The entire eco-system is great!  I don’t see this regarding Android users.  Also, Android devices remind me of a PC filled with crap-ware and shitty applications.  Sure, there is some good and really professional apps, but you have to get through all the crap to find it.

            I can tell you this about my wife’s HTC phone, the UI is ugly and poorly designed. It’s filled with crap application that you cannot remove.  The update process is pain in the ass.  The one thing we LOVE about it is the Google Voice integration (saving money on texting) that I had to setup for her. I wonder how many typical users would set this up.

            I believe that iPhone users get more out of the phone and Windows Phone users do as well.  And..if your a tech oriented person, the android phones can be extremely powerful–even more so than iPhone or Windows Phone users.  But, thats a very small percentage of all smart phone buyers.  I believe that the largest percentage of Android users use their phones more like feature phones unlike iPhone users.

          2. I agree with your, amount of apps are overrated and custom roms as well.

            Most people won’t make use of the things Android can do because they either don’t know how or they don’t care.

            Having XXX number of Apps is also overrated because the numbers are just used to boost, most are crap and most are hidden and will only be find if you actually use the search button. The avarage person will only care if there favourite game can be found and a few utility apps like Whatssapp.

            What will make a OS successful is how much effort the carriers put into selling the phones and the effort companies put into making/promoting their phones.

            Making phones that just replace the OS are will fail
            Carriers that don’t promote Windows phones like they promote Galaxy s2 and Iphone 4s will also fail
            But since Nokia came this has changed and Windows Phone has build up a momentum since the Lumia 800 and 900.

            Opinions of nerds nerds will of course effect the success of a product. But when the general opinion is positive a single negative opinion like this won’t matter.

    2. “The problem with all you (us) geeks is that everything is too binary, or black and white, dead or alive. And we get that from our guru, Jobs, but you know what? Windows Phone is not (yet) the best thing to ever happen nor is it crap.”
      …”And we get that from our guru, Jobs”… 

      I see. It comes from “our guru” Jobs, not from the gamer/hater/creeps that fill the comment sections of the tech internet. 

    3. Have I heard that speech before… “Blah blah blah… is the beginning of a fantastic platform that offers developers nearly unprecedented development tools… blah blah blah”.

      Yep I remember now, it was for IBM’s SAA which was supposed to be the framework for a wide range of operating systems including OS/2, AIX, OS/390 and OS/400. What happened in the end… it was so broad and so unappealing to everybody that it got booted when Windows 95 appeared.

      Windows Phone is more of the same.  Microsoft didn’t learn from Zune nor Windows Media Center’s lesson, that Metro is a good idea, but too broad to appeal on specific use cases.

      It lacks a generalist touch, as iOS. Users don’t want to go to a home screen, then to XBox tile, then to a specific game, to get to Cut the Rope. Mobile users don’t have that kind of time. They also want vivid graphics, not Windows 1.0 style. Just check out the Expedia [an ex Microsoft venture] app for iPhone.

      On the other hand, WP7 got to the 40K mark primarily based on Microsoft’s money. Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, etc. But Angry Birds Rio Seasons, Fruit Ninja Puss on Boots, etc aren’t gonna make it yet, cause that’s coming from the developers wallet.

      For example, one local newspaper down here has 15+ apps for iPhone/iPad, 7 for Android and just two for WP7 even though they are fervent Microsoft supporters and most of their developer crew is .NET.

      Charlie and Ballmer… there’s an app for that [how to succeed on the Mobile market]… but ironically it’s iPhone/Android only….

      1. Most of that is opinion, and while I disagree, I’ll leave it alone. But what’s this nonesense about having to “go to the home screen” (like you do anything for that) then to the XBox tile, then to a specific game? You understand how tiles work, right? I can put Cut the Rope directly on that home screen. Navigating to and running apps on the Windows Phone is generally superior to any of the competitors, especially after the release of Mango. I fail to see how the iOS approach is “generalist” while the Metro approach is not.

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