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What Windows Phone Needs To Survive

Posted by on October 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

Dear Microsoft,

You’re screwing this whole thing up. No, I take it back, not everything. Windows Phone as an OS, now with Mango, is now competent and as other major outlets have said, remarkably similar in capability or better than Android or iOS. So how can Apple unveil one phone this month and do almost as much business as your entire lineup this quarter before it even releases? You guys are absolutely failing in your obligation to provide this industry with a new standard. You’re putting billions behind it because you realize this is your only stable attempt to bridge the ecosystem between Windows and the post-PC universe, yet you have little to show for it. They’ve even been out for a year and I still don’t have one. Look, I don’t run your business, but I did try to save Best Buy, so let me try to bail you out, too.

Here’s what you guys need:

Promote the damn thing. You guys are doing an awful job here, just as bad as that Zune thing (which is a whole other issue, by the way). Get some exciting ads about it like you do with Xbox. Get with carriers and get them to do cutting edge ads like Verizon does with Droid. They’re stupid, but they’re super effective. A bunch of phones swirling around in 3D with a bunch of squares on them says nothing. Move it!

Give the damn things away. Don’t do it through carriers, carriers mess up everything. Am I the only one who remembers when you dropped the price on the original Xbox by a whopping $100 a mere six months after launch just to spur sales against an entrenched PlayStation 2? This was an investment in the future of the platform, something you need to stick your neck out on and make happen. Give away a Windows Phone with a Windows 7 laptop instead of an Xbox 360. Don’t even make it a choice. 360’s already sell great, you don’t need any better incentive for those. Give away tons of apps, just create a value add since your app count is still so far behind the others.

Get your services in order. Sure you have Netflix, but you’ve also spent the past five years building a music and video service that you seem to completely forget about. When the Xbox 360 embraced social music sharing, you brought in Last.fm, but not Zune Social. Why? When Facebook embraced social music sharing, you didn’t bring anything. Why? Apple touts large sales on media revenue because of how prolific iTunes has become despite the rapid decline of the iPod. You haven’t done anything. You could be doing so much work to get these ducks in line and you haven’t done a thing. Why? Make Windows Phone the home of your media, just tell people that, then back it up!

Get your phones in order. A year ago, you unveiled ten GSM-enabled phones with the only non-Mango iterations since then being the lonely Arrive on Sprint and Trophy on Verizon. You guys can’t stick to annual installments. You’re trying to get the satisfaction of a terrific Windows Phone experience across all hardware, but you’re not allowing for the enthusiasm that comes with a new major Android release every few months. On top of that, whatever doesn’t make it this round has to wait another year for the next major update. In a year when many phones are going dual-core, it appears that not a single Windows Phone will have one. I mentioned that I’ve been waiting for my new Windows Phone for well over a year now, but now I’m just sitting here waiting while your draconian marketing waits to unveil new hardware. Speaking of which…

Unveil those new phones like a champ. Get people excited about Windows Phone! Apple has several events a year to unveil new hardware and when they do, it’s a roaring success because everyone’s on the same page. They know what the specs are, they know what the carriers are, they know what the pricing is. Let’s pick today and try to explain the new wave of Mango phones. Okay, so AT&T is getting the HTC Radar and HTC Titan. This month maybe? And T-Mobile’s getting the Titan? And Sprint and Verizon are… hmmm, so we still don’t know what the situation is there? Why is this so difficult? Are you really going to let Apple best you on this? Right now, you have to be your own best promotion Microsoft. The carriers aren’t looking to you like a king of industry, they’re looking at you like an obligation. Show us all of the phones. Give us a date when we can buy them. Give us a time and a location. Do all of these things, you owe it to the customer.

Seriously, you could be doing so much better here and even Ballmer knows it. Look, I’ll work on a retainer, but you guys need to figure this out. No one wants to buy a Windows Phone when even you’re not sure how many you’re going to be pushing next quarter, or within the next year.

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