To say Windows Phone’s effect on the mobile industry has been soft since its release a year ago would be the understatement of the decade. I was originally so crazy in love with the platform and had been for years, but Microsoft seems to work so hard to prevent it from being successful that even I’ve backed away from the possibility. First it was their weak approach to Zune, then it was a bunch of other stuff, and now I really don’t see the selling point anymore after top phone makers like Samsung, Motorola, and HTC keep making better Android phones. (And when will Sprint or Verizon be getting a Mango-generation Windows Phone? Exactly.) Well, it seems that Microsoft is finally coming to the conclusion, while retailers sit on thousands of unsold Windows Phones, that they’re doing this thing all wrong.
It would be super easy to come swinging at Windows Phone’s continuing mistakes, ones that I explicitly touched on when I wrote about them two months ago. They’ve certainly thrown some parties since then, but they haven’t really moved the needle on their marketshare or word of mouth. Their new Mango phones aren’t dramatically different than last year’s models and there’s still no flagship, killer phone to die for. Microsoft used to be able to say that they were comparable to Android when it came to phones sold in their first few months, but by this point in the Android’s lifespan, Verizon had already released Motorola’s Droid to critical acclaim and unending, explosive growth that ended up toppling Apple.
You could say Microsoft is finally starting to face facts. The worst part of the whole thing is that Windows Phone is actually a great product.
Andy Lees, the Vice President in charge of rebuilding Windows Phone from scratch – but ultimately spending far too many months and far too many hundreds of millions of dollars supporting J Allard’s disastrous Kin phones – is being ‘shifted’ from his position as head of the division. He’s still there in title, but the Phone will be lead by engineer Terry Myerson, who knows how awesome the product is. With Windows 8 around the corner and the Metro metaphor now appearing across all of their major platforms, the little software giant out of Redmond needs someone who will take Windows Phone seriously and start selling hardware.
Let’s just hope it’s not too late.