Windows Phone 8 Is Awesome…In Theory. Microsoft Surface is a game changer…In Theory. Both well intended products are not what they could and should be at this point. That is the regrettable state of Microsoft’s mobility efforts.
I think there are multiple problems for Microsoft right now. The fact they’ve gone to a new OS and the APIs are still immature, what Microsoft considers a PC and non-pc, and the fact they are still treating Windows Phone as an afterthought. Microsoft seems to only get the importance of the mobility movement. This is my attempt to give an adequate analogy for Microsoft’s mobility efforts. In particular the treating of Windows Phone as an afterthought.
For years the University of Michigan has carried a strong, national brand as a prestigious and leading university. The football team (Windows for Microsoft) is never allowed to fall behind the competition in focus and effort. State of the art facilities are abundant. The basketball team meanwhile has great potential and is a sleeping giant. Most people knew it and they all knew one thing. In the arms race that is big time college sports nobody is going to choose to go with a program that is clearly being treated as a stepchild. My first visit to Crisler Arena (Michigan’s basketball arena) as a high school junior shocked me. It was dark, nondescript and tattered. As little as 2 years ago the electric sign outside the main entrance didn’t work. It wasn’t until the new athletic director was hired and a coach stood up and had it in his contract that every resource and effort would be made available to be the best that he’d accept the job. Now equipped with one of the best facilities in the nation after spending $100 million to renovate Crisler Arena and build a practice facility the team is arguably the best in the country and the bandwagon is getting fuller by the day.
Windows Phone is a a lot like the Michigan’s men’s basketball program. Tons of potential, people can see the sleeping giant but administrative apathy and unawareness is its own worst enemy. Microsoft gets the need to be relevant in mobility but current leadership simply does not understand what it takes to get there. Apple is focused on providing the best mobile based experience. Their focus has zero to do with how it impacts their desktop division. Google has made a very clear effort to be at the forefront of mobility usage. In no way are they holding back because it might potentially jeopardize their desktop search business. Microsoft, on the other hand, continues to bicker and bite each other’s hand and push the desktop with everything they have and there have been plenty of times in the past year that we’ve seen them intentionally make the decision that would harm Windows Phone adoption.
I too have a dream. Its that one day very soon in the future the vision of the Windows Phone team gets to be fulfilled and not have to spend so much effort fighting agendas within the ranks of Microsoft.