Wow! Lots of excitement brewing over Windows Phone Mango presently alleged to be rolled out any minute now. Since February, version adoption in Windows Phone has remained myserious and, especially with Mango introducing some sort of a fissure, possibly a chasm of app compatibility, I’d like to keep track of how efficiently and expeditiously Microsoft is able to shuffle their customers onto Mango. In addition to being curious, I have money riding on this.

Don’t forget that WP was originally touted in part because of how good at this they insisted they’d be, and given that they learned some lessons hopefully, maybe they’re bringing their A game. And when they bring that A game, wouldn’t it be in their interests to spread the word and look nice and transparent at the same time?

Sales figures, okay, different story, but platform version percentages seems harmless and, I think, helpful not to conceal. All other things being equal, which would you rather get involved with (as a consumer or a developer, whatever you are), a company that withholds data like this or one that doesn’t? Surely they have the data internally, so is this even tact or is dusting off FrontPage and pumping that data onto the web somehow, specifically exactly how Google does it, not worth their energy?

Jah forbid, let’s say the perpetually-impending Mango rollout seems to be dragging on slowly or that Nokia phone doesn’t hit in October and it’s derailing developers and frustrating consumers. Wouldn’t having the specifics, as a Windows Phone owner or developer, help empower you and others to keep Microsoft’s feet to the fire — or to make better decisions for yourself? Maybe you have no dog in the fight but want to see if Microsoft has figured out yet how to dodge carrier blockades, or maybe you own a Focus and want to know whether AT&T is or isn’t the only carrier putting the breaks on Mango, you know? Let’s say the data isn’t so flattering, even to those who think Android set the bar pretty low  – it’s only comprehensible to a small audience and take a moment to agree with me that at this point for WP, any press is good press. How is anyone, including Microsoft, better off with this information kept quiet? Or am I the only one interested? Well, maybe.

I’ve been digging around for Microsoft’s WP equivalent to Android’s platform versions current distribution page, sort of a Google Analytics of Android if you will. They opened the books on this data right from the beginning, hasn’t seemed to backfire on them. Take a look, it’s handy if you’re a rubbernecker, a consumer considering which platform to go with for your next purchase, a developer, a WP owner, a WinMo owner, a Nokia fan, a retailer, a European, whatever. No need to sift through random sites to try to average out everyone’s wild guess, the numbers are solid, based on version reporting of phones accessing the market over a month’s period and they are easy to find. I don’t get why that should be considered some sort of feature or selling point of one platform over another, the disclosure of rudimentary, benign but actionable information like this.

The closest thing to that that I’ve found on Microsoft’s side is their Where’s my phone update page which they developed in response to the NoDo situation. When I bing for Windows Phone version distribution at least, the first hit I get goes to some random AppleInsider thing, not to a Microsoft information page. Same deal with subsequent results. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that Bing is still discovering content one way or another, but I want this data from the horse’s mouth, not the fellas from The Street. Hell, give me the damn NDA, I’ll sign it.

Is there such a source of information about WP version distribution on a Microsoft-sanctioned site? If not, why not?

Doug Simmons

7 COMMENTS

  1. This is what I call diarrhea-of-the-mouth. The WP team has been updating their blog with official information on a regular basis. They just stated: “Mango in a week or two. For all phones.” WTF more do you want?! If they don’t announce it, it’s obviously none of your fucking business! Gee, why don’t you just go ahead and show your cards to opponents in a poker game? Every time you write, it makes me want to punch bunnies (and you). Enough already.

  2. I don’t think we’re thinking about the same cards, Frank. Not talking about when Mango will be released or how many people buy the Sea Ray or whatever. Talking about disclosing what percentage of users have managed to upgrade to whatever platform version (and at what rate over what period of time had they upgraded) that has unique traits developers must consider — for example.

    “WTF” I want is to know why they’re apparently keeping that data secret when it not only seems to make sense not to keep it secret but at least one company isn’t, and your answer is a poker analogy and that diarrhea’s flying everywhere? Due respect Frank, but it strikes me as a valid question.

  3. Ey Doug…i agree 100% With everything u said….. With all the money msft has they should’ve just buy tmobile…
    Carrier blockage GONE…..they can convert tmo stores to a mini msft store then renamed it msft mobile!!
    That’s the one way to catch up with the first 2.. All this hype about mango is pissing me off.. You dont see anything about mango on TV, no one knows its coming out.. People are talking about the iPhone!!! They know nothing about MANGO..im not waiting for mango to hit the shelves I dont want to be disappointed again.. Im happy with nodo on my hd7… Im not expecting im just aware…

  4. Mango hasn’t even been released yet… Lol… Don’t you think these questions are a little premature…. Eric Smitz or whatever your name is, give it a break for at a month or two… Lol…

  5. For once Simmons I have to agree with you. Every WP connects to Microsoft’s servers, probably every day, so they should know exactly how many users are running X version. No reason to not make this info available.

    For some anecdotal data, the Dude-Where’s My Update app does not report anyone using Mango beta, probably because they are very slow updating their app, but of their 21,500 users worldwide, 70% are on NoDo/PostNoDo and 30% are running Pre-NoDo.

    The I’m a WP7 app would be more accurate, and of their 70,500 users; 16% are running Mango or Mango beta, 70% are running NoDo and 14% are on Pre-NoDo builds.

    That’s about as close as you are going to get today, unless the Angry Birds dev wants to share some of his data.

  6. Relying on individual app stats as people do to get this information from Apple, The I am a WP7 app would in my estimation be the least accurate as it targets the group of people who are more psyched up about their phone choice than the average Windows Phone-buying consumer, therefore the odds of them having done things like unauthorized updating or paying attention aggressively to prompts to do whatever you have to do to update that the average person may be more likely to ignore. So I think the migration speed would be exaggerated.

    Angry Birds and Facebook, a bit closer. Where’s My Update, not great sounding, but closer.

    Trying to put myself in Microsoft’s shoes to come up with reasons not to do this, I’m thinking it could be just a general impulse in Redmond not to go out of your way to reveal data whereas Google has made it part of their thing to do the opposite. It could be that one could use this data to make a better guess of overall sales and spot any turnaround, or lack of one, with the introduction of a Mango rollout mixed with sales of new Mango phones, and like Frank said, those are their cards and they have people there who are of course better at this than I am to decide whether that’s better or not for the platform and the company, partners, whatever.

    Another reason is that there may not have been any demand presented for this data because the platform’s ship hasn’t quite come in yet and also because fragmentation, unlike with Android, has been more or less kept at bay. So there’s been less of a need-to-know to prompt someone over there to stand up and say hey everyone, check out this thing, we should do it, someone code it up and make it look pretty and I’ll handle the blog post.

    Given the stuff I’ve seen lately on certain things working on one thing but not the other and how big a deal Mango is and how it could benefit the platform greatly and the new phones packing Mango being sold now/soon, I agree with you, Jim, in your agreeing with me.

    Thanks for those figures. That’s interesting, and though as I said maybe exaggerated in a positive direction given the two app user microcosms of uniquely elevated enthusiasm, those figures are still a good bit better than I had thought. I just wonder what Microsoft has to lose by opening the books on this data — especially if they think they’ve come up with a way this time to accelerate adoption of their newer releases faster than Google and Apple. That would be kind of a big deal, at least to the nerd crowd, and am impressive accomplishment. Apparently it’s not an easy thing to do.

    Frank and tl: I’m not attacking Windows Phone, I’m not opposed to Windows Phone, I don’t want it to continue to fail and this article is neutral in terms of platform and company/consumer allegiance. The only issue I take is with Microsoft and data on version distribution, and I’m not interested in it in order to write some article bashing Mango phones for not selling or whatever it is you think I’m up to. I think it’s a good article so why you’re calling it mouth diarrhea, calling me Eric Schmidt, seems unreasonable to me. On the other hand, maybe I think I’m awesome when I in fact suck.

    Thanks for reminding me of Schmidt, gonna go watch his Senate testimony now and then maybe write a biased diarrhea article.

  7. By the way Jim, speaking of connecting to Microsoft’s servers, did you know that when you plug in your ethernet cable to your PC and Windows reports that you are successfully connected not just to your local network but to the Internet?

    It figures that out by doing a DNS lookup of http://www.msftncsi.com automatically then it does an HTTP request of http://www.msftncsi.com/ncsi.txt to make sure the DNS and the text file look the way they’re supposed to. If it checks out, yay, successfully connected to the net. If not, limited whatever.

    Just like how every time someone views this article, I see something like this on my server:

    No surprise you’re running Mango — back to my point about people blogging about WP, installing I am WP Apps and what version apps are more likely to be ahead of the curve. I’d be surprised if Microsoft didn’t have such an eye on all computers and devices out there running their platforms and programs whether people connect to their Marketplace or not. Along with other data perhaps.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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