I had one thought in my mind when I read that Xbox Live brought in over 1 Billion dollars in the last fiscal year. Investment! Just like people are reluctant to give up their iPhones because of the investment they have made in their apps and iTunes purchases. This also tells me “free for all” isn’t as much of a factor as it seems to be. I mean really who doesn’t gladly drop cold hard cash for the things they want most? Ever heard of a little known holiday called Christmas? I’m telling you all right now I am decking out my avatar in the coolest gear imaginable. I want one of those cool 3D avatars that Aura is coming out with. I strongly encourage you to check out the video. Its worth few minutes of your time.
You see the game plan all along has been to steadily (roughly monthly) release details showing off different parts of the WP7 platform. Followed by cranking up the marketing and advertising blitz starting 60-90 days from launch. I would argue that it is best to start 90 days out and not 60. That gives just enough time for all the heavy iPhone 4 coverage to die down and maximize the bang for the buck. Very strategic and appropriate plan if you ask me. The cancelling of the KIN phones means nothing. In fact it just means one less distraction that can get in the way of the second most important launch Microsoft is responsible for in the last 2 years. The first is of course Windows 7. We all know Microsoft wouldn’t have been able to stop itself from spending way too much resources and time on KIN despite the limited return.
Luck is on the side of the prepared. Windows Phone 7 is being billed as a phone that just works and works well. Keeping the user connected and maximizing their life. The fact that the iPhone 4 has experienced such glaring issues like reception drops, proximity sensor errors, can only bode well for Microsoft. Not because I hope the iPhone 4 tanks completely because I actually applaud Apple’s success. Someone has to keep Microsoft pushing on the gas peddle because Microsoft tends to get complacent when they aren’t pushed. Its because it goes to show that even the market leader can have difficulties and that a lesson can learned by all of this. Notice how iPhone users are all “just wait and hope issues are fixed in the next software update.” Sounds awfully familiar to what I and others have been saying about the advantage of being able to push out OTA updates without having to wait for carriers. It tends to give customers comfort of knowing they’ll get their fix ASAP. To error is human, so remember that the next time you seek to bash Microsoft for a misstep. Microsoft has held strong to the belief that they will go to launch with features that work and work exceedingly well. There is something to be said for doing the job right the first time.
Xbox Live is getting a monumental push as WP7 gets closer to launch. Premiere titles will be getting the same release treatment that regular gaming titles gets. Microsoft is really trying to roll out the red carpet for top notch developers of the Xbox platform. That is why it is so much secrecy going on. Just be a little patient. Look for almost all of the Xbox Live Arcade games to make their way to the WP7 platform by Christmas 2010.
Microsoft is doing a phenomenal job with Bing. Not only have they managed to get it as default search options on MACs but also the iPhone. That shows you that more than just softies think highly of the search, err decision, engine. It also doesn’t hurt that now millions of iPhone users will be used to Bing probably both on the desktop and phone if they ever wanted to try something other than the iPhone. Its clear they mean business and all that is left is to make sure the Bing search button on WP7 actually includes global phone search option. If not this is a major and incomprehensible shortcoming.
I understand gaming and social networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The thing is that it is fast becoming a necessary, if even evil, part of life. As the world dives deeper in to Facebook, flickr and twitter the need to keep up with your colleagues and friends will drive most of us to engage even if we really don’t want to. Microsoft sees this, has finally begun to integrate their unmatched cloud services and are about to leverage the totality of their ecosystem (cloud, gaming, desktop, mobile, office) to place Windows Phone 7 smack dab in the middle of it all.
Windows Phone 7 coming this fall…Ready.Set.7!