charlieswarCharlie Kindel, former Windows Phone General Manager, set off a firestorm when he spoke his mind about the state of Windows Phone adoption rate.  I even contributed a response on the thread that took on a life of its own with various tech bloggers stepping up to match wits.  I happen to agree far more with Charlie than I do any other yahoo who tried to find alternate reasoning for Windows Phone lack of market penetration.

  • Microsoft has wedged itself smack in the middle of carriers and OEMs.  They have set a minimum spec sheet, standard components in a lot of ways and made a guarantee that all devices would receive OS updates.  This works in high contrast to the way Google deploys Android.  The OEMs are free to license the OS and do what they may, user experience be darned.  The OEMs spend millions of dollars on R&D and are much more inclined to get whatever incremental increase in hardware out into the market as fast as they can.  There is no sense of timing involved.  Apple, as we all know, takes the opposite approach.  A methodical, measured approach to product design and release.  They do it without regard to anyone else’s schedule, not the carriers or any other competing devices.  This allows Apple the opportunity to refine the user experience that their loyal following has come to appreciate and expect. The iCrowd is not looking for the next big thing, they are looking for the next best thing-from Apple.  What Windows Phone has done is try to look out for their own reputation.  Microsoft got blasted in the past for the user experience of Windows Mobile devices.  It didn’t matter if HTC Sense or TouchWiz or whatever processor hogging skin was causing the issues.
  • Way too late! MG Siegler is so long its unbelievable.  Not only is Windows Phone not too late, it is actually reentering at a good time.  You see, both Apple and Android are raising the awareness and adoption of smartphones.  This gives Microsoft the opportunity to be in the market during the time of rapid and steady market expansion.  There is no such thing as being too late to an expanding market. That defies basic logic. Was Google too late in launching Google+? How about Amazon launching the Kindle Fire in the tablet market? Personal opinion does not equate to truth.
  • Charlie Kindel wrote “I would like to believe that at the end of the day the superior end to end experience for the end user matters more than anything.”  I happen to agree wholeheartedly.  When you take away all the flash and power tools the user experience is what you have left.  iPhone users love their devices, they love the way they operate, the way they feel and the fact they feel attached to it.  Most Android users I know, operate their fun, they don’t love it.  Windows Phone users have the same type of admiration and love for the WP OS that iOS users have for theirs.  What keeps people with Apple, in large part, is the ecosystem-the platform. If someone disagrees that the user experience should be the most important thing they don’t have a clue.  Even if you are a “power user” at the end of the day you want to enjoy using your phone.
  • Robert Scoble wrote in the comment section on Charlie’s article “Charlie: it’s totally wrong to ignore apps. We had two separate parties here this Christmas weekend and all we did was talk about apps. See, this is why Windows Phone 7 won’t get any traction: when apps come up it’s Android vs. iOS time. WP7 never even came up in conversations.” Scoble’s logic is wrong.  People are talking about iPhone vs Android apps because that is what people are using, not because the apps aren’t on Windows Phones.  Case in point, AlphaJax scrabble-like game is on Windows Phone 7 and is quite nice plus Windows Phone has Words by Post and other cross platform scrabble games yet the lack of Words with Friends gets cited as one of the big voids in the app marketplace.  WP users are using these other games to much delight yet it comes down to “what your friends are already playing.”  The more WP that get into the marketplace the lack of an app title means less and less as long as there is a suitable alternative.  People care about what is fun a lot more than the actual name of an app.
  • Marketing matters! Apple is universally applauded for the power of their marketing.  They take very simple things and make them seem-magical- because they tell the story and the spend the money to mass advertise. Microsoft still doesn’t get marketing for consumer products outside of the Xbox. Has anyone seen the correlation between Nokia’s advertisement and the interest in the Nokia 800 compared to other excellent 2nd Gen Windows Phones? Microsoft should not only be prepared to up the ante on marketing but to absolutely flood the market with advertisement.  Every major celebrity should be rocking a windows phone, every major sports program should be taken over for Windows Phone marketing and last but not least every carrier store should include large Windows Phone frontage.  Go Big or Go Home! Which leads me to my final point.
  • Go home Microsoft! Are you too good for your home? Where are all the store openings that were supposed to be happening over the past 9 months and into the next year that you showed the graph of. Accomplish this single thing and you’ll have a one-to-one connection with customers.  Hire RSPs that specialize in Mobile sales in all stores and push the product hard.  Apple has shown this to be an invaluable tool and you are the only other company that can follow the breadcrumbs to gold.  Do it and do it now if you’re not going to Go Big with the carriers.  In fact it should really be both.

At the end of the day Charlie has great insight because he’s been involved on the other side of the tracks and also has his personal user experience to draw from. I’d highly suggest people shut up and pay attention, unless you don’t want to learn anything then by all means keep spouting nonsense.

Source: Kindel’s Blog


  1. Using Google+ as an example of anything related to “success” is probably the wrong thing to do. Even Google execs/employees don’t use that heap. Its data has been steadily falling and, although it had the fastest 10mil users in social networking history, that was probably more of a reaction to Facebooks monolithic hold on social networking than the system being well made or even practical.

    I love me some Google products, but the longer I use them the more I realize how much data mining they’re doing.

  2. As for the WinPHo7 users who are storming at Kindels comments, I don’t believe he’s correct. I believe that Googles software dumping (Something MS got lashed at for back in the day with IE) and absolutely no set of requirements allowed companies to establish Android on the cheap and gave Google another avenue for their profit (And if you don’t think that Android brings them profit, I have a bridge to sell you).

    Of course there’s the constant dark gloom of the ongoing IP war that has come about as a result, either from patent trolls or companies protecting their works (depends on who you ask).

    Kindel recommends WP7 to reduce its standards and copy the iPhone. Way to be stupid, fella.

  3. Well I certainly won’t discount the effect Google dumping Android into the market has had. Its just that I think Kindel has it right when he emphasizes the point of friction MS’s stand causes. Apparently OEMs are more than happy to pump out a sea of barely distinguishable devices and try to hit different budgets opposed to delivering the best user experience possible.

    I’ll say that Microsoft is reducing standards to allow for Nokia to take a shot at the lower end markets globally.

  4. Yep! All good! The market is growing and Mango is as good an experience – at least – as iOS per both my Apple Fan Boy brothers and everyone who has said “What is that,” in the last few weeks as I have pulled out my Titan.

    WP will be just fine and will be at 6+% market share at the end of 2012. They DO need to market and that will help them keep on strategy and not get caught in the 3-week model life span of an Android phone. I mean, we’re already hearing about the next RAZR. Who wants a week-old phone whose replacement has already been outed?

    So, all good. And it IS too late for Goog+.

  5. When At+t failed to pick up the HD2, WinMo lost me to Android. I looked for a temporary device on eBay and pawn shops to get me through till the first release of WP7. But the writers with “insight” made too many suggestions that WP would be soo different, I jumped ship. When WP7 came out, the devices were nothing special. Eventually the HD7 came and went so quietly I almost missed it. But I already had a device. Now with the next crop of WP7.5 devices, nothing stands out for me.
    My eye is on the Sony tablet “P” these days. Waiting…
    As time goes on I get deeper into the ecosystem of the Google market.
    WP8 is going to have a lot of work to catch my eye by the time it comes around.
    And so it goes. Do you think some kid is going to choose WP? So what of all the apps I bought? Once you are in the system, what could make you change?
    Look at the cell carriers, long distance providers, and car insurance commercials. The people I know who switch, keep switcching

  6. Sorry wrong button.
    The people I know who switch, keep switching, and are never happy.
    The people I know who don’t switch, are not wholeheartedly happy either, but have their reasons for staying.

  7. Good insight JrDrmascus. As a strong proponent of Windows Phone I do admit that Microsoft has to present a very compelling reason for people deeply invested in other ecosystems to switch.

    The first thing people pointed to was the Xbox Live brand but as it turns out its a failure in the sense its more Microsoft leaning on the brand name and not pushing the mobile gaming envelope. They need to secure exclusive games and enable things live live multiplayer gaming. Heck tie it into the Xbox where someone could be out with their windows phone and log into an ongoing COD game as a stationary sniper. It could only be a feature on windows phones.

    Secondly, Microsoft needs to build out the retail stores like Ballmer promised during Mobile World Congress this year. Spend a quarter billion opening up stores with the Android licensing fees is a no brainer. With Nokia on board they have a defacto hardware of their own. The hardware plus own branded store is gold.

    Keep contributing your thoughts.

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