PCMag author Sara Yin took a shot at buying a Windows Phone in Manhattan. It wasn’t pretty. She saw stores without displays, sales reps that wouldn’t suggest buying the phone and even sale people deterring the sale even when she came in explicitly asking for it. She was pushed to the iPhone and Android often. And considering that there were no actual demo devices in stores (or cracked ones when they were there) it’s a pretty hard sell. Remember though, this is someone actually seeking the platform.

This only raises the question though – is this the carriers or Microsoft’s fault? The carriers push devices they know and push devices that sell the best since they are in mass sales. And while we hope that the sales reps know every phone out there we all know the reality is that the goods one do but most of them know a handful of things about a handful of phones and they still think Windows Phone and Windows Mobile are the same thing. And that’s where Microsoft comes in. They haven’t penetrated the market yet and without mindshare there won’t be sales.

For now, they really really need to push out Mango asap so we can stop talking about the changes that are coming and start talking about the platform we have. They’ll still need marketing (not like the last time – stuff that shows the actual device) and they need to get people to understand this is a new platform that can play with the big boys and get sales reps to use them themselves. It’s not an easy battle, but Microsoft has the pockets to do it.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I dont blame carriers nor the sales reps, most of the sales reps are not really techie guys, they are more on the what’s new will buy guys and that’s what the companies want.. Imagine if all sales reps are die hard fanboys????
    Windows phone mango will bring new competition to the current marketed phones.. There’s one in mobile, 4 on att one each sprint and Verizon…
    Nokia phones,zte,Samsung,HTC,Acer,Asus, skies the limit, I just hope Dell won’t messed up this time…

  2. Ok the carrier sales people (monkey staff) need to be told to push it no matter what. MS or the OEM’s needs to do their part to insist on this and stop acting like the carriers are doing them a favor.
    Secondly I assume this is an inventory thing, with the market being FLOODED with android devices it only makes sense that they are going to try and push them as hard as possible. Couple that with their obvious an undeniable lack of knowledge as well as their ignorant personal preferrences it makes sense. Shitty, but it makes sense.

  3. Surprised to read that this is still going on. I had a similar experience in March in the AT&T store in Newton, MA. AT&T being the “premier” partner for WP7. I went in with my college son, he wanted an iPhone. I spoke to the head sales engineer in the store about the Focus (my phone), and he told me in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t sell a WP7 phone if it was the last phone in the store. When I spoke to him about the phone it was obvious he didn’t know anything about it. I’ve never understood how MS has allowed this to happen.

  4. The lack of marketing and advertising support has pretty much been my beef from Day 1. MS needs to be doing more, and the carriers need to educate their people MUCH more on ALL their products.

  5. I just switched from a iPhone4 to a Samsung focus about three months ago. I ordered it online thru ATT, the day before I received it I saw a person in my doctors office with focus too. Haven’t seen a wp7 device anywhere after that.

  6. @DavidK – Same thing on HTC’s Support Forums. Windows Mobile and Windows Phone devices are all plopped together. I have tried to help Arrive and HD7 users who have asked questions in the Windows Mobile General thread. Very confusing and not surprising why people believe WM = WP.

    Hope Microsoft already has this planned, but not too late to get started:
    -Setup kiosks in the 300-400 most active shopping malls this holiday season, maybe starting up around October 20th, about the same time Mango devices and hopefully updates are hitting the streets. Forget about trying to write contracts, just have out on display multiple sets of every Windows Phone available, from all carriers. Make sure the phones have a Windows Live ID, XBox Live ID and Zune Pass. Also drop on a couple dozen of the most attractive, informative apps, including Live Tile apps. And don’t forget the XBox games. Now, add a couple of those 2′ x 3′ Windows Phone touch screen emulators to keep the kids busy while Mom and Dad play with their phone of choice. Oh and don’t forget to pick up the $25-$50 coupon for purchase of “any” Windows Phone, just for stopping by. Plus a cut sheet for “Where to Buy”, especially web links. If you can’t go through these sales reps, then go around them. The carriers will be happy as they will get a chance to write a bunch of contracts. The cost of each kiosk to run for 70 days will probably be about the same as a couple prime time 30 second clips. You got to get these phones in users hands. Unemployment is still at 9% so no problem finding staff for the booths. And if Redmond needs help with this I am good to go.

  7. @Ed it’s not about WANTING to see one, it’s the fact that you never do, and no one else does, and not many people know anything about it. Word of mouth is key. Android has it, iPhone is obvious, and blackberry used to be the king on these streets. Wtf happened to ms and wp7?

  8. @ed its not about finding people near me with wp7 handsets. I have both those apps. Ots about being physically out in the streets and seeing someone with one, weather its riding the bus, or grocery shopping. ect. I had to buy my phone online because the people at the Att store literary told my I was crazy if I switched to a windows phone from a iPhone. It was kind of an insult so I went online and got exactly what I wanted. The real craziness here if I go back to iPhone after seeing what iOS 5 has to offer. Mango blew it out of the water. Period.

  9. @Jim Szymanski: Holy smokes this is a great idea. I’m actually talking to my friend today about getting some Windows Phones to sell. He has owned several carrier (Sprint & Alltel) stores and was checked in to see if I can get some new AT&T and Sprint phones. I’m holding off until Mango is released so that I can have Windows Phones in stock.

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