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How could Microsoft do this to us, again!

Since the Windows Phone Summit earlier this week and the announcement that current WP7 devices will not be receiving an update to WP8, there have been a lot of angry people out there, swearing off Microsoft forever (again), calling anyone who purchased a WP7 device these past several months suckers, and even implying that anyone who would consider purchasing a WP7 device now must assuredly have a diminished IQ to think such a thing.

While change can sometimes be a good thing, I have never embraced it. Especially change simply for the sake of change, which I interpret as different, but not necessarily better. True, innovative change is a different story, but manufacturers seldom reach that mark.

Let me share a story with you.

In early 2010 I was sporting an HTC Fuze. I always had a love/hate relationship with Windows Mobile, going back to my first PocketPC. It worked, but was painful to use on a daily basis, with its slowdowns and lockups. But I persisted and tweaked the hell out of it to make it better. I think Doug Simmons referred to this as Stockholm Syndrome, and admitted he was probably right. At about the same time Microsoft introduced Windows Phone in February 2010, my brother, my best friend, passed away unexpectedly. Having lost my life’s savings in a failed business 8 months earlier, this was another change I was not prepared for. After coming out of my funk a few weeks later, and realizing that I was going to be doing a lot of traveling back and forth between my home (NJ) and my brother’s home (FL) to help the family shut down his very successful tax accounting practice, I decided it was time for a new phone. The Fuze was still working, but the smaller screen made it increasingly difficult for my aging eyes, and I wanted something newer and a bit more robust. I read plenty about the upcoming Windows Phone, but was turned off by the locked down nature of the OS, and decided that I would skip at least the first generation of WP, and hoped that Microsoft would come to their senses in a year or two. And after all the changes in my life over the past year, I was not ready for another.

So I quickly snatched up an HTC Tilt 2 on eBay for under $200. After tweaking the hell out of that phone, I got it working to my satisfaction. Yeah, I still needed to soft reset once or twice a day, but it was more effective for my needs at the time than the Fuze. The more I read about Windows Phone, the more I disliked the direction Microsoft was taking. I was all in to Microsoft since Windows 3.0, but I thought with WP7 they were making a big mistake. Fearing that I might be stuck with WM6.5 for at least a year or two, I went out and bought a second Tilt 2 as a backup off eBay, again for under $200. Remember, I don’t like change very much and needed some added security. Then, as would have been expected since WM was reaching E.O.L., in late July AT&T was offering the Tilt 2 on contract for $0.01. I was eligible for an early upgrade, and was certain that I was not going near that fruity tile, yet-to-be released WP7. So I got a third Tilt 2. More security, less change. Yes, I knew that WM was reaching “End of Life” status, but that didn’t matter to me. Hell, I think the phone only got one update as it was, so updates didn’t matter that much. And the phone did most everything I needed it to do. Some of it poorly, but I still got it done.

In September 2010, I moved to Florida to start my life over. Another change that I was not looking forwarded to, but did my best to view it as a glass  half full.  Aside from the Tilt 2s noted above, I had purchased my last three phones at an AT&T store in Florida from a good friend of my brother’s, during Holiday and other visits. So on November 8th – WP Launch Day, still out of work, I took a ride over to visit James and see for myself all this hoopla about Windows Phone and the OS I had all but sworn off. I spent more than an hour that morning playing with the Focus and Surround, amazed at how fluid the OS worked. On the short drive home I started to rationalize how much better this phone would be for me than the Tilt 2 on my hip, even though it was locked down and was missing some essentials. Remember, I despise change simply for the sake of change. But this was different. After a quick lunch and another hour of pondering I was back at the AT&T Store working out the specifics with James for a Surround. It was $499 off contract (remember, I got that Tilt 2 in July for $0.01 and blew my upgrade, ’cause I would never buy a Gen 1 WP), but I got some kind of Loyalty discount (probably most of James’s commission) and walked out on Launch Day with a $399 Surround. One of only two in the store that day. BTW, I immediately put two of my Tilt 2’s (I always keep one phone as a backup) up on eBay and cleared just enough to pay for the Surround.

Fast forward to April 2012. While I was still enjoying my Surround and not experiencing any issues, after 17 months I had the new phone itch. I was eligible for an early upgrade as of April 1st and the Lumia 900 was looking mighty nice. Being well informed about all things mobile I was aware that Windows Phone 8 was coming in the Fall. And I was also cognizant of the fact that current WP7 devices might not be able to upgrade to to WP8 because of the new kernel. But I don’t buy phones, or any tech, for what they may be able to do in the future. I buy them for what they can do for me today. With each passing year I grow a little wiser and have learned a thing or two along the way. One is, “life is short”. And another, “don’t put off to tomorrow, what you can do today’”. And a new one, “sometimes change is good”. I don’t know where I will be or what I will be doing in November 2012 when WP8 launches. And guess what, neither do any of you.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably be purchasing a new phone “off contract” between my contract phones every year. That may not work for everyone, but if you budget properly, it is an option. So next March, 10 months before my next early upgrade, I expect to be hankering for a shiny new WP8 and will be waiting for my AT&T store to open the day they release some new mid-cycle phones. Bitching about how Microsoft screwed over current WP7 users is silly. And suggesting you are a dumb ass if you purchase a WP7 phone in the next several months is just ignorant. Don’t recall where a read it, but something like 50% of all current Smartphone users have “never’ downloaded an app. And another 20% have downloaded less than 5. Do you think those 70%, a majority by my count, give a rats ass about a WP8 upgrade.  For them, if the phone performs the way they need it to out of the box, that’s all that matters. When Windows Phone 7 was first announced, I resented the fact that Microsoft was ignoring the techies and catering to mainstream users. But over time, I came to understand their goals and objectives. Windows Phone 8 is good for Microsoft, it’s good for mobility, and it’s good for all of us. Windows Mobile, a platform still very much “in use”, was only recently overtaken by WP7. The same will transitional pattern hold true when WP8 is released.

You can pout and stomp your feet all you want about how your recently purchased WP7 is now obsolete (obsolete: 1) no longer in use, 2) superseded by something newer, though possibly still in use), but no one is going to listen. Do you know why? Because change is good, and life is short. Get over it.