Windows

U.S. cellular carriers are engaged in a conspiracy against Windows phones

If you've been paying attention, you might find it easy to believe that the U.S. carriers are actually set on preventing Windows Phone from succeeding.

No one can deny that Windows Phone started out slowly; the first release left a lot to be desired and even die-hard Microsoft fans held off buying one. Despite the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2010 of partnerships with a slew of major hardware vendors, when the devices were launched in October of that year, the "pickings were slim," as my granddad used to say. There weren't many choices and those that were available weren't very exciting. Other than the Windows Phone 7 OS, the devices offered nothing special in the hardware department and were missing a number of features that users of Android phones had come to expect.

Nonetheless, Microsoft's initial effort at a complete "do-over" for their phone OS got a lot of favorable reviews. Things got better with Mango (Windows Phone 7.5), with many reviewers concluding that the improvements brought Windows Phone into the arena as a real contender and with technical analysts (Gartner, Forrester) predicting that it would eventually outsell the iPhone. Meanwhile, actual sales still lagged badly.

Everybody seemed to like Windows Phone, but few were buying it.

Several reasons could account for this, but something that seems to keep popping up is the complete lack of enthusiasm that the cellular carriers -- at least those in the United States -- have exhibited for the platform. I'm usually skeptical of conspiracy theories, but if you've been paying attention, you might find it easy to believe that the U.S. carriers are actually set on preventing Windows Phone from succeeding.

Verizon: What could have been

Microsoft and Verizon are like that "perfect couple" who once seemed to have all the secrets to a wonderful relationship. Verizon carried a good selection of Windows Mobile phones, especially the Samsung models. I got my i730, i760, Omnia, and Omnia II through them. I would have expected Verizon to offer me a seamless continuation of my Windows experience when Microsoft dropped WinMo and went "all in" with the new Windows Phone. But somewhere along the way, something happened.

Not the droid you are looking for

Actually, three things happened. The first was the invasion of the Droids. Verizon put a lot of advertising dollars behind the launch of its first Android phone from Motorola, building suspension with a great television campaign that included the Stealth commercial as well as the "Droid Does" ad that took direct aim at the iPhone. The Verizon Droid and its Android successors sold well, positioned as alternatives to the iPhone, which was at that time available only on AT&T. Windows Phone 7 wasn't out yet, and Windows Mobile, with its touch-unfriendly "miniature version of Windows" interface, was hopelessly outdated in a world where touch and simplicity were king.

But, as exciting and appealing as Android might be, Verizon certainly could have found enough love in its corporate heart for two. But then something much more damaging to the relationship happened: the Kin. Just as "kin folk" can sometimes be the downfall of a human marriage, this Microsoft/Verizon progeny seemed to lead to an alienation of affections that was never repaired.

The Kin was Microsoft's billion-dollar attempt to capture the tween/teen market with a social networking-oriented feature phone that was considered a "close relative" of the upcoming Windows Phone 7. It was a resounding failure and was discontinued only a few weeks after its debut. The Kin was rumored to have sold only around 8,000 units. It was briefly revived and then killed again in December 2010.

Some blamed Microsoft for making a phone that was so lacking in features that the iPhone and Android phones had. Others blamed Verizon, saying that the high cost of the required data plan was unrealistic for the target audience. Either way, the relationship between the two companies never seemed to be the same after that.

Then this year, AT&T's exclusive hold on the iPhone finally ran out, and Apple's best-selling smartphone came to Verizon. If they had ever felt they needed Windows Phone, the feeling seemed to dissipate entirely once they had the iPhone in their stable. I test Android phones for Verizon, and early this year when I asked the folks at their regional headquarters -- who eagerly talk up their latest Android models to me -- about Windows Phone 7, the disinterest in the air was so thick you could cut it.

Verizon finally did get their first Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC Trophy in May, but there was no hoopla as there is when a new Droid is introduced. The only folks who seemed to know or care were those Microsoft employees with Verizon contracts who had been waiting for their free (Microsoft-reimbursed) WP7 phones. Over six months later, the Trophy is still Verizon's only Windows Phone device.

AT&T: Better, but ...

Maybe one of the reasons the decision makers at Verizon never got too excited about Windows Phone, the Kin aside, was AT&T's announcement early on during Windows Phone 7's journey to market that AT&T was going to be the "premier" carrier for Microsoft's phones. Or did AT&T obtain that elevated position because of the falling-out between Microsoft and Verizon? It's a "chicken and egg" question to which we'll probably never know the answer.

Whichever came first, AT&T obviously has a closer relationship with Windows Phone than Verizon does. They offered a Windows Phone months before Verizon did, and they currently have five models of Windows Phone in their lineup -- although three of them are versions of the Samsung Focus.

They offer the high-end HTC Titan, which has specs and features that are comparable to the top Android phones (4G support, a 4.7-inch screen, a 1.5-GHz processor, 16 GB of storage), although it lags behind in some areas (for example, the processor is single core, and it has only 512 MB of RAM when the top Android phones such as the Droid Razr and the Galaxy Nexus have 1 GB).

At least with AT&T, a Windows Phone fan has some choices, but the carrier still doesn't seem to have gone "all in" with Windows Phone. I received a holiday advertising booklet from AT&T recently that consisted of 28 pages of smart phones and accessories. The iPhone 4S was prominently featured, as were a number of Androids and even Blackberry, but I went through the whole book twice and didn't find one Windows Phone. On the day I'm writing this, the AT&T wireless web site features an iPhone 4S, a Blackberry Torch 9810, and an iPad with iHome iD37.

Windows Phone? You don't really want that

More troubling than the lack of advertising are the reports I've heard from both AT&T and Verizon customers that when they've gone into the wireless carriers' stores to look for a Windows Phone, they've been actively discouraged by the salespeople. I experienced this personally when I was looking at the Trophy in a Verizon store; the salesman almost laughed and said, "We don't sell many of those. You might want to look at these (Android phones) instead."

The problem is so widespread that one Windows phone fan even started a web site for reporting "retail bias" called Windows Phone Tattletale. It's full of stories from users all over the country and the world about their experiences buying (or trying to buy) Windows Phone devices.

In search of a Lumia

I know a number of people who wanted to wait on buying a Windows Phone until Nokia came out with its devices. Now the Nokia Lumia has hit the market in time for the holiday season in two sleek, slim models (the 700 and the 800) -- but not through any of the U.S. carriers. The 800, in particular, has very decent specs , gets high marks for design, features, and performance, and is selling well in the U.K., but it won't be launched in the U.S. until sometime in 2012 -- thus missing out on the holiday sales seasons when many people traditionally upgrade their phones.

There has been speculation that the holdup could be the wait for the rollout of AT&T's 4G LTE network. Certainly Windows Phone needs to support LTE (and dual-core processors) sooner rather than later if it's going to seriously compete with Android, and there are rumors that the next iPhone (iPhone 5) may be LTE-capable, as well.

However, it's frustrating for those in the U.S. who want the Nokia Windows Phones but are unable to get them from their mobile carriers. (Of course, if you want one badly enough, you can buy an unlocked Lumia 800 handset for $699.99 through reseller Expansys. It will work on AT&T's 3G network. But if you don't have seven hundred bucks to spend on a phone, you're out of luck for now.)

Meanwhile, it's likely there are many people buying themselves (or their loved ones) new phones for Christmas who might have been attracted to the Lumia, but they will end up buying a sleek new Android Razr or an iPhone instead because they can get it here and now. Is it the carriers, the handset makers, or Microsoft who's responsible for not getting the Lumia out in the U.S. in time for the holiday sales rush?

Accidental conspiracy?

I'm not actually suggesting that the U.S. wireless carriers all huddled together in some secret back room and hatched a plot to keep Microsoft at a disadvantage in the smart phone market. But personal experience, observation, and reports from many others do indicate that for whatever reason(s), the carriers aren't going out of their way to showcase Windows Phone devices. They are leaving them out of their advertising or relegating them to the back pages and are even actively trying to talk customers out of buying them in their retail stores.

Microsoft already has an uphill battle ahead, going up against the immense popularity of iPhone and Android. With the carriers working against them (or, at best, not working for them), gaining market share is going to be even tougher. The company has gone up against tough competition before (NetWare, Netscape, WordPerfect) and won, so I'm not counting Windows Phone out yet. But I do think they would be in a much stronger position if not for the "unfortunate incident" with the Kin and with a little help from their carrier friends. Despite all that, though, Windows Phone is starting to win hearts and minds -- even those of some former iPhone fans. Gartner might end up being right after all.

Also read:

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

48 comments
Rauno
Rauno

Although more and more Linux laptop models are available, they used to be almost impossible to find and it is still difficult to have the choice. It seems that open source OSes are getting even.

johnwhiteside
johnwhiteside

The "conspiracy" is that carriers are putting the spotlight on phones that have consumer demand, made by manufacturers that are better at working with their channels. Outrageous!

realvarezm
realvarezm

The key word is free and expensive. Like it or not, most people take care of their budget. I own a Motorola Droid 3, now tell me if there is an equal in Windows phone: no there is not and i bet if there was it will be by the $800 to $900 sales price. The direference is the OS compare a linux pc or laptop made by asus to a windows laptop build by the same brand and model the diference goes from $50 to $85. This mean beers and a movies wasted. Technology as gone the lowbudget way, even cars are getting cheap. So why pay extra for an OS that doesnt get the people. Sure Windows phone are great for companies that have a MS platform in every part of their operation and i sell this phones; like honeywell and such, but eventually even this companies will emigrate to something cheap and reliable like android phones. I've seen it.

kpdriscoll
kpdriscoll

Play patent troll and people stop liking your products? Its not enough that Microsoft has put in too little too late or even that they have a history of gouging the markets they overtake. Now the cry is conspiracy against them? They made this bed. Sleep tight.

ScarF
ScarF

Here, in Canada, we have the following Windows Phone, only: - a Samsung Focus offered by Rogers for $500 without a contract or $0.01 with 3 year contract, and - a LG Optimus 7 Offered by Telus for $500 without contract or $0 with 3 year contract The big bomb which is Bell - as well as the smaller Fido (part of Rogers) and Virgin (?) - doesn't offer any. I didn't have enough patience to look at other no-name providers. I found, however, a Nokia Lumia 800 for $775 at Expansys but, it's out of stock and the back-order is 5-10 days. I really hope that Microsoft will kick all these guys where it hurts the most.

shanse3
shanse3

I walked into a Verizon store a few months back because I was almost due for an upgrade and wanted to try some of the new phones for myself. I really wanted to play with the WP7 phone because I'd heard some good things about it...and I'm also a bit of a phone geek. The salesman acted surprised to hear that I wanted to try the (only) Windows Phone 7, and even tried to steer me away from it. I can't remember his exact words, but the gist of what he told me was "Android users (which I am) don't like the WP7 OS". At the time, I thought I was just hearing the opinion of a pro-Android salesperson, but reading this article makes me think it might be more widespread. For the record...I really liked the WP7 interface, and wish that Verizon offered more phones running that OS.

tech_ed
tech_ed

There are several reasons why the WP7.x phone is doing so poorly. 1) when you walk into a store to look at a WP7 phone, all they have are those plastic mock-up things. For a phone that has such a different and unique UI, a user needs to "play" with it to make sure that this is what he wants to spend the next 2 years using...Unfortunately, none of the stores i've been to have a working demo phone of the WP7 phones... 2) Microsoft has abandoned their bread and butter users..the enterprise and technical users...How do I say this? Well, look at the WP7 OS....where's the VPN? Not on those phones, it doesn't exist...in fact, there isn't even a hook into the TCP stack for third partys to write a VPN app...no PPTP, no LTP no VPN what so ever...I don't know where you work, but making a data connection with a mobile device on an unprotected network is a violation of corporate security regulations! And no...an encrypted WiFi is *NOT* good enough, as wireshark has proven... 3) Microsoft abandoned hundreds of thousands of apps when they unceremoniously dumped WinMo6.x for WP7. Have you looked at the WP7 app store? Sure, they may have 50,000 apps, but none that you would want to use...unless you want 15,000 apps to tell you when to pray!

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Don't loose your site.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I noted this when I reviewed the HTC Trophy for Verizon. My last Windows phone was a Verizon HTC XV6800. Man, wasn't that a different era - the HTC was completely de-branded and only featured Verizon logo-ing and you had to really do research to find out who the manufacturer was. Lots of features were still crippled by the carrier that we would go nuts about if that were the case today, and so I spent a lot of time hacking the phone ROM or otherwise searching Howard Forums for ways to enable features that Verizon had crippled. It was a WinMo 6.1 device. Apps were few and far between, and priced nearly as expensive as desktop apps. There is no doubt that at one time Win Mo had a huge and nearly insurmountable lead in portable smart devices like PDAs and smart-phones. Microsoft did not have the vision, the drive, or the determination to make these devices a mainstream success. In hindsight, it is easy to see where they went wrong. A focus solely on business and enterprise use, no emphasis on casual/leisure use, and no attempt to understand how important a well stocked market of inexpensive or free apps could be in driving the popularity of this form factory. Sure, there were problems with the whole interface paradigm and approaching the design from a very conservative, traditional, desktop-centric approach, too. The point is, it didn't HAVE to be this way. When the original iPhone was released, Microsoft did not respond quickly enough or aggressively enough. Because of the AT&T exclusivity of the iPhone, Microsoft had more than enough time to address the issue. Many WinMo users were also dedicated Verizon customers who had no desire to take their chances with AT&T. But for whatever reason, Microsoft froze. And that allowed Droid to arrive at Verizon. That may be where Microsoft lost the race - especially with what I hear about how Microsoft wants to control the WinPhone 7.x experience. It sounds a lot like Apple's walled garden, just operating out of Bellevue instead of Cupertino. In the space between the end of the WinMo 6.5 era and the arrival of the Droid 1, and the subsequent, significant lag until the release of WinPhone 7 - I think I, and a lot of other former Windows Mobile users - have become locked into the entire Google ecosystem. It is going to take a lot more than what I've seen from Windows Phone 7.x to win me back, at this point. One troubling thing I see is that the Windows App market is generally more expensive, app for app, than either the Apple or Android AppStore/Market. As an end user, I have to ask myself, "Why would I migrate back to Microsoft when their product doesn't offer anything tremendously compelling and distinct from the competition, and they're charging more for apps"? I can get everything I need from Android or iPhone, everything that WP7x delivers, and Angry Birds is about 39 cents cheaper - or free if I will endure ads - something that wasn't even an option on the WP version last time I checked. Perhaps that is the important take-away here. Microsoft must realize that they're not the incumbent in this battle, and they've got to bring a LOT of value add to the proposition to win people back. XBox Live integration is a neat trick. The e-mail client is pretty awesome - but those aren't going to convince me to give up the flexibility of Android or to pay more for apps that are cheap or free on other platforms. Microsoft is like an ex-boyfriend that got dumped under the worst terms and is now shopping around trying to see if there might be a chance for a reconciliation. It has cleaned itself up and shaved, but instead of two dozen roses it shows back up expecting us to go dutch on our first date out on the town. That isn't going to cut it. If Microsoft wants phone users back, they're going to have to do some serious charming, wining and dining. I don't think they've committed to that, yet. Microsoft thinks it still has enough game to get off cheap. It doesn't.

ManoaHI
ManoaHI

It is free market. Consumers have determined this by buying the iPhone, Android phones, Android tablets, and the iPad. If you owned a store, you have to stock and display items. That is not free. Would you really want to have to give up valuable counter space and/or warehouse space, do you want to keep items that sell and items that don't sell well? No, it costs too much, you carry and display items that sell well. Conspiracy? No, answers the same as above. Free market. Sellers don't want to waste valuable counter/display space and valuable warehouse space. Who supports your phone? For the iOS devices, you can go to an Apple Store and call/chat Apple. For the Android devices, you can contact Google or Amazon (for Amazon Fire) or even the service providers. Where do you get Microsoft support? Sure, you can get it on-line, but the same goes for Android and iOS. Microsoft has one more uphill battle, for the iOS buyers and Android buyers, the users are now locked into 2 year plans. If you change phones you will have to break the contract and pay the heavy termination fees. Windows 8 phones would have to be utterly stunning and fast and have great battery life, to make people want to pay the early termination fee. Ok, tablets, there are usually no contracts, just register with credit card, so there might be a chance. However, Android and iOS currently are able to connect to Exchange and Notes and GMail. There are apps in both Android and iOS that you can do you work on, even if Microsoft doesn't release Office on those platforms. So, if you are saying that Microsoft will support the enterprise better, everyone I know is doing that already on Android and iOS. Sure, Microsoft has a lock on the desktop, but even Mac users can buy Office for the Mac.

Justin James
Justin James

Much earlier this year, Verizon officials were saying in public that they didn't care about WP7 because they didn't think there was room in the market for a third player. Not too long after, they reluctantly brought their one WP7 model out. Recently, Verizon officials were decrying the lack of a third choice in the mobile market. Funny, because their own decisions played a large role in that. Irony. J.Ja

Barmace
Barmace

The very sad truth is this. Apple and Android put out a very decent product on their first attempt. They had some glitches but for the most part the phones were very well put together from a software point of view. My very first "Webphone" was a HTC Pro 2 which ran windows 6.5 it was a dismal phone and horrible all the way around. I got reports from many other users that stated the same thing. It was extemely buggy and not well made from a software point of view. When you have people who had their first experience so dismal and jump to an android/iphone and find it to work so much better they are gun shy to go back to the product that gave them so many headaches. I would have to say if Bill wants to win this race he will have to do what he always does and that is sell it cheap to the masses and recoup the loss on the next upgrade. ALA! Iphone 4s. I think android did what Bill used to do and that is put out a product that works on any device and soon you will have the market. I also want to add that Android did something that Apple use to do and that is, I can pick up any android phone and I immediately know how it works. That is why I believe Android will be the ultimate winner. Android has taken lessons from both Giants. That is my opinion I welcome yours.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Reminding readers about competitors killed off through questionable if not outright criminal monopoly abuses probably doesn't help Windows Phone 7's case. Netware; develop a good-enough LDAP and bundle it with each Server OS until customers stop buying Novell's LDAP option. Netscape; ship a good-enough'ish web browser bundled with the OS until the company is forced into a non-profit status just to save us from an IE only MS-Internet. Wordperfect may be a little more debatable; a great program in it's Dos days that was intentionally OS agnostic. I don't know the wordprocessor history as well though so Word winning that fight on it's own merits versus Microsoft's market abuse is open to discussion. Now, for Windows Phone in my case; it's greatly a matter of connectivity and software. Will Microsoft be providing intelli-sync for Debian? No? Alright, I'll look elsewhere then. What are my chances of getting my usual suite of tools installed? Will it run Metasploit? No? Iphone isn't any better; I'm not running a media manager just to gain connectivity with my mobile device. I gave up that idiocy in the MP3 Player plus Media Manager days. At least with the Android line, lack of Linux connectivity can be overcome by installing SSH. Not that I'm at all ignoring the invasive nature Google designs Android around. If it does come down to Android though; it'll be a Nexus device that actually get's stock Android and regular updates. If I'm really lucky, my current device will hold out until a Meego, Badda or similar but yet unknown owner friendly device becomes available. In reality, it's probably going to be a minimum functionality feature phone and a tablet; back to my old PDA+phone setup for lack of any compelling smartphone available in this area. An Asus Slider tablet running Debian and whatever 10$ phone will hold a battery charge and I'd be opening my wallet without a second though.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Is the overall cost of the platform. the Droid OS costs the Phone Makers How Much? Apple has it's system so tightly locked to itself and being the first to market are the ones you have to compare against no matter what you think of the Platform it was the first there and everything is currently compared against it. Windows Phone was a disaster to begin with and those who bought them where beating tracks to the Telco demanding an exchange for something that did at least most of what the then current competition did. Windows Phone failed miserably and never recovered from that point on with the Salespeople who have to sell them. Then we have the Windows Phone Platform where you have to get the Hardware in at the sub $700.00 mark. Now just how would you suggest you get the $700.00 Price Tag with money going to the Phone Maker, The OS Provider and the Telco selling it. With Droid being free to the Phone Makers they can include more hardware to get to that Magic Number and even if they where to supply Hardware compatible with a Windows Phone for the Price it costs them with a Droid OS who would buy it to begin with? The bottom line is most people do not shell out for a new Handset they buy a Contract that goes for 24 months and they get what they think is a [b]"Free"[/b] phone. With the same Hardware a Windows Phone has to be more expensive and to get [b]"Free"[/b] phone the Resellers have to still make money. So who would want to sell a 24 Month Contract at a more expensive cost than the Droid Equivalent? Probably more importantly who would buy it? if you just want to argue the cost of the handset identical Hardware with different OS's the Windows Platform is always going to be dearer to buy. You have to buy the Hardware in the Phone and the Software from Microsoft. With the Droid you just pay for the Hardware and the Droid OS costs the Phone Maker nothing. Under those conditions how can any sane person expect the Windows Phone Platform to compete with the Superior Droid System according to the users? It's not any form of conspiracy it's Basic Economics and unless M$ starts to give away the Phone OS for nothing and it's as usable as the Droid OS things will remain that way no matter what else happens. ;) Just occasionally Free Enterprise allows the best to float to the top so we should appreciate this when it happens because it's not very often that it's possible for it to happen. :D Col

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Cell phone companies are all about image and hype. They love flashy ad campaigns. Cell phone companies have a deep desire to be hip. I have not seen the Windows Phone 7 available at Sprint. I'm sure they had one but it was well hidden. If Microsoft can't grow a marketing department I fear that the Phone 7 will never catch the attention of the public or the carriers. You first have to sell the device to the salesman before he will sell it. I have a few ideas...

danwatson
danwatson

It's not such a conspiracy when you consider that, despite great improvements, Windows Phone is still the fourth best option in this marketplace. Heck, it's still a pain to connect to Exchange for email - isn't that counter-intuitive! Maybe, just maybe, if Windows 8 is a hit, and Windows Phone 8 looks just like it, there will be some traction. Otherwise, there is still a long way to go for Microsoft in the mobile marketplace.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you think Windows Phone 7 is getting the retail short-end-of-the-stick in the marketplace, either by design or by accident? What is your reasoning?

iosdefector
iosdefector

Ah but we should know from a marketing standpoint is it demand or is it directly related, if a real estate agent shows you 10 houses but hides the gem in the back and never shows you will there ever be demand for the gem except those that search it out?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

The free market is exactly why none of that explains anything: All things being equal, barring a cartel, if competitors A and B have similar lineups, a decision by either to not carry product X will [i]support[/i] the other competitor making the opposite decision. And that's with only two competitors. With a whole rainbow of them, a repeated decision not to carry a certain product, or to underrepresent it, becomes very suspect. Unless you can point to a specific, aggravated technical shortcoming in WP7 to support such a set of decisions, it becomes very likely that there is in fact not a series of independent decisions, but rather a single collective decision. And remember that the carriers have a gravy train to defend; they're probably fishing for MS assurances that WP7 will not allow users easy conversion from carrier to carrier. That's their cartel; they've all agreed to slave-bind consumers. They will act in unison to defend that cartel, or to strengthen it.

grayknight
grayknight

The carriers are building a lot of negative sentiment. I just wish one of them would break from the group and do what the end users actually want: affordable cellphones from a wide variety of manufacturers and OSes with reasonable phone, texting, and dataplans. Instead the carriers lock us into as many possible ways to take our money and double charge for using their network, and limit our choices to ones that they have full control over.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Get with times! That is so "1990's". Oh, just a bit of FYI for you and others who have quite obviously NEVER really used a Windows Mobile device...I am still using my 5 year old Samsung Blackjack, Windows Mobile 5, that's right, I said WinMo 5, and I've NEVER had any problems connecting with ANY email server, still do, Exchange (though not at the moment), Outlook...POP3, IMAP4. Oh, and by gosh, the old thing still makes phone calls, have never had a dropped call. If you think Apple and Android put out "very decent product" on their first attempt then you really have never seen a first generation iPhone. Android win... maybe, but I doubt it. Android not only has taken "lessons" from both giants, but Google also seems to appropriate IP from them! That could be the burr under Android's saddle that finally irritates the horse enough to throw the rider!

iosdefector
iosdefector

If you look at the truth, Android is NOT free. Look at most handset manufacturers, they are paying royalties for each handset sold to Microsoft and other companies due to the fact that Android is actually infringing on patents from other companies. If android solves the battery and multitasking issues within the OS you will see me give it some credit as well. The other problem with Android is the skinning of it which causes the Fragmentation of the OS to the point there is so many security holes in the system.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

I've read reports that Microsoft is paid around $5 US for each copy of Android used for some licensed code, so the argument of "free" operating system is then not as much a factor. I have a different theory, totally off the wall, but as valid as any other presented so far. I think the carriers have a substantial investment in a number of Android phones, and facing this large inventory of phones are trying whatever means they can to "guide" potential purchasers to the excess investment in Android phones to get rid of them. Afterall, it's not the sale of the phone hardware or software itself that is profitable, it's the 2 year or longer contract. Add to that the "requirement" that a "smartphone" must have a data plan in addition to the voice plan, and now the carrier has a monthly income they can plan on. That's why you see so many advertisements for free or extemely low cost (as in one US cent!) Android phones.

TheWerewolf
TheWerewolf

For one thing, the price of the phone to the consumer is highly subsidised and often doesn't reflect the actual price of the phone. Your arguments would explain why a given manufacturer might not *make* a WP7 phone - but it doesn't explain why the customers aren't buying them. For example, at Roger's Mobile here in Canada, the Samsung Galaxy S Glide (Android) is $550 off contract and $150 with a 3 year contract - but the Samsung Focus (WP7) is $500 off contract and $0.01 with a 3 year contract. By your logic, the Windows Phone 7 should blow away the Android phone in this market - but it doesn't. When you go to Roger's site, the iPhone is the first thing you see, then the Motorola Razr. If you dig in, you'll see more Android phones. You have to go looking for their ONE WP7 phone. There's a similar thing happening with the iPad - go to Best Buy and you'll see "Tablets and iPads". And if you decide to look through the tablets, why look - iPad gets lumped in anyway. They do the same thing at the actual stores - there's an iPad station and a tablet area - which has other tablets AND iPads. The reality is that not every product is marketed equally - not even by the store that sell the products. If you can't find the product you want - you can't buy it. And if the sellers are actively downselling something - you'll be discouraged from buying them. It's got nothing to do with free enterprise letting the 'best' float to the top - it's about the sellers deciding for you - which isn't FREE enterprise... it's controlling the market - the opposite of free enterprise.

Justin James
Justin James

... because it is stupid simple to connect WP7 to Exchange, just as easy as it is on iPhone or Android, and the actual experience is better because the Outlook on WP7 is a top-rate email client. Sounds to me like you are confusing WP7 with Windows Mobile. J.Ja

grayknight
grayknight

Anyone that I've talked to that sells cellphones, they all seem to actively demote WP7. WP7 is always buried in an obscure corner with barely anything to make it stand out (and as another commentor noted, it isn't even a usable one).

cbartek
cbartek

I waited for 6 months to replace my phone so I could upgrade from my 6.5 phone to phone-7. the phone never came. I kept seeing next month, in a couple of months early next year..... I finally HAD to replace the phone so I got the Droid-x I will not be going back to a Windows Phone any time soon. I see all of the HYPE about the iPhone but the droid is everything I need and very easy to use. Plenty of apps for fun and for Business. The lesson here is if you own the market, don't crap on the loyal customers, they may not like it.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

You are proposing that WP7 OS is a gem? I honestly couldn't say. Just asking. All that aside, to me, relatively inexpensive apps that are NOT necessarily tied to what the particular OS developers feel is or is not important to end users will continue to be a top priority selling point with my money.

Barmace
Barmace

Yea Dude I got the phone 2010 I had it for a Year and switched to a droid phone. I think you are stuck in the 90's. The Win phone was a disaster. If you read about every site prior to Win 7 phone you would see that most of them were warning you to stay way and that they were only good for paper weights. Every site I read about the Win phone said it was a terrible design and not well thought out.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Now all you need is to substatiate that claim with evidence. And no, news articles about companies bending to MS shakedown don't count as long as they are done behind an NDA ageement. Can you show that there is actually infringing code in Android? Can you show that it's not simply the business decision of "will paying off Microsoft's lawyers cost less than fighting this in court"?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But here when there was a Windows Phone they sold like hotcakes and where returned even faster. Granted that was Windows Phone 7 but it was a complete disaster for the Telco's who had to replace so many Windows Phones with Droids and then stood no chance of selling the Windows Phones that they had in stock. The Vista Name that Windows got was positively great in comparison to the Windows Phone 7 OS. Any company who has been burnt once is very unlikely to dip their toes in the water again after such a bad experience. However there is still the issue of Handset Cost. The Droid is free the OS Apple uses isn't charged for and both of those costs go to the Handset Hardware. With the Windows Phone the Hardware which also has to be Windows Phone Supported which most new Handsets are not [i]well at least in the Phone 7 Range of products[/i] so this limits the possible hardware and it's power in Number Crunching and hence usable Applications. The New Phone 8 may be a different beast but currently what is against M$ is they do not have a viable alternative to either the Apple or Droid Platforms so there is no Application Development. When the Droids first came out what held them back was the lack of applications like those available for the Apple Platform and until some where developed outside of Google sales where slow. M$ has to overcome this obstacle first to get Windows 8 Phones out there in any numbers and the inertia of companies who would sell these products. Like all things in this Mass Production Society the smaller the production Runs the more expensive the things actually are and with things as they currently stand I can not see how Microsoft has anything in their favor. Their OS doesn't support all the hardware, they have few Applications available and the hardware that is supported is expensive through low Mass Production Numbers. What some people fail to understand is that Free Enterprise doesn't mean let the End User Decide but let the Customer Decide and here the Big Customers are the Telco who package these handsets into Contracts of their own making and Bundle the Phone. Of course there is nothing free if you get a [b]"Free"[/b] Handset you had better believe that you are paying for it in the long run and even if you pull out of the Contract the Early Escape Fees will at the very least cover the cost of the Handset and losses that the Telco Suffers. Microsoft didn't win the OS or Application Wars when they started out. They where flat out surviving from month to month till IBM came along and made them successful. Unless another company like IBM in the Phone Market comes along bigger than Nokia I really can not see the Windows Phone Platform being the run away success that the iPhone is. However on that I have 2 business who have used Droids for quite a while now and they are switching to iPhones about now. By itself this is not breath taking but it is a trend that I have seen here for a while now where people who initially didn't want to be tied to Apple are now going to them with outstretched arms and want nothing to do with the Droids that they have been using previously. I don't know maybe RIM and Nokia will get together and Flog the Windows 8 Platform I don't think it likely but Microsoft would need a conglomeration like that to stand a fighting chance of getting even part way decent initial sales so that they could attract developers to make a big enough application base to be useful. But that's just me and what do I know? :D Col

seanferd
seanferd

Really, the cost is amortized across the length of the contract. So, how is a piece of hardware plus a separate (and historically overpriced) OS not more expensive than an all-in-one or hardware plus a very cheap OS? Even with the standard MS discount to vendors? Not to mention that one always has to go the route of making the hardware compatible and acceptable to MS*, rather than the OS being compatible with hardware. Someone is paying for it. *Although they did drop some of the more ridiculous criteria which have nothing to do with essential operation.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

That honestly would require the thing to work as well as the Droid which it is incapable of doing to begin with. The reason it's so cheap is that the Telcos who put this up are unable to move the crap that passes as Windows Phone 7 and anyone silly enough to buy one returns it very shortly after getting it because it's worse than useless. While it's True 8 may be better M$ has so badly burned so many companies that they are now unwilling to risk any more money on stocking Windows Phones. They can not move what they currently have and have no reason to look again at a latter date no matter what is released. OH BTW this is Free Enterprise working the Customer has chosen and here that Customer is the Big Telcos's and Handset sellers who don't want a bar of Windows Phone anything. [b]The Customer is Always Right[/b] and most times that very customer isn't the End User but the Companies who sell to the End User. ;) Col

wellcraft19
wellcraft19

Does latest version of WinPhone now allows for "proper" local synching with Outlook (outside of Exchange)? It always surprised me that even iOS would do a better job synching (contacts, notes, etc) with Outlook than a WinPhone. I am one of them who does not like to upload my (nicely organized) 4,500 contacts into the cloud. PArt from that, WinPhone is making headway, but sometimes wounder if not too little, too late.

dcolbert
dcolbert

That Android had an email client half as beautiful or well thought out for the mobile device space as WP7's email client. Using a WP7 for a couple of weeks made me realize just how horrible the iOS and Google e-mail client alternatives are. Justin is right.

mjm5
mjm5

It was great!. multiple emails, facebook, youtube, gps navigation... even played farmville on it. I did buy the new touch interface "SPB Mobile Shell", which made the phone even better but really, it was the best experience available at the time. Eventually, Iphone dwarfed it but that was several years after I first bought it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"But, when vendors do not have enough confidence in their product" That point has been addressed but consider this thought experiement: Microsoft shows up at your door claiming that your latest creation WizardWidget35 infringes on there patents while you, being the author, are sure it does not. They point out that the MS legal department just got a 100 million dollar budget increase and they will hapily draw out the court case until you are bankrupt. They would, however, allow you to license the un-named patents for 2 thousand dollars. You have 10 thousand dollars to your name; rent, food, child support, and legal fees all come out of that. Do you: A) bankrupt yourself in a court case who's plaintif's legal budget dwarfs your own? B) sign the NDA, pay the 2 thousand and be happy you still get to keep the 8 thousand? It's not a decision based on "I'm right and would eventually be vindicated through the courts" but one based on which provides the lesser financial loss. I agree that Google really should be stepping up on this one. In a world more interested in justice than lintigation and profit margins we would probably see all defendence band together and tell Microsoft to prove the claims in court assuming that software patents where possible at all (given the focus on justice in our make believe world). As the manufacturer of Android; they are the one's responsible unless the issue is truly additions put in place by the device manufactuer. But the claim is "android infringes" not "Samsung's addition to android infringes" now isn't it. In short; signing the NDA and paying the protection fee does not directly indicate validity of the patents. It only indicates that the paying party thinks they will suffer less expense than they would if they faught the claim in court.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

With Outrageous Patents instead of real estate... And with "placeholder patent" instead of houses, and "trademark patents" instead of hotels... I have a Trademark Patent on Respiration, so now you have to pay me 100 mil... oh, too bad, I guess I WIN!!!!

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

I too have wondered for years just what it is, besides FAT, that Linux violates. But, when vendors do not have enough confidence in their product to go to court and demonstrate the lack of any alleged violation of IP, it's almost as if they are indeed conceding guilt. Yes, the patent system is messed up, but it is what it is. Perhaps if Google would take a stand and let Microsoft's claims go to court, then all of us would know if Microsoft did indeed have a "royal flush" or is just bluffing!

seanferd
seanferd

Patent trolling by one company, with the targets caving in to avoid legal battles in a messed up system, does not substantiate the claim. MS has been claiming patent infringement against all sorts of things, including Linux, for years. They have never once shown what is supposedly infringing to the public - and they would have to do so in court. But another reason for potential defendants to avoid court is because they like doing the same thing, so no dice. The only thing I'm remotely familiar with is the MS claim that any OS capable of reading an MS disk filesystem is infringing. It seems that no matter how you write the code, if it can read FAT32, it's infringing. Never mind that the original patents are rather non-specific, overly broad, and should have expired long ago, but that's the ridiculous nature of the patent system (and all other "IP" protection systems). [q]Can you show that there IS NOT infringing code in Android?[/q] Oh, come on now, I know you are more intelligent than that. it doesn't work that way. Not in logic, and not in the courts. You make the claim, you provide the evidence. Prove that there is not an invisible, intangible, purple giraffe in my garage. But enough of my déraillement.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

See.. this part of my previous post dealt with that very bit about manufacturers substatiating claims: " Can you show that it's not simply the business decision of "will paying off Microsoft's lawyers cost less than fighting this in court"? " For the manufacturer, it is a matter of if they encure less expense agreeing to pay up versus the expense encured in legal fees if it goes to court. Hence, the number of vendors who have agreed to NDA protected terms is not an indication of the validity of Microsoft's claims. I find it interesting that some companies have indeed stood up and told Microsoft to go get stuffed. It is also interesting to note that Microsoft has not actually gone after Google directly (things that make you go hm..). yes, yes.. Apple is actively litigating also. Oracle also. It's the latest in big business tactics thanks to a patent system so broken that only the US gov can't see it. Litigate or Comepte; it's the game the whole family can join in! Did you see the latest news where Australia's ban on the Galaxy tablet was overturned? Seems we may need to wait for the outcome of legal procedings before we claim Apple vs Samsung is evidence of infringement huh.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

all of the Android manufacturers do that for us by paying Microsoft's requested royalties. Can you show that there IS NOT infringing code in Android? It's also not just Microsoft taking legal actions against Android... seems Apple is quite active at the moment against Samsung in regards to its Galaxy S Android tablet.

gcurrier
gcurrier

I too, have the same phone you do...I have to brag a bit though: buying it in Germany from an 02 shop was the trick. They offered it to me for 169 Euro (about 200 bucks) - without contract. I was so impressed by the deal, I bought it right off. As Far as function and use is concerned, as the title says, I have no issues. I have been largely impressed with everything I want to do - including connecting to an Exchange server, which was incredibly easy - something I was unable to do with my Android phone. As I belong to my company's IT department, finding this little gem of a phone was a way for me to introduce to the managment a different, and more cost effective method of keeping our mobile users happy (they all use the iPhone 4). As out entire infrastructure is MS based, integrating MAC seemed a little stupid to me. That aside, I am unable to agree with most other comments I have seen here (except that even here in Germany, the phone sales people tried their very best to talk the Windows phone down in favor of the over-saturated-in-the-market Android and iPhone). My opinion is that what people expect from a windows phone should not be the same as what they expect from an iPhone or Android-based device. Windows has always been, first and foremost, the premier business O/S. Naturally, moving into the smart phone market means that the phones would likewise be business oriented (I personally could not care if I was able to play my facebook games on my phone or not). However if you want to buy apps - feel free, its your phone. iPhone (synonymous with "iPod") seems to me a way of taking your iPod with you and adding hardware parts that allow you to do things like make phone calls and check emails. In short my opinion of the iPhone is not very high and I would not ever stoop to the level of buying one. I liked Android - before they locked it. I bought my phone back in November 2009 and was happy, until they updated it and removed the freedom I had with it (my fault for allowing the automatic updates). Since then I looked for a replacement. I was unable to ever connect it to Outlook or an Excahnge server (and I'm not paying for an app that lets me do it) That and the earlier versions of Android required you to have a google account to use the phone. So I am biased in favor of a system on a phone that I am familiar with and readily integrates into our company infrastructure (both in networking and in email). Android would present a security risk and iPhones are forever giving us connectivity issues. In all, I have to say that more people are willing to be negative against Windows Phones based on hearsay instead of attempting to test it out, allowing the salespersons in various shops drive their decisions. I may not be completely informed about every platform and every hardware device concerning smartphones, et al. but I DO try to be fair when speaking about them (and then, ONLY after I have had some experience with them).

mjm5
mjm5

Your comment regarding Exchange is a bit misleading. I have HTC HD7 using WP7.5 Mango. Even before Mango, I have 6 different email accounts (Exchange, hotmail, gmail, yahoo, university mail ...) and they all work seemlessly on my phone from a single home screen icon (or if I choose, from separate icons, grouped in several different ways (I have two, work and personal mail). They are better integrated than any client, PC, MAC, iPhone... than I've ever seen. So no, WP is not restricted to using the Exchange system as you suggest. When I went to purchase the phone, I was actively discouraged by the people at the Bell store (Canada) who literally told me to get Android (Android users in my company cannot access our Exchange system for some unk reason). I wasn't interested in the rapidly fragmenting Android ecosystem, nor was I too impressed with the iphone. I love my WP7.5 and would recommend it to anyone. Unfortunately, no one hears about it and when they go to the stores (Bell, Future shop, Best Buy...) it's nearly invisible. That's why no one is buying it.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

How poor Microsoft actually is so they need every possible Income Stream to continue in business. It's probably the only way that they will make any money from the Smart Phone Platform. ;) Their Mail Client is brilliant but that's the only thing that would make you want one and then only if you where getting your mail from a Exchange Server otherwise it's a nonissue. They don't have anything else that makes it worth even considering one and currently most of my current customers are moving [i]or have already moved[/i] to iPhones away from Droids which replaced their Windows Phone Handsets. Yep just what I need to make my life so much more difficult. :( Col

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Microsoft is doing all it can to shake down Android device retailers. I believe Motorola was indeed one of the companies that folded under Microsoft's threats and now pays a 5$ per unit to MS. Ironic that Microsoft is making more money off Android - an OS it had nothing to do with developing - than it's making from it's own OS. It's sure demonstrating a strategy of trying to make Android more expensive rather than offer more competitive licensing terms for it's own OS.

iosdefector
iosdefector

I am a former iPhone user, since the 3G, even had a iPhone 4 which I have recently gave to my wife. I have a HTC Titan and I have to say after working with the Syncing Apple does not have Syncing properly done. If you add iCloud and any other contact syncs you will end up getting duplicates all over the place. So I have to say Apple did not do it properly. With my wife's phone she can only have either her Yahoo or iCloud but not both for contacts.

Justin James
Justin James

Very transparent with all of the sync stuff, and as auto-linked as possible from different accounts. You only really notice the different accounts when you go to delete (it won't delete from the underlying data store without your permission) or on the rare occasions where it doesn't match identical items from different accounts (usually because the name or some other identifier is different). J.Ja