Quit blaming Microsoft for slow adoption of Windows Phone 7

A lot is being made of a statement from LG’s team director of marketing and planning, James Choi, where he says that from an industry’s point of view, Windows Phone 7 could have done better on launch:

“From an industry perspective we had a high expectation, but from a consumer point of view the visibility is less than we expected”, James Choi, marketing strategy and planning team director of LG Electronics global told Pocket-lint in a one-to-one interview.

via Pocket-Lint

Along with this there is a general attitude that Microsoft is sticking with the higher end segment of the handset market, there isn’t enough diversity, and that the OS is boring.

There are a few of counterpoints I want to make to this, but the most important one I want to stress is:

Stop trying to put all the blame on Microsoft!

I agree that visibility is a major problem and Paul Thurrott makes a good point when he says:

Visibility. Microsoft needs to broaden availability of Windows Phone via wireless carriers and communicate that availability via more advertising. That is, the company needs to really stand behind the product and not just let it sit there in silence.

But this again is putting the onus on Microsoft, and again I will say this: Enough already.

I mentioned this in today’s Daily Brief as well, which will be posted later. But, if you want a really simple example as to why Windows Phone 7 hasn’t gotten the traction it deserves, look no further than the carriers and sales outlets to see why.

As I told Paul in the show I was at the mall the other day, and as I usually do when I’m there, I took a walk around to the four different carrier stores (or affiliate sales stores.)  Not one of them had a single bit of ad art or marquee stands showing off  Windows Phone 7 at all.  None.

Not only that but, only two (Telus and Bell) had a single Windows Phone 7 handset for people to look at, and it wasn’t even a working model but rather it had that plastic sticky image on the front.

What’s even worse is when you start visiting the various carriers pages and almost right across the board you will not find any major push of a Windows Phone 7 handset.

Telus home page:

Pretty much anything smartphone related is Android, as you can see.

Bell Mobility’s page:

Again – Android.

Now for the third major player in Canada – Rogers, and not much of a change.

Not a single Windows Phone 7 to be seen anywhere.

When it comes to price and quality of the handsets, I don’t want Microsoft to cheapen the product that Windows Phone 7 is used on – we’ve been down that road with Windows and the hardware it runs on. it isn’t pretty, and we are still paying the price for those decisions, so the last thing I want to see is for the same thing happen to Windows Phone 7.

As for price,  Microsoft doesn’t control that. You want to blame anyone for that then look to the handset manufactures and carriers. Microsoft doesn’t set the price of handsets. That is the job of the manufacturers who then collude with the carriers to make consumers pay what they want with onerous contracts.

That isn’t the fault of Microsoft and as Google showed quite well, you don’t mess with the carriers. So don’t expect Microsoft to act any differently.

Microsoft might have committed $500 million to promoting Windows Phone 7 but that is an amount that is being spent globally and right or wrong they are expecting their so-called partners to do their fair share.

So if all you tech pundits want to allocate blame for the slow uptake of Windows Phone 7, take your heads out of the sand and put the blame where it belongs – on the manufacturers and carriers.

Unfortunately that isn’t happening and that is no fault of Microsoft’s.

[Cross-posted at Winextra]

About Steven Hodson

In his own words, Steven Hodson is "just a cranky old fart who has been around the computer industry for more years than I can count." He doesn't like PR spin and "fanbois" irritates him to no end. While he is a Microsoft enthusiast, he is not an apologist, and has no qualms about giving leveling criticism where it's deserved.