You can actually get grey hair prematurely when you try and cover Microsoft strategy.
It’s a roller coaster of ups and down (like the Mitt Romney campaign) and every time you think there’s good news, they provide a counterweight to depress you.
This week, I have to speak to the Windows Phone 8 upgrade debacle.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about I’ll sum it up real quick.
- Microsoft introduced new Windows Phones (Nokia Lumia) into the Market in partnership with Nokia.
- Those phones (on the Windows Phone 7.5 platform) got mostly positive reviews.
- Excitement (slowly) started to build about Microsoft getting into the mobile phone space.
- Now it appears those phones will not get the upgrade to Windows Phone 8.
- Windows Phone 8 may be out by year end/early next year.
I thought the no upgrade thing was just rumor and conjecture until I read Paul Thurrott’s piece a few days ago.
There were some dueling stories about whether it would be possible to upgrade any existing Windows Phone handsets—including first-generation Windows Phone 7 devices and newer Windows Phone 7.5 handsets like the Lumia 900—to the forthcoming Windows Phone 8. Allow me to set the record straight. No. It won’t happen. Not for the Lumia 900, and not for any other existing phone. It won’t happen partially, through an update that will deliver just some features, and it won’t happen for those who wish to pay for such an update. It simply isn’t happening. Sorry. But please don’t email me about this; I’m just the messenger.
Now I respect Paul a lot and know that he probably has iron clad confirmation from Microsoft about this.
He goes on to outline the 4 reasons why this won’t happen which boil down to the fact that it would make no sense for Microsoft, Phone Networks and Phone makers.
Once again, you can read his article here.
Without commenting on his reasons why, I just have to say that this is just awful news for Microsoft and for Nokia.
It can be argued that all this is just “inside baseball” and only technology writers and enthusiasts care about this.
To believe that, you would need to have a very cynical view about consumers. You would have to believe that they don’t care about which phones they buy and will be more than happy to discard their device for a new one in less than a year.
I think this is just one more piece of empirical evidence that Microsoft are making this up as they go and don’t have a step by step strategy for getting their Windows Phone message through.
Basically, it now seems clear that they rushed out these new Nokia Lumia phones as a stop-gap between Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8.
As a consumer, I would imagine that it doesn’t feel good to own a stop-gap device.
The tragedy of this is, a lot of people who have Microsoft phones now actually love them and like Microsoft. This is basically giving those people the middle finger.
Some have speculated that Microsoft may eventually offer free hardware upgrades to these customers when the time comes.
EVEN IF the upgrades are free when the time comes, the damage is already done. This is one more reminder to people that Microsoft phones are not drama free.
One more reminder that they come with more than just functionality, you have to be worried about upgrades, updates, redundancy and politics.
In addition, you now have to worry about Windows Phone 8. What if they change their minds and make Windows Phone 8.7 the OS to have?
What then? – Go ahead, tell me that you know this won’t happen…..(silence)
Google has a similar amount (albeit not as serious) of drama around Android Phone updates – what updates will this vendor get, is that update coming to Sprint, when is the update going to be available, can I hack it? etc. etc.
Microsoft need to understand that consumers want stability in their mobile hardware choices not devices that may be obsolete almost immediately.
Nokia, if this is true, your Lumia is going to be sell fewer units and once again, Apple iPhones look more attractive by comparison.
Enough from me, what do you guys and girls think?
Use the comments below…