Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Why Is Windows Phone Still Failing The Small Business User?

Angry Businessman Yelling into Phone

Back in April of 2013, I wrote a post about how Windows Phone was failing the small business user. It covered three basic topics that would plague a business user coming from Android or iOS. The three areas that I felt Windows Phone was very lacking was the fact that there was no option to local print a file, that there was  no way to send a fax from your device and that there were no options for credit card processing. Fast forward about 2 years, and things haven’t gotten much better.

Windows Phone continues to fail in the most basic needs of a small business user. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Windows Phone just doesn’t work for the small business user. Back in 2011, I ran, and I mean completely ran my photography company from my HTC Evo 4G. From start to finish, I was able to take care of any need that the client had right from my phone. I could take credit cards with Square, I could fax invoices or contacts right from my device. I could message people from my business line with our Google Voice connection. I could even upload galleries from drives on that device. None of this is possible on a Windows Phone 5 years later.

Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft has a great OS, but to the average small business owner, there is no reason to adopt it. In fact, I had to make the painful choice to tell someone NOT to adopt it based on their needs. It was sad, but the honest truth is that Windows Phone is still not the right OS for most small business owners and here’s why.

Printing: There are a few options out there. Unfortunately none of them work very well and the ones that do will set users back a few bucks. This is something that really needs to be addressed. When I look at the ability of my HTC M7 to print from a file to my wireless printer, I think to myself, that was easy. When I use the same App on my M8 for Windows, it won’t print, in fact, it won’t do anything but scan. Which, not to sound completely dumb, is dumb. I can scan something from my scanner next to my computer to my phone that I could have scanned with the computer and saved to OneDrive which would have put it on my phone instantly. Yeah, not good.

Credit Card Acceptance: Again, none of the major players appear in this game either. It’s sad but true. If you want to take cards, Amazon, Square and every other company out there supports iOS and Android. Got WP, then you are stuck with PayPal.

Faxing: I know that faxing is a dying art, and you can always pay for a fax to email service, but who wants to spend $,05 a page to run their small business. It’s crazy that Windows ME had fax from PC capabilities almost 20 years ago, but we don’t have a basic option to do so from a Windows Phone yet.

Yes, these are the same points that I used in that article almost 2 years ago and yes, they are still a major issue for Windows Phone. If MS really wants to grow the platform beyond teenagers getting a Lumia 530 as a replacement for the iPhone they broke or a Lumia 635 for that senior that got an easy to use smartphone, then they need to start addressing these issues. Get some developers on staff that will make Windows Phone the best business OS on the planet. You did it once on PC’s, it shouldn’t be that hard to do it with a pocket PC.

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