Monday, July 13, 2015

Is Windows Phone Dead Or Is It Just A Sleeping Dragon?

Really? Commercial - Windows Phone 7 from Diego Contreras on Vimeo.

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom where to rival kings fought for control of the lives of the people that lived there. These kings had slain every other king and taken their kingdoms one by one. The first kingdom was glorious. It had a king that ruled a land of perfect subjects that did everything he asked. The second was a slightly less organized king, who let his subjects run around and do anything they pleased, as long as everything was taken care of at the end of the day. Neither king was right for everyone, but the two groups of subjects were both becoming frustrated with their kings. Then it happened, one morning there was a new king that emerged.

It was a soul that promised to save the subjects of the other two kingdoms from themselves. It was not the same as the starch rule following king. Nor was it the same of the unruly king that had fragmented its kingdom so badly that the subjects hardly knew who they were any longer. It was the perfect blend of everything that was good and right in both kingdoms, but he had no followers. Soon, small groups began to join this new king and his vision. Then more and more people followed. Finally, in an effort to get as many followers as he could, he offered to trade lands with them and even give them money if his land was not as nice as the land they had. This land, was the kingdom of Windows Phone.

When Windows Phone 7 broke on to the scene, Apple wasn’t as polished, but still had the best ‘locked down’ OS for the beginning user. Android was so spread out over 1.5-3.2 that people didn’t know what version they had or what Apps actually ran on their devices. It was the prime opportunity to strike. The first wave of commercials hit and Windows Phone was rolling. Gone was the dwindling share of Windows Mobile users and off they went to become the next big OS. Until…

The first update of Windows Phone came out and it pumped some needed features into the devices. Things like MMS and a few other key features that didn’t make the 7.0 cut were finally on board. It was picking up steam and doing so quickly. Great devices were coming from manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, LG and finally, Nokia. With the release of the Titan, Radar, Lumia 800 and Samsung Focus S, Windows Phone was finally going places. To crank it up a notch, Microsoft began one of the most devastating campaigns in the history of their company, the Smoked by Windows Phone trade-in program.

Smoked By Windows Phone from Lee Hilse on Vimeo.

The Smoked by Windows Phone campaign offered users the chance to take their current Android or iOS phone to a Microsoft Store to perform a series of challenges. If you won, Microsoft handed you a nice $1000 gift card. If you lost, you could trade your old hardware for a brand new Windows Phone of your choice. It was the most amazing piece of marketing in history and swung Windows Phone in to the crowd ahead of BlackBerry in number of users for the first time. Windows Phone was starting to win.

After that, little by little the numbers got better. Apps began to appear in the store. Users were talking about Windows Phone as more than the old Windows Mobile. It was a viable system. Until the tech blogs got involved, that is. Android was maturing and condensing. Less versions on handsets meant less variants for the developers to support. Apple continued to pound features and polish into iOS and their user base grew as well. Windows Phone was slipping again. Then on one fateful day, Joe Belifore, destroyed any chance Microsoft had of getting back in the game with one statement. Windows Phone 8 was coming, and it’s not compatible with anything we’ve sold you…

That sentiment right there destroyed Windows in the mind of every consumer. It was done. By virtually resetting the system to run on the non-CE kernel, then botching the Windows 8 release all together, Microsoft had to about face and run from the mobile industry. An $8 billion mistake in purchasing Nokia… A multi-billion dollar botch of Windows 8… Investing billions more into features that just never quite worked out… It just destroyed them, for now.

Moving to the future, Satya Nadella, the man who will be charged with bringing Microsoft back, has a vision. It’s a simple vision, much like what Windows Phone was to start with. Sell the services, then build hardware to take advantage of it. Just like everything Microsoft has done in the hardware arena, the first run of Windows Phones has been a bust. Yes, just like the Zune, the Xbox, heck, even the Surface – DUD. But that’s not where the story of this king or kingdom ends.

This story continues to the next generation of Windows Phones and the next version of Windows itself. Will Windows 10 finally bring the three screen concept to life? Will Windows 10 be so close to your PC that you can finally say it’s the same? Will making such great Apps for the other guys make it easier for them to switch to Windows once they are ready to upgrade their phones? These are all great questions, and they will be answered. There is one thing for certain, people are buying phones, and they want phones that work the way they want them to. If Windows 10 gives them that phone, those numbers should go up. If not, then you can still get OneDrive for your iPhone, Galaxy S6  or HTC One.


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