I’ve been in California for 18 months now, and I’ve yet to see a SINGLE Windows Phone in a consumer’s hands.
The few times I have, I’ve confronted and even congratulated the individual, only to find out they work for Microsoft, or they’re a developer paid to code for it. I do, however, see schizophrenic homeless people defecating on San Francisco sidewalks. But no Windows Phones. I’m not sure which makes me sadder.
3.2%. That’s Windows Phone’s marketshare. Third place in a two horse race. Windows Phone is currently on its eighth version and has arguably been in development since 2000 with the launch of Windows Mobile. They have the finest phone manufacturer in the world producing their phones, yet, thirteen years and billions of dollars later, all they can muster up is a measly 3.2%.
Why would God let this happen!?!
One word: Brand.
Everyone hates Microsoft. Literally everyone. My mom hates Microsoft. My dog hates Microsoft. Unborn fetuses hate Microsoft. Ok, that’s a bit harsh. Let’s just say, no one LOVES Microsoft. No one gets pumped up about Microsoft. Steve Ballmer doesn’t count, no matter how loud he yells it.
When people think Microsoft, they think crashing apps, they think blue screens of death, cumbersome products, malware, unlawful monopolistic practices, a weaseling Bill Grates testifying in court, and awkward advertisements involving Jerry Seinfeld.
The entire world have been slaves to Microsoft products for years. Like a public utility, we’ve had no choice. I can picture Lily Tomlin in a Saturday Night Live skit proclaiming, “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re Microsoft.”
With the advent of the smartphone, people finally had a choice! They fled from Microsoft in droves. Now Microsoft expects them to return? For a less superior product? It’s like asking Amanda Berry to return to the attic.
And yes, it is a less superior operating system. As a Windows Phone, Android, and iOS owner, I can say this with certainty. It lacks basic features found in competing OS’s, and offers very little new. Still waiting on that notifications system. Still waiting on those apps. Are “Live Tiles” better than icons? Maybe. Is it enough to get people to switch? Apparently not.
When you’re sitting at 3.4% marketshare, you need a groundswell of support behind your product. You need passionate fans and developers to volunteer in your army. In order to get that groundswell, you need brand. Microsoft doesn’t have brand. See the comment about unborn fetuses above.
Microsoft won’t be becoming “cool” anytime soon. “Xbox is cool!” you say. Maybe because Xbox has distanced itself from the Microsoft brand. Should Windows Phone had done the same?
Redmond needs to unleash a groundbreaking experience. Something so earth-shattering you can’t ignore it. This hasn’t happened for Microsoft since 1995, but they’ve got the wallet to do it again. Until then, let’s hope Windows Phone OEM’s create such groundbreaking hardware you forget you can’t have Instagram.