Windows Phone 7 Thoughts: Dave Evans

image With tomorrow being the last day for these thoughts I have been reading, I thought I should post one of the longest, but most interesting thought I have read so far:


I am a long time Windows Mobile user, all the way back to the original iPaq days. I have been involved as a writer and editor on a few sites. I was also a Microsoft Mobile Devices MVP at one time, so my experience with the platform is significant.  I have seen several posts from people here stating the positive things about Windows Phone 7. I’m a person who likes to tear things apart and find the problems. Nothing ever improves if you concentrate on what you did right. You need to fix the things that aren’t right. There are several things about WP7 I am very disappointed with.
First, I am disappointed with the philosophy Microsoft has chosen. They are taking the very same path that Apple took 3-4 years ago when the first iPhone was launched.  Yes, it worked for them, but now Apple has sold millions of devices to people who want to go down that path, satisfying a big chunk of the market, leaving  Microsoft to pick up what is left. Not an easy task, especially considering the fact that the iPhone has now had a few years to mature and will be ahead of WP7 in its feature set when WP7 launches.  Microsoft is the world’s largest software developer. With the resources they have, they should be a leader in the mobile world, instead they have chosen to follow in someone else’s footsteps. It’s already an old platform model, and Microsoft expects to climb back into the market with an old concept.
Taking such a death grip on the platform is a terrible overreaction. I see no reason why they need to have such tight control over what can be installed on the device. I can see having a well controlled Marketplace that people can go to with confidence, for those who want it. However, making it mandatory for everyone is over doing it. I should be able to go wherever I want, and buy what I want for my phone without Microsoft controlling it, or taking a cut of the profit.
Not being able to install a 3rd party interface, or allowing carriers to overlay their own is absurd. Again, I understand that they want to “insure” everyone has an enjoyable experience, but this can easily be done by simply not checking  a box similar to what we have now for TouchFlo/Sense and others. If people are afraid it will interfere with their phone’s performance they simply choose not use it.
I can’t see many OEMs being exited about such tight control. They will all be developing the same device, with no way to stand out from others. TouchFlo/Sense is a prime example of this. Many people bought HTC devices because they liked the interface. Now with such a bland selection of phones why would carriers carry a selection of WP7 devices when all they need is one with a keyboard and one without. Having several different devices from different manufacturers makes no sense at all, since they all look the same anyway, and the hardware is so tightly controlled it will make it impossible  for anything but a few manufactures to be successful.
Microsoft seems to have done a good job with Office for WP7, but there is far more to enterprise then using just Microsoft Office. Enterprise is locked out. Stating the WM6.X will continue to be available for enterprise just doesn’t cut it. How many new WM6.X devices do you think will be available next year? Not many. How many developers do you think will continue to develop for a platform that has already seen a significant drop in users? Outside the huge enterprises that buy tens of thousands of devices and have their own software developed for them, there are thousands and thousands of small enterprise users out there using specialized software developed specifically for Windows Mobile, marketed and bought directly from the developer. Now with Windows Mobile drying up, their only hope would be to develop for WP7, however with their only means of distribution being through Microsoft’s Marketplace which takes a third of the licence fee, this is a significant change in the business model. Since many of these applications cost several hundred dollars, simply adding Microsoft’s cut to the price to make up for the drastic drop in profit margin is out of the question. Too many segments of enterprise are left out in the cold, with no solid answers or direction.
Now, onto the features that have been cut. Why? Why can’t there be cut and paste? Why can’t there be multitasking? Imagine driving down the road using your 3rd party GPS application and the phone rings. Your  GPS is now gone…no multitasking. Microsoft is telling its customers to take a cut in its feature set to move forward. I don’t think they teach this in marketing 101.
Third party GPS is something I would love to hear Microsoft talk about. I will bet dollars to donuts that third party GPS is going to be locked out on WP7. You will be forced to use a Microsoft product, or one that Microsoft has deemed allowable. Imagine all those companies who have spent years developing GPS products for Windows Mobile being left out in the cold.
Regardless of what feature are present, or left out, and regardless of the path they have chosen, Microsoft must do two things if Windows Phone 7 is to be a success. First, they must sell it to the public in a very big way. They must sell the sizzle. It has to be made out to be the coolest phone out there. They need HYPE! Secondly, they must work very diligently with their OEMs to sell the carriers. There aren’t many carriers around the world on the Windows Mobile/Windows Phone bandwagon any more. They need to work very closely with them to make their product as easy as possible for people get their hands on. I think one of the keys to this is not just getting the product on the shelves, but working with the carriers to see that they have well priced, and affordable plans for the masses. This will not be an easy task, and not one I see Microsoft doing, since this whole platform seems to be built around selling services.
Good luck Windows Phone 7, you’re going to need it!

That was a long one, and as always please do not be rude towards others POV.

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