Windows Phone; waiting for a hero

windows phone mango

The Windows phone has been out for over a year now and yet month after month, the sales numbers indicate the platform not gaining positive traction with consumers in terms of market share. With the release of the Mango update, stories are now pouring in of tech bloggers and Microsoft critics praising the OS with the latest being  Robert X Cringely.

Month after month we wonder, what will it take for the average consumer to give the OS a chance? Will it be new phones with LTE or dual core processors? Will it be the return of Nokia to the US? Microsoft has a huge perception bias against them as this ZDNet article perfectly illustrates with Bing (but can applied to most its other products as well) Who or what will be the hero that will come down and lead Windows phone to victory?

A few months ago, I wrote a post on what I thought Microsoft needed to do in order to remain competitive with the then yet unannounced iPhone 4S and Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Five months later. I think the main problems still persist. The carriers (where a majority consumer purchase their phones) are still not pushing the OS or at least presenting it in a favorable light. The advertising is virtually non existent though Nokia seems to be doing a great job in Europe. In the US, I’m quite puzzled by Microsoft spending a bulk of the prime time advertising Windows 7, an OS which already gained traction in the market and sold hundreds of millions of licenses thereby needs no help, while giving a cursory mention to fledgling mobile OS. Yes, there are some ads from the carriers, but you will notice that they are mainly focused on selling the hardware and not the OS.

Where is Microsoft’s sustained “Droid Does” like campaign that vaulted Android into the mainstream? If they only could bring themselves to embark on an product promotion that focuses on the integration found in the people hub with Facebook and twitter, messaging hub with voice and seamless switching between, SMS, Facebook chat and Messenger, Pictures, Calendar and Email with linked inboxes, Bing with Local Scout, Vision and Audio, Xbox live Office and the Zune hub. Just show the ads with a phone and a feature in action. No cheesy gimmicks. Deemphasize apps because the OS’s strength is getting helping the user to accomplish tasks as efficiently as possible without having to think what app they need to use.

What will it take to get Windows Phone over the hump? Six months from now, do you guys think we’ll still be having this discussion on what Microsoft needs to do to gain market share? Are we still going to be waiting for a hero, perhaps Windows Phone 8?

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