The five Sins of Windows Phone
"I really want Windows Phone to succeed."
This has to be one of the most over-used phrases these past few months. That's probably why it immediately stirs up skepticism. But then again, it is true for so many people for so many reasons. Most importantly, as soon as anyone with any interest in tech sees the OS they know instinctively; this is the next iteration of OS'es. They want it to succeed, but there are so many factors involved that MS hasn't managed to get right that they can't help but feel let down.
I want to believe that the reason why so many people are bitter about WP is not because they are "bias" against it or don't wish it to succeed over their favorite tech giant - but because they are afraid that Microsoft has stumbled upon something marvelous - yet is slowly screwing it up by not taking it to the next step. Microsoft has sinned fatally to many times this last year regarding WP, and it is just adding to the hurt.
First there is the bias against Microsoft, and it is their own fault to a degree (the late 90's to early 2000 era was awful). It's an uphill battle. When Apple or Google release a product they generally are given the benefit of doubt. When Microsoft does it is quite the opposite. They are trying to combat this and position themselves as the "new underdog" - but make so many amateur mistakes in the process that the brand ID fails to rise to the "Apple" level. Where they should be the voice calling out foul play, they generally are the voice that is far too aggressive on all the wrong fronts. They end up portrayed as more "smug" then anything else.
Second, Microsoft has been known to ship half cooked products, especially consumer oriented ones. Though nothing severe, when compared to what Apple generally ships people have a tendency to trust apple no matter what but give serious doubt about MS products even if they seem good. Killing off brands before you improving them just amplifies this way above what is fair. But what is fair is pretty irrelevant, they are hurting because of this situation.
Third, they decided not to copy and be creative. I have to applaud here, they did a great job and took a huge risk. But it hasn't payed off now, which just shows (yet again) that people aren't inclined to change their behaviour if the new product isn't familiar and natural in some way. The iPhone was a huge differentiatior to the prior gen smart phones, but it was also very natural. The WP is definiately the way forward BUT people aren't there yet. The efficiency it can provide doesn't appeal to people because they are generally not interested in re-training themselves; even when it is apparent that they will benefit from it. To battle this Microsoft should have not rushed to the market. You are already late, you are coming with a UI and OS paradigm that is very alien (yet effective). It would only make sense to finish the damn thing first - not try and pull an Apple when they had an advantage with the iPhone you do not : which felt very natural and instinctive to use.
Fourth, there is the comfort zone. Apple and Google have an immense app collection. But that's not their real strength. The real deal is this: if anyone wants a service/app they know it will be released on iOS first, Android close second and maybe WP if lucky. That is a huge loss. MS can get all the quality apps on the store they want but it won't change that fact. The only way that can change is when there is enough demand from the WP OS to enable quick service/app launches on the platform. App count is irrelevant in this manner.
Fifth, marketing, frankly - a big no. They don't know how to be cool, how to be desiarable and how to project themselves as defiant - only smug. There goes the whole teen market. They aren't able to emphasize the importance of the WP OS to businesses either, so they partly lose that too. The people that are interested are mostly designers, tech evangelists, Microsoft supporters and first time smart phone buyers. Yes it is a good idea to go after the %50 market of feature phone users, but NO, it is a terrible idea to try and be the stepping stone between them and other smart phone OS'es.
There are, of course, many exceptions to the stuff I've stated above, and in no way did i mean to classify everyone into the descriptions I gave, but I do believe that a huge part of the problem can be stated by those five points.
I won't be re-re-re-reviewing the OS nor it's capabilities. While I think Microsoft is seriously lacking on some core aspects of a modern smart phone OS, I really don't believe that the OS is hindered enough to stop it from gaining momentum. If anything, though it has it drawbacks, I believe that despite the OS (which has high satisfactory ratings everywhere) Microsoft pulled all the wrong strings and failed to launch this product into mainstream.
This is Microsoft's original iPhone. It has the same issues that the original iPhone had when it was launched but it has none of the strengths (hype, marketing power, loyal fan base) par one; it is the next iteration of any OS be it mobile or otherwise.
Disclaimer; I live in Turkey, and I have been using my WP as my sole device since it's launch in the US. Had to use many workarounds to enable most of the services and I still miss out on many of the core abilities (like local scout and proper mapping). I love my phone (well the OS to be exact) and I will continue to use it till WP v8 is among us.