Microsoft's Windows Phone Challenge, also known as "Smoked by Windows Phone," recently suffered a controversial defeat that's leading to questions about the contest's fairness. After Sahas Katta won the challenge with his Galaxy Nexus, Microsoft Store employees claimed that he lost on a minor technicality. Katta took his story to the internet, backlash ensued, and Microsoft quickly backpedaled. We'll be keeping track of any reports of Microsoft fixing its challenges and the associated fallout right here.
Mar 31, 2012Read Article >
Microsoft's Windows Phone Challenge isn't without controversy, but apparently it's also popular enough to warrant going on a few extra days. The contest was set to end on March 29th, but Microsoft is extending it until April 5th, with a few tweaks to the prizes. For each remaining day of the contest, only the first 100 people to lose the challenge at each Microsoft Store will be eligible for a free phone. The next 500 will be offered a $25 gift card if they lose, but won't be required to recycle their "smoked" handset to get the card. If anyone can manage to pull out a victory over Windows Phone, there's still that $1000 Hunger Games-branded laptop up for grabs.
Mar 27, 2012
"Do you think I have a chance of winning?" I asked the nice lady in the blue Microsoft t-shirt. "No," she said, a split second after the last word left my mouth. "Droid 4, right?" She pointed at my device. "I had that phone."Read Article >
At the Valley Fair Shopping Mall in Santa Clara, California, after waiting an hour in line at the Microsoft Store for a chance to win a $1,000 laptop by proving my Droid 4 was faster than a Windows Phone, my speedy dual-core LTE device was being condemned without a minute's thought. She gave me a sympathetic glance, thanked me very politely for waiting, and even offered me a soda when I casually mentioned how I'd missed lunch by standing in line. Then, her colleagues rolled out a handtruck filled with water bottles, and offered them to all the other line sitters. So gracious. So polite.
Mar 27, 2012
The winner of Microsoft's "Smoked by Windows Phone" challenge has revealed he plans to donate his free laptop and phone to a charity auction. Sahas Katta won a challenge in a Microsoft Store over the weekend when his Galaxy Nexus displayed the weather from two different cities faster than a Windows Phone, but Microsoft Store employees denied Katta his victory — claiming he had to show weather from two different states.Read Article >
The story generated a fair amount of backlash for Microsoft, and the company apologized on Twitter and offered Katta a $1,049 Hunger Games Special Edition HP Folio 13 and a $899 Nokia Lumia 800 Bundle. Katta picked up both prizes from the Santa Clara Microsoft Store on Monday evening and now says he will auction them off on eBay with 100 percent of the proceeds going to a charity of Reddit's choosing. For its part, Microsoft is not issuing an official statement on the controversy, but Windows Phone evangelist Ben Rudolph says he stands behind the "Smoked by Windows Phone" campaign 100 percent "and always will."
Mar 26, 2012
The Verge has learned that Microsoft went into its "Smoked by Windows Phone" campaign with a relatively thorough understanding of the risks involved, specifically telling employees of its retail stores to "select a challenge appropriate to your customer" with hints for which devices might be able to outgun Windows Phone in certain circumstances.Read Article >
Clearly, Microsoft doesn't intend to lose to Smoked by Windows Phone challengers very often. The campaign was designed to highlight the speed and efficiency by which Windows Phone can accomplish normal, everyday tasks — and with a $1,000 PC on the table for every challenger, the stakes are high. Sahas Katta of Skatter Tech struck the promotion in one of its weak spots, loading his Galaxy Nexus with homescreen widgets capable of displaying weather for two different cities; when he was able to get to the widgets faster than his Windows Phone competition in a Microsoft Store, he was disqualified for vague reasons, though Microsoft later made good on the offer.
Mar 26, 2012
Microsoft's working quickly to counter backlash it's receiving after denying a user who won a Windows Phone challenge his just reward. Yesterday, Sahas Katta won a "Smoked by Windows Phone" challenge when his Galaxy Nexus displayed the weather of two different cities faster than the Windows Phone he was up against, but the Microsoft store claimed that he had to show weather from two different states. Microsoft has been roundly bashed for this technicality since then, so Windows Phone evangelist Ben Rudolph has just taken to Twitter to apologize and offer Katta a new laptop and Windows Phone, as well as an apology.Read Article >
While it's good to see Microsoft quickly try and make things right with a scorned consumer, questions about how fair Microsoft's contest is remain. For his part, Rudolph responded quickly — 10 hours ago, he offered a rematch to Katta, but two hours after that he said he was trying to "make it right" and that he didn't "see what really went down." We'll be watching to see if anyone else comes forward with tales of Microsoft stacking the odds in its contest.
Mar 26, 2012
The Windows Phone Challenge, provocatively dubbed "Smoked by Windows Phone" by Microsoft, appears to have suffered its first defeat at the hands of a competing smartphone this weekend, and Microsoft's response has reportedly been less than sporting.Read Article >
Sahas Katta, a self-confessed fan of Windows Phone's design, went down to his local Microsoft Store to pit his Android 4.0-powered Galaxy Nexus in a speed test against Microsoft's smartphones and, surprisingly, came out on top. The tests are geared heavily in favor of Microsoft's services, but Sahas still managed to outdo them when tasked with showing the weather for two different cities. The Microsoft Store assistant already had weather tiles for two cities pinned to her Start screen, but Sahas similarly had two weather widgets on his Android homescreen and, importantly, had disabled the lock screen on his phone, allowing him to show the requisite info within a moment of pressing the Galaxy Nexus power button.