4 thoughts on “Must. Bite. Tongue.

  1. I’m sorry you’re having to bite your tongue so as not to comment on the bad press your product is getting. Unfortunately, Microsoft is the 800 pound gorilla, and everyone assumes that your product should be the best, so when it falls short it tends to get a lot of attention.

    I think one area where I’m seeing a problem with Windows Phone 7 is a disconnect with the people that are going to be using it and comparing with other offerings. People want certain things out of their phones, if they’re going the smartphone route. First things first, it has to be a phone. Nothing is more annoying than picking up your cell phone and trying to answer a call and having to take three steps to do it. Every major player seems to have finally gotten THAT message, but for a while that didn’t seem to sink in on any of them. Next, it has to be easy to use, but not make you feel like you’re being treated as a simpleton. The things you need, the things you use, should be available with as few moves as possible. Use Twitter all the time? Make it a quick process to get into. Never use Twitter? Be able to stick it in the programs folder and ignore it, or even uninstall it. That ties in with using your phone to make your life easier. I’m away from my desk a lot, and don’t have a computer with me every minute. If a client calls and I need to RDP into a server, I want to be able to do that right then. I want to send and receive e-mail from my phone. I want to keep my contact list updated without having to plug in a cable every time I’m back at my desk. (Btw, has MS figured out how to do Exchange integration with a smartphone without using ActiveSync? Can my phone be a miniature version of my desk Outlook without cables? Can I log onto my Windows Domain through my wireless network yet? My current WinMo version of my phone doesn’t do any of these things.)

    I’m currently in the market for a new smartphone. I’m looking at the major players in phone OS’s, and weighing my options.

    The iPhone is pretty, simple to use, but locked down. What you see is what you have, you can’t replace the battery, you can’t use an external memory card, and all software is controlled by Apple themselves, to the point of them removing software you’ve paid for at some time in the future.

    The Android phones vary in quality and implementation of proprietary software over the OS. I’m talking about MotoBlur, the HTC Sense overlay, and so forth, as well as the addition of various carrier specific software that they want to load. They’re simple to use on top, but you can get down to the inner workings easily if you know what you’re doing, it has the ability to run shell scripts and has an actual command line. This is a bonus for me. However, because you can do anything on the phone, you also have the ability to brick it easily enough. Not a bonus.

    The Windows 7 phones I’ve been looking at though… They just make me wonder what the design team was thinking. I picked up the phone and started trying to determine how to do different things I wanted the phone to do. It was counter-intuitive, and it looked like it was designed so you could only do limited things. I’m sure it will do a lot more than I was able to figure out, but with over a decade in the IT industry, I figure if I pick up a phone for five minutes, I should be able to get it to behave for me. Then I heard about copy/paste, a feature that my WinMo 6.5 phone already has. HUH? Okay, so I’m cooling to those phones after just fooling with them in the store. Then I see a MS commercial that essentially touted as a feature how you “Won’t be buried in Apps so you can get back to football game / movie / whatever you’re watching” and it hit me that the commercial just said “Our phone won’t do what theirs will” like it was something to be proud of.

    So, with some things to like and many things to dislike on all three phone OS’s, I start looking at what I really want out of a smartphone: To make my life easier. How does that happen? With apps. So I investigate… Apple Apps have to be installed through the iTunes store, they control every app that is available through there, and frankly iTunes sucks an interface to your phone. Android Apps are available through the official marketplace, through direct download on websites, and from custom makers. And then I go looking at Windows 7 apps. Guess what? The Windows apps are locked down like Apple’s from what I see, and the games seem to be tied to xBox Live. I don’t own or use an xBox, so this doesn’t help me a bit, but isn’t a major dragdown, it might inspire purchase of one later on. So I’m hitting my bank website, my pharmacy website, my parts supplier’s websites, webcomics, blogs and so on, and what am I seeing? iPhone apps, Android apps… and a significant dearth of apps for Windows 7. Microsoft is failing to get community involvement to code apps for things that people want to use. Android uses open source, Apple even has an SDK, and people are willing to code apps for them. Apple’s losing market share because Apple’s restrictions on apps is causing people to look at Android as a replacement. MS doesn’t seem to be getting the takeup that they need for the phones they put out to grab people’s attention as “Hey, this would make my life better”, instead it’s just another flavor of smartphone. One without apps in every flavor. This leaves you to evaluate the phone on its own merits, and unfortunately, it is looking too much like a MeToo phone, and one that just didn’t get the memo. Easy to use, easy to understand, configurable, with the ability to install software that will make life better and easier.

    I’m not 100% happy with any of the current offerings. I know that there’s glitches and rough edges everywhere. Another feature of the apps is the ability to smooth some of those edges and reduce the time I curse the phone and increase the time I use it.

    Hope this info provides a little feedback on things from a user’s point of view. I think Windows phones could be a great thing, but it just doesn’t seem like you’re really trying to take the industry by storm, it’s more like the Windows phone team is following and not doing things that are going to make people go “I’ve GOTTA have that.”

    Good luck, there’s no such thing as tongue bandages, so don’t bite too hard.

  2. The media stories about update are fair. It’s what I know about on the stories from the inside that I can’t say anything about.

    I’m working on making it possible to say what needs to be said but I don’t know when or if I will be successful.

  3. At the moment, Joe, what’s putting me off is the impression that Microsoft wants to win by litigating its competitors out of business – e.g., the Android litigation. Now that the attacks on Linux via SCO failed, that’s putting a lot of people off besides me.

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