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Old 07-21-2010, 06:00 PM
Jon Westfall
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Default Haters: Why Some Want Windows Phone To Fail

Over the past few days numerous sites have published their thoughts on the Windows Phone Technical Preview, and while some have been pretty negative, on the whole, most have been pretty positive (e.g., Paul Thurrott calls it "Rock Solid", Matthew Miller calls it "Extremely stable and fluid", Daniel Dumas believes it has made "Major, major improvements" and even Joshua Topolsky in a review that at best is lukewarm, refers to it as "an example of what a next-gen phone platform could be"). Everybody agrees that it's a radical departure from Windows Mobile as we know it now, and it seems most find that to be a good thing. That being said, it appears to me that there is a deep desire amongst some out there to see Microsoft fail, to see Windows Phone falter, and to ultimately have Microsoft leave the mobile space entirely. Personally, I think the "haters" motives behind this can be summed up in two words: Bitterness and Fear.

Who is a hater? Well it's someone who, no matter what, will argue against something. Don't get me wrong - haters aren't those making legitimate arguments against a space (so the people I cited above I wouldn't classify as haters). This piece is aimed at the haters and what motivates them. So let's take a look at these two words, and why I believe they sum up most of the Anti-Windows-Phone-7 sentiment.Before I jump into "Bitterness", I first need to give you a bit of my perspective on Windows Phone and the mobile space in general. In my role here at Windows Phone Thoughts as the News Editor, I'm responsible for assigning news items to the other editors, and as thus I see quite a bit of news flow into my inbox and RSS reader on a daily basis. It's not an easy job picking and choosing what should be assigned, but it does give a somewhat unfiltered view of what people are saying. Therefore, I believe I'm being as unbiased as possible in what I write below. Trust me - many of the people I know who work for Microsoft wouldn't be happy to acknowledge some of the things I'll talk about, but they'd all agree that what I'm saying is true. Some may point to my MVP status and argue that I must be somewhat biased toward Windows Phone 7, and to that I'll say the following: I am excited at what Microsoft has put together for this version. However honestly, I'm excited overall at the mobile space these days. In my gadget closet I have Windows Mobile devices, android devices, and an iPhone 3GS, all of which I've used extensively. Google and Apple are doing cool things with their OSes, that's undeniable, and not something I'm going to say. In general I see a lot of potential winners in the space, and no need for "losers". Do we really want one OS to dominate?

So let's get into Bitterness, the first thing that I think pushes the "haters" of Windows Mobile/Phone:

Microsoft So Seriously Messed Up The Past 3 Years!

OK, how's that for the truth? Windows Mobile was moving along quite well until about version 6.0. At that point, as Microsoft was debating how to evolve their OS into the next logical progression, Apple jumped into the game and got everyone excited about touch screens again. Microsoft appeared confident that consumers would eventually abandon touch and yearn for D-Pads and buttons, something I doubt many internally believed. But they had to advocate for it - their OS was nearly useless for touch, a stylus was always required.

This sent Microsoft into a three year "funk" that caused many who championed the device and operating system to abandon in droves. If you don't believe hard core users were shaken substantially, I'll relate this small observation. At my first MVP summit, in 2008, I was surprised to see how many Windows Mobile MVPs (I won't name names...) were using an iPhone as their primary device, or even a RIM device! These people were perhaps the most passionate fans of Windows Mobile on the planet, yet they couldn't ignore the competitors. Most of the Windows Mobile MVPs using other devices worked in the mobile space - they knew they couldn't just turn a blind eye and champion Win Mo over everyone else - it would be career suicide. Unfortunately, that's what Microsoft did for quite awhile.

This ignorance of the way the market was moving, coupled with numerous shifts in management and leadership within the Windows Mobile group, stalled Microsoft and ultimately created the stereotype of Microsoft as the "old man at a young man's party", a staunch stalwart who refused to change. After three years, many of it's most hard core supporters began to become bitter about the whole situation, so it's no surprise that most of the talking heads on the internet turned Anti-Microsoft, Pro-Anything-Else (Or blatantly Pro-Apple!).

So people were mad at Microsoft, and now that a product is being released soon that is truly revolutionary, they want to see it fail. Perhaps it's so they won't be lured back into a mildly abusive relationship with a company they don't know if they can trust to keep evolving the platform. Or maybe it's just because they don't want to leave their new loves who have treated them well thus far. Or maybe the bitter emotion isn't the real cause, maybe they're afraid of what Windows Phone 7 might mean for their platform of choice.

OMG - If Windows Phone 7 Does Well, My Phone OS Will Do Poorly!

Remember what I said about "It doesn't have to be a game of winners and losers?", well let's revisit that. While it is true that there is only so much market share, one undeniable fact remains: people are different (trust me, I study "individual differences" for a living!). Not everyone wants the same thing in a phone. Apple users and iTunes devotees will probably gravitate toward the iPhone. Google users, when they come out of their clouds, will most likely want to use an Android phone. Those who use Windows and are still kicking around the old Hotmail account, or are on the corporate Exchange server, will hopefully find a Microsoft product to be home. All of these people are still consumers, and thus all of the major phone operating systems will want to appeal to the consumer side as well, which is fine. But in the end, what would be so bad about having a consumer phone with excellent Apple/iTunes support, a consumer phone with excellent Bing/Live support, and a consumer phone with excellent Google Cloud support co-existing?

Now I'll admit that if I were Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, or Eric Schmidt, my idea of a great world may well be having everyone under the sun using my phone (Mike Lazaridis might just pray for a world to go back to using email as it's only electronic communication form, I suspect). But for consumers, competition is good. Repeat that a few times if it hasn't sunk in; competition, which means companies have to compete for your business by offering new and innovative features, is GOOD. Got it? It's not bad for consumers that Android offers built-in Wi-Fi hotspot/tethering and thus makes the iPhone look antiquated. It may be bad for Apple, but certainly not for us. Likewise it isn't bad that Google and Apple have kicked Microsoft around for a few years now - it has caused Microsoft to stop and realize that what they were doing wouldn't work, and that only a radical departure would ever hope to save it's phone product. It isn't even bad for consumers that the Kin failed so spectacularly - it paints a clear picture for everyone else on what pitfalls to avoid in both implementation and planning of a phone product. Any time a company needs to change in response to competitor's good ideas, it's good for consumers.

And if you're just one of those people who gets all upset whenever your platform looks bad, even when it's deserved? even when it's good for the mobile space as a whole? Then do us all a favor and at least admit that's what drives you. Proudly say "I am an iPhone user and Apple can do no wrong", people will respect you more for admitting it.

So There You Have It...

Windows Phone 7 is far from perfect, but one shouldn't deny that it is a major step, and if implemented properly it could bring Microsoft back from the edge of Mobile death. But to rip on it claiming to be objective, when in fact you're either bitter, fearful, or an unabashed fan-boy, is just annoying. Take it from a guy who wants both Microsoft, Apple, and Google to succeed - competition is good for us, bashing something just to hear yourself speak is not.

Jon Westfall is a postdoctoral research scholar at Columbia Business School, and overall technological enthusiast. When not writing for Thoughts, he's generally writing academic articles or fiction, or just hanging out with his awesome wife at home.

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review Team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? Then click here for more information.

Dr. Jon Westfall, MCSE, MS-MVP
Executive Editor - Android Thoughts
News Editor - Windows Phone Thoughts

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Old 07-21-2010, 10:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Interesting read, but you're ignoring one glaring reason why there's so much ill-will towards WM7. It's because MS threw the loyal WM6.5 users under the bus.

MS has always made backwards-compatibility a priority, yet they didn't do so with WM7. Plus, when they announced this some time ago, they effectively killed any new 6.5 development. Skype, Flash 10.1, etc -- anything new is only for Android, iOS and BB. And you can't tell me that MICROSOFT couldn't figure out a way to maintain WM6 compatibility, if they'd wanted to.

I'm certainly done with WM. Fool me once, shame on you, ... My next phone will run Android. I wouldn't call myself a WM7 "hater", but it's sure hard to root for a company that just screwed me over.
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:25 AM
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Microsoft So Seriously Messed Up The Past 3 Years!
I disagree with this. Microsoft has seriously messed up for the past 7 years.

This is how long I've been saying that Microsoft has needed to focus on consumers because that's where the money is. For so long it seemed like I alone in this opinion. MVPs and other WinMo fans told me over and over again that enterprise was where the money is and Symbian's 70%+ marketshare (selling mainly to consumers) was meaningless because "they weren't real smartphones".

And look where we are now. Consumers dominate smartphone sales and Windows Phone 7 is consumer-focused.

It wasn't just the fanboys that didn't get it though. Microsoft didn't get it either. They were too busy trying to kill Palm in the PDA space to see where the market was going. There never seemed to be anyone at the top with any real vision or passion for cell phones. And it didn't help that the American cell phone market lagged so far behind the rest of the world during Window Mobile's formative years. It helped build up a level of complacency that Windows Mobile was competitive.

It doesn't have to be a game of winners and losers?
I totally agree with this. This is not a zero-sum game. The market is expanding at 35% a year. The potential market size in the next ten years is in the billions. Smartphone sales will dwarf PC sales. There's enough room for a number of players.

My prediction: the next big smartphone OS will come from India or China. People will dismiss it but eventually it'll grab 20%+ marketshare.
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:07 AM
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I would have to agree, in fact whenever anything Microsoft releated is mentioned on the web most of the comments will be negative. See here for just one example:

Comments full of people hating on something they haven't even used. I dont see why its always MS that has to bend towards others, you dont see any outcry from android users to use bing as their default do you? In fact when motorola chose bing instead of google for their default search engine on their chinese phones during the falling out between google and china they were up in arms, screaming how MS had somehow influenced the decision by paying off motorola.

I for one am more comfortable within an MS ecosystem, their revenue does not come from selling my data to 3rd parties, as for the haters they will find any excuse as they cry "i'm going to android" or "MS sucks".

I really hope WP7 is a roaring success, even though I also have expressed disappointment with some of the decisions MS has made but compared to my current device, the HD2 I anticipate a vastly improved experience with WP7 and it would be nice to see the haters eat some humble pie.

PS, MS fanboy and proud of it Halo on WP7 FTW!!
Back to being The Last Windows Mobile Fanboy - now with a Dell Venue Pro!
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:38 AM
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There are MS haters and Apple haters, no question about it.

Said that, and based on what has been confirmed so far by MS I feel that WM7 is severely flawed because is been rushed out and an Apple wannabe because the overpaid MS top management was not able to generate some really breakthrough strategy on their own.
Maybe if they did not waste their time and energy laughing at the iPhone when it came out now they would not be in this situation.

Again there will be boggers and sites fed by other companies that will try to paint a negatively biased image of the phone; others fed by MS will try to premeptively nullify critics with articles hinting to a conspiracy theory attempting to bash WM7.

It is nothing new and usually is just a waste of time: iPhone first generation docet.......
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by efjay View Post
Comments full of people hating on something they haven't even used
Not much different from people using superlatives like revolutionary or instantly intuitive to describe an OS they have only seen videos of. I don't particularly care one way or the other (if WM7 succeeds) but the "you're either for us or agin us" attitude is classic fanboyism
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:20 AM
Jason Dunn
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A good write up Jon. Indeed, there are people out there who bash Microsoft just because they think it's the "cool" thing to do - it has nothing to do with the actual facts of the matter. Unfortunately, such people cling to their ignorance like a warm blanket and refuse to open their minds to try and understand that there just might be something worthwhile that Microsoft is doing!
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:24 AM
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Post My WP7 prediction

First off, I think Microsoft gets solid A- for their effort here. I laud them for making sensible design decisions, and having the balls to jettison the trainwreck that WinMo 6.x was. They lose points (at least with me) in just a few areas:

- The tile shell could have been just slightly more well thought out. It doesn't fill the screen space, and effectively, a single arrow button commands around 1/8 of the screen (because they chose to make all the space under it dead). The concept is good, but the execution here needed more thought. My hope is that user feedback will guide them in the right direction.

- Those missing features that really needed to be there on day 1: Cut&paste, some form of multitasking.

There is one more thing that I never saw mentioned that I think should have been there:

- Either OpenGL ES 2.0 or DirectX 9 (or higher) support. These could come in the form of thin, managed wrappers, and would really help a LOT of games come over from the iPhone more easily. Making this XNA-only might be ok technically, but it's just a poor business decision for a platform that will be struggling for apps out of the gate.

That said, I think Microsoft will both fail and succeed at the same time. They won't achieve the kinds of numbers that will make people say wow, but they will exceed their own goals. They just want something out there to generate feedback and mindshare, and they'll get that in spades.

It's really WP7.1 or 8 that will be their true quest for world domination. And I think that release will be threatening. Microsoft now has a platform they can iterate very rapidly on, and they will. I just hope they iterate on the tile shell a bit more.
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Macguy59 View Post
Not much different from people using superlatives like revolutionary or instantly intuitive to describe an OS they have only seen videos of. I don't particularly care one way or the other (if WM7 succeeds) but the "you're either for us or agin us" attitude is classic fanboyism
Guess you missed the part where I said I WAS an MS fanboy However I'm not a blind fanboy, and can see where MS falls short and I definitely dont spend my days being negative about other OS's.
Back to being The Last Windows Mobile Fanboy - now with a Dell Venue Pro!
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:28 AM
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Actually, MS hating begins well before Windows mobile, even before Windows CE, in the mid 90-S, when all those antitrust lawsuits start hitting MS from every direction, like a hailstorm the size of an ostrich eggs. Press jumped on it like a hungry dog, competitors-loosers trying to get some money out of that. Lately , Apple with pretty straightforward anti MS advertisement campaign, plus Microsoft for whatever reason didn't really try to be innovative, either it was afraid of new lawsuits, or mismanagement from the top. All these factors formed today hatery towards microsoft. That's what younger generation grow up with , it doesn't know any better, and to change its opinion will take a LOT! Besides it's is not always abaut hate and bitterness. It's more about fun and curiosity. Who is better? Yankees or White Socks , Ginger or Mariam, King Kong or Godzilla, Windows Phone or iPhone? We all are intitled to our own opinion and we will defend it!
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Last edited by virain; 07-22-2010 at 11:24 AM..
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