Why is the Windows Phone always an afterthought?

Molly Wood Sep 5, 2012

Apple has announced an event for next Tuesday. It’s expected to debut a new iPhone. Apple fanatics will go bonkers, count on it.

Another phone shows up today: Nokia’s new Windows Phone. You won’t see long lines to buy it. Windows Phones are a dud, making up less than 3 percent of the market. Which is weird when you think of how ubiquitous Windows is on computers.

Joe Wilcox from Beta News says Microsoft has tried to reposition the smartphone’s role in your world. “What Microsoft calls glance and go. The idea is you get what you need from the phone and then you go about living your life, rather than the phone being the center of your life.”

Windows Phone tries to be more organized than Android or iPhone. Ina Fried writes for All Things D and says, “They put things in hubs, so they organize all your photos apps together, and all your music apps together, and I actually think a lot of what they’re doing makes sense, but I think it’s a tough sell for consumers.”

Of course, judging by sales, people haven’t wanted to glance and go and they haven’t wanted Microsoft to organize their lives. And the problems for Windows Phone don’t end there. Says Fried: “The other is a chicken and egg problem, which is there just aren’t as many apps. You have the problem of the app makers don’t want to invest the time until there’s a big base of consumers, and consumers don’t want to adopt Windows phone until the apps are there, so that’s a particularly thorny challenge, and then lastly, some of the hardware hasn’t been quite as impressive as the rapidly evolving products.”

Then there’s branding. Windows Phone can do a lot of the same things other phones can do, take pictures, check your email, browse the web, play some games.

But it’s not Apple or Google. It’s Microsoft, a name that has some baggage. Again, Joe Wilcox. “Right now, Apple is a very hip brand, it’s a very youthful brand, and it’s also associated with the mobile lifestyle, a very different kind of lifestyle. Microsoft, people think of IT administrators, business, being tethered to the desktop.”

Unless hip celebrities start wanting to look like IT guys, Microsoft and Nokia have a big challenge.


A bit of housekeeping here.

This is my final week on Marketplace Tech Report. After that, I’m leaving to host Wits, a new comedy and music program here at APM. I’ll miss Tech Report A LOT. But I’m handing it off to one of my radio heroes, David Brancaccio.

A while back, on a lark, I tweeted a request for a theme song for our segment According To A Recent Study. And we got one.

People come up and ask me about that song all the time. It’s a huge hit. Wanted to give you a little Behind The Music on that song. It was submitted to us by Darren Solomon, who says, “I really wanted to unite the worlds of contemporary technology reporting and 70s funk. It’s too long that those have been considered separate things.”

Darren isn’t just some random Twitterer, he’s a veteran professional musician. He broke into the business playing with Ray Charles.

Solomon: I remember we did the Playboy Jazz Festival, and it was one of my first jobs with him, and I was sight reading the music because we hadn’t had time to rehearse the whole book, and so I hit a couple wrong notes and he called me a rather unsavory name just off mic, and my folks were in the audience, and when I got off stage and talked to them, my dad said did Ray swear at you? So, he heard it, I mean it made it far enough into the mic that it was obvious

Moe: Still, if you’re going to be sworn at by anybody…

Solomon: Might as well be Ray Charles.

Darren’s on Twitter at DarSolo.

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