Microsoft CVP on the current state of Windows Phone and its competitors


Terry Myerson, who previously ran the Exchange development group, is now the Microsoft Corporate Vice-President (CVP) for Windows Phone. He has always had strong opinions and it came as no surprise that Terry would voice some trenchant views when he was interviewed at the recent Mobile World Congress (the video stuttered badly when I viewed it, but the program is only five minutes long so stick with it).

Among my favorite comments were:

We’re ahead of iPhone in 7 markets and ahead of Blackberry in 26“. No detail was offered as to where these markets are exactly – the assumption is that these are individual countries. If so, it would be interesting to know where Windows Phone 8 is beating out iPhone. [Update March 28: According to ZDNet, IDC reported that Windows Phone pipped iOS in "Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa and the Ukraine. The seventh market was a collection of countries, including Croatia, that IDC labels "rest of central and eastern Europe".]

The interviewer put the Windows Phone market share at between 3 and 4% and Terry didn’t disagree. Terry also said that Microsoft had seen tremendous progress over the last nine months and that one billion app downloads had been made from Microsoft’s Store (not much compared to Apple, but a start). The interviewer suggested that BlackBerry was Microsoft’s closest rival, but Terry disagreed, saying that their “sights were higher”.

Android is a confusing mess” and “iPhone is boring now“. Apparently live tiles make all the difference. I think he is right that the iPhone user interface has started to show its age; he’s also right that the diversity of Android across devices, manufacturers, and software versions can be confusing at times. However, consumers just care whether their phone works and supports the apps that they want to use, which is the huge strength of the iPhone in particular.

The major strength of the WP8 platform was cited as the ability to access the same content across multiple devices, perhaps a reference to SkyDrive. However, the Apple contingent can point to the way that iPad and iPhone share apps, music, and video with Macs using iTunes – data formats that are probably most interesting to consumers whereas the thought of being able to access an Excel worksheet or PowerPoint presentation on SkyDrive is more valuable to the business folks. A more interesting comment came in the reference to the camera and photographic capabilities delivered in Nokia devices, specifically the Lumia 920. Terry also said that WP8 did a better job for lower end phones than low-quality Android devices.

I haven’t looked back since I moved from iPhone to WP and am still happy with the Nokia Lumia 800 (now upgraded to WP 7.8). Nothing in iPhone 5 makes me want to move back and I still can’t get my head around using an Android (which one?). I guess I can stay on the sidelines for a little longer before deciding how to upgrade.

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About Tony Redmond

Exchange MVP, author, and rugby referee
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3 Responses to Microsoft CVP on the current state of Windows Phone and its competitors

  1. Andy I says:

    Hi Tony,

    I too find the current mobile phone war of words amusing more for the lack of real across the board substance in any offering.

    I think in the same way as it being an extremely worrying and exciting time for the development of IT, there is something similar in phone OS development which will change the way we use them in coming years.

    The arguments are more complex and from vastly differing angles as they include business/personal and functionality/integration boundaries. At one moment Blackberry looks good as it offers better email integration, then HTC becomes the de-facto techie preference (This all pre-smartphone era). Now with the 500+ flavours of Android, WP or iOS as the seemingly only contenders there is an obvious gap denoted by there being no clear choice.

    I’ve supported and set up pretty much every type of mobile phone over the years and even though my personal choices have been out of the ordinary (HP Jornada 920 for example) I’ve always given unbiased views of mobiles whether I like the brand or not.

    After reading your recent mobile phone posts I would offer a suggestion as one tech to another. If you fancy something to have fun with now, try a Nokia N9 (64Gb) imported from the USA. (Mine is a Kuwait market model!)

    I’ve just suffered a year without an email/web enabled phone (so laughed about your brief sufferings) for the first time in about 11 years. A few weeks ago I was finally in a position to buy my N9 and was fortunate to find a site selling for £257 including import taxes/delivery. They’re still going for over £400 on many links!

    What’s so good about it? Why is ‘dead’ technology still so expensive?

    Well, looking at the latest adverts from Nokia and Apple, the best Lumia on the market is being advertised now as having the same features that the N9 had in 2011. Has it really taken that long to purely integrate the old N9 chassis with WP? The iPhone ad that purports the new iPhone lets you hear calls better is hilarious – is that really the best they can say about new features in their flagship product?

    Personally, I find the MeeGo OS on the N9 to follow the simple, intuitive and customisable approach of previous Symbian OS phones. I agree it is basic in some ways comparably to other smartphones (still stacks up well on features though) but that is easily forgiven by the ease of use and lack of frustration in finding configuration options or interacting with features.

    Besides that and more pertinently, you can load Android 4.0 and or Sailfish devs onto the N9 if you so wish and if only there were a license available could run Android apps directly on the N9’s MeeGo OS with developments such as Alien Dalvik. This is giving a glimpse of where phones should be going in the future. i.e. load the OS you choose on the phone hardware you choose and run the apps from whichever OS you wish (including your PC/Linux box). Content is content but what if you can access your organisation’s CRM system or custom applications from your mobile phone? (with a pico projector, mini bluetooth keyboard and mouse you’ll have a real pocket office)

    Ok, we’re still a way off from that in some ways but one can see the WP route for that quite clearly. This suggestion is given in the sense of having something slick, intuitive, capable and fun for an IT tech to play with today. For most, obviously stick with the simple, effective consumer focused kit.

    It is a bit like buying a BMW or an Alfa Romeo, you may have problems with the Alfa but if you look at the smile on the face of the Alfa driver you’ll see who is having more fun going from A-B! (And yes the tinkering to get just right to avoid it going bang analogy holds true also)

    Of course you could wait to see what Jolla offers in their first iteration of an RTM Sailfish device.

    All the best and thanks for the continued insights into the real picture,
    AI
    P.S. Crikey, sorry, long comment and I should say that rather than keep resisting commenting on your posts (the only blog I subscribe to) I’ve been inspired to start my own so will be espousing my tech thoughts on there occasionally..

  2. Andy I says:

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you, I have spent a lot of time watching and working with technology and feel that competition restricts choice rather than enables it. Cross platform mobile apps, cross platform gaming (Xbox, PS3, PC). They’re all possible, just not something big organisations wish for their customers to enjoy.

    So saying, the Lumia 920 does have FM capability (noticed a post about that recently) just no code to support it on W8 yet. It does further my theory that the Lumia 9xx is still basically the N9 underneath as the N9 also has FM capability (and apps available). I’m even happier now that the ‘dead’ N9 is now supported by Nokia Suite even though it does keep telling me to connect my Lumia! Methinks it is confused and can’t see the badge on the front.

    Andy

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