Microsoft passed a really positive message to the people, like me, who invested in Windows Phone 7.5 when they announced that Windows Phone 8 won’t run on older devices on June 20 at the Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco. In particular, those who recently bought a Nokia Lumia 900 after it was released in various markets around the world must really feel happy about their decision to go with Microsoft rather than Android or iPhone.
Sure, Microsoft is throwing a bone to owners of Windows Phone 7.5 devices when they say that they’ll provide a half-way-house release called Windows Phone 7.8 to enable exciting features like “three sizes of tiles”. I just can’t wait. In fact, I’m quivering with excitement at the prospect of another tile size to play with. It should compensate for the other deficiencies in the operating system…
I think this is a brain-dead decision that looks pretty feeble when compared against Apple’s record of making sure that new releases of their O/S run on older versions of iPhones. For example, the iPhone 3GS that I used before making the now-lamentable decision to try Windows Phone 7.5, upgraded smoothly from iOS 3 to iOS5 over the time I owned the phone. Microsoft’s protestations that the platforms that support Windows Phone 8 will incorporate new hardware such as multiple cores and removable Micro SD cards fall on stony ground. After all, we’re dealing with software here and surely a few IF… THEN… ELSE conditions could be incorporated into the code to support older devices?
In addition, I think that this announcement will stall the market for Windows 7.5 phones because consumers are unlikely to want to buy a phone that is now officially obsolete with no future. Of course, manufacturers and carriers can dump phones onto the market to shift them at low prices. This will likely get rid of inventory but won’t help the profitability of Nokia in particular, so it’s likely to suffer even higher losses until it can get Windows 8 phones out the door and Microsoft releases the O/S. Not really a good situation at all for the folks in Finland.
This ham-fisted attitude to keeping customers happy coupled with the doubts that Nokia will survive long enough to release phones that support Windows Phone 8 are almost enough to make me revert to the iPhone. Maybe I’ll go the whole hog and buy a new MacBook Pro to go alongside the iPhone as the new Retina display looks quite stunning. Buying decisions are often influenced by small things… like not being able to upgrade your phone.
All in all, their stance on Windows Phone 8 is just a sad and arrogant indication of the way that Microsoft thinks about their mobile customers.
Follow Tony @12Knocksinna