Bloggers Declare Windows Phone Dead but The Numbers Tell a Different Tale
By: Hillel Fuld
If you, like millions of others, get your technology updates from blogs, chances are you have heard of iPhone, Android, and maybe a little BlackBerry. You probably think Nokia is the name of some dinosaur and Windows should stick to computers and stay far away from mobile phones. Of course, when it comes to Nokia and Windows Phone, nothing could be farther from the truth and I explained why in detail here.
Of course, today brought a new wave of Windows Phone bashing from non other than the Web's two leading Apple fanboys, and I don't mean that in a bad way, chances are they would both admit to that title, Robert Scoble and MG Siegler. Both of these popular tech bloggers wrote posts in response to Charlie Kindel's post about Why Microsoft is not selling Windows Phone devices like it should be. Read that post here, Scoble's post here, and MG's post here.
As mentioned, I already addressed why I think this platform will not disappoint and you can read most of my thoughts in the long debate between me and Scoble in the comments on his post. But one thing that needs to be addressed when it comes to this topic deserved a blog post of its own.
MG called his post "The Windows Phone Problem In Three Words: Way Too Late" and Scoble's post can be summarized in the following screen shot:
Sorry, guys. Both of you know I read your stuff religiously and I am the last person to dismiss your analysis by saying you are blinded by your Apple obsession but that is the only possible explanation here.
Take a step back and think about how long this market has even been around. Do I need to remind you what picture Steve Jobs showed at the original iPhone keynote, which showed what "smartphones" looked like back in 2007?
It has only been five years since the first real smartphone with a responsive touch screen, intuitive UI, apps, and the REAL Web, was introduced. Five years! Since when is five years long enough to declare "Game Over"?
Put Windows Phone aside for a second. Of COURSE there is still room for competition. If a company can create a unique offering that will provide a superior user experience, attract developers, and work closely with global carriers, there is absolutely no question that it will compete with iOS or Android, which both have serious disadvantages (Apple too closed and Android too "open"/fragmented).
Now back to Windows Phone. The recent Distimo end of the year report showed in cold hard numbers that the Windows Phone Marketplace is the fastest growing app store with over 400% growth. OK, now comes the obvious answer, see below.
Except, again, the numbers, you know, those things by which you can really judge a platform, say otherwise. 40,000 live Windows Phone apps, some of which are way better than their iOS or Android counterparts (compare Foursquare on the three platforms for example) is far from zero. In fact, the 40,000 milestone was reached on Windows Phone significantly sooner than it was on iOS and Android.
Yet, the blogosphere keeps saying "but my friends aren't using Windows Phone. No one is talking about Windows Phone. Windows Phone is not cool. It is not an iPhone". Yes, this is how those arguments sound. Childish, unscientific, and overly simplistic. It is true, Windows Phone is not yet as popular as iOS and Android, but hello, it has been around for a quarter of the time. Give it a minute!
To judge Windows Phone by comparing it to iOS or Android is like judging the intelligence of an infant to that of a lawyer who has been practicing for 30 years. Relax people, and stop declaring a platform as a success or a failure based on what your friends talk about at their Christmas party! See how Scoble proves his point below.
To be fair, MG explained his theory a little better when he said "Two to three years in the hole, the only way Windows Phone can win the market now is to make a product that is leaps and bounds better than what’s out there. They need something that’s an iPhone-in-2007 type product. The product they have, while good, isn’t that."
But then he went and ruined his sound logic by saying "And one other big reason for that is something else Kindel oddly downplays: apps. Even if you think Windows Phone is better than iOS or Android right now, you’re unlikely to buy it because all of your favorite apps are available on those competing platforms and very few are available for Windows Phone." One key word missing: "YET". The best apps are not there YET but that is not a reason to declare it dead. It is still way too early for that.
Will Windows Phone succeed? Will it reach millions of consumers? No one knows, but based on what we DO know, there is a good chance. Here is why:
- Very impressive UI
- Solid hardware
- Zero fragmentation
- 40,000 apps and growing daily
- Global reach (Nokia)
- Minimal price point in the US
- Endless budgets for marketing
- Developer incentives in place
Like I have said many times, I am using Windows Phone and am truly enjoying it. Is it as comfortable as an iPhone 4 or 4S? No, not yet, but neither was the original iPhone, the iPhone 3g, or the iPhone 3Gs. The Windows Phone device I am using is leagues ahead of any of those phones, so to declare it dead now is like declaring the iPhone dead because it lacked multitasking or copy/paste before iOS4 came out.
Let's just agree to disagree and meet back here in two years to see what the mobile market looks like. My prediction:
- Windows Phone