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Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores 412

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-shipping-them-with-complementary-shovels dept.
tripleevenfall sends in a PCMag story about how Microsoft's problems in driving Windows Phone 7 adoption stem in part from how the phones are represented to customers in carriers' stores. Quoting: "At AT&T, the salesperson was a recent iPhone to Android convert. She was enthusiastic about WP7 devices, saying that Netflix was on WP7 and not available on her Android, and looked embarrassed when she walked me over to AT&T's unkempt WP7 display shelf. ... At a Verizon reseller kiosk, a salesman clearly tried to deter me from buying a WP7 device altogether. Not only did not he appear to know the fundamental difference between Windows Mobile and WP7, his kiosk didn't even offer WP7 devices and said you'd only find WP7 demo products at a few of Verizon's big retail stores. 'Honestly, only 1 out of 500 customers comes in here asking for a Windows phone,' he said. 'Verizon won't roll them out to kiosks until it performs better on the market.'"
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Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores

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  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:04PM (#36405720) Homepage Journal

    'Verizon won't roll them out to kiosks until it performs better on the market. . .'

    . . . and it won't perform better on the market until agents have it in their hands to offer customers. Catch-22 anyone?

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:05PM (#36405732)

      Its funny to see MS getting the short end of the monopoly stick. Just deserts.

      • by thaig (415462) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:34PM (#36406048) Homepage

        How can you say that? It's so cruel to poor little MS - getting shoved around by the big boys! :-( I want to join a "help MS defeat the system" society - do you know if there is one yet?

    • by imamac (1083405)
      So it's Verizon's job to advertise for MS? I think not.
    • 'Verizon won't roll them out to kiosks until it performs better on the market. . .'

      . . . and it won't perform better on the market until agents have it in their hands to offer customers. Catch-22 anyone?

      It's not just the kiosks I was at the Verizon website a few weeks back and I simply couldn't pull up a Windows 7 phone. I could pull up older Windows Mobile devices but not WinPho7 I could Google all sorts of shit about them being available for Verizon but no Windows 7 product to be found. I check now and I see that I have 2 options, but hey I guess it's only been like 3 months since they launched for the carrier.

    • by Gerald (9696) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:14PM (#36405814) Homepage

      'Verizon won't roll them out to kiosks until it performs better on the market. . .'

      . . . and it won't perform better on the market until agents have it in their hands to offer customers. Catch-22 anyone?

      ...unless Microsoft is desperate enough to pay Verizon to promote WP7. For Verizon it's not a Catch-22. It's a catch-several-million-dollars-by-doing-nothing.

      • by idontgno (624372)
        That's what it is. Verizon's holding out for some of that world-famous Microsoft marketing largess. It worked for Nokia, didn't it? Why shouldn't a provider/vendor get some?
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:34PM (#36406042) Homepage Journal

      Not really. Microsoft has advertised them all over the place. I have seen them at AT&T and Verizon stores. kiosks almost never even have phones they have those stupid cheap fake phones with pictures for screens.
      Windows Phone 7 is feature incomplete. Mango when it get here will bring WP7 up the the same standard as teh current iPhone and Android handsets but that is still not till fall.
      Also Windows Phones is the past where enterprise devices while WP7 is less enterprise ready than Android and iPhone. They have no buzz and no real interest.
      If Mango was out today they would be pretty interesting devices. They have some really good games and Zune Pass sounds like a killer deal. Oh and microsoft doesn't push ZunePass as a feature. The Xbox integration is at best okay IMHO but some people will love the little rewards.
      So there you have it.
      WP7 is flopping because the old market for Microsoft phones was the enterprise users and WP7 abandoned them.
      The the target market remembers Microsoft as a business phone.
      The tech writers and phone fans are all saying "It is cool but is missing a ton of features." So they are all excited about Mango and Nokia but that is in the future so the local tech experts are all saying get an Android or an iPhone today and look at WP7 when it comes out.
      And the WP7 phones are no carriers hero device. AT&T made the iPhone their hero device for a long time. Verizon pushed the Droid line to compete with the iPhone and now they have an iPhone. TMobile was the launch carrier for Android and is still an Android fan. Sprint first tried to make the Palm Pre their iPhone killer and when that didn't work out because of the bad, half baked sdk and being feature incomplete "like WP7 is now" they went to Android and made the Evo 4g their hero device.
      So no carrier is going to risk their hero device budget on a WP7 device today.

      • The enterprise mobile market is pretty well served by existing players. Blackberry has BES, which is a steaming chunk of shit to be sure, but still works pretty damned well to link Exchange and their phones. iPhones and Androids all do a decent job of gaining access to Microsoft's enterprise offerings. I was watching a lady a month ago editing an Excel spreadsheet on her iPad at a conference I was at, and that's when it hit me. Anybody who is looking for access to email, schedules and documents based in

      • The tech writers and phone fans are all saying "It is cool but is missing a ton of features." So they are all excited about Mango and Nokia but that is in the future so the local tech experts are all saying get an Android or an iPhone today and look at WP7 when it comes out.

        By the time Mango comes out, they might catch up to where Android and Apple are today. But Android and Apple are not standing still; iOS 5 is slated for release when Mango comes out. I've heard about the 500 or so features of Mango but so far nothing in detail that has been too spectacular. It integrates well with other MS products like Xbox Live; if you don't have those services and have no desire to integrate, then some users will see little benefit.

    • Yes, it's called trying to get your product into a market where other players have very deep penetration. Microsoft should be familiar with this, it's had the same problem trying to create a web presence that anyone gives a shit about.

    • Now we see how Microsoft products compete when they don't have all those corrupt deals that made Windows so dominant. Sure, they have Nokia, but they need an alliance with a carrier too. Makes you wonder how much better off we'd be in the computing world if Windows never happened.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      That's what happens to everybody who is late in the market. It's a struggle to get started.
    • Both Apple and Google were able to solve this problem. Mostly, by not sucking. Also, acknowledging that they would have to compete.

      MS is not used to having to compete (except perhaps in consoles), and there's no sense that they know how now. Ballmer was sent a message by the shareholders that he apparently didn't receive; he's either going to get scrappy, or get out. I'm betting on the latter.
  • Verizon won't roll them out to kiosks until it performs better on the market."

    Considering you own a very large market here in the US, it's up to you to introduce it to the market. Pitching the sale is the only way to know for sure. If you're not going to bother selling the WP7 phones, why even have them in your inventory? Does not compute.

    • Take the cooperative marketing dollars! C'mon. Do it!

    • It's not up to Verizon, AT&T, or anyone else to take a gamble on something they don't want to. They are already turning a profit on iPhones, Android phones, and numerous other phones. Why should they give that up to help MS make a buck unless they get some kind of guarantee they will make MORE money by selling MS phones?

      On the other hand, Microsoft COULD pay them big bucks to provide shelf space ... just like producers do at a supermarket. You think the store arbitrarily decides who gets what place
    • by clampolo (1159617)
      Walmart doesn't go out of its way to promote any of the products it sells. All they care is that you buy something at Walmart. Why should Verizon be any different. If iphones and androids are selling like hotcakes why should they spend advertising money to canabalize their sales.
  • Failing because of poor sales pitches or lack of decent sales pitches because of poor sales? Either way it's a bad scenario for any manufacturer to be in.
  • Windows Mobile (Score:4, Insightful)

    by leon.gandalf (752828) <leon.gandalf@gmail.com> on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:08PM (#36405754)
    the problem is that windows mobile phones sucked THAT bad. Like Vogon poetry bad.
    • Re:Windows Mobile (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:27PM (#36405962)

      They not only have a reputation problem because of Windows in general, and because of the atrocious previous versions of Windows on the phone, but they are also 4 years behind the curve in the mobile space. The iPhone came out in 2007.

      Microsoft is fourth to market with a fourth rate product. Why WOULD any consumer come in asking for it?

      My guess is that MSFT will start giving the phones away to get some market penetration.

      • Re:Windows Mobile (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday June 10, 2011 @06:03PM (#36406368) Journal

        It's laughable, really. Redmond has spent the last twenty years waging the war of the desktop, even as, in the last five years, the desktop has faded in consumers' eyes. Heck, even in the business/corporate world, smartphones and tablets are beginning to show substantial inroads (Blackberry has got to be credited for that, even if it looks like another example of an early producer being unable to keep up to its newer competition).

        At some point, you think Redmond marketers would have noticed that the enemy combatants weren't even bothering fielding a lot of soldiers any more. It was clear three years ago that Apple had seen the promised land and had put a huge amount of effort into the iPhone line. If that didn't send the message, the fact that Google began dumping huge resources into the Android operating system and was in fact getting some pretty sweet manufacturing deals should have suggested to these guys that maybe things weren't what they had been. But no, Microsoft was caught in the Vista drama and in promoting Windows 7 as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

        The nightmare is coming, too. Blackberry was the first out of the gate with products that integrated with Microsoft's enterprise offerings, but everyone else was quick to the punch. Microsoft is increasingly faced with the possibility that it's twin product lines of Windows and Office/Exchange are about to be split apart. And once you've replaced Office and Outlook as the forward facing apps, how much longer before the drive to producing new back end offerings finally cuts the heart out of Microsoft's business? Just about everything else Microsoft does loses money, so they have got to be shitting themselves right now. Without Windows/Office/Exchange, in the long term, they are well and truly fucked.

        • The lynchpin that is holding MSFT up right now is Windows licensing to business.

          My workplace is starting to talk about piloting Macs to desktops. To coders, to support analysts, to systems analysts, etc. This would have been beyond fantasy five years ago. But now half the people making the decision have Macs in their household, and they know it's *nix based which is good, and they are ready to give it a go as soon as someone says "total cost of ownership"

          If MSFT starts to see their corporate desktop install

    • by BRSQUIRRL (69271)

      the problem is that windows mobile phones sucked THAT bad. Like Vogon poetry bad.

      I hear that even the Azgoths of Kria carry iPhones.

    • WinMo was awful. Every iteration was terrible. And every version upgrade was supposed to be "significantly" better. They never were. It was painful to use. Now I hear WinMo 7 is better. I'm not falling for that again!

      The only chance MS has to win customers over, is to disguise the product as a different name entirely, and not let consumers know that they are involved.
    • by oakgrove (845019)
      I left Windows Mobile on my HTC Apache to get a G1 the day it came out. The G1 smoked the winmo device like it wasnt anybodies business. I say that to say this: between wp7 and winmo, I'd go winmo any day. Way more features, actual multitasking, an interface not loaded down with gui parlor tricks, better third party ecosystem... the list goes on. MS would have done better refining what they had. They chose to make the bed they lie in now.
  • I know as of last month that Sprint didn't even have any WP7 on their handset roadmap, so unless they are planning to sell them retail only, they aren't really interested in them.
    • by GreyLurk (35139)

      Troll? or did you miss the HTC Arrive that came out in February?

      Admittedly, it's not much compared with the stable of Android phones that they're carrying, but it's not nothing.

      • by idontgno (624372)
        I suspect it's not so much trolling as inadvertent confirmation of TFA: No one can find a WP7 phone in any carrier store without diligence and lots of luck. The actual fact that they've been rolled out by vendors and are in the "official" catalog of the network providers looks purely hypothetical by now.
  • It's foolish to base any of your decisions on what retail cell salesmen say or do anyway. I've never been outright lied to as often as I have by someone trying to sign me up for a cell phone plan.

    Well, except for someone trying to sell me a TV or laptop at BestBuy. They like to bend the truth and hide things, too.

    If Caveat Emptor ever applies in life, it sure as hell does when it comes to electronic devices in a retail setting...

  • Sounds like WebOS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Scutter (18425) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:10PM (#36405774) Journal

    Sprint did the exact same thing with WebOS. Granted, the hardware was nothing to write home about, but the operating system is great! The WebOS phones were always stuck in the back corner of the store, though.

  • MS can easily fix the chicken/egg scenario.

    1: Put out a new version of the ActiveSync protocol which is only licensed to the iPhone and WP7 devices.

    2: Make it the the default protocol in the next Exchange version. Perhaps the only protocol, and move legacy ActiveSync (as well as IMAP and POP) to an additional charge product similar to BES.

    3: Add some security features to the new ActiveSync protocol so it is the only one "blessed" by businesses under the guise of SOX, HIPAA, etc. (even when in reality,

    • by BeerCat (685972)

      Exchange is the mail standard, and if a phone doesn't work with ActiveSync, it will not sell past the consumer market.

      Almost a cunning plan. Except that increasingly, people want to use their consumer phone with the corporate email (and if they are high enough up the food chain, will demand IT make it so).
      Also, the refresh rates in the corporate sphere are not as fast as consumer.
      So, it would make a decent amount of money for MSFT, but not as much as the potential to be had in the consumer market.

    • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:21PM (#36405888)
      7 ... Get sued for non-competitive practices, have millions of current Android owners get pissed off, see small businesses everywhere turn to Google mail, and loose profit.
    • by BagOBones (574735)

      RIM now offers Companies BESX a lite version that is free and offers at least the same features as active sync without needed special BES data plans.

      • by leenks (906881)

        Which requires Exchange and only runs on certain versions of Windows, and has a slew of other restrictions.

        If you run another ActiveSync capable server on a non-Windows platform you are screwed. And yes, some small-medium sized companies are looking to quality Exchange alternatives, such as Kerio (which requires far less resources to serve more people).

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Humm and Microsoft using their market share on the desk top in an anti-competitive way would go over so well.
      Yea I see corporate customers throwing a fit if their blackberries and Android phones stopped working, the EU slapping a few billion dollar fine on Microsoft, companies migrating away from Exchange to Gmail, and a general destruction of Microsoft's market share in the enterprise.

      Wow. That would be cool and it would only get better. You see WP7 isn't enterprise ready at all. The law suits would be fa

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      microsoft would do better to work with RIM to ensure blackberries and WP7 devices play well with each other on each other's networks, license blackberry messenger for WP7 and position themselves in between blackberry for emailing-all-the-time obsessed execs and the mailroom guys with their androids and iphones. push it as a smart phone for people who don't want to learn how to use a smart phone.
  • It's a shame. Microsoft could produce a phone that creates gold from air, and nobody would know about it because everybody hates Microsoft. They seriously have a problem. Nobody wants MS to have control over the mobile phone market.

    Apple is doing well. Apple has good branding. Apple is stylish and trendy and slick. It sells well because people feel really good about buying them. Android has a different strategy. It's backed by Google. Google has this air of nerdiness. It's technical. It's cleve
    • For me WP7 is okay. It doesn't give me many reasons to choose it over Android or iPhone. If I was more of a gamer, it might; but your average consumer isn't always a gamer.
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:20PM (#36405874) Homepage Journal

    FTFA >> "Not only did not he appear to know the fundamental difference between Windows Mobile and WP7..."

    He's hardly alone. One problem with MS changing their mobile strategy every five minutes is people have stopped giving a shit.

    It's Apple vs. Android for the market share. MS is too late to join the party.

  • by BagOBones (574735) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:20PM (#36405878)

    I see Apple iPhone ads almost ever other commercial break. Direct ones from apple, and carrier branded ones.. They are on constantly... I see giant Android signs up in malls.

    Where is the MS Windows Phone Marketing?

    • by DdJ (10790)

      Where is the MS Windows Phone Marketing?

      On the XBox 360 console.

      Seriously, no shit. It's packed with WP7 advertisements and promotions and tutorials.

      It's annoying as all get-out. If Microsoft takes this crap further, I may yank out my XBox's ethernet cable whenever I'm not downloading fresh content. (I mostly only do multiplayer with people in the same room as me, so I wouldn't be losing out on that.)

    • There were some TV ads last year when WP7 was first announced. I think they went something like, "People use their smartphones too much, we're the phone that is so intuitive that you don't have to use it". There's your brilliant MS phone marketing for you.
  • by FudRucker (866063) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:26PM (#36405946)
    their heavy hand in the desktop/laptop market has angered many many people and the resentment goes a long ways in what people offer and recommend, they don't want what happened in the PC market to happen to the cellphone market too
  • WP7 vs Vista (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hal_Porter (817932) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:30PM (#36405996)

    I actually think WP7 will fail much worse than Vista. Vista was a bit sluggish but it run the old applications. WP7 can't, and that will be fatal. All the Windows Mobile users will move to Android where their apps already work. People who already have an Android or iOS device are very unlikely to switch to WP7. All the ISVs will end up on Android and/or iOS because it's easier to port an app to a platform where you can use C/C++ and native code than one where the whole thing needs to be in C# and Silverlight or XNA. Even Angry Birds needs a C physics library. In fact even if Microsoft allow C and native code I doubt the ISVs that used to support Windows Mobile will come back because the platforms already bad market share is dropping quickly.

    E.g. Pleco - a Chinese dictionary - moved to iOS and (soon) to Android. They've dropped Windows Mobile and won't ever support WP7. When they dropped Windows Mobile the iOS version was outselling WinMo 10:1. They have core code in C/C++ which they can run on both iOS and Android (also on WinMo). No chance of it working on WP7 without rewriting in C#. And no chance of getting their handwriting and OCR libraries from third parties ported either.

    Opera have dropped Windows Mobile and won't support WP7. Once again they have C/C++ code with a few third party libraries in native ARM. It would be almost impossible to port to WP7 and even if they did Microsoft have apparently said they won't allow alternative browsers in their app store.

    In a sense WP7 is more like a console than a phone. Worse actually since XBoxes support native code as far as I know. Maybe they'll pick up games from the XBox ecosystem but I don't think that will make up for not having things like Opera and Pleco though. They've apparently offered Adobe the possibility of native code to get Flash ported and possibly will do the same for titles like Angry Birds. Still that's not really enough - Adobe haven't announced a ship date and Roxio, the Angry Birds publisher, have publicly contradicted Microsoft when Microsoft implied they had committed to porting. I.e. handing out native code passes for key applications is not enough to get people to support a platform which is obviously doomed.

    Picture Vista with no back compatibility following on from XP which had 1/3 the market share of OSX. Imagine that all the software already worked on iOS. That's the situation WP7 is in - it's actually easier to run the apps you used on Windows Mobile on Android than on WP7. Even the IHVs like HTC prefer Android because it's free to them and there are no limits on things like the Sense UI. WP7 has ridiculous limits on how much value they can add and they need to rewrite all their WinMo software in C# to make it work.

    I think the market share will drop rapidly and Microsoft will kill it. Just like Kin and Zune, both of which used the same software.

  • The iPhone may have taken off quickly, but it took Android a little while to get moving. It wasn't until around version 2 (and the Motorola Droid) that it really took off.

  • Carriers' should not have Stores you should be able to go a cell phone store and pick the Carrier you want with out the voice and data plan lock-in + insane roaming rates.
  • Nokia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:38PM (#36406092)

    With WP7 crashing, and Nokia committing to WP7 in a big way, I wonder if WP7 would take Nokia down with it...

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      not a chance, nokia makes their money on dumb phones, obviously they don't want to get shut out of the smartphone market but they still make every non pile of shit dumb phone / feature phone out there.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      What desperate companies often fail to realize is that those you're doing business with are doing it because they're equally desperate. It's rare that you get the easy ride on the coattails of a winner. Don't be surprised if Microsoft thought Nokia is huuuge, they'll get our phones in every shop everywhere and get us sales even if WP7 is only okayish. Not that I'm going to be terribly sorry if both Nokia and Microsoft took a beating, if only Nokia could pass on Qt to someone worthy.

  • by gQuigs (913879) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:38PM (#36406104) Homepage

    Same issue when I was looking for a Palm Pre Plus... So I bought it online. Palm's .. err HPs new phones (right now just the Veer) are likely just as buried. This is a hard market to get into. In fact the one Palm phone I was able to get access to in the store didn't seem to work.

    I ended up getting a Palm Pre Plus and really like it and highly recommend it (well actually at this point you should get the Veer or Pre3). It's not all open source but they respect (read donate hardware too) their homebrew community.
    http://bryanquigley.com/uncategorized/hppalms-webos [bryanquigley.com]

    I don't see a reason why we should care that Windows Phones aren't getting "fair" time in the market, they have an unfair enough advantage in other markets. I also would much rather WebOS take off.

  • Not open as in open source, but they can't lock these things down. I can download .cab files to do anything I want and there's no way they can really stop it. I don't have to go through any store or such nonsense. I'm not sure if WP7 is as open, but i'm hard pressed to let go of my 6.5 phone. It does everything I would want it to - for free.
    • by Junta (36770)

      AFAIK, they locked down WP7, just like everything else (except a few select Android handsets and WebOS devices).

  • by PinchDuck (199974) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:51PM (#36406222)

    Damned right there is a bias. After getting short shrift on support & software from MS on their mobile platform, going back to WinCE 2.11, I'll never use another WinMo phone again. I'm no Apple fanboy, but thank goodness that Jobs released the iPhone and changed the game, overthrowing the staid incumbents once and for all. I currently have an Evo and love it. I prefer Android, can appreciate the Apple devices, and will never again support MS due to their horrible customer service and support when they supplanted Palm. MS earned the bias against them.

  • by TheRedDuke (1734262) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:53PM (#36406250)
    She visited four stores - one from each of the big providers. Had she come to my local AT&T store, she would have seen the giant Windows Mobile display with several working demos, not to mention a sales guy who wouldn't shut up about Xbox Live or Netflix. I'm not saying that WM7 isn't being as hotly promoted as the other platforms, but it would be nice if she were drawing this kind of conclusion from a slightly larger sample set.
  • I was under the impression that since Microsoft only announced Windows Phone 7 in February 2010, that a shipping product would be at least another 18 months away.

    I'm speechless!

  • by DaveWick79 (939388) on Friday June 10, 2011 @06:32PM (#36406640)

    The biggest issue is that the advertisments for WP7 are stressing functionality and operability, when the majority of consumers just want "cool". If they advertised this based on the cool apps and games like Apple and Google are, and oh by the way it runs your important stuff too, then they may have some people walking into stores asking for it.

  • And maybe it's time someone questioned the "positioning" dogma in marketing? Pricing an inferior new product the same as your competition, when the competition makes a product that doesn't need marketing to sell, is completely out of touch.

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