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Bloggers Declare Windows Phone Dead but The Numbers Tell a Different Tale

27 December 201115 comments Android, inneractive, iPhone, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Industry, Nokia

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:

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:

  1. Android
  2. Windows Phone
  3. iOS

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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  1. Robert Scoble December 27, 2011

    I read your whole post expecting numbers. Where are they? Market share? Profits? Sales? Adoption curves?

    I know they will end up with about 12% of sales. But that's not what Microsoft was aiming at. Can they get more? I don't see how.

    And thought leadership? No way, sorry. Heck, Microsoft's own apps, like Skype, Xbox Live, and Photosynth aren't available on Windows Phone. That's no way to grab thought leadership.

    • hilzfuld December 27, 2011

      The numbers are 400% growth in apps, 40,000 live apps, and every other parameter an OS needs to succeed. The only number that is NOT working in Microsoft's favor is that iOS and Android were here five years before it. But the game is far from over. Thanks for reading, Robert.

      • Robert Scoble December 27, 2011

        And, again, those aren't the numbers anyone cares about. 40,000 apps? Doesn't matter if it doesn't have Workday or Flipboard or, heck, even Skype. And I could go for years on such a list. Plus, even after Microsoft gets caught up with apps there still will be the perception problem. Did anyone switch from Google to Bing after Bing effectively "caught up?" No. Microsoft needs a game changer to matter and it doesn't have one.

        As for 400% growth? Starting from a small number makes growth like that possible. It doesn't matter at this point.

        But you didn't answer my points AT ALL which is that "pro" developers are ACTIVELY IGNORING WP. You get get to 40,000 apps with all the .NET folks shipping little toys. But the big apps funded by VCs? No way. Not even close.

        You also ignored the perception of consumers, which is that WP is "unsafe" to buy because of the lack of apps. You whitewash that.

        You also ignored the marketing I see on TV "get our app," the ads cry. Yet they always say Android iOS. Never WP. Which is why Microsoft is in a hole sales wise.

        I bet the numbers are gonna be pretty dismal for sales. I watch at the mall what people are using and at sporting events and in airports. It's very rare I see a WP device.

        It's gonna be a long year for Microsoft.

        • hilzfuld December 27, 2011

          My point addressed all of those. You are comparing this new platform to iOS and Android and that is ridiculous. Of course, VCs, commercials, and consumers are not talking about this platform yet because the competition is much greater now than it was when the first iPhone was introduced but all that proves nothing and these are early days in the mobile space. Too early to declare anyone dead even if they are not as sexy as Siri or the Galaxy Nexus. Yes, we agree on your last sentence, it is going to be a long year for Microsoft. A year in which they have to prove to everyone, even old Microsoft employees apparently, that they have what it takes to make it. To say they are making wrong moves is ok, to say it is already dead, is just ridiculous.

          • Robert Scoble December 27, 2011

            I never said they were already dead. In fact, if you read me carefully I said anything but. They have 14 billion dollar businesses. Anyone who says they are dead is, well, not rational.

            I also said that they will end up with about 10% of market share (which, by the way, is matched BY THE NUMBERS… I.E. this poll, which has been going for months and hasn't seen the numbers change by much since starting it).

            That is pretty nice business, although it's a lot less than Nokia or Microsoft were hoping for.

            The problem is that I think sales aren't even coming up to the 10% level. They sure aren't in any of the countries I've traveled in lately (UK, France, USA).

          • hilzfuld December 27, 2011

            Anyone who is interested can follow the conversation here

  2. Chris Knight December 27, 2011

    Nokia's Lumia range can't even outsell its N9 product, and that's with the N9 on a dead-end OS (MeeGo) and restricted global sales, against the Lumia with an unlimited marketing budget and unrestricted global sales.
    The fact is, the carriers aren't interested/incentivised enough to sell WP devices. Without the carrier buy-in of WP devices, WP devices of any flavour are destined to be a very niche player. Symbian is still a bigger player in terms of market share and App Store size. Maybe MS should have dumped WP for Symbian, rather than Nokia dumping Symbian for WP :-)

  3. Jani Nevalainen December 28, 2011

    Well, just to mention that apps are coming. For example my company alone has been comissioned to port three digits number of games and entertainment products for Windows Phone. It's a catch up game for WP but there is a lot of interest in Europe among our customers for bringing their products for WP as well.

    • hilzfuld December 28, 2011

      Good to hear, thanks.

  4. Nybbles and Bytes January 6, 2012

    Sounds like another blinded iSheep argument from the Apple cult.

    Moving away from the mobile world briefly – I had a debate this week with someone comparing Apple to Dell – these were his words:

    "The problem is that you will get frustrated with a Dell very quickly, while you won't get frustrated with the Apple…"


    No logic. No common sense. Just blind devotion, and the same regurgitated answer "but it's not a Mac".

    Wake up iSheep and stop acting so enlightened.

    Your phones break when dropped from 1cm, and then they cut your hands to pieces with their stupid glass backs. Great "innovation", 'aint it.

    • hilzfuld January 6, 2012

      Not even sure what that was in response to since this is a post about Windows Phone but thanks for the intelligent comment.

  5. @StefanLindblad May 27, 2012

    An old post, but just liked to tell doubters, that this Swedish illustrator & graphic designer, that would be me 😉 is happily using his Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone 7 everyday. Cheers

  6. Future Technology December 25, 2012

    Sounds like another blinded iSheep argument from the Apple cult.

  7. mp3itunes January 28, 2013

    Nokia's Lumia range can't even outsell its N9 product, and that's with the N9 on a dead-end OS (MeeGo) and restricted global sales

  8. ddosprotection February 24, 2013

    I love Windows 8 smartphones. Really great investment.


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