I know, you’re all sick of the Microsoft news, but frankly, this is personal now. Windows Phone 8 will be out hot on the heels of Windows 8 and will be pretty cool, if it works right. Will the multi-core processors work? Why go to removable memory now instead of just increasing the internal capacity of the devices? What is going to happen to the Zune software? Will my past purchases of Windows Phone 7 software work or do I need to purchase new licenses for my new phone? Why can’t they just write an emulator for Windows Phone 7.5 to work with 8? These are all thoughts and posts found all over the Windows Phone community. I for one, don’t care about any of it. If they give me the shaft and make my phone obsolete, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just time to get a new phone. My question is, what are they going to do to win me over again?
I was a diehard Windows Mobile man. I had a PPC 2002 device, a Windows Mobile 5 device, a Windows Mobile 6 device and even a 6.5 device. They left me high and dry when the change to WP7 happened, but I forgave them and came crawling back. Finally, after watching the OS for a year, I jumped in and took them back. Yesterday, the flashbacks of that announcement of my Touch Pro 2 dying came back as I glanced at my Focus S during the Windows Phone Summit for developers… Yes, they did it again.
Microsoft’s announcement yesterday that all 30 million Windows Phones running 7.5 would not be able to run the new Windows Phone 8 platform didn’t shock me, but it was extremely disappointing. To hear that an OS that worked well was gone, only to be replaced by another first generation OS just saddened me. After a day of thinking about it, I really didn’t care that my Focus S was dead like my Touch Pro 2 before it. What did piss me off to no end was the fact that I was looking at $2000 to get my Windows 8 experience going… And that money was going to go to the company that has screwed me over TWICE!
I know, you are saying how is that, it’s not like the phones will stop working tomorrow, or next year, but the support will. App developers will stop writing new content for 7.5 devices as soon as the WP8 SDK comes out. Manufacturers are already discontinuing lines in efforts to get WP8 devices ready for the holidays. If in 6 months I send my Focus S in for service, will I get a refurb, or a new Focus 8? This is where I feel robbed. By not making the device “forward compatible” with the new OS, they have made it obsolete, and they did it in one 45 minute speech.
That said, I’m excited to see what Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 brings to the table. It will take quite a bit of convincing to get me to plop down money for a new touch screen PC, slate and phone. It’s not going to be easy to do it this time either. I will wait, watch the reviews, see what offers are made to previous WP users and see if it is in my best interests to update to the new version, or consider going back to Android (or maybe even BlackBerry if they mount a comeback.)
The fact of the matter is, the economy is depressed, unemployment is at record highs and you just pissed off almost every loyal customer you had with this announcement. For those 30 million people that have a Windows Phone in their pockets to be told that they now have a limited lifespan the question of loyalty is now there for you to experience. This isn’t a free or $250 phone that you are talking about them tossing out, this is a $750 imported Lumia 800 or a 2 year contract costing Lumia 900. You don’t seem to understand that you just gave them the finger for being loyal enough to buy your flagship devices.
For those that suffered the wait on Sprint and Verizon, consider yourself very lucky. Your carriers didn’t stick it to you by offering these 7.5 handsets that are now going to be dead in 18 months. They waited out the uncertainty and will be giving you the option of upgrading to 8 when it comes out this fall with brand new handsets at new 2 year pricing. For those that ditched that iPhone for a Lumia 15 days ago, sorry, you’re stuck. AT&T ain’t gonna help you and Microsoft seems like they could care less.
I guess here is my thought on the fix for this scenario…
Microsoft: Turn this stupid gamble of testing your customer’s loyalty into a brilliant move. Give your retail stores a batch of new Windows Phones (manufacturing costs should be about $200 a phone) running Windows Phone 8. Anyone that wants to trade up, can walk in and swap and walk back out. Sure, you’ll take it in the shorts, but guess what… I get a free phone from you – I’m buying the Windows 8 Update for my computer now, or maybe a new PC? Plus, without having to shell out for that new phone, that Surface tab is looking awfully good. You are going to make that $200 back fast, trust me.
Nokia, why don’t you just eat this one. Sell the 900’s overseas where Windows Phone 8 will take forever to come to market. Sure, they have US LTE radios in them, but how much of the world is wired up on 4G anyways. It’s not like the $100 device cost you guys anything in the long term anyway. Microsoft can eat this one for you and you can come out looking like brilliant geniuses for having the gall to pull a product after 2 months and getting the people that want one a new one.
AT&T, you are the one with the most to lose here. Yes, you are the one with the 2 year contract. You are the one that the people will have to complain about years from now. If you step up and work with Microsoft and get this fixed right, all those Lumia/Titan/Focus owners are going to stay with you and pay you that extra $750 for data over the next 2 years. If not, the mas exodus of customers that will happen as a result of getting duped into buying a flagship phone that had a 3 month lifespan wil end up hurting much more than a $200 loss on a handset.
So, here we are. Stuck at an impass. Will someone bail out those users that just got toasted? Will there be an upgrade credit? How will this get handled. Will everyone just get left as is and hopefuly stay loyal to an OS that has abandonded them so many times? Most of all, by this fall, will Windows Phone 8 even still be relevant? Big gamble… Yes. At the same time though, brilliant move Microsoft, now win me back one more time.
As a side note: Personally, I still feel very strongly that Windows Phone 7.5 is the most stable OS available for a smartphone today. The Focus S that I carry on a daily basis was given to me during the Smoked By Windows Phone challeges and only cost me a Samsung Exhibit II 4G on trade in. I have never had any issues with the device. I have had an HTC Radar 4G, the Focus S, and a Focus Flash in my pocket in the last 6 months. The Focus S will stay there until they stop supporting it completely. I just wish it synced to my Toshiba Thrive tablet.. Darn it al anyways!