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Windows Phone Crisis: how Dell can make things even worse for WP7

Daniel Eran Dilger

Microsoft is spending big money promoting Windows Phone 7, but it takes more than an ad budget to prod consumers into buying a sophisticated product. Just ask Vista, or Zune, or Bing, or KIN. On the other hand, its partner Dell is doing something even more terrible to WP7: blindly adopting it wholesale. Oh the humanity.
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While Microsoft has experienced a decade of back-to-back failures, Windows Phone 7 is unique in that a) it is not new (it’s the recycled version of the failed Windows Mobile platform), and b) that it benefits very little from any sort of monopoly tie to either Windows or Office.

Microsoft can’t just blow out ads intended to slow the defection rate, as there’s not really anyone left inside the burning building of Windows Mobile to convince not to flee. But it also can’t advertise reasons why Windows users would want a WP7 phone, or for that matter Office users, for whom WP7 is now more incompatible than ever.

Sometimes your biggest fans are your worst enemies. Before looking at how Dell is causing problems for WP7, consider the Windows Enthusiasts.

Panning for gold nuggets (of corn in poo creek)

Looking for some sort of good news to report about WP7, Ben Lorica of O’Reilly published a comparison of the Windows Phone software market and Apple’s iOS App Store.

The main problem, he discovered too late, was that his data was based on the existing “Windows Marketplace for Mobile,” Microsoft’s abortive software store for Windows Mobile 6.x, not the incompatible new Windows Phone app store, which doesn’t really exist yet.

Software for previous versions of Windows Mobile is mostly written using old Win32 APIs and is pen-based, while WP7 starts over from scratch using Silverlight development, and employing an iPhone-like touch interface. The old app store is completely worthless to WP7 users (and developers, and Microsoft itself, and for pro-WP7 propaganda purposes). How embarrassing.

After discovering his error, Lorica tried to paint his figures as somehow indicative of how the iPhone might stack up against WP7 apps, once they arrive. His key data point, reflected in the title, was that WP7 apps might cost significantly more than App Store apps. “Welcome news for the many developers gearing up to produce apps for Windows Phone 7!” he wrote.

Apparently this would be good news because they might make more money, despite having zero installed base. Of course, that didn’t really work out for Windows Mobile now, did it? The O’Reilly article is kind of like examining the Titanic ruins to describe why transatlantic airline passengers might be convinced to ride a boat instead, the next time they need to travel.

Windows Phone apps are more expensive than iPhone apps – O’Reilly Radar

And then things went bad

If only there was a glimmer of hope for WP7 apps. In reality, there is one App Store, run by Apple. In a distant second place is Google’s Android store, a loose collection of second rate placeholders thrown up by hobbyist developers who program for ideology, not money. Most of these apps are wallpapers and ringtones.

In a very distant third place, reminiscent of the dust cloud that followed around Charles Schulz’s Pig-Pen, is everyone else, including RIM’s attempt to leverage its slipping corporate edge, Symbian’s efforts to play off being the largest platform globally, haphazard efforts by JavaME and BREW, and of course, Microsoft’s most spectacular failure in software ever: WiMo-WP7.

Imagine failure like you never have before

To get an idea of how badly Microsoft is currently positioned, imagine if Apple had completely failed to launch the iPad; pretend that it actually suffered from all those problems the pundits had suggested and nobody bought it because it couldn’t play Flash Farmville, or because it didn’t have a removable battery, or a camera, or wasn’t running a windowing operating system designed for desktop computers.

Imagine the App Store didn’t immediately spawn 30,000 iPad apps, and Apple was forced to rush a replacement product into the market. Let’s pretend the iPad was replaced with the MacBook Air, but that Apple decided to start over from scratch with zero installed base to work from, and so it launched the Air with a crippled OS that couldn’t run Mac apps, couldn’t run iOS apps, and instead ran a proprietary version of Flash that wasn’t even compatible with Flash.

To make up for this clusterfoozle of epic proportions, Apple began advertising that its new Air was better than existing tablet devices because there were no real apps, and therefore you won’t really be sucked into using it very often. It will mostly just sit in your pocket. The punch line might be “What a time saver!”

That’s WP7.

But wait, it gets worse.

The only way things could get worse for WP7 is if people actually began using it with high expectations. No, not consumers. There is a small section of the population that will be happy with anything. Microsoft did actually sell some Zunes, and some people swore they really liked Vista, and there are people who love Tivo and Kindle and Apple TV and who build fan sites for Android. Those minorities are fairly easy to please.

The real problem for Microsoft’s WP7 would be if some major company decided to radically migrate from a capable if simple platform like RIM’s BlackBerry and make a wholesale leap to using the beta version of Microsoft’s WP7. Like, say, Dell.

The problem with Dell moving to WP7 is that Dell is an actual company that needs to perform. Once a build-to-order manufacturing paragon, Dell isn’t doing so well anymore. It does have strong allegiances to Microsoft however, even after the company destroyed the smoldering runs of the Dell Ditty by crushing PlaysForSure under the Zune, or after yanking the rug on Windows Mobile to throw down WP7.

With partners like these, who need competitors?

The worst thing for WP7 right now would be being thrown into the spotlight as an epic failure. Even if the crisis doesn’t become public, it will have an expensive, corrosive effect on Dell, Microsoft’s closest PC partner and only major PC/phone partner. After all, the other major PC maker, HP, has just purchased its own mobile platform from Palm and abandoned WP7.

WP7 might make an acceptable replacement for Samsung’s Bada or a Linux phone or an LG Chocolate, but it’s not a BlackBerry replacement. Companies seeking to replace their RIM infrastructures with iPhones are facing some challenges. Companies trying to roll out Android 2.x are running into very serious flaws in enterprise support (Exchange support, 802.1x WPA2 authentication, Proxy support, Cisco VPNs using certificates, OpenVPN, CalDAV support, managed apps and configurations).

WP7 is a 1.0 effort. It doesn’t support any sort of multitasking model, and lacks even the maturity of Android. It’s completely irresponsible for Dell to decide to switch 24,000 of its existing employees to WP7 and Android just because Dell makes the hardware. This sort of hubris is often referred to as “eating your own dog food,” but in this case, the dog food is still raw chunks of horse. And Dell is making the can, not the dog food itself.

Dell to Ditch 25,000 BlackBerrys in Bid to Promote Own Service – WSJ.com
An example in doing things with a plan

Compare Apple’s use of Windows CE handheld POS devices at its retail stores, a program that began around 2005. Two years later, Apple introduced the iPhone and people began to wonder why the company didn’t switch over immediately. It wasn’t until the last year or two that Apple finally ditched the old EasyPay devices and replaced them with iOS devices running a custom app, and attached to a card reader and barcode scanner.

Apple could have jumped the gun to just show off, but that would have negatively impacted its productivity. New devices require testing and training. In Apple’s case, the devices they had been using were terrible, unreliable and problematic. Additionally, they had few requirements: no enterprise integration and no critical messaging or VPN dependencies. Even so, the transition methodically took a long time to roll out.

In contrast, Dell is already using a mature, functional mobile messaging platform with the BlackBerry. Dell is scrapping this to throw 1.0 hardware and software at its core business development people. The only way Microsoft’s troubled WP7 platform could do worse is if it were given bad publicity by a knee-jerk attempt to put it in a role it is not remotely ready for by Dell.

Meanwhile, Bank of America and Citibank are working on plans to roll out iPhones to replace their BlackBerry-run corporate email. What do banking institutions know that the failing Dell doesn’t?

53 comments

1 Alan { 11.05.10 at 2:42 pm }

I tried my hand with a WinMo phone because it was the best smart phone option on my carrier that would work with my plan at the time. It was a HTC Touch Pro 2 running WinMo 6.1 (upgradable to 6.5) It had some bigs and slowness, but overall it worked pretty well once you got used to the quirks. One thing I loved about it and miss terribly was the 2 way voice recording functionality which is important to me for my business. As far as I know, iOS and Android do not have really good 2 way call recorders that work without using the speaker phone. If I am wrong please tell me the name of one that would work on the iPhone or Evo.

I have taken a look at WP7 and although I think they made the right decision to abandon completely the old WinMo and start from scratch, it doesn’t appeal to me. Seems far too focused on facebook, twitter, etc.. I am not really that addicted to social networking that this appeals to me on a phone. It also loses a lot of functionality that the older WinMo previously provided. I assume these will be added over time. Copy/paste should arrive in early 2011 for example. Having said that, I can see how it might appeal to some people. It has already sold out in Europe apparently. I am all for strong competition because it keeps Apple on their toes and makes them keep their upgrade cycle moving along faster than it would without Android, Blackberry, and now WP7 to push them along,

I can see how it might take some market share away from RIM, but I doubt too many iPhone or Android users will feel like they are missing out on anything. I have not seen any WP7 handset released that makes me want to sell my Evo anytime soon.

2 enzos { 11.05.10 at 3:10 pm }

Of all mad creatures, if the learn’d are right,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
-Alexander Pope 1735

… not only spot on for Mr Dell (being about pernicious microbes) but remarkably prescient, generally, a hundred years before Agostino Bassi let alone the discovery of Toxoplasma gondii in cat spit.

gratuitously
Enz

3 gus2000 { 11.05.10 at 3:26 pm }

“The punch line might be “What a time saver!” That’s WP7.”

OK, you got me. I LOLed.

4 donarb { 11.05.10 at 4:11 pm }

Kind of like Microsoft chucking UNIX boxes following their purchase of Hotmail. Or Dell.com chucking NeXT boxes after Apple absorbed NeXT. Dell reminds me of an abused wife going back to Microsoft time after time, because they say this time they’ve changed.

5 duckie { 11.05.10 at 5:06 pm }

@Alan
” It has already sold out in Europe apparently”

Oh doctor please my aching sides. WinPho7 hasn’t even made it onto the shelves in most phone shops here in the UK. They’ve put up the posters but there’s a massive worldwide supply shortage (already!) and they can’t get them, nor do they even know when they will. Maybe this is Microsoft’s latest attempt to fake some good sales numbers: instead of stuffing the retail channel and calling those units “sold”, they’re not shipping any at all and will then point at the empty shelves and say “hey we must have sold a lot, there’s none left”. Boom, baby.

6 cadillac88 { 11.05.10 at 5:32 pm }

First off – great article. Your hypothetical Apple example really drives home your message. Of course, the media will portray this completely upside down because that’s the only way something already upside down can be made to appear right side up.

Ms has deep pockets. There must be some incentive in this for Dell. MS will make this work no matter what. I think MS will still get into hardware sooner or later. If Dell can learn the ropes before that time comes, the pain will pay off. Eventually, MS will have a good enough copy of the software needed and eventually they will have a good enough noname hardware partner. By that time most of the players will have their own platforms. And then it will be time to copy the next big thing from Apple.

7 duckie { 11.05.10 at 5:49 pm }

It’s really not very nice of Dell – they’re calling Steve Ballmer a liar. When the iPhone was announced:
Ballmer: “it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard so it’s not a good email machine”.

8 patriot { 11.05.10 at 5:54 pm }

Medtronic is a huge medical equipment company. They just forced all of their reps to use Palm Treo Pro Smartphones. My friend had to remove the battery and replace it before he could make his first phone call. Big companies make dumb decisions sometimes.

Daniel,

I hope you have an article coming about Apple cancelling XServes and your take on what this means. I’m puzzled.

9 shadash { 11.05.10 at 6:18 pm }

Agree with everything but the Tivo dig. You could argue that Tivo is the Mac of DVRs. By far the best interface, much more intuitive, even beautiful. Cable DVRs are the Windows of the set top box – slow, clunky, ugly.

And the Apple TV is not there yet. The big advantage the iPod had with content is you didn’t have to buy it from iTunes. You could get it off your CDs or Napster/Kazaa/Limewire. Apple TV ignores the fact that TV shows are broadcast to me for free, and yet I am supposed to buy them for $1? Until they get to the point where all the content is on iTunes, and I can replace cable, I am sticking with Tivo.

10 Stephen { 11.05.10 at 9:16 pm }

@Patriot, I too am concerned about the xserve retreat. I know xserves don’t do anything that a mac pro can’t, but it isn’t a good look at a time when business users are starting to take apple seriously. I can see MS-centric CIO’s pointing at the decision and using it as evidence that apple isn’t serious about the business market.

11 mr_kitty { 11.05.10 at 10:05 pm }

@Stephen – Xserves do one thing that a Mac Pro can’t: fit in a rack.

12 John E { 11.06.10 at 1:25 am }

well, i’d like to separate the key items from the ridicule. MS clearly reworked WP7 as a consumer product. hence all the social and Zune-like features. it is trying an Apple-like simplified curated approach too, instead of the fragmented Andriod “open” free-for-all. how much control it cedes to the telcos remains to be seen.

that might work for enough consumers for WP7 to have modest success if they find it is a simple fun alternative to Android. which is how MS is advertising. it should appeal strongly to regular XBox and Zune users in particular.

app totals are way over rated for this basic consumer market. there is really only a small group of uber important apps for it, and their developers crank out versions for all platforms. the huge app stores are for techies and gizmo lovers like us.

sure, this WP7 is an incomplete V.1 product. MS just could not risk waiting any longer, being two years late already. we’ll see V.2 next spring that will fix most of that.

but WP7 has clearly not been optimized for enterprise yet, and that will take longer, like a year. once MS fully integrates it into its core enterprise services it might be very impressive. but that is even further off …

so yeah, Dell’s mass adoption of WP7 V.1 is pretty crazy. it will probably really be a side-by-side phase in. obviously it is a grandstand PR move, and Dell must hope to replace HP as MS new BFF.

and just wait until Nokia dumps the rapidly dying Symbian for WP7 V.2 next year, thanks to the Elop implant. don’t you see what is happening? MS+Dell+Nokia = the alliance of the desperate left-behinds.

13 addicted44 { 11.06.10 at 1:27 am }

The XServe brouhaha is a complete tempest in a teapot. Fact is, the need for Xserves was completely oliterated by Apple in late 2007, when they started allowing Mac OS X Server to be run in virtual machines (i.e. Servers made by other manufacturers). I am just surprised they have continued selling for 3 years beyond that.

There is no good reason to buy an Xserve (or for Apple to compete in this market).

1) Unlike the desktop, there are many popular OS’es. Linux, Windows, and a variety of UNIX’es.
2) Unlike macs, which users actually interact with directly, nobody interacts with servers directly. Any good shop will do almost everything remotely. This means that the largest competitive advantage Apple brings to the computer market, i.e. quality hardware design (note how Apple is the only one making videos on milling processes and materials such as “gorilla glass”) is completely worthless in the server space.

3) Finally, in the desktop space, where even if the mac hardware sucked, people would buy a ton of macs because OS X is not (legally) available on any other hardware. Since 2007, this is not true of OS X server anymore. People can buy their hardware from the HP’s, Suns (now Oracle), IBM’s, Red Hats, etc. and run Mac OS X Server on them.

14 JulesLt { 11.06.10 at 2:06 am }

“MS will make this work no matter what” – I’m not sure if they will.

Our IT department is already rolling out Android and iPhones, replacing Nokia and WinMob6 devices – and of course they started with WinMob6 themselves (and I recall all the early conversations about how the iPhone couldn’t do x that WinMob could).

They like Android, because it offers the same multi-vendor model as Windows. So the question is – why would they move back to MS?

Especially to a platform that has a high degree of risk (it has no backward compatibility with any existing MS software – which has always been their only selling point).

I can see them throwing money at it for a long time – until the shareholders revolt; they will have a limited hit amongst XBox users, and XBox Live Arcade developers (where there’s actually some skills compatibility) – but I think they’ve missed the main chance, which is the current upgrade cycle – the 36 months either side of now.

15 Stephen { 11.06.10 at 5:15 am }

Adicted44, I agree entirely, nevertheless CIO’s raised on MS-only religion will use it as an excuse to keep Apple out of the enterprise.

16 The Mad Hatter { 11.06.10 at 6:35 am }

Dell is making a huge mistake. The company I was working for decided to go Blackberry. They did it the smart way, in stages. Two of us who were the biggest geeks got Blackberry’s so they could test things out, and make sure everything worked.

That’s how you do things, not the entire company at once. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 1.0 version or a 5.0 version, any change of this magnitude is going to cause problems.

I feel for the people at Dell. The odds of this being a total disaster are damned good.

17 OneGeV { 11.06.10 at 7:40 am }

Daniel, you might want to write out “Point of Sale devices” in the last paragraph. After that withering description of WP7, the reader might think POS stands for something else.

18 The Mad Hatter { 11.06.10 at 7:47 am }

For those who feel like some amusement on a Saturday morning, while thinking about mobile platforms, may I recommend The Book of Smitings.

Do not drink while reading.

19 MobileGeorge { 11.06.10 at 8:28 am }

“…that Apple decided to start over from scratch with zero installed base to work from, and so it launched the Air with a crippled OS that couldn’t run Mac apps…”

That’s the same argument that WinMo and Palm OS users used against the original iPhone in 2007. The iPhone had no apps other than the ones that shipped on it. It used a crippled OS that didn’t run Mac software. There was no way to customize it with additional apps either. The 2007 iPhone was even worse than WP7 is now.

But people bought it anyway. And the fact that they did speaks volumes about the importance of external apps to the majority of consumers (i.e., not very important). The majority of people buy a product such as a phone for what it can do right out of the box (and ease of use, ease of access to features, etc.). This is a different class of product than say an MP3 player or a game console. In those cases people are buying the product so that they can enjoy something else (their favorite music or their favorite games).

But are people really buying phones so that they can run a particular app that isn’t already pre-loaded on the device? Perhaps some are (and maybe most that read your blog), but my guess is that’s a very small percentage of the entire population.

Apps are important because they enable evolution of the platform. They allow developers to try out different ideas in the marketplace. But just like we saw with desktop Windows and Mac platforms, the best of these ideas will eventually be incorporated into the OS and the standard apps that ship with the device itself.

It might feel good to dismiss Microsoft and their latest attempt in the mobile market, but I think it’s a mistake for Apple to do so. Within a year or so, Microsoft will have added all of the major missing features to its interface. And as you mentioned, WP7 isn’t really a new OS underneath. It’s using the same platform that has supported all of that functionality that WinMo users used to say was (and still is) missing from iOS.

So, Microsoft’s OS can do all of that stuff. It just hasn’t been surfaced yet in the UI. Microsoft is in a very different (i.e., much stronger) position than Palm and RIM with the maturity and capability of the lower-level OS and tools upon which the platform is based.

I still love my iPhone, but I really think it’s a bad idea to write off WP7 so soon. I predict that WP7 will soon be more of a threat than Android is now. The reason is that Microsoft’s phone will eventually offer a cohesively designed experience of a complete range of functionality whereas the typical Android phone will offer a hodgepodge collection of third-party apps and crapware that all work differently and seem confusing. Most people will choose the better designed experience. Apple knows this well.

20 The Mad Hatter { 11.06.10 at 8:44 am }

It might feel good to dismiss Microsoft and their latest attempt in the mobile market, but I think it’s a mistake for Apple to do so. Within a year or so, Microsoft will have added all of the major missing features to its interface. And as you mentioned, WP7 isn’t really a new OS underneath. It’s using the same platform that has supported all of that functionality that WinMo users used to say was (and still is) missing from iOS.

Note that we have no evidence that Apple has written off Windows Mobile. What you are reading here is Daniel’s opinions, not those of Steve Jobs.

That said, I don’t expect Windows Phone 7 phones to sell well. The interface sucks (based on videos and images, I haven’t seen one yet), and the interface can be make or break issue for phone users. If the interface interferes with what you need to do, the phone is useless.

Of course I’m over fifty, and the younger generation might love it.

21 Alan { 11.06.10 at 9:31 am }

I forgot to add in my first post that I think you have to consider the reverse as well. What is this transition proves to be a massive success? I mean, blackberry is a pretty dated OS. It really only excels at email. If the Dell employees can use their phones to make calls, send text/emails, use specific work apps then it could be at least as good if not better experience that using their blackberry prior to the transition. I seriously doubt it will lower their productivity. It is just a phone after all. Companies were able to get work done prior to having a smart phone of any type after all. Some might argue that the iPhone might lower productivity because there are so many fun apps to play with.

We also don’t know if they did a trial run with say only 50 or 100 employees for a few months to test this transition. Predicting this switch as an inevitable epic failure or stating it will probably lower productivity seems a bit over the top. It is just a phone after all. Blackberry set the bar pretty low, so I imagine most of these employees will consider this a major upgrade.

22 brew57 { 11.06.10 at 11:18 am }

I’ve heard similar predictions poopooing Android earlier (this blog also?), and yet Android devices collectively emerged to surpass iPhone in market share. I remember a specific blog post here poopooing Gartner, its biased predictions and specifically its prediction that Android will emerge with a leading market share. Yet that particular prediction seems to have come true.

Despite WM7 and Microsoft’s well-known shortcomings, predict (60%+ probability) that Windows Mobile 7 devices will end up taking major market share (probably at the expense of Android and RIM mostly).

One can belabor these shortcomings (well known by now) and elaborate on them from a variety of angles to “prove” how incompetent Microsoft has been (mostly true, if not a bit blown out of proportion); yet one needs to judge the end result. Let’s see how it plays out a year or so from now.

23 brew57 { 11.06.10 at 11:41 am }

>>Android store, a loose collection of second rate placeholders thrown up by hobbyist developers who program for ideology, not money. Most of these apps are wallpapers and ringtones.

I am an iPhone and iPad user and I love those. (Although I pointed out earlier the browser performance issues I am experiencing.) But the above statement just doesn’t ring true. Everyone would agree that the Appstore is superior to all else out there. But that’s different from stating that Android marketplaces is (let me paraphrase) essentially useless. I asked friends, real people, who use Android, they all seem to think the apps in the Andoid marketplace is just fine. In fact I am guessing that the most popular iOS apps can also be found in the Android market place.

Is Facebook app on Android second rate? How about Twitter apps? One can probably make a long list of quality apps on the Android marketplace.

I think such extreme negative anti-Android statements just take a way from the credibility of the overall articles.

24 The Mad Hatter { 11.06.10 at 7:12 pm }

brew57,

Define what you mean by major market share – after all 5% could mean several million units sold, which might be enough to keep Microsoft in the game.

Mind you I don’t think that they are likely to be that successful myself, nor do I think that the Blackberry is outdated. Specialized, yes. But as an email phone it’s a damned good unit. I know a lot of people who love them. I know a lot of people who love their IPhones. I know a lot of people who love their Android phones. But I don’t know anyone who loves the current Windows Mobile phones though.

25 beanie { 11.07.10 at 12:32 am }

Daniel Eran Dilger wrote:
“Android store…Most of these apps are wallpapers and ringtones.”

Number of wallpaper is around 6,400 and ringtones is around 650. Android app count is around 100,000. Obviously, Daniel’s information is outdated.

I heard Canalys reported Android had around 43% of U.S. marketshare in 3rd quarter which was the quarter iPhone 4 was released. Android sold around 9 million units versus around 5 million iPhones. I wonder how many AT&T sold? Android globally sold over 20 million units which means it also out sold iPhone overseas and is now in 2nd place behind Symbian.

26 OneGeV { 11.07.10 at 4:18 am }

That’s the same argument that WinMo and Palm OS users used against the original iPhone in 2007… The 2007 iPhone was even worse than WP7 is now. But people bought it anyway.

Your comment points out two things:
1) The first iPhone was not better in *every* way, but still still had some major benefits over the other smartphones in the market at the time.
2) Microsoft has been working on mobile OS for over a decade, with 6 and a half versions before this one, and you are comparing WP7 to a 1st gen OS from three years ago. (Sounds like damning with faint praise.)

27 snafu { 11.07.10 at 5:00 am }

But then , it is not as if iOS emerged from a vacuum, after years of NeXT/Mac OS X. Rather than first gen OS, it was a first gen UI, and the same goes for WP7.

28 snafu { 11.07.10 at 5:09 am }

“…Google’s Android store, a loose collection of second rate placeholders thrown up by hobbyist developers who program for ideology, not money…”

We’ll have to warn Rovio about that, I guess. Damn Open Sourcers!!! :D

At that, in which way the App Store doesn’t imply programming for ideology (no sex, no porn, no politics, no parody, no controversy seems quite defined, ideologically speaking). :)

29 JPTJr { 11.07.10 at 7:27 pm }

@ MobileGeorge (and others)

Comparing WP7 from (late, late) 2010 with the iPhone from 2007 is a fool’s errand. There are simply too many very attractive competitors in the current smartphone market. In 2007, the iPhone was remarkable, unique, set next to handsets that looked positively dull in comparison, complete with mini buttons and a mini screen. In 2010, for the same price as the WP7 options, you have incredibly slick, polished and complete phones with vast ecosystems that offer virtually limitless app possibilities.

The iPhone will be offered on Verizon (and perhaps others?) in the US soon, and it will be real hard to make a convincing argument that you should spend the same amount on a new platform with anemic app offerings, no matter how you feel about the interface. Broadening the networks that carry the iPhone is also going to put a major crimp in Android’s growth trajectory – mark my words.

30 gslusher { 11.07.10 at 11:49 pm }

@shadash: “You could argue that Tivo is the Mac of DVRs. By far the best interface, much more intuitive, even beautiful. Cable DVRs are the Windows of the set top box – slow, clunky, ugly.”

I expect that Daniel was referring to the fact that TiVo never made much money except through the settlement of a patent suit. It was a technical success but a commercial failure.

31 The Mad Hatter { 11.08.10 at 6:53 am }

You could argue that the TIVO is/was a success. Sure, it hasn’t made huge amounts of money, but they are still in business, and everyone is getting their wages on time. Most startups don’t manage to do this, and TIVO has been in business for over eleven years, while the networks kept on trying to kill it.

Really, they haven’t done all that badly. Not as well as Apple, no, but most startups are lucky to survive six months.

32 JPTJr { 11.08.10 at 7:48 am }
33 brew57 { 11.08.10 at 11:37 am }

@ MadHatter

>>Define what you mean by major market share..

Same order of magnitude as Android and iOS phones…

34 The Mad Hatter { 11.08.10 at 3:07 pm }

brew57,

I would consider that doubtful myself.

35 The Mad Hatter { 11.08.10 at 3:10 pm }

Brew57,

Now mind you I do expect to see a market share increase, but I doubt that Microsoft will hit double digits. One of the best looks at Windows Phone 7 was on Semi Accurate, take a look at their viewpoint and see what you think.

36 beetle { 11.09.10 at 10:42 am }

@Daniel, like patriot and others, I too would love to read your take on Xserve.

@addicted44, you asserted that Apple has legally allowed OS X Server to run on non-Apple hardware since 2007, but I believe you are mistaken. The current system requirements cite Apple branded hardware, just like the desktop version.

The Unisys deal might change that, but when might that be announced?

37 The Mad Hatter { 11.10.10 at 8:31 am }

Supposedly 40,000 sold first day.

38 TheMacAdvocate { 11.10.10 at 11:09 am }

@The Mad Hatter
They even had some A-list pop talent pimping these turds. Guess we know what we can get for $500 million.

http://themacadvocate.com/2010/11/10/windows-phone-7-launch-really/

39 TheMacAdvocate { 11.10.10 at 11:25 am }

@brew57
“…yet Android devices collectively emerged to surpass iPhone in market share *in one country*.”

Fixed. You’re welcome.

40 TheMacAdvocate { 11.10.10 at 11:57 am }

@beanie
Your breakdown of the number of apps by type in the Android market would be a lot more compelling if it were sourced.

http://www.android.com/market

LOL! You can’t see anything beyond “top apps”? There’s not even a feedback system? Maybe Google is trying to preempt the embarrassment of having people start counting up the trademark violations present in their petri dish. Let’s see if we can find something from someone who isn’t the developer of the phone’s OS:

http://www.androidzoom.com/

That’s more like it. I assume you’re using this rough categorization in the lefthand column as the justification for your 6,400/650/100,000 count. There’s a *little bit* of detail you’re omitting, which I imagine isn’t difficult to do given how poorly organized the site is. I will say you got the total right, but that’s about as accurate as your math gets.

“Ringtones” are listed at 658, but soundboards add another 1,308. This isn’t counting the spillover from the “Entertainment” and “Lifestyle” categories, just to name 2 of the largest. But wait! Put “ringtone” in the search and behold. Suffice it to say I stopped counting the pages at 150 (x10 ringtones per page). I’ve found more than twice your total with very little effort. Please keep clicking “Next” if you feel you have any point left to salvage. Let me know when it stops.

The “Wallpapers” category has 6,700 entries, but “themes” add another 6,600. I’d cross reference and search again, but frankly, I’m embarrassed enough for you already.

If you’re going to call out a statement on this site, please check your assertions against the statement with a little more diligence. That, or just don’t comment and let the author’s statement reflect the truth of the matter.

41 beanie { 11.10.10 at 1:45 pm }

@TheMacAdvocate

What does “most of the apps are wallpapers” mean? Does that mean 50% of apps? Daniel’s statement is fluff and is not sourced.

TheMacAdvocate wrote in comment #39:
“*in one country*.”

But it is the most important one, the U.S. Also, it might actually be two countries. The other is South Korea. Daniel argued that Android does poorly overseas, but it seems Android outsold iPhone there also in the 3rd quarter.

[Only if you believe extremely suspect numbers contradicted by peer review. The top Android licensees are among the biggest failures in the phone business. And the products they make are taking the place of embedded phones and low end Palm/WiMo devices, not leading in sophistication or profitability. Motorolla and Sony Ericsson are performing poorly despite help from Android. If that's your success story, you might as well root for winp7 -Dan]

42 Maniac { 11.10.10 at 2:58 pm }

@ MobileGeorge – “The 2007 iPhone was even worse than WP7 is now. But people bought it anyway. And the fact that they did speaks volumes about the importance of external apps to the majority of consumers (i.e., not very important).”

That was then. This is now. People bought the original iPhone 2G, but iPhone 2G sales were minuscule compared to current sales. And that is due in large part to the launch of the App Store in 2008.

Microsoft’s KIN phones didn’t have an app store. Look how well they did.

43 gslusher { 11.10.10 at 3:54 pm }

@The Mad Hatter: “Supposedly 40,000 sold first day.”

To put this into perspective, officially, ATT & Apple sold 270,000 iPhones in the first two days (a weekend) in 2007.

The 40,000 number may not be very reliable, though–see the comments to the article to which The Mad Hatter linked.

FWIW, here’s the comment from one friend who has an early Android phone and wants to upgrade. I asked him if he would consider the new WP7 phones. “No way.” Why? “They use Windows! I don’t want viruses and s**t like that on my phone! I have enough problems with my laptop.” To him, Windows = malware. (He said that he’s running Vista, which came on his laptop, but he’s used Windows for a long time.) Maybe Microsoft should have named the OS something else.

44 The Mad Hatter { 11.10.10 at 5:48 pm }

I go everywhere with my laptop. The most common question I get asked ‘Is it true Mac’s don’t get viruses?’, and when they are told yes, you can see the wheels turning. I get the same thing if I carry my old ThinkPad running Moon OS (Linux). The number of people who are looking to escape Windows is huge.

Let’s face it, very few people really like any Microsoft product with the exception of the XBox360, and even there they tend to be ambivalent.

45 brew57 { 11.11.10 at 8:17 am }

For the sake of Apple, WM7 (and Dell) better suceed or Android will take over. We’ve all seen Gartner latest numbers. So if you want to save iPhone, better start cheering for Dell’s experiment.

46 brew57 { 11.11.10 at 3:36 pm }

I will also stake my (non existent) reputation on a prediction 100% contrary to the one implied in this blog post

– Microsoft will eventually be a success in the smartphone space (not in the 90% share sense, but in the we-have-a-major-marketshare sense)

– Dell’s early WM7 internall rollout will be an internal success and its experience will help it become a major smartphone competitor in the Enterprise space (where it has been traditionally strong)

47 FreeRange { 11.11.10 at 10:52 pm }

@brew57 – your last post is sooooooo laughable. There is no earthly reason for WM7 to be a success as you define it – “we have a major marketshare” = they are irrelevant in the mobile space as has been proven by not only their past products, but by all the amazing devices that are now out there in the market. No one needs them! This is a totally different market from the desktop where they have held draconian sway.

Next, so what if Dell’s rollout turns out to be an “internal success”? – no one cares! Further, Dell’s use of WM7 WILL NOT “help it become a major smartphone competitor in the Enterprise space” because even by MSFT’s own admission (“we’re keeping the existing Windoze mobile for the enterprise”) it is not an enterprise OS (nor, therefore, enterprise level devices)!

48 brew57 { 11.12.10 at 11:37 am }

@ FreeRange

>>your last post is sooooooo laughable.

Give it sometime. Then see how laughable this is. In any even, if you like Apple to succeed you better cheer for WM7. Otherwise, in this battle for platform dominance, Android is killing the smarphone market as you may have seen from the latest Gartner and IDC numbers.

49 bumper3 { 11.13.10 at 1:30 pm }

“The O’Reilly article is kind of like examining the Titanic ruins to describe why transatlantic airline passengers might be convinced to ride a boat instead, the next time they need to travel.”

Classic Dan, hilarious.

50 JPTJr { 11.13.10 at 7:29 pm }

@ brew57

Let’s see how this pans out when the iPhone is on multiple carriers in the US, the next iPhone comes out and the iPhone 4 moves to $99. As I’ve stated before, it will be very difficult to choose a lesser OS, ecosystem, etc. I’ll be checking back in.

51 beetle { 11.16.10 at 10:24 am }
52 gslusher { 11.16.10 at 2:26 pm }

The URL in beetle’s message doesn’t work. It needs an “l” on the end (.html rather than .htm):

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/11/09/why_apple_axed_xserve_and_how_it_can_reenter_the_sever_market.html

53 PhilipWing { 11.17.10 at 9:57 pm }

Wow, the comment wars are getting pretty bad on this one. Well, I already connect to my corporate email via my iPhone (despite their posted instructions being only for WiMo). Now if we can just replace the WiMo apps with native iPhone ones (rather than a rumored web-based product, not particularly useful on phone-sized screens). BTW, any recommendations on WiMo simulators (although the Microsoft Development one is free…).

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