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Microsoft altering the update communication

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Microsoft has come under fire more than once for the lack of communication between the team and consumers when it comes to updates rolling out for Windows Phone. Today Eric Hautala, General Manager Customer Experience Engineering, published an article on the Windows Phone team blog detailing changes that are in the pipeline that will change how we are kept up to speed on Windows Phone updates.

The Windows Phone website already details what updates are rolling out for each supported carrier (and country), but individual releases are also covered on the official blog and the "Where's my update?" page. In the coming months, Windows Phone users can keep up to date by checking the Windows Phone Update Central site for update information. Hautala explains, 

"There are also a few changes on the way for the blog and website. As we continue our growth, we won’t be individually detailing country, model, and carrier details on the Where’s My Phone Update? site any longer. And instead of my weekly blog posts, the official Windows Phone website will be the primary place for news and information about our updates, just as Microsoft Answers is there for your support questions."

Hopefully this move won't stimey the flow of information on our Windows Phone updates.

As well as the above alterations, Hautala took a moment to thank all Windows Phone owners for the feedback the team has received surrounding the update process, which has helped them perform tweaks and enhancements. He encourages everyone to keep the cards and letters coming via the WindowsPhoneTeamSite, Twitter and Facebook.

The future is set to be fairly bright. Roll on CES 2012.

WP Central

Update: The direct link is dead for some reason, but the article is still up on the main site.

Update 2: Link fixed

Source: Windows Phone Team Blogthanks, ousooner314, for the tip!

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Reader comments

Microsoft altering the update communication

43 Comments

You do know that Apple makes their own phones, right? And they basically have control over the carriers as to what they do with the iPhone.

apple doesn't have to support NEARLY the amount of device variations that MS does. Apple has complete control of their hardware and software.

It's sadly true. You notice that despite the myriad of revisions of the iPhone now on 3 US carriers (both CDMA and UMTS/HSPA), and countless others internationally; none of them ever delay iOS updates. That's because Apple updates go out when Apple says so, not when the carriers do.
Don't get me wrong, I love my Windows Phone; but until Microsoft is ready to take the same step and ensure all of its customers are guarateed to receive bug fixes and new featuers in a timely and consistent manner (as iPhone users do), then this update process will never be as good as what the iPhone has.

Oh this is great. Sprint and Verizon are so excited, they can't wait to put out this update! I'm sure they are begging Microsoft for it right now. smh

With the exception of the 7740 update, I haven't had many issues with Sprint's updates. They pushed the big bug patch that was released post-NODO, and the Mango update came quite speedily as well.
 
I just hope they get some new fucking phones.

I just hope that Microsoft keeps the pressure on the carries to push out the updates.  I don't expect them forever, but I think 2 years of updates is reasonable (the length of time that I'm under contract).

I'm not nearly as optimistic as the author. The way I read it, it's taking a step back by creating even more uncertainty regarding how and when updates are delivered.

That's how I read it as well. Sounds like you'll know an update was released and what it does but you'll have no clue when your phone will get it.

Agreed with both of you. I'm not sure how Rich came to his interpretation, but this is just a plain blackout. And every other blog site feels the same, from WMPoweuser to The Verge.

It looks to be the OEM/Carriers have the upper hand here as they can determine which updates goes out to which phones. Even if MS has a new OS update (i.e. Apollo) that can work on older phones just fine, the OEM/Carrier can basically ignore it forcing users to upgrade to current models. Until MS significantly increase WP's market share and/or make their own hardware, they're in no position to dictate terms with these carriers.

I'm not nearly as optimistic as the author. The way I read it, it's taking a step back by creating even more uncertainty regarding how and when updates are delivered.
 
Edit: Sorry for the duplicate comment. I got an error when I posted my fist comment. I thought it didn't go through and resubmitted.

No, you will get updates on the unlocked schedule or the schedule of the carrier that the phone was originally locked to

Hautala thinks comparing the system to MS Answers is a good thing? Please. Give me http://xda-developers.com any day. They know what they're talking about, and have never fallen back on that pathetic "in that case, get an Android" routine.

I still haven't heard one single good reason why a carrier wouldn't release an update to improve their products.  I'm on AT&T and they've been absolutely horrible at releasing minor updates.  Why is it so hard for companies to understand that a happy customer is a RETURNING customer?  I love my Titan but I'm not so emotionally attached to it that I will continue to get the raw end of the stick.  From now on I think consumers should just report carriers to the Better Business Bureau when they purposely withhold product enhancing features.  It's bad for the consumer and deserves more attention than just a few angry forum posts.  Maybe with enough reports we could drive AT&T's B ranking down to a F.  Maybe then they'll listen.
http://www.bbb.org/atlanta/business-reviews/telephone-companies/atandt-in-atlanta-ga-7935

so even though ms has said all phones will get updated to Apollo, its now up to carriers for approval?
I'm taking my ff's back tomorrow, 90% of my online usage is to forums... The disappearing keyboard is redonkulious.
no communication if it will get the update to resolve, let alone when... I will not be sold a crap-droid. I don't want ios. Any at&t wp7 phones have a keyboard??? I'm willing to wait now I guess.
this pick and choose vague communication is definitely the worst part of it.

Sprint isn't doing any better right now. The keyboard bug is even effecting the physical keyboard of the HTC Arrive

I still haven't heard one single good reason why a carrier wouldn't release an update to improve their products. I'm on AT&T and they've been absolutely horrible at releasing minor updates. Why is it so hard for companies to understand that a happy customer is a RETURNING customer? I love my Titan but I'm not so emotionally attached to it that I will continue to get the raw end of the stick. From now on I think consumers should just report carriers to the Better Business Bureau when they purposely withhold product enhancing features. It's bad for the consumer and deserves more attention than just a few angry forum posts. Maybe with enough reports we could drive AT&T's B ranking down to a F. Maybe then they'll listen.
http://www.bbb.org/atlanta/business-reviews/telephone-companies/atandt-in-atlanta-ga-7935

With just a few bumps in the road I feel that MS hasn't done to bad of a job. As long as there is continuous improvements and revamping of the process I'm ok with it. At least compared to Android, the WP process has been relatively smooth. We have other issues to worry about like MARKETING!

Only @microsoft could release a statement to explain their lack of communication with an explanation of intent to further not communicate.

Comically well put. This is cluster post by Hautala.

I'm sure that I'll get a canned response if I ask them at CES, but Daniel should really pull some MS people aside next week and get the inside scoop with anonymous responses.

It's ridiculous that Microsoft gives critical or important updates on carrier's request... Almost every open market LG has been left without hidden networks and tethering and now we can't even get critical bugfixes? If MS continue to work this way they will leave many customers dissapointed. It's not my job to complain to the carrier every time an update is out and they didn't request it... I'm very dissapointed with that subject....I'm already considering an iPhone because WP7 seems quite immature at this point.
 

I remember Microsoft saying that the updates will be handled direct by their servers with no interference by the carriers. Of course it wasn't true as we could see on the last few updates, and now this?
And the disappointments keep coming

Updates are still light years ahead of the mess Android has created. Some phones didn't even get Froyo!!! Just like most devices won't get ice cream sandwich

I'm locked into another 2 ½ years with my HD7 on Bell in Canada, and Bell hasn't pushed me the disappearing keyboard fix or the tethering update. I hope I'll get tango and Apollo, but I'm not gonna hold my breath, especially now that MS doesn't have my back.

What a way to disillusion your already small market share. Next month I'm up for an upgrade on AT&T. Somehow now, the lack of support worries me, as the carriers dont care for Windows Phone already. Been on WP7 for a year coming from an iPhone. The 4s is looking better each day that goes by with news like this. Someone please convince me different as to what the future of this platform really is? If Nokia 900 can't do it, who else feels a pulse? Would you lock into a 2 year contract and have AT&T ignore upgrades? This dissappearing keyboard is really annoying and should be a 100% fix across all phones. Sad...

Well, why don't we organize ourselves a bit and show the team our dissatisfaction?  Everyone message @joebelfiore , @brianseitz, @skipdeez, @BrandonWatson and Eric Hautala with your displeasure with the hash tag #Whereismyupdate. 
We can also try and pressure the carriers with a coordinated campaign.  Call their technical support centre and ask to speak with a manager.  Ask them when you can expect to see the bug fixes.  It costs the carriers a lot more money if you call and complain.  If we make it more expensive to withold updates by increase support costs, they may be more inclined to just issue the updates. 
Also, voice your concern with a modified twitter campaign using the hashtag #whereismyupdateATT. Replace ATT with your appropriate carrier.  Maybe the negative press would do the same.

Sent my dissatisfaction to Joe and @windowsphone this morning. So not a happy camper about this. Can't trust AT&T to do anything in a timely manner.  If I could jump ship I would. Such a shame.

I tried posting something very similar but it wouldn't appear.  It's time consumers stop getting the short end of the stick.  It seems like carriers still don't understand that happy customers are returning customers. 

This really doesn't change anything, imho, other than taking away our webpage to obsess over while waiting.  Microsoft may be a behemoth in the Desktop OS space, but in this venue, they have zero clout.  They represent almost nothing to the carriers, so it's not like they even have the ability to lay down the law and apply pressure like Apple or Android has.  Even AT&T could walk away from Microsoft with nary a tear at this point, and I am certain they leverage that.
 
The old "Where is my update" didn't do anything other than tell us what we already  knew - that we had our update or we did not.  Now that WP is rolling out on a bajillion devices in tons of countries, with lots and lots of carriers, a site like that just becomes unweildy, and even expensive to maintain.  They would have to assign a team of people just to keep it up. 
 
I was annoyed at first, but I've changed my mind.  You can't hardly blame them.
 

I'm not so concerned with the page as I am with the statement, "available to all carriers that request it".  It's a pretty telling statement.

Yes it does change things..carriers not have to 'request' updates, in which they have no incentive to do so.

And a team? To manage a webpage about carrier updates? Gimme a break.