From the Forums: Xbox companion, SmartGlass and Exclusive apps (Hot Thread)

WP Central

In this week’s hot thread we are talking about  Microsoft giving away all our exclusive apps. Earlier in the week we received the news that Microsoft was releasing the XBOX companion app on Android and updating the IOs version to 1.5 bringing features that even Windows Phone doesn’t have. The question here is does it matter? Is Microsoft shooting itself in the foot giving away exclusive apps to other platforms?

In this thread “Well the scumbags did it....just go ahead and throw the ecosystem away” forum member inteller is saying just that. He thinks that by making this app and other Windows Phone exclusive apps available on other platforms Microsoft is killing Windows Phone:

“Stealth update for XBL on iOS adds all the Companion functionality we had exclusive. Let's just go ahead and release Office and remove any other reasons for people to come to Windows Phone. Bag of anyone running Microsoft?”

These are strong words indeed and tough for Windows Phone users to hear.

We would sit with our friends on a Saturday night and show off apps like this one to our iPhone toting companions. “Look what I can do with my Windows Phone” is what we would say. This app and others like it are how we could show our Windows Phone's superiority. If these apps lose their exclusivity, is this making Windows Phone less relevant?  

Countering this claim is mhans311 who notes that Xbox is the focus here not just Windows Phone:

“Well Microsoft is also trying to promote XBOX and this is a great way to entice a large number of people to use XBOX even more. Besides, it's not a feature that is going to make most people drop iOS for wp anyway.Oh and they already released a one note application for Android that works pretty well. That combined with quickoffice is more than I need as far as Office apps go. One note was the only thing missing before.”

People on other platforms don't really need Windows Phone to have a good experience with Microsoft products. Why is Microsoft doing this? Shouldn’t they keep these Microsoft creations exclusive or at least make the experience better on Windows Phone?

Forum member Figure 8 Dash has a little different opinion.

“The companion app is fairly useless and will get replaced by SmartGlass this fall.”

We don’t have all the answers here but we do know that some of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 upgrades like SmartGlass will make some apps obsolete. If the apps Microsoft is releasing now won’t be used or necessary when we update at the end of this year does that change your thinking?

Is Microsoft their own worst enemy releasing these apps and making Windows Phone 7 less relevant? What do you think? Let us know in the comments then join us in the forum for the community opinion.

  • Microsoft needs to get more serious.
  • I'm a MASSIVE windows phone/windows8 fan and promoter, and these things do feel like a slap in the face to me. I always promote the companion app as a big reason WP is better, and people agree with me. I remember when Kinectamls went on other OSs I quit using Xbox titles as a selling point.
    Think of it like this... HALO is exclusive, Gears of War is exclusive, ECT... I know a lot of people that own Xbox just because of these one or two titles. They should have kept that train of thought across the board.
    What's next, Zune on PlayStation? Achievements on ios? After all that sounds like "growth in the ecosystem".
  • The only reason y I got a Xbox 360 instead of a ps3 was because of halo. I also got a Zune 30 as a gift and loved it, in fact the biggest reason why I got a wp7 was because Zune was integrated into it. That was the biggest selling point to me, a familiar and fun experience. And because of what MS is doing with the 3 screens vision I am a MS fan boy.
  • I'm a huge microsoft fan and I was happy to hear about this. I follow all these industries very closely. You guys are just looking at it all wrong. The irony that your the same people who would bash Apple for their Facetime exclusivity(As would I.). Exclusivity isn't going to make people switch to Windows devices, and it misses out on a huge part of the market. However, implementing these things cross platform, and allowing everyone in on the Microsoft experience is a game changer and will allow these new microsoft platforms to thrive.
    Now picture this: "Guy has an ipad set up with smart glass, loves achievements as lots do, notices his friend has achievements for Angry Birds, but he doesn't due to having the ipad!" This is a great chance to show a much much larger market, what their missing.
  • Facetime isn't a great comparison. Apps and features that are meant for communication are short sighted and reduce usefulnesswhen the remain exclusive. A better comparison would be Siri; Do you think for one second that Apple would release that to competing platforms? No, its an exclusive feature of iOS. If Windows Phone has no exclusive features and the competition does, why should I keep buying Windows Phone? I can get everything WP has to offer, plus the other platforms' exclusive offerings. People will switch if the experience is better. People will switch if the ecosystem is superior. Microsoft seems to take anything that is great on Windows Phone and just passes it off. When think things start to happen, I get Kin flashbacks.
  • Yep, I agree with you. I'm already thinking of getting an iPhone 5. Everything that WP7/8 has will definitely be on a iPhone by October. MS is fucking it up by giving their stuff away.
  • Stop with the threats, its so fúckin annoying
  • What are you smoking?!?!  iOS6 was announced last week, which implements some features of Windows Phone, but is no where near what MS did.  VIP Inbox?  Really?  I'll take Windows Phone Contact Cards where I see Social and contact updates (SMS, MMS, Email, Missed Call.)  Then, put them into a Group and pin it to my homescreen.  iOS6 does not have this.
  • As far as im understanding it, but I may be wrong. They will have access to the xbox live marketplace so they should get achievements if purchased from there. I am reading in-between the lines though but its how I took it.
  • Windows phones perform better, are free of malware, don't require itunes, are economical, socially integrated and reliable. I knew this before I got one because of my experience with other Microsoft products. Software is like furniture in a house and the OS is the house itself. People should be able to choose housing and furniture independently. Once people get a Metro styled couch they might decide they want to live in a Metro styled house.
  • Well, if you really think that some Xbox app is the main advantage and differentiator of WP... then I don't think you should be promoting WP at all, you are doing it wrong, sending wrong signals. Anywho, the Xbox companion app is not part of WP, it's just an App from the Xbox team, who may release it to any phones they like.
    (and the world couldn't care less as long as it is US only anyway).
  • What's US only? Xbox companion isn't
  • OK, you're right. It's probably also available in other countries that got zune/Xbox music, videos, tv and stuff. Do you know how dreadfully crippled XBL is in the less fortunate parts of the world? And for some uknown reason the companion app hasn't been published to those lesser markets either.
  • I guess I can't blame Microsoft for hedging their bet if (some think when) they give up on Windows Phone. But it sure does hurt, I wish they'd can that retard Ballmer and get someone who actually understands business, not just relationships.
  • I am waiting for a Daniel reaction when WP8 start menu is different from what he saw
  • If this remains the case, I won't buy any windows phone in future.
  • What is your problem? Get a grip!
  • I'm with @chatcc. No reason to stay on board if MS doesn't care. I can get all WP features on iOS or Amdroid, plus their exclusives. Might be time to jump ship.
  • Troll
  • I'm with you too. Wtf is the point of supporting MS if they don't give a fuck about us. They cater more to Android and iOS. That iPhone 4s for $300 on CL is looking pretty good right now. A fucking shame.
  • Can't believe I'm saying this to but i agree with you guys...iPhone 6 sounds nice unless Apollo wows me
  • The next iPhone is v5, not 6.  iOS6 was a ho-hum announcement last week.  There was nothing in it that would make me change my mind of buying a Windows Phone 8 device later this year.
  • Hello Microsoft where is your vision?
  • MS is looking to control the living room with Xbox, so they need everone using it. That means Xbox companion (which is basically a SmartGlass beta) needs to be on every device.
    MS makes a ton of money on Office and therefore they need to keep Office relevant. That means making it usable on every platform so people don't switch to google docs just 'cause their android device sucks at Office.
    It was pretty clear from the beginning that the Windows Phone strategy wasn't going to be exclusive features, but instead, deep integration with popular services. Most importantly though, they need to get everyone back on the Windows hype machine. Once everyone is accustomed to metro style apps on Windows 8 PCs and tablets, and more and more metro apps get ported to windows phone, people will just come over to Windows Phone anyway for consistancy's sake.
  • +1
  • By that logic there wouldn't be any reason to come to WP since all apps in metro style would already be available on their platform.
  • I didn't say Android and iOS devices would be getting metro apps. They might, if Windows developers opt to port their metro apps to those platforms (but those platforms will then have a mixed bag of apps utilizing inconsistant design language).
    My point was that MS will already have a huge install base of people who use Windows 8, and since wp8 and Windows 8 share the same kernel, we'll probably see an influx of apps on the market. People who come to enjoy the metro style will come to windows phone simply because it's familiar. 
  • Ok this is retarded to argue about. Its Xbox integration for all now. Damn trying to segregate between platforms is stupid. Its not an Aston martin or maserati. That's when exclusivity matters not when it's the phone you got at a discount price for signing a contract. They want to promote their products for office and Xbox because lets face it no matter what is said windows phones are lacking a little on features. Its not what supporting software there is its hardware features like voice recognition, face recognition, NFC, etc
  • Yeah. Idk. Obviously MS is looking out for Xbox 1st and WP 2nd, if that. Why can't they have both working together? Xbox complementing only WP would do wonders for our OS! Maybe they're "3-Screen Dream" meant TV, PC, and ALL phones. . . Ecosystem. . . Yeah right >_>
  • This really pisses me off severely I would show my phone if to everyone but what's the point bow Microsoft better add new exclusive stuff like they wonder y no one buys windows phone because they are making all of the exclusive stuff all ready available for the lower kind
  • Let's make us Windows Phoners look good not no damn Androids. They don't care about Wp7 or Wp8 they don't want us to exists. It's about SURVIVAL...
  • I see it as windows 8, win8RT, Xbox, and wp8 have metro interface which will let more be comfortable with all the products. Since Win8RT and wp8 supposedly have the same kernel, or what not, this should allow a integration and level of access with apps so deep that its like the devices are accessories and one device allowing a more smooth and unifying experience. IMO
  • I agree. Even if it isn't any more actual integration, the simple fact that the design language will be the same between your Windows PC, your tablet, and your phone will be enticing.
  • I think this is the right thing for MSoft to do. They have to build an ecosystem, that's why apple and android are doing well and MSoft has to compete. For the most part the differences between they ecosystems are not very strong motivators for the average Consumer, other than Apples overpriced computers, which keep many people from immersing themselves completely in the iCoolAid. That's why Apple released iTunes for Windows, and it worked. People who wouldn't buy an iMac were draws into the iPod/iPhone web and for the most part stick there. Windows Phone is a superior mobile platform, but MSoft will have to push a rock uphill if that's all they have going for them. The one asset they so have that the competition doesn't is Xbox. Making Xbox accessible to other mobile platform users is an important drawing tool for their overall ecosystem. Once the on iMac crowd is using Win 8, and their Xbox, Windows Phone, which will always be more integrated into this ecosystem via Smartglass and shared kernals, will begin to look like a familiar and convenient, easy to use mobile phone, and THAT is what will cause WinPhone to overtake the competition.
  • I think the benefit these apps will do for the Xbox environment surpasses the one of being an exclusive app for Windows Phone.
  • And well, I have a WP, iPod and iPad, and only switched Evernote to Onenote and Dropbox to Skydrive because Microsoft have apps on all my devices.
  • Lets not forget about the app that was also release by MS exclusively to Android earlier this month or so.. I really am disappointed with the way MS is treating there loyal fans. iOS & Android already have more advanced apps like Facebook & apps we are still waiting on like draw something, words with friends.. For being loyal to ms what do we get? A kick in the a#$! Basically Xbox is more important right now bc it will connect with all your devices tablet,PC ect.. So they are putting us (the loyal ones) last & the non MS fans first in line. Just like my Zune HD has no support from Ms basically there saying just buy an iPod instead you will get more support. Now there saying buy an Android or iPhone you will get more support from them & us, Don't bother us with windows phones we need to focus on Xbox!
  • That was an experimental app. You probably wouldn't have downloaded it anyway, unless you want to be a lab rat
  • Microsoft's goal is to get people on services, plain and simple. The potential recurring revenue from Xbox Live, Music, Video, etc is far greater than the per-handset license. It may also help entice people to the platform, once they see the value of the ecosystem. It's a way to get more people interested in the system, so when their two-year contract is up, they'll reconsider windows phone.
  • I think MS is betting on releasing certain apps to other os's as a form of teaser. Get their lips wet and hit em with a we have this new technology that you can only use unless you have all three items. Bam! Then they start dropping deals to make people switch over. I for one think it's a very risky move, but worth the risk. Im sure there'll be many skeptics out there that will negate the whole idea and bibble thump people into believe that it wouldn't be the best of idea to switch over to ms just because of the idea that ms is evil and iCrApple is the light of day. But this is just speculation from all the reading I've done in the past week. We'll see Mañana.
  • +1
  • I'm on the fence. I like having features that are unique to windows phone, but on the other hand, the closed ecosystem is the main reason for my Apple hate. Just remember, we get the whole experience which is much more than a feature/app or two.
  • Xbox Music, with it's record breaking "over 30 million songs", will continue to be EXCLUSIVE to Xbox, WP, and W8. That was already made clear-as-day at E3. It WILL be awesome. Microsoft knows exactly what they're doing. Anyone from any platform (ios, Android, etc...) will be able to hook up their device to control Xbox. Yea, f ucking awesome feature indeed. But guess what, as they're controlling their Xbox with their Androids, iPhones and ipads, they will come across a plethora of Xbox Music adverts. They will see how awesome it is. They will want it. They will subscribe to it on their Xbox. They will then realize that this awesomeness, as great as it is on Xbox, can only be fully enjoyed if you have a Windows Phone or tablet. Because you will want to carry your subscription anywhere and everywhere. This Android and iPhone just won't cut it they say. Its the biggest Marketing ploy in HISTORY and Microsoft can only win here. Plain and simple.
  • I couldn't agree more, don't know why people are complaining about it
  • Indeed, Xbox music/zune is a big part of the platform, and one of the best products Microsoft has available.
  • Do we actually know enough about Woodstock to make that claim? Other than number of songs there isn't any info is there?
  • +1
  • Im happy MS looks at the big picture. They are doing the right thing, they are catering to a larger base for their products. They want xbox(the experience) to be in every home, not just gamers, not just movie watchers, not just windows users, but everyone. This is like television, (or a network like espn), you want it and it doesnt matter whether you live in the east coast or west coast, whether your tv is a samsung or a sony, doesnt matter if it's 3D or lcd or an old set, whether is directv or comcast, you just want it. That's what xbox wants to be and hopefully Zune/xbox music becomes a universal app too, on many ways is much better than pandora and spotify.
  • I believe It will benefit the Microsoft ecosystem more than hurt it. This is simular to Apple creating iTunes for Windows. Windows is the most dominant desktop OS on the market, to exclude it would be to exclude a large portion of the market. iTunes on Windows exposed a lot of people to Apple's offerings. iOS and Android is to mobile as Windows is to desktop. I believe people will become familiar with metro and won't be deterred from xBox because of these apps. Eventually, they will become familiar with Windows Phone. 
  • People upset over a MS app or game being multi platform are crazy, WP is much more than just apps. It's the way things work and look. It's about live tiles, integration to different ms services and how quick it can talk to other apps. A lot of people don't even care about the xbox part of wp.
  • Thank you Peter. I just skimmed through this but you said the key word. How can you guys be WP fans if you dont know why to choose it over the competitors even though they have the same apps? The answer isssss INTEGRATION! iOS and android will have to launch apps to get these features but I bet WP8 will have these seamlessly integrated and integrated always works better and faster. Also (insert here everything else that is great about WPs OS that they will never have)
  • I can live with sharing experience across platforms, AS long as we get the app/function at the same time as the competitors. Photosynth is one app that should have been there from the start on WP, or at least not take this long. When MSFT's own products are on competitors platforms and not on WP, THAT pisses me off.
  • Agreed!!
  • Agreed! WP first! Then the other guys.
  • We will see
  • Microsoft need to strengthen their brand big time for consumers. SmartGlass makes ninty Wii U irrelevant. Xbox in every home. Stuff will all gel seamlessly with skydrive, etc. It'll all work out.
  • Exactly how does SmartGlass make Nintendo's Wii U irrelevant? Its not like there is one advantage of having one over the other, as opposed to wanting to own a PS3 over a 360 because of exclusives. I'll probably use or at least try out SmartGlass and I will probably pickup a Wii U.
  • Because you can use any Tablet or Smartphone to control the Xbox, where-as the WiiU "tablet" is only a single device, and can only use one per console (until Nintendo updates the OS to support two.)  The WiiU Tablet is a joke.  And who would want to use the WiiU Tablet as a gaming controller?  I know I wouldn't.  As a secondary screen, sure.  But MS's SmartGlass beats it in functionality.  Plus, don't discount the Kinect as another "game controller" by using your voice.
  • By making popular apps for other platforms Microsoft can implement a more long term strategy. They start by making popular apps for every big platform and then once lots of people are hooked, they release exclusive features or sequels for Windows (be it phone, tablet, desktop, etc). That would seem like turning their back on WP at first but would, in reality, be part of a pretty effective longer term plan. Giving people on other platforms a taste of what they're missing could really work.
  • I've been using WP for a year, then switched to Android when I was up for a phone upgrade because no new Windows Phones were available in Canada. Then I got a Lumia 800 when it came out and went back to WP, mostly because of Xbox Live and Zune Pass. As long as those two core features stay and improve, I'll stick with Windows Phone.
  • Microsoft forgot that windows os is on our phones non theirs. And we still perfect app maked for this windows.
  • We're giving away exclusives and google has yet to make one of their apps available to WP. BS
  • So??? Nokia is gaining on the no google maps decision. Hotmail becomes a nicer choice, even yahoo. Google+ stays irrelevant, there are bunch of youtube apps that are better than the ios version. If MS doesn't help xbox reach the other players another service will come and will become a better option.. (onlive?)
  • Yes and Nokia has made them exclusive to them which means two-thirds of existing users miss out. So the rest of us still need them. BUT I agree that Google+ is irrelevant, and the current level of youtube integration is perfect (multiple apps and the YT website is HTML5 now).
  • The reason they have done this is that it a direct hook into those other platforms for the Xbox that is central to me long term plans. You need to look at the bigger picture. I also suspect that the android version will be metro, not sure if apple would pass that though.
  • I thought ms had already said that iOS and Andriodnwere good test beds for upcoming ms released....see this as a beta until the real apps get released on wp7/8
  •   ok, I can even agree with that, but I do not understand why the facebook application is so inferior, or foursquare be better on other platforms. and because we don't have lumia900 in brazil, only the lumia800, nokia here only launches and promotes phones with symbian dead. that partnership is this? It seems that nokia will launch tomorrow in the US pureview with symbian. and also do not understand why nokia take full windows phone logo, took from the back, took the name windows phone, and promotes their line as LUMIA not as windows phone.  
  • because it's a nokia Lumia 900 running Windows Phone. Do you see Samsung advertising a "Andriod Phone" ? No, they advertise the "Samsung Galaxy S3" because that's the name of the phone. There are a big variety of Andriods and Windows Phones because it's the OS, so they name the phone by the hardware name - which is correct and good.
  • It will be harder to tell people why they should switch to WP now. They should have waited until they got a lot more apps available. This is a questionable move, hope they know what they're doing.
  • No. A few exclusive apps will not make or break WP.
  • Stop with the threats of going to a different OS its so fuçkin childish
  • Wants
  • I do love windows phone and I think it's annoying to loose exclusivity in some things but why don't we wait and see how it effects WP in the near future before assuming things...I believ wp8 is still gonna be great and non of this will even matter. If it does in the future change things and make ppl hate WP then leave. I still love my WP, the metro style is still better in my opinion and that's exclusive enough for now.