Independent survey contradicts Microsoft's claim on Windows Phone 7 satisfaction

Polling and survey data will always be controversial--there are means, averages, sample sizes, how questions are phrased/framed, etc. resulting in multiple ways of interpretation. Recently, Microsoft's Greg Sullivan went on record with some internal survey results on Windows Phone 7 user satisfaction stating that customer satisfaction for Windows Phone 7 is at 93% and brand awareness is increasing, up 22 points to 66%.

This of course sounds real good, but we're going on Sullivan's word here and cannot verify those numbers. Now ChangeWave, an independent survey group, has come out with their own numbers and while Windows Phone is improving in status and satisfaction, they are nowhere near as high as what Microsoft claims. ChangeWave's survey involved 4,050 participants which is a very sizeable number. Here are some of their results (reprinted from NetworkWorld):

  • 5% have their "sights set on Windows Phone"--which is an increase from the previous 1% and is the only smartphone with a boost in demand
  • 44% of Windows Phone 7 owners consider themselves "very satisfied" (big improvement from Windows Mobile's 18%) as of Dec 2010

By way of comparison, Android has a 58% approval rating and the iPhone still tops out at 72% being "very satisfied". NetworkWorld expects those Android numbers to go up with Froyo 2.2 on Android as it "solves" many of the previous problems on that OS. Although, one could also claim the same about Windows Phone after our next few updates scheduled for this year.

Still, the point being that as of now 44% is a stark contrast to Sullivan's claim of 93%. Both sides are a little obscure on their methodology, though we can say that ChangeWave is certainly more transparent with hard numbers than Microsoft is on the matter (plus you can at least purchase ChangeWave's data). But without knowing which questions were asked, it's hard to make a direct comparison. But, reluctantly, we're less believing of Microsoft's stats than ChangeWave's for what should be an obvious difference in biases.

So which is it audience? What we want to believe, what seems more likely or both are wrong for X reason? Share in comments...

Source: ChangeWave (private); via NetworkWorld

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • MS's high number comes from AT&T last I checked, so I'll go with that. Who better to do a survey if not the carrier who sells the phones to customers?
  • To be fair, the actual fact was that an "AT&T spokesman saying 93 percent of early customers are “satisfied” or “very satisfied,”" (While the graph only shows 'very satisfied') it is possible that the other 49-ish percent would be made up from the 'satisfied' camp, is it not? From my experience, and estimation, a lot of the 'very satisfied' votes come from people who have been following the hype and are almost wearing rose-tinted glasses using their new device.
  • Still seems awfully high. But that's why I think MS/AT&T may be fudging the numbers a bit here. I mean, if 72% of iPhone users are "very satisfied" now what happens when you throw in the "satisfied" users on top of that?Don't get me wrong, I love WP7 as much as the next reader here, but to think it's beating the iPhone 4 in terms of customer satisfaction is a bit rich, I think.And I guess this still backs up my point: ChangeWave is more transparent here than MS/AT&T and perhaps skepticism is warranted. And all attribution to that number is Greg Sullivan, not AT&T.
  • They didn't ask me, and I'm pretty darn satisfied at the moment.
  • I agree with ncxcstud,I wasn't a part of that & if I voted I would say an enthusiastic Very Satisfied!& from experience, I think those numbers come from the carriers site itself. Where people give reviews & say if they're unsatisfied, satisfied, or very satisfied.As someone who has read & given many reviews there, I know.
  • Our company has just switched away from BlackBerry. Half have chosen iPhone and half WP7 and the difference from BlackBerry is astonishing of course!Those who chose an iPhone haven't been as impressed as they hoped they would be however. In particular they hated being forced to set up an iTunes account and add credit card details before they could even use the phone. And when contacts with bracketed 0's in their Tel no.s were sync'd(e.g. +44 (0)1234 567890) they couldn't make a call! The solution... manually remove the (0) from each contact! Not fun and not something WP7 had any issues with.Setting up the iPhones wasn't as straight forward or as intuitive as they'd expected either, taking much of the day fiddling with iTunes and email settings. Again, WP7 trumped iPhone here too.Of course iPhone has some neat tricks up its sleave such as being able to use Skype and BBC iPlayer as well as having Facetime (although limited to iPhone 4 users only) but these services will no doubt come to WP7 too and WP7 has some nice features of its own - most notably Office, Zune, SkyDrive and XBox Live.Zune is lightyears ahead of iTunes in so many ways and once more people discover Zune they'll no doubt make the switch to WP7 too). [A little more promotion of Zune might be in order here Microsoft]Given WP7 is a 1st gen OS, Microsoft have to be congratulated. It compares incredibly well to the iPhone and in many ways, performs better, is more intuitive and appeals to those seeking a decent alternative to Apple's dominance.Microsoft is on the march and I love their integrated services. If they can sort out a decent Tablet OS they'll have most, if not all of the bases covered.But one shouldn't discount BlackBerry too quickly. Once their playbook is out and they port that OS into their devices, then they could threaten again and retake their lead in the smartphone market. But they'll also need to spread into multimedia (TV, online services) to really be considered an alternative 'platform' to Windows, Google and Apple.Android? Well, they're strong in the tablet market but can they really compete with Playbook and iPad? I don't think so and they have a lot to do to streamline, update and improve their user experience. Having been a gmail fan for years, I've now switched to Windows Live to enjoy a cleaner, more integrated and more intuitive UI.So back to the mainstay of this article and you most definitely count me as 'extremely satisfied' with WP7 and I'm pleased I didn't follow some of my peers down the iPhone route.
  • PS. Realise my post was a little long - sorry!
  • Nah, was a great post. Thanks for sharing.
  • I own a windowsphone 7 handset, two of my firends at work own Iphones. If I'm to be 100% honest with you, they both love the Windows Phone 7 UI...As for me, I am 100% satisfied with my windowsphone...absolutely no complaints so far.
  • Do we know without a doubt that those people polled were NOT including Windows Mobile?
  • The poll clearly separated the two groups, so yes.
  • What happened to all the people who are "satisfied", but not "very satisfied".
  • Exactly. Satisfied (4) and very satisfied (5) could easily add up to 93%. And with the iPhone fanboyism, I wouldn't be surprised if those two categories didn't come very close to 100%. What iPhone owner would dare rate an iPhone less than near perfect, putting a crack in the persona. Koolaid anyone.
  • Ignoring the WP7 statistics, the one I find most hard to believe is the Android one. Given how many devices and configurations with different UIs there are, I find it incredulous that it would get such a high satisfaction score. HTC have done a great job of replacing vanilla Android, which is pretty horrible, other manufacturers have done some far worse jobs.
  • Don't remember from where but another recent survey concluded that; iPhone users like their phones the most, but Android users were the most loyal to the platform. Good or bad, you won't hear any complaints.