Microsoft, Direct Action and Windows Phone: How Redmond is defying the industry

A few weeks ago I wrote an editorial piece on how 2013 was finally turning into the year of Windows Phone (after numerous false starts).

There turns out to be another facet though that I missed in my analysis, which I'd like to address here. Besides increased advertising, impressive hardware, a maturing ecosystem and a reinvigorated Nokia who has hit their stride, Microsoft is using another tactic: direct action.

It’s a fascinating change in strategy from previous years where Microsoft took on a more “hands off” approach, often leaving marketing up to their OEM and carrier partners. Now, in 2013, Microsoft is asserting themselves a lot more directly (and it’s not isolated to just Windows Phone as the recent Surface rumor suggests).

A brief moment in history

Microsoft Direct Action

Direct Action was a phrase coined in the early 20th century and is defined most notably by the American anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre in a famous article of the same name (yes, I’m dropping some political history on you today).

Traditionally speaking, the tactic has been used for social and political causes, whereby an injustice is brought to people’s attention through various means, often involving the breaking of law. Indeed it often goes beyond that as people try to solve problems directly where traditional institutions have failed.

Extrapolating that to much more modern “problems” of 21st century mobile technology, we can see that certain services and means of communication are controlled by a handful of corporations, who are frequently at odds with each other. Yes, I’m talking about Microsoft versus Google, where the latter has increasingly been keeping their services to themselves, even boasting how they have no intentions to ever make Windows Phone apps.

It’s an interesting debate regarding services such as Twitter and YouTube and access to them. While Google has a right to make money off of said services, it’s up for examination as to the point at which such access (or denial) becomes a problem. A similar case has been made recently about bandwidth, internet access and throttling of data by ISPs.

We won’t take sides on the argument here and instead we’ll leave it to you in comments. For now we’ll just say there’s a lot at stake for who controls what in mobile technology and it’s a discussion we should have.

Microsoft’s rebelliousness

When the new official YouTube app landed on Windows Phone a few weeks ago, we all assumed that finally, for the betterment of consumers, both companies had come to an agreement regarding access to Google’s APIs. It actually felt good knowing that these two giants could come to terms so that we could continue to enjoy Google’s investment in YouTube but on our choice of hardware.

Turns out we were wrong, very wrong.

Google infamously sent a “C&D” (cease and desist) letter to Microsoft telling them to pull the app from the Store due to it not showing ads and allowing video downloads, something that violates Google’s Terms of Service.

Legally speaking, Google is in the right. Socially speaking, they come off as jerks.

Microsoft wants to play by the rules, but it is Google that is not coming to the table. So what did Microsoft do after previously failed attempts at finding common ground? They said “Screw it, we’ll do it ourselves” and released a high quality, well reviewed app for their customers, something we’ve known about for over two years now

Once the C&D came though, the real showdown began—would Microsoft comply? As it turns out, they made an effort to show good faith by removing the video download ability but the app still shows no ads, ergo it denies Google revenue. 

In a statement to ZDNet, Microsoft had the following to say on the matter:

"Microsoft updated the Windows Phone YouTube app to address the restricted video and offline video access concerns voiced by Google last week. We have been in contact with Google and continue to believe that our two companies can work together to hone an app that benefits our mutual customers, partners and content providers. We’re earning new customers every day, with IDC reporting recently that Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year gain among leading operating systems. We look forward to working with Google to maintain a great YouTube experience for the growing number of people who rely on both of our respective products."

Make no mistake, Microsoft has thrown down the gauntlet and they will not let Windows Phone fail.

There’s even more

While we won't go into detail and name names of other apps, we now know that this Microsoft v. Google standoff is actually not the first time this has happened. There are other high profile apps that have faced similar C&D requests that Microsoft are reportedly ignoring.

The reason why they’re doing this is because they know that in order to be accepted by the smartphone market, they need to have certain apps and services on their platform. While they have been more than willing to assist in app development, sometimes even paying for it e.g. the New York Times app, they are on occasion rebuffed for whatever reason by some of these players.

Because of that, it’s fascinating to see, in my opinion that Microsoft is starting to throw their weight around and even take a few legal challenges on the chin in order to gain marketplace traction.

It’s a form of direct action, a stern “if you won’t work with us, we’ll just do it ourselves (or look the other way)” tactic and to be honest, it’s refreshing to see.

Will this approach pay off? Will it buy Microsoft enough time to continue to gain traction in the market? It remains to be seen, but leaving judgment aside, it’s an intriguing change in tactics from a juggernaut of a company.

To paraphrase Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A: Companies who won't talk with Microsoft? You’re on notice.

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.

  • They need to get after Epocrates next. It's the go to drug reference app for health care professionals. I was told by doctors that they, nurses, and med students wouldn't even consider a phone that doesn't have that app. The crazy thing is Epocrates was on Window Mobile, back in the day.
  • I know many, many people that would love Epocrates on their Windows Phone AND Windows 8 tablets. Epocrates snapped in Windows 8 with an EHR/EMR running next to it? Awesome stuff. 
  • That sounds like an awesome idea!
  • Then add Epocrates to Xbox One.
    Play Halo 5 with an EHR/EMR snapped to the side.
  • I talked to someone last night and he said his kids private school requires every kid to have a iPad. Apple covered the schools network upgrades and WiFi setup. MS needs to do this.
  • And it looks like they just might do that. 
  • Oh cool. LOL can't believe I missed that article :)
  • They are... I know at Seton Hall U, every students get a Windows 8 tablet or Ultrabook. They also get Windows Phones. Hopefully we will see more of this.
  • I would instead take that school to court. A class action lawsuit for excluding BYOD ability. Just because Apple paid for the infrustructure, doesnt mean they need to be revenue farms for future iSheep.
  • Agreed. I'd love to walk up to the docs at my hospital and show that off to them. It would be a huge stepping stone for the platform.
  • I would think the health care professionals would be more concerned about using a platform (android) that wasn't HIPAA compliant.
  • I 100% agree with this. I had to switch back to my iphone after getting tired of having to bring both it and my Titan to work. I am shocked that the platform has been out this long and we still don't have any decent drug apps. No Medscape or Lexi either. With Windows 8 tablets becoming more common I don't think these companies will be able to ignore the Windows ecosystem much longer. I am planning to get the EOS and really hope epocrates or Medscape is there by then.
  • The best part of this article is that you put quotes around "problems". Very appropriate perspective
  • Yup, obviously when compared to the struggles of the 20th century, this is just silly stuff and I needed a way to convey that.
  • You just love showing off your Yellow Lumia huh Daniel? It certainly stands out more than my black one. Still slightly jealous. 
    "Bla-- I mean, "YELLOW POWER!"
    Cheers :)
  • Yellow power indeed :)
    Get asked everytime I pull out my yellow 920, "which phone is that"?
  • You'll wanna slap me when I say this, but I actually had the Cyan model at one point. It kept freezing on me though, so I sent it back and got black. I figured I liked the neutral color anyway, but boy do I get jealous sometimes, lol.
  • I'm holding a red one here and it does grab the attention. I agree with everyone about what MS is going for. Something RIM (BlackBerry) should have done long ago for their platform. Go MS! We're counting on you.
  • Everyone I work around notices my "YELLOW POWER"
  • I'm thinking of swapping my red case for yellow!! Maybe.
  • My son has a red 920
    Beautiful that one too :)
  • Why won't they make a magenta 920?. Did the magenta 900 not do good??
  • Think a magenta 920 would sell like hotsomething... :)
  • They DID make a magenta 920, (It was in official Nokia videos around the time it launched last year, AND I noticed firmwares for a Magenta version in Navifirm,) but they just never released it.
  • I think long term it will help. Example itsdagram. By having an app that can basically do everything the official app can it can help sell more phones because people want instagram. Long term I think an official app will come out because they see how popular itsdagram is on windows phone.
  • I've often seen unofficial apps that work better and are more popular than the official ones too.
  • Numerous false starts indeed. Thought it would pick up but didn't and then late 2012 and early 2013 it has finally started.
  • I'm thinking about starting an advocate program up whereby I distribute monthly flyers to RSPs alerting them of new and hot apps even including third party apps like Itsdagram and so forth.
    Microsoft could throw their weight around in a very public way by simply announcing that they want Brand X on their phones and are willing to foot the bill to develop the app. Doing it in a very public way puts the emphasis on those brands to put up or be shown to be the jerks that they are. There is no reason a company should ignore a segment of users when the only thing that would happen would be positive results.
    Funny thing is how so many people seem intent on destroying Microsoft in the mobile space are working together with Google. Then Google turns around and bites them in the rear end.
  • Sadly there is all the cost of up keep as well. I think with Microsoft combing Xbox, PC/tablet/laptop, and phone together we will see a huge shift to Windows. Remember it took Android several years to get where they are now.
  • Yeah, but imagine what the "tech jurnos" will say. Verge headline: MS so desperate for apps they are begging to develop them, themselves! We all know is google and instagram being elitist jerks, but the tech peeps are so far up google and apples arse that the news will backfire. Mainstream news on the other hand, they would go nuts!
  • This ^
  • I just can't imagine an elitist using a google product. Elitists usually use the real thing not a knockoff.
  • Awesome! Way to Microsoft. Time to ramp up the direct development efforts ten food. It's the only way to ensure the original developers came to the platform - you have to drag 'em kicking and screaming.
  • Someone is hungry.
  • Lol, I caught that too.
  • Lol!
  • Maybe 3 food or 5 food, but 10 food? That's just too much food...
  • Microsoft seems to have saved it's WP ammo for the time when it has achieved three mandatory requirements before going to batte...
    1. Windows NT/WP8 kernel (done)
    2. Full Verizon support (quality devices at all price ranges) in the usa. (done)
    3. low-cost WP devices for prepaid (non-subsidy) markets making up most of the world (done)
    Now they need to speed up development of still missing features in addition to apps.
  • You are right that the checklist is getting ticked off nicely, but MS is not in the position to save ANY ammo when it comes to WP. They need to work even faster!
  • You can thank Nokia for #2 and 3.
  • Yeah, because the 8S didn't exist for months before... GTFO!
  • The 8S doesn't fall into number 2 (not available on any US carriers that I am aware of), and as far as number 3 goes, it's still running upwards of $300, while Nokia handsets run in the $125-250 range.
  • Vote Microsoft no.1
  • #teammicrosoft hard work will pay off guys. Lets keep up the good work
  • Daniel, has traffic at wpcentral gone up recently? I noticed a bunch of how-to articles targeting new users lately.
  • Traffic is constantly going up, as we do about 1.5M uniques a month. Part of the how-to's though is about strategy and having more writers to carry on tasks ;)
  • 1.5 million a month!? That is huge!
  • Holy crap. That's a lotta WinPhans
  • That's a lot! I'm guessing WPC is the most popular mobile nations site. Is that so?
  • Microsoft really is doing a LOT to really push for better/more high quality apps on the Windows Phone platform, and even with all the crap that we as WP users have taken for the last couple of years, there's one thing we can all admit: We have one HELL of an awesome development community. I'm part of the Florida WP/Win8 developer groups and they're some of the most dedicated people I've ever met. We see a lot of this coming from all over the world, too, with apps like Itsdagram, MetroTube, 4th and Mayor, etc. Sure, getting the ecosystem going has been really slow to start, but one thing is for sure: Microsoft wants this platform to succeed, and with their support and the support of a strong and ever-growing community, it's just a matter of time. Frankly, I'm pretty damn excited to see what happens in the next couple of years.
  • +1
  • Hey Zack!
  • *waves* :D
  • I'm curious as to which other apps has Microsoft received C&D letters
  • I do not agree with the tactics. Microsoft is blatantly defying the law and defying capitalism. I am surprised with the talents of this day and age someone, or a group, is not trying to compete with YouTube by offering a better alternative. By the way, great article. I would love to see more like this one.
  • Well there is Vimeo which is better in many ways, but hindered in the ways that makes YouTube universal.  However, I don't think you understand the scope and scale of Youtube.  One does not simply make another YouTube.
  • it's more about all the content that's already on youtube, not the service itself
  • +1
  • Yeah one does not simply replace MySpace either.... Oops!
  • Once a technology service becomes achieves a certain level of dominance US jurisprudence tends to see attempts to prevent other technology companies from accessing it as an attempt to monopolize the Industry in a way that is anti-competitive and not in the public interest. This will often outweigh the ownership rights of the Owner and lead tons required free and fair licensing/access requirement. Remember how MS used to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows and make it the default browser, and go further to try and make it impossible for other browsers to be employed? Same principal here. MS clearly owned Windows, but their dominance was deemed to be distorting free choice for the Public, so limitations were placed on their ability to do so. Lets face it, Google is doing the same thing with YouTube, that's why they haven't served MS with a lawsuit, cause they're afraid they will end up with less control over YouTube, not more.
  • I hear that. And it took a while for legitimate I.e. Alternatives to show up strong. Now, I use a chromium based browser called Rockmelt. Also, YouTube would be very hard to catch up to let alone replace.
  • " Remember how MS used to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows and make it the default browser, and go further to try and make it impossible for other browsers to be employed?"
    Wrong - this simply NEVER happened.  MS never impeded the ability either to install or use another web browser.  I used alternative web browsers on WfWg 3.11, Win95, Win 98, WinNT 3.51 and 4.0, Win2000, WinXP, Vista, Win7 and Win8.  Some folks I knew back in the Win95/NT4 days only used IE to go and easily download Mosaic or Netscape (much better than having to download a set of browser install files over FTP).
    The incredible level of complaining by browser competitors who were not only making but even hoping the charge for web browsers (e.g. boxed retail Netscape) made a lot of uninformed folks assume that MS was blocking other browsers, but not only did this never happen, it was never even proposed or intended.
  • I totally agree. They always made it sound like it was IE or the highway. I never had a problem installing Netscape or that Mozilla crap. I only do it because my employer refuses to embrace html 5. I never understood the big brouhaha over windows 98. I thought that it was great an me was the worst os they ever put out.
  • I thought the problem in MS anti trust cases wasn't that they didn't allow other browsers, but that they didn't allow the REMOVAL of IE because IE was integrated so deeply into the Windows Explorer shell etc that it was required for Windows to function.  In other words, two seperate products competing in two different markets that could not be decoupled.  At least, thats what is in my rusty memory.
  • Defying law and capitalism? Do you know how much tax google pay on their profits? If we all paid tax like google do it would be less than 3% overall. Is that fair or egalitarian? Then there's this question of platform dictation, which is effectively google aggressively stating that WP gets no support so if you want our services on a mobile platform you must be on android or be as powerful as apple so we can't deny you as a revenue source. This is such a steaming pile of hypocrisy on their part and they should be called out for what they are. Greedy and aggressive tax dodgers.
  • As far as YouTube goes, I can't see how google wins in this scenario. If Microsoft is willing to make the app for them, they can't talk about not being able to commit resources to it. If they don't offer up the necessary API for Microsoft to make it in compliance with their terms, they will be forced to admit they are deliberately snubbing WP. Despite what some people believe, YouTube does have a monopoly on online video. You can't just "switch to vimeo" because we're talking about access to *other* people's content, not your own like would be the case switching from gmail to outlook. Because of that, and because of how entrenched youtube is in society, I don't see how this couldn't result in antitrust action if they are obviously trying to prevent competition.
    While not nearly as deliberate as google, the same logic could go to instagram etc. as far as Microsoft looking the other way while 3rd party apps use unauthorized APIs. If they got any sort of request to have itsdagram pulled from the store, they would just call them right out and say their options are release an official app, open the API, or admit they are screwing over their own users and deal with whatever backlash may ensue.
  • Agreed. It's obvious that Microsoft is in the underdog position when it comes to mobile and the big boys are screwing them over. If this was any other company it would have already resulted in huge fines for the evil big companies involved (mainly Google). However this is Microsoft being screwed over so there is some poetic justice in there. But at the same time Google has become the very thing it swore to destroy :P
  • I'm just glad to know that Microsoft isn't just gonna "roll over and die". Gives me faith as a WP fan.
  • First phones, then tables, then the WORLD!  Muh-hahahahaha!
  • Can those tables be redwood or mahogany? 
  • I like Cherry. Oak and Maple are also acceptable.
  • I think he's talking about the original surface that was like a coffee table ;)
  • We prefer birch in our household.
  • Nothing wrong with sandal wood, or teak if your into a nautical theme.
  • Is Microsoft committed long term to making WP a growing profitable business?  If it takes 5 more years and a lot of losses and bumps in the road to gain 20% of the market - Is Microsoft willing to think long term versus what next quarter looks like?  It's easy to talk tough.
  • Of course Microsoft looks long term vs. the next quarter. If they didn't the original Xbox would have never succedded. Look where that business is now. They're probably taking a somewhat simliar path with Windows Phone. 
  • With the investment of people and money needed for Surface and Windows 8 to succeed I'm hoping that Windows Phone stays a high priority. There is a lot on the line at MS. We all know that Apple and Google are not going to give up any ground without a good fight. Just the new technology and improvements over the next few years will be exciting to watch. The article displays hope for the WP future - Thank's for the insight.  
  • They have enough cash to wait as long as it takes, it doesnt hurt that they get paid for most Android devices sold
  • I remember when Microsoft first announced the Xbox, the industry had just witnessed the fall of Sega after many years... They asked "is there really room for a third player" well look at them now, #1 and growing. WP will follow suite I believe, its one thing that outsells PC at the consumer level, so yeah, they have a severe interest in making it happen.
  • Has Microsoft really ever been the company to think short sighted? Zune hardware is the only example I can drum up. It was a great product but bad timing and weak marketing lead to its short life cycle I think.
  • cough *kin* cough
  • Microsoft failed with the Zune that much is true. But I think it also had to do with Microsoft no longer believing in the importance of the music player market. And true enough these days most people just put their music on their smartphones. So its no longer important to have a role in that market. So Microsoft dropped out willingly. It's not the same with phones and tablets. If Microsoft doesnt gain a strong position Google and Apple will gain too much mindset and in the long term Microsoft's PC imperium will crumble. They know this so as long as phones and tablets are important Microsoft will continue to compete. But I do think that if WP8 doesnt show enough growth by end 2014 we will see a major change to the platform. it might not even be called Windows Phone but whatever it will be Microsoft will continue to be active in the phone market.
  • The Zune devices were a failure, yes.  But one advantage of that work is that MS can now launch a "new" Music/Video service with a full catalog.  (I know it's not "new" and only a rebranding to XBox but also arguably bringing to new devices.)
    It's easy to forget the days when Apple and iTunes would annually tout how many songs were in their respective music stores - numbers grew every year.  Now it's not even really an issue.  Because of their long-going Zune Store, MS can start XBox Music with a full catalog.
  • I look at Zune as more of an interface test bed than a complete failure.  All Zune owners were beta testers...  The ZuneHD was, I believe, the 1st itteration of the "Metro" interface.  It moved over to Windows Phone and was expended on from there.  While my ZuneHD now sits unused for media consumption in favor of my Windows Phone it is still a device that I love and I'm proud to own one.  And every once in a while I do pick it up and play around with it.  Ya know...  for things like AudioSurf which have yet to see new life on Windows Phone.
  • Heh, my daughter, who has an ip###e 5, uses my old Zune 80gb for music.
  • Xbox is a MS success story. We'll see if Wp will be the same. Persistence pays off.
  • It may seem childish and silly to get excited about this, but I've been following Microsoft for years now, and it makes me very excited to think they're sticking it to the proverbial man. This isn't the compan it was a decade, or even five years, ago.
  • I agree and I believe that can be attributed to the shift in they way consumers, consume.
  • I've been waiting for Microsoft to start being bold again since they were hit hard by the DOJ and EU in 1999/2000. This time around there's no monopoly to get scolded for, and there's tons of competition. I love underdog Microsoft.
  • I definitely agree with this. Underdog Microsoft is how I would like to see every big company act.
  • I have often wondered why Microsoft spends so little in Lobbying. It's time to start throwing their weight around, esp with US Carriers.
  • I feel like we're part of a rebellion with WP and it's so fun
  • Han Solo. Called it!
  • I agree. I always end up on the side if the underdog. I had a Helio way back when and I was in Bb7 for a while. WP8 is the overall best IMO especially if you add Nokia support. Go MS and Lumia devices.
  • Haha. ^This
  • So when did Google buy Twitter and decided to restrict access to it and not develop WP8 apps for it?
  • Um, not sure you read the same article I wrote. Twitter didn't' do that, but they did lock down their API waaay after they threw it open to 3rd party devs. Now that there are numerous businesses who were viable making Twitter apps have had the rug pulled from underneath them. Ask any Twitter dev what they think.
  • It’s an interesting debate regarding services such as Twitter and YouTube and access to them. While Google has a right to make money off of said services, it’s up for examination as to the point at which such access (or denial) becomes a problem
    it's more about your writing than my reading
  • They didn't...
  • They should have been using this approach all along
  • They have been...
  • I hope they use this approach on other app developers. Like instagram. Tell instagram to develop an app or face them in court. 
  • i just love (non-updated :)) youtube app! it's almost perfect. thank you microsoft ALT+3
  • It's an interesting catch-22 when you realize that shortly after Google announced their intention to not support Microsoft's Windows ecosystem that Microsoft paid a huge fine for accidentally not including Google in it. If I were Microsoft, I'd remove any non-Metro browser from the selection screen on the grounds they are "not supported". That'd be a great way for Redmond to throw its weight around.
  • Agreed!
  • Very interesting read! You guys at wpcentral have recently shown good, speculative writing. Thanks for being awesome!
  • Agreed!
  • If windows phone doesn't have 10% of the US market share by December 2014, many people will lose their job in MS. By that time, we will have seen another 3-4 major devices released by Nokia, WP10 should be out, and WP would have enough time to close the app gap. Also, by that time, we would know if Nokia survived the #Switch.
  • What??? Your insane... They aren't releasing WP10 by then... Maybe WP9, this isn't Android or iOS which adds a new level to their OS for every 8 months with some marginal update in the software... Sure well have 8.1 soon, but its still WP8 not 9...
  • you seriously don't think they'll have WP10 by December 2014???????????? They better have it out by then because Nokia needs new software to sell their phones and keep this platform alive. There's nothing insane about expecting WP 10 before 2014 runs out.
  • Oh for god sakes, please disregard my entire comment due to it being totally illegible, I'm sure it was difficult for you to wade through my cryptic message.
  • I think YOU'RE insane for expecting WP10 to be out before 2014 runs out.
  • Why is it insane to expect wp10 by December 2014? Honestly, why???? WP 8 was released October 2012, WP9 should be released October 2013, and WP 10 October 2014. Is that really an insane idea?? A year between major releases is something both apple and google do with their platforms and something MS should do if they expect to stay relevant in the mobile world.
  • Quickest way to gain double.figure market share in the US is to sign "hero" phone deals with prepaid networks pushing quality devices like the Nokia Lumia 520 as the beat option. People don't understand at least 20% of Android's market share comes from this large and unchallenged segment.
  • ^This!^
    And the pre-paid market share for Android is usually low-grade hardware running Gingerbread.
  • This time I won't bother reading too many other posts... way too many "armchair analysts" who really believe they know better than a mulit bullion dollar company that has been around for a few decades.
    But this part got me;
    "Make no mistake, Microsoft has thrown down the gauntlet and they will not let Windows Phone fail." This needs to become understood not only by the detractors... the bloggers, and writers who create articles about WP and can't seem to hide their preferences (which quickly turn to prejudices) for other OS's.
    But it also needs to be understood by the so called WP community. I know there are (relatively minor) issues with WP, and I know there are things that it would benefit from having. But all I see in forums, or in comments is not only MS's impending doom, but how "they aren't doing anything to help WP". "It's all Nokia". I even stumbled across someone saying Nokia might as well take the OS from Microsoft, because Microsoft is killing it. Dafuq?!?
    We don't need to be blind apologists here, but the crying needs to stop. The OS has matured at a faster rate than any other OS in features and apps (some of you have seen me post this over and over). But that is something that is quickly lost on people when they decide they want to focus on ONE thing that is missing in their opinion. 
    Another thing that always amazes me is the "Microsoft needs to advertise" line. I see more WP ads on TV than anything else... and it's been pretty consistent since WP7 was released.
    So kudos on this article. It was definitely a breath of fresh air. I might have to book mark this so I an read it a few more times. Much better than the drivel that's everywhere else. 
  • i agree with you!
  • Agreed, msft is spending over $500 million on advertising on its own for JUST windows phone... So that's no slouching amount of money...
  • I agree with almost everything you said, but I will continue to say **MICROSOFT** needs to advertise Windows Phone more, not just Nokia. I'm seeing a good amount for Windows 8, some for Surface, but I cannot remember the last time I saw a *Microsoft* Windows Phone ad.
  • There are a ton of windows phone ads everyday on TV. Microsoft and Samsung typically have their commercials played within 10 minutes of each other. Especially during primetime shows and events you'll see a ton of commercials for the 920 and 928. Now only if T-Mobile could get the 925 into the mix by June it would be perfect.
  • cool article. 
  • This is why you know Daniel Rubino is so punk rock. Anarchist history goes hand in hand with anti-flag.
  • For what it's worth, my family will have bought 3 news Windows Phones in I believe the last 8 days. My wife and I got 928s on launch day. My brother is picking up a 521 today to use as an iPod Touch replacement and use on Pay As You Go while visiting the US from Canada. My wife came from an iPhone 4. I've read one of her close friends that's a die-hard iPhone user making some facebook comments on photos taken with the 928 about the images looking really nice. From the sounds of it, her entire office used iPhones prior to her switch and likely never knew Windows Phone existed.
    The bigger deal is that people are finally hearing about Windows Phone. My senior mother made the comment after she eventually opted for the iPhone 5 over the Lumia 900 that "I was on to something" because she never saw ads until then. I think she ultimately passed up on a Lumia because she didn't know what it was, but knew about iPhones from her friends (who are likely all equally uneducated tech consumers).
    The sad reality is that, like most consumer electronics/appliances, people do not do much research OR rely too heavily on salespeople. While there are plenty of good salespeople out there, too many are in that position out of necessessity at not desire- they are not hardcore smartphone/TV/computer/laundry machine/etc. junkies.
    Similarly, Apple started making a huge deal about app counts. Instead of being educated to the fact that there are more apps than people will ever see to even think about downloading, they think about how "big"/"more" is better. Are there really 100,000 programs a group of consumers really use? Extremely unlikely, particularly when the vast majority are fitting the same purpose. The one difference IS a Microsoft thing and that is XBox Live enabled- some people care about the achievements, others don't. Is it really necessary to have 20 solitare apps? No. Two- XBL/non-XBL- are more than enough. People are so hung up on "choice" these days they fail to see that the vast majority of their "choices" would not be seen as acceptable alternatives. What happened to the auto industry? Got too big, too many choices, too much R&D/marketing, etc. Ultimately it consolidated, reduced the amount of redundant alternatives, and is now much healthier.
    I say all this for one reason- I think the fact that Microsoft seems to be raising havoc with official apps from big names is more critical than anything else. It is ironic that telling someone "you cannot have XYZ, however, ABC is the same exact thing" causes uneducated consumers to turn their noses up, yet they need to see large app numbers. Do people really think iOS has 800,000+ unique apps? Sadly, it seems so despite the fact they truly know better.
  • " The one difference IS a Microsoft thing and that is XBox Live enabled- some people care about the achievements, others don't."
    Unfortunately, this has never really turned out to be a phone-seller.  IMHO, this is for various reasons:
    - People don't care about achievements on phone games.  I know tons and tons of people who game all the time on iOS devices, and none care at all about Gamecenter.
    - To get full use of XBL (e.g. messaging), you need to pay for Gold.
    - Even for gamers, WP will never be a good gaming platform when 699% of high profile games show up 1-2 years later on WP8 than on iOS (Mirror's Edge, Assassins Creed, Mass Effect Infiltrator, etc.), if they even show up at all - most don't.  How can a gamer ever get excited about that?
  • how do you expect WP to grow when it's missing the basic features? lol. 
  • Yeah, somebody better tell IDC, Kantar, and the rest of them, to stop expecting WP to grow since they all seem to be putting out data that WP is growing, in spite of your missing features.
  • Looks like Microsoft's tactic worked.
    Well played, Microsoft.
  • Great article Daniel. Very insightful and methodical. I am on my second WP; my first phone was the Focus and my second (and current) is the 920. The very reason I replaced my iPhone 3GS with a Focus was because of WPCentral and various articles I read on this site at that time. I now wonder how many people who were looking for something different in a cell phone, and were on the fence on which OS/brand/ecosystem to go with, will go out and take the plunge into the WP ecosystem because of **this** article.
  • How about this?
  • Wow - amazing.
    But I DON'T agree with all the commenters saying that MS "won".  MS I would guess is still going to have to do all the programming - I don't picture Google lifting a finger.
    Mainly, though, here is what Google's "cooperation" will result in:
    - Ability to download videos removed from app
    - Ads added to app
    How in the world is that victory for us, the users?  I don't want either of those "improvements"....
  • So... MetroTube, maybe? 
  • I'm going to have to read that article at the Verge again; seems like there has been an 'update' to the development...
  • That Malcolm X pic with the Lumia is excellent lol.
  • Its refreshing to see Microsoft sticking by its platform and services, it would be even better if they did the same for other areas they are abandoning, if not officially at least unofficially i.e. Games for Windows Live.
  • MS should have taken "direct action" and fired Balmer five years ago!
  • Google has become the very beast it claimed to loathe. Microsoft has always been Microsoft, almost unapologetically. I like function and consistency with innovation - not just the more cool and hip form and fads.
  • There is still the chicken and egg problem with a lot of apps, i.e. businesses that make apps for their customers.  We recently saw that with USAA - they say there isn't enough traffic from WP to justify developing and Maintaining an app for WP8 yet.  So many commercial enterprises won't develop apps until there is enough market share and there won't be enough market share until there are enough apps.  This isn't an XBox 360 situation where there is only Sony and if we stick with it long enough we will eventually get market share.  While everyone is celebrating we're #3 the fact is MS did not pass BB, BB fell so far that MS caught up to a falling rock.  Also, will Nokia make enough profit on WP to stay relevant.  With all the bad press on the GS4 (look at all the reviews) it just shipped (I won't go with sold) 10 million GS4's in the first month - which is more than all the Lumias sold in the last quarter.  Would love to see a relevant 3rd phone OS but right now it's Android/iOS at 92.4% market share and still increasing.  Windows 8 is not helping the cause as it's still terrible for the Modern UI which will never work on 20+" monitors (or multiple monitor setups which are becoming the current craze).  I'm definitely looking at trying out the new Lumia 521 once the supply issues settle down.
  • WINDOWSPHONE windows8, Xbox,nokia....they all gonna be fine 2015 is the projected BOOOM year for MSFT/NOKIA we all can see it,everybody knows what WINDOWSPHONE is!! We good, and yes we need sports apps,banking,fantasy,medical apps, if they won't make it you guys in Redmond should start working on it!!!
  • Good job, Microsoft, now get Square under your belt for some credit card reader applications and hardware! Tout this secure, locked down OS to guard customer's purchases and be able to pass sales metrics directly into Excel on the device! Sounds like a perfect mobile office solution and would sway a lot of iPhone/iPad customers...
  • Stay hungry Microsoft, stay hungry.
  • Sean the instagraph and metrogram developers collaborating and using the platforms contract feature to pull up each other's app without leaving the first app shows how much potential this platform has if devs use it to the fullest. Remember that WP8 had a late SDK release so devs are just now starting to hit their groove. Good times ahead.
  • Great article Daniel! I too appreciate that Microsoft is starting to use it's size to push for what we all want.
  • No mention of EAP or VPN implementation.  It's unfathomable that they are taking this long to fix something that from which so many would benefit.
    Until Redmond fixes this, they'll lose business unit interest. I work for a Fortune 200 corp with 12K+ employees.  The "bring your own device" to work model is in full swing and business units are implementing non-windows phones and tablets to do business. Windows tablets and phones aren't even given a thought because they lack business support.  I have seen zero proof-of-concepts or proposals from any business units which include Windows devices.  None.
    And it's incredibly pathetic considering 100% of our client based systems/terminals are fully integrated with MS office and MS OS Enterprise.  Not to mention that the majority of our middleware and server architecture is also MS.
  • I agree about VPN and Windows Phone's lack of support. 
    The hard truth is, Microsoft may be talking big publicly about Windows Phone, but their pace of development makes Antartic ice glaciers look positively speedy.   By comparison, look at all the back end improvements Google has implemented for Android over the last few months, never mind the next phase that was announced at I/O.
    At the very least, Microsoft has to match Google with the speed of their mobile development.  Fans of the OS on this site and others are being too easy on Redmond, when this is squarely on their shoulders.  Nokia has taken the OS to its present limits, hardware wise. 
    Now it's up to Microsoft.   Promising some vague added benefits at the end of this year, or next year aren't going to cut it.
  • Yeah, but I'm wondering how long Microsoft can continue to pour money into Windows Phone, if it continues to yield single digit share?
    If by the end of next year, the platform still can't get past the 10% threshold, does it result in a change in strategy in Redmond?  Too many questions.....
    Nokia results are improving (it's easy to improve once your profits fall through the floor, nowhwere to go but up), but a company like Nokia can't continue to survive, selling devices that garner 5% market share in mobile.  It's unsustainable.