Microsoft responds to update criticism, confirms second half of March for NoDo

Responding to criticism, Microsoft's GM of Customer Experience Engineering aka the guy in charge of Windows Phone updates, Eric Hautala, posted a lengthy explanation about the pre-NoDo update experience so far, NoDo itself and the process involved. While the write up was informative it still doesn't get too technical for the average reader and at least answers some questions (if not raise more). At the very least, we give Microsoft credit for taking the appropriate action here and keeping the consumer in the loop: no one likes it when something gets screwed up, but they do appreciate when you take the time to explain the situation.

The first part of the article describes "How software gets from us to you" and is mostly a gloss of what we already know: Microsoft develops/tests new software, it gets pushed to the carriers, OEMs and Qualcomm for testing and it gets sent to you, the end user. Some things are left out, like if the carriers/OEMs can send back the software for further revisions and how long the process can take. Hautala finally explains how the "staggered" approach--sending out updates to specific devices--allows them to pin-point problems easier, which is a good point, even if it's not the method we would like (universal update).

The next section went over the "success" of the pre-NoDo update. Once again, Microsoft write it as if the overwhelming majority had no problems, while the blogosphere will highlight those 10% where it failed. We'll leave that distinction up to you. Hautala of course expresses how Microsoft is not satisfied with the problems that occurred and, logically, they are working to prevent them in the future.

The one real interesting area is where Hautala addresses if carriers can block updates. He sets up for an answer but ultimately is quite evasive on the topic:

There’s one more thing I want to clear up. I’ve seen a lot of speculation on blogs and forums lately about whether carriers can “block” an update. We work closely with carriers to test and schedule updates. They may ask us for a specific date to start an update. They may ask for updates to be bundled together. But you should ultimately receive all the updates we send out.

That's not really anything we already don't know and sure doesn't sound like a denial but rather an affirmation that carriers can block one update but have to push the second (bundled with the first). Not too comforting if those updates are spread apart over a few months.

Finally, the big part was on the NoDo update. It is now confirmed that the second half of March is the target for that release. As expected, Microsoft is taking a few extra days to check and double check everything before that big push--something we can't really fault them for, especially with the world watching so closely. It's not the news we want to hear, but at the same time we understand the motivation behind it and will just have to remain patient. If there is one shining bit it's that 'Mango' still seems to be on track, despite previous rumors:

This short pause should in no way impact the timing of future updates, including the one announced recently at Mobile World Congress featuring multitasking, a Twitter feature, and a new HTML 5-friendly version of Internet Explorer Mobile.

So that's good. Sound off in comments on Microsoft's response: good enough for you? Good enough for the market?

Source: Windows Team Blog (opens in new tab)

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.

  • Since the update itself was done what little changes had to be done if any that cuased the delay shouldn't have impacted the work on other updates. Still it's good to actually hear them say as much.
  • Because it appears, at least for HTC devices, that the OEM(s) have included a firmware update that is being piggybacked onto NoDo. Hence the complications. Why they didn't separate the two we will never know. But I do hope they have learned from this
  • Maybe MS didn't address the issue when we wanted them to but I'm glad they did. I wished they would had given a more technical answer about what's wrong but this is better than nothing. Hopefully MS delivers sooner rather than later, but as the article pointed out, when the world is watching there's nothing wrong with being cautious. Another major mess up is just more food for the trolls and numerous tech sites that love to hate MS.
  • Numerous carriers and hardwares that supports Windows Phone 7 OS, the Microsoft update is really acceptable.
  • Really everyone? That's all you have to say?Microsoft actually had to respond to the fact that they can't push out a simple copy/paste update. We've seen phones running it already so what's the hold up. The "carrier block" question was never really answered. And there is only a vague date of sometime later in March. The second half of March starts Tuesday, he couldn't have just said that? Apple said an iOS update would be out on the 11th and guess what, it will. I don't care because I don't own anything running iOS, but at least all devices will get it at the same time.I'm tired of the "I'm an early adopter" excuse in waiting for this update.
  • Glad I'm on Sprint! That's what I have to say. They won't be blocking any updates.
  • I'm not impressed with the content of this update. I like this platform and have evangelized the product since the day I purchased my Focus. However, if Microsoft doesn't support this product I'm outta here.
  • I love WP7 i will wait till they can give my Samsung Focus a update that doesent kill it even though i have insurance so no worries about about it lol. Give us the Mulit-Tasking update early if you feel bad Microsoft hint-hint. But other then that im good as gold with this fantastic OS
  • Just got a great deal on a focus and looking forward to the update. I love the size of the focus and the screen is really sharp.
  • Guss MS forgot to tell T-MO about the pre-update
  • I have a Samsung Focus, my first smart phone. Other than the lack of custom ringtones, I really like my phone. There's a few things like swype and speech to text I'd really like to have, but I just didn't care for the android phone closest to mine. I like the interface and performance better on WP7. I just wish they'd get more useful updates out, and faster. They're gonna cut down on their market share by piddling around. The lack of ringtones alone was almost enough to make me take my phone back. I'd bet 20 bucks that they lose over half their sales due to lack of customization. Which would be why the saleswoman at our store neglected to mention the ringtone thing....I think Microsoft is being so careful about what they say because they risk a lawsuit from carriers if they bad mouth them. They'd probably like to say, "Yeah, we had this ready last year but AT&T is holding us up!" I don't doubt the carriers are a large part of the problem, but of course the issues they had with the pre-update prove they obviously didn't dot all their i's the first time through.
  • First, I'm convinced it has been a mistake to put WP7 on so many different devices. I'm not a fan of Apple's "one device, period" approach, but clearly they didn't learn from the old PocketPC/Windows Mobile days. That was always a disaster and did nothing but anger users (I was one of them). Second, the "explanation" was NOT really any sort of an explanation...I could take it apart, line by line, and show the non-information and deception going on there. Third, there simply IS no excuse for not getting this correct right from the start. I love the Samsung Focus, and I was happy with the phone at launch---but I fully expected that there would be a very frequent succession of updates to add in the features M$ overlooked or didn't have ready in time.
  • I'm surprised at the lack of updates so far too. It is worrying. Hopefully Microsoft gets their heads around the update issue by year's end and starts doing a better job there.
  • well, thanks for informations , i wish this coming NoDo update including multi languages support as previews windows mobile version did ( 5.0 6.0 6.1 6.5 ) .when i get my device ( HD7 WP7 ) i was depending on my own experience with MS which was helping me in each and every thing i was looking for , using such OS for around 7 years and did not thought to change to mac or even android .But this time MS totally let us down ( Arabian Users ) , device features was telling me it is support Arabic ,well it is , but partly example : mail in mail preview is wonderful and readable , but when we open any massage letters are not connected to form a complete word !!also web site browsing the same ,it is supporting my language partly and i think most of non English users ,i start to look forward to any other alternative operating system which can support their user's and help them with their needswaiting to see this new update or i will advice all my friend to say NO to MSand will advice all my friends to shift to Android or Mac to get supported .Regards,Wail Najdi