I had a cool Windowsphone once.

11

I am in the UK and, like the rest of the world, Windowsphone was rarely promoted in retail and you struggled to buy one, I owned several models.

In Britain the Windowsphone market had reached 14%, just slightly behind the iPhone (19%), and the Lumia 1020 was released. The distinctive camera and colour meant people asked me about it. Two people in my office bought one based on the pictures I showed to them. Even salesmen in retail stores had heard of the Lumia 1020. I had the yellow model of course – just so it stood out.

I took the Lumia 1020 on holiday to San Francisco. In the UK there were no Microsoft Retail stores. So I stopped into browse the Windowsphones. There were a few low end devices in a small corner of the store with no promotion. As I was looking a sales guy approached me and I said I was expecting a couple of top class devices on display. He said they hadn’t had anything like that for months and mostly it was like the sad group of budget phones in front of me. I did pull out out my Nokia Lumia 1020 to show him what I meant. He said he had heard about great phones in Europe but this was the US and they didn’t get that stuff here.

So I had a cool Windowsphone for a while and, by accident, discovered why US market share was 3% at the time.

Comments (11)

11 responses to “I had a cool Windowsphone once.”

  1. arunphilip

    Makes you wonder why they had all that budget sunk in R&D, if Marketing were just going to strangle it like this. Sigh.


    The Windows Phone OS is going to find its place alongside the Betamax format.


    (writing as someone who moved from a Lumia 720 to 830 over to Android with an S8+)

  2. wright_is

    Yes, in Germany it reached similar heights, in fact Windows Phone had a higher market share at its height than the iPhone had last year! I have a Lumia 950 and it is a great phone, but the apps I use regularly aren't available or are unreliable on it (WhatsApp seems to use a random number generator to decide whether it should notify me of new messages - sometimes I would go days with no notifications, then I would get a flood - or Fitbit which kept losing contact with my watch, claiming Windows wasn't working properly and the phone needed to be restarted; interestingly, the phone still reported the Fitbit as being connected and deinstalling and reinstalling the app would fix the problem, for a few hours).

    In the end, I switched to a Google Nexus 5X, it is a similar design, but not as usable as the Lumia, but at least the apps work reliably...

    A real shame.

    At the height, our family had 5 Windows Phone devices, plus I had an Android work phone... Then we all switched to Android, because of the above problems and lack of support from Microsoft for new devices.

  3. jimchamplin

    It was a pitiful effort. The only ads I ever saw for Microsoft’s devices here in the States were so tone-deaf, they might as well have been advertising shoes. They never played up the people-centric concepts. They should have tried harder. Instead they... barely even attempted to get the word out.

  4. Jules Wombat

    I think you are confusing this with the European promotion of Nokia phones vs the US, where Nokia brand was not well known. And yes for a while Nokia did market their Windows phones significantly on TV in Europe.

    It is still surprising to notice a dissproportionally high number (more than one in 8) of Windows phones devices being used by cast on some British TV shows, in the few years. Even a number of Microsoft Lumia 650 and 950 device. Obviously not much longer.

  5. hrlngrv

    If you're implying MSFT did a poor job marketing Windows phones in the US, you're on solid ground. OTOH, if you're implying many people in the US, given its carrier-centric phone market, would have been shopping for phones in MSFT brick & mortar stores, you're way off the mark. That isn't to say MSFT did any better job marketing Windows phones in Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or other carrier's stores, just that relatively few US phone buyers would have bought phones from non-carrier stores. IOW, it would have made sense for MSFT not to park expensive phone inventory in its brick & mortar US retail stores.

    Putting this another way, I'd be very surprised if MSFT's physical stores accounted for even 1% of Windows device sales in the US.

  6. Bats

    In the United States, Microsoft advertised Windows Phone to death. Particularly during the Christmas season. Every now and then there was a Windows Phone commercial, where the camera was the central feature. Microsoft used celebrity endorsements like Gwen Stefani and Jessica Alba. They even used catchy pop music, such as Brave by Sarah Bareilles in their ads. Not just that...but Windows Phone was product-placed in so many tv shows, like Dallas and Elementary. 


    Despite ALL THAT ADVERTISING...no one bought it.


    To be honest, it's Microsoft to blame. They simply did not improve their Microsoft App ecosystem. Unlike Google, Microsoft had no real strategy, other than wait to see what Google and Apple did and then copy it....2 years later. Had Microsoft improved their own app ecosystem, they could have had a fighting chance.


    Not just that, but the smartphone has become much more than that now. Let's face it, even three years ago, Windows Phone....was a DUMB PHONE. Google, 3 years ago, not only sported the #1 email, browser, and map system, but they also had Youtube. Not just that, but Google also had Chromecast and the Google Play Music Service. Today, Google has tied all their services together (along with Nest, Youtube TV, and Home) to bring a lot more value to the smartphone than just a "phone" which is what Windows Phone is nothing more than that. 


    The purpose of this comment is not to boost Google up, but to highlight and showcase what Microsoft did wrong. 


    All in all, Windows Phone was just a dumb phone. Even days before Microsoft announced it's demise, it was a phone built for 2012 and NOT 2016. 


    Also let's face it....Office? No one cares for it, on the phone. If a scintilla of people did (care for Office), Continuum would be alive and kicking @$$ today. 


    One more thing. I still own a Windows Phone, the Microsoft Lumia from Verizon. I bought that phone as a backup to my Galaxy Note 4, at the time, in the even that I misplaced my Samsung device. I one time did, and using that phone for 2 hours on the commute home from work (NYC) was "treacherous." LOL...I couldn't do anything, I cared about except make phone calls. It was then, when I realized what a former co-worker told me, when she switched from a Windows Phone to an Android phone. She hated it. You know what? She worked at a Microsoft at that time!

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Bats:

      Continuum is a bit different and broader than you imply. Continuum is founded on the belief that many want to run software locally while only carrying a phone. I figure a lot of people are beginning to become comfortable running software remotely, and the allure of running everything on a phone has come up against some awkward limitations of even today's phones as general purpose computers. IOW, for people who really want to use PC software, phones still don't suffice, and there are too damn few people who want to run UWP apps which can adapt to different screen sizes.

  7. christopherhardy

    Windows Phone is not awful. It simply looks like a cross among Android and iOS on iPhone. It has Live Tiles (which are like widgets and shortcuts) like on Android however can be limited in some methods like iOS.Assignment Help Online

  8. jwpear

    They did market, but it was mostly subtle. I still see Windows Phones in shows here in the US, even relatively new shows. My wife and I were watching a Christmas movie on Hallmark (don't ask) recently and I noticed them using Lumia 950's. They also had Surface Pros, Surface Books, and Surface Laptops, so the movie wasn't too old. It makes me wonder if they're still using them to subtlety promote the Microsoft brand. They're certainly not promoting the phones at this point.


    My son and I had quite a few Windows Phones. I had what mid and high end Lumias I could get on Verizon here in the US. He had the low end devices--520, 640, and 720. They were all amazing to us. Even the low end phones were awesome and worked incredibly well for their low end specs. My son loved the games and was quite happy to have a phone. I didn't have to worry about him breaking it because the 520 and 640 were so inexpensive. He dropped his 520 many times. It was so rugged, it never broke. They were diamonds in the rough--completely unappreciated by the masses.


    We're an iPhone family now. My son and I joined my wife and daughter, who were already using iPhones. The app ecosystem is so much better. I get why WP never caught on. I do think it could have caught on with more apps. Microsoft killed that when they rebooted the OS with WP8. App devs were writing apps in the WP7 days. There was momentum. They gave up with WP8. Their market wasn't big enough to justify a rewrite. In my mind, the OS reboot killed WP.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to jwpear:

      . . . Microsoft killed that when they rebooted the OS with WP8. . . .

      Ballmer and maybe a few others would seem to have been convinced that Windows 8 for PCs and Windows Phone 8 needed each other. Actually, that Windows 8 on PCs would stimulate demand for Windows phones, but that meant Windows Phone 8 needed to become much more like Windows 8 for PCs than Windows Phone 7.x had been.

      Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 were MSFT's biggest fubar at completely misreading what both PC and phone buyers wanted.

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