1. Jcmg62's Avatar
    I was reading Daniel Rubino's article earlier today about how the Windows community is filled with infighting and frustration. I can understand why... I count myself amongst those true Windows Phone fans who often feels let down when Microsoft fails to give us high spec phones or, even worse, goes off and develops fantastic apps for rival platforms and leaves us in the dark.

    What's made this week particularly trying is the Apple event. Let's face it, those Apple boys know how to put on a show. They have the whole worlds' attention and they know it. The hardware they announced isn't exactly bleeding edge in its technological advancement, in fact I'd go so far as to say that the iPad Pro makes no sense in it's current form whatsoever. But that's besides the point. It's Apple, and they have an ardent follower base that'll snap those phones and tablets up like their social standing depends on it.

    All of this got me to thinking; what made the iPhone the success it is today? What do they consistently do that Microsoft don't? And if Microsoft is missing a trick, could they correct it?

    I think that Apple's current success is in the timing of their new product launches.

    My breakdown on Apple goes something like this:

    Operating System - ok to poor
    Hardware - fair to good, at times very good
    App Store - excellent
    Product launch - amazing, awesome, phenomenal

    Apple don't even have to market the iPhone anymore. The device sells itself. Why?

    Well, the one thing that devoted users can absolutely take to the bank is the annual product launch. Every August Apple tell the world that they'll be holding an event in September. By the time September rolls in the Isheep are going nuts in anticipation of the big day. And every September Apple deliver.

    In my very humble opinion Microsoft should make two tweaks to their Windows Device game plan, namely; find an annual product cycle and stick to it like your life depended on it. Pick a month to launch new phones and for the love of God make it before Apple's launch. July would work well. August would do nicely too. Just don't make it in October (or any month after Apple's launch for that matter). It's nave and frankly a bit stupid to launch any new phone product right behind Apple.

    This may sound pretty obvious and I'm almost 100% convinced the marketing guys at Microsoft have thought about this. But if they are indeed aware of how tough a battle they're giving themselves by not having a consistent new product launch timetable, why aren't they doing anything about it?

    As Daniel said in his article, Microsoft are continually telling us about all these great new products and software advancements that are "coming soon" and "just around the corner" but frankly in a world where technology is outdating itself in a matter of months, telling your consumers that you're "nearly ready" is the same as saying you're actually already miles behind and unlikely to catch up.

    No one reasonably expects Microsoft to bring out brand new, totally-unseen-before hardware every 12 months; that's unrealistic. But they should take a page out of the Apple playbook and launch mega device (and possibly software) upgrades and minor hardware updates on an annual cycle.

    Example... July 2016, launch a killer Surface phone and a tweaked Surface Pro 4 (and maybe a few other side line devices; band, HoloLens, etc). July 2017, a tweaked Surface phone and Killer Surface Pro 5 (now shake it up a bit, throw a brand new Xbox 2 into the 2017 event).... and so the cycle goes... you get the idea. Every alternate year a killer phone and tweaked tablet....killer tablet and tweaked phone, etc, etc, yawn, etc

    Regarding the discussed-to-death app gap in the Windows Store... well maybe, just maybe there would be more developer interest if the app community knew that brand new devices were going to land every July. It's not a bullet proof game plan, but it wouldn't hurt to send a clear signal out to developers that you have a cast iron and totally transparent phone / tablet update cycle so that they could plan new app launches to work alongside Microsoft's hardware plans. Just saying...

    Microsoft, I'm talking to you; if anything I've written here today is coming to you as news you haven't heard before, I would seriously consider firing your marketing and product launch teams.
    09-11-2015 03:36 AM
  2. Pete's Avatar
    I clicked on this thread expecting to disagree, but actually I do agree with pretty much everything you said there.


    * We know that Microsoft has reigned in the flood of Lumia and is concentrating on just three lines. We don't know what the life-cycle of those tiers will be, but they're likely to be different. We can't expect Microsoft to sell them at the same time each and every year. We already know that the flagship devices will be released on a longer cycle than the others. The consensus I'm getting from the new iPhone is that it's not much different to the last. I wouldn't be surprised if they move to a longer life-cycle as well.

    * I don't think there's anything wrong with Microsoft's marketing or launch teams. I've met Tuula Rylita, and if you did, you wouldn't want to sack here either.

    * Yearly cycles won't do anything to fill in the "app gap". I continue to believe that the web will improve to the point that web sites will offer a rich, platform-agnostic experience that sidesteps the need for apps to a large extent.

    * The fundamental issue with Microsoft, even post-Nadella, is that it still operates largely in a B2B model and treats its customers as a business. This is the part of the business that has to change to my mind. Many years ago, Microsoft staff presenting at seminars used to call themselves "Evangelists". We need people like that to interact with users on a more personal level. We need more guys like Gabe.

    I believe that Daniel was wrong in stating that Windows mobile is at a "low", I don't think that statement was a particularly good way of championing the brand. Negativity/FUD in the press has a huge reach (and this is what killed Windows RT).

    The development of the operating system for Windows Mobile is moving faster and more visibly than ever before. Microsoft is actively listening to users and reacting to their needs.

    How can that be termed as a "low"?
    09-11-2015 04:55 AM
  3. Rising Mos's Avatar
    Apple's iPhone was expected to be a minor release since it is a "s" year. The next change up will be in iPhone 7 next year. That is how they work.

    Regarding timing, I agree with you somewhat. They need to be somewhat consistent to give the impression of stability of the platform. They have been doing that with the surface brand so hopefully they will switch to that in the phone side. CEO said that the phones will be handled by the surface mentality.

    Ps. No way they are releasing a new Xbox in 2017. The life cycle is at least 5 -10 years. More probably, releasing slimmer versions that are more efficient with better hard disk, etc.
    09-11-2015 05:12 AM
  4. Jcmg62's Avatar
    I hear you Pete, and agree with a lot of your thoughts. I've never met (or heard of, for that matter) Tuula but I've had plenty of dealings with some truly fantastic people at Microsoft Tech Support and have no doubt that MS staff want their business to be a huge success.

    But the question of time, time, time is the one that really comes through for me on this one.

    Microsoft keep telling us about new devices, new software and new experiences.... and then bugger off to some underground layer for months at a time and leave us all wondering what happens next.

    The Windows 10 insider programme is a great example of transparent progress, but why don't Apple have to resort to building their OS in full public view to generate user interest? Could it be because they have a standard new device cycle that users can rely on so don't need to resort to making too much noise during the development and testing phase of their products? I don't know... just a thought really

    It's really great that Microsoft have abandoned the concept of bringing out a random and totally irrelevant low cost phone every other month. It was a pointless and expensive exercise developed by two guys who'd totally misread the mobile market (step forward and collect your prize for blind ignorance Messer's Ballmer and Elop) but to follow that plan up with two utterly underwhelming phones like the 940/940XL is downright worrying.

    Surely the management team at Redmond must have been looking at the Surface Sales data versus Lumina sales data and thought "Screw it!! Guys, new plan...surface phone time! We're not doing these crappy plastic Lumia thingies anymore... we can't give the friggin things away!!"

    Maybe the 940 represents a stop gap flagship while MS ready a surface phone. Maybe not. Either way it just means it's going to take more time to get the product everyone actually wants out to market.

    Regarding the App Gap solution.... if new hardware doesn't invigorate the Windows Store then we have a big problem on our hands. While I agree that web sites are really coming along in a big way, end users... true end users, like the people that don't spend time on tech forums and just expect to download apps from a great store and have them work every time, are not going to find very many reasons to be happy with the Windows Store. Even Paul Thurrott, a long time Windows fan, has had a total meltdown with the Windows Store this week (the article is on his site).

    Pete, I'll end by saying that I'm an eternal optimist. Hell, there's no other way to explain why I've stayed true to Windows Phone since launch day back in 2010 :) But I'm just fed up with the eternal waiting game that seems to be the way Microsoft do things these days
    09-11-2015 05:47 AM
  5. tgp's Avatar
    Pick a month to launch new phones and for the love of God make it before Apple's launch.
    There is a bit of an issue with Microsoft using this strategy. For one thing, they've been in the phone hardware business for only a year or so. And it seems they only got into it in the first place because they were forced to. If they can get the OEMs to take over, I expect Microsoft to get back out of it. I don't believe they would even want to set up a scheduled annual release due to current uncertainties. Nadella himself said they were committed to hardware for 2 years. What exactly does that mean? Who knows?

    Operating System - ok to poor
    Hardware - fair to good, at times very good
    App Store - excellent
    Product launch - amazing, awesome, phenomenal
    My opinion would be a bit different than yours:

    Operating System - ok to poor I would say good
    Hardware - fair to good, at times very good I'd call hardware average on any other OS, but excellent on iOS due to their ability to optimize to an extreme
    App Store - excellent Correct
    Product launch - amazing, awesome, phenomenal Correct
    Jcmg62 and mariusmuntean like this.
    09-11-2015 07:35 AM

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