Dear Microsoft: Please Give Up on Mobile


Dear Steve Ballmer, I believe it's time to give up development of a mobile operating system. With all due respect to the multi-billion dollar empire you're entrusted with running, the simple truth is that Microsoft is quite bad at developing user interfaces that are friendly and intuitive. Windows 7 is an improvement, but you're far from being out of the woods. What's more, it appears that your guidance, Mr. Ballmer, might be making the problem worse, especially if the things you said recently about your instructions to Windows Phone developers were true.

During a presentation at the Mobile World Congress 2010 in Spain last week, you were quoted as saying: "In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience." You did what? Why in the world would you tell developers to give people something other than what they want? Obviously people are buying devices from Apple, Google and others, because they're giving people what they want. So to give people "a different kind of mobile experience" from competitors would logically mean that your mission is to give people what they DO NOT want.

Change for change's sake is not progress; it's just change. Seamlessly integrating with Windows and Office applications is nice, but it's not unique to Microsoft and there are alternatives to Word and Excel that are equally useful. Works like Zune? That's not sweetening the deal. Links with XBox? Do you have even a clue who your target users are?

Even if I did own a game console, I certainly wouldn't be using my phone as a remote terminal. To increase market share, you have to make a useful product with an intuitive interface that people like using. Apple has proven to be quite good at this. Google too. But Microsoft has not, a fact that seems obvious to everyone but you. For many of us, Windows and Office are things we're stuck with, and will dump as soon as something better comes along. For me, Mac OS X and GoogleDocs have already done that. And having once owned a Windows Mobile phone, I would never buy another.

About the Author

I am Technical Editor of the [url=]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=][/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

warrior4321 0 Newbie Poster

Please. The iPod touch and iPhone are where they are due to their developpers. Without apps, Microsof's Mobile OS is much better than Apple's OS.

nouser 0 Newbie Poster

Edward, stop being an ignorant Microsoft basher. Windows Phone 7 UI is sweet and many people have appreciated that. Go search the web and find favorable articles online. Microsoft is back in the game and you know it. Now, as for the apps, when Microsoft announces formally that Silverlight will be the platform for developing mobile apps, then you see how tables are turned on Apple and Google. Brace yourself with stiff competition in which there will be only one winner: the consumers!

mnsse 0 Newbie Poster

If you (Edward J Correia) don't think Microsoft can deliver good products, products that fit your needs then don't buy Microsoft products. There are other options for you and for people who share your feelings. Please don't waste your time writing about corporation(s)/product(s) you don't like, better use that time for something productive, something positive.

EddieC 0 Posting Whiz in Training

Thanks for the comments, people. I enjoy reading other opinions, even when they're wrong. :)

contextfree 0 Newbie Poster

"Obviously people are buying devices from Apple, Google and others, because they're giving people what they want. So to give people "a different kind of mobile experience" from competitors would logically mean that your mission is to give people what they DO NOT want."

Yes, because all people want the same things, and if someone wants one thing, it is impossible that they could ever want something else more. Seriously, what kind of logic is this?

EddieC 0 Posting Whiz in Training

It's the kind of logic that's beyond the comprehension of trolls.

EddieC 0 Posting Whiz in Training
JameB 66 Junior Poster

Another Microsoft mobile fail:

According to your logic, all companies should stop making OS other than Microsoft. All TV manufacturers should just give up other than SONY and Samsung. All phone companies other than Apple and Google (very much new to this market) and so on?

Although apple's iphone is great, I know A LOT of people who dislike it(they own it) because the touch screen is terrible in their opinion. So what will these people do if newbies like microsoft just give up? What if there was no blackberry?

And don't call anyone a troll simply because they don't agree with your OPINION.

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