Selling Windows Phone to the Sellers
I was having breakfast with a friend this morning. I mentioned Windows Phone to him. What I got back was a blank stare. Now, this is a guy who knows and understands technology. He had no knowledge of Windows Phone.
That sums up Microsoft's problem in a nutshell, doesn't it? It's not the OS itself: Windows Phone is a great product. I used a reviewer's copy of a Samsung Focus S for a month, and loved it. The social media functionality was great. The UI was fantastic. Integration with Office is as good as it gets. If I were an Xbox gamer, I'd call this phone a must-have.
Problem is, not enough other people are. Even with the Nokia partnership and great phones like the Lumia, my local AT&T store (where I buy my phones) still has exactly one model available. This, more than any other single issue, is keeping Windows Phone from being a hit. And with Microsoft having just laid off a bunch of marketing folks, I wonder if the company's poised to do that.
On the other hand, the current marketing doesn't seem to be working, does it? Can you think of any memorable Windows Phone campaigns or commercials? Are you impressed by skydivers taking quick pictures?
What's the answer for Windows Phone picking up market share? Well, the hardest part's done -- it's a great OS, and getting better. What I think needs to happen most urgently is salesperson education: Microsoft needs to get a rep in every store that sells phones and show the employees why a Windows Phone-based device is a legitimate alternative to the iPhone/Android hegemony. It's pretty simple: If they're not selling it, it won't sell. So start selling it where it first needs to be sold: the people selling it to the rest of us.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.