Why most critics are wrong about Windows Phone

Posted: July 18, 2014 by ryanlecocq in Features, Technology

windows-phone-8.1

This month the theme is Windows Phone.  After a year of basically sitting in my pocket not doing much, my Lumia is now the center of my attention after a great update and some new apps.  Not only is it productive, as Microsoft is known for, but it’s fun to play with as well.  As much as we all love fun though, I think it’s the productive part that matters.  Although mobile media is still singing the ‘where are the time-wasting apps and games?’ song, I think that smartphones are about to grow up in a huge way.  Where Apple and Google have done well marketing the smartphone as a toy, our current economy and world events are raising a new generation of pragmatists.

I think the reason Windows Phone is becoming so popular in developing markets is because to the small business owner in Chile, a phone that can be an office is way more appealing than one that has Snapchat.  Even in the USA, where we are known for our obesity and self-indulgence, I notice more young people wanting productivity features over time sinks.  One of the ways I pay the bills is my part-time job at Radio Shack.  Despite what you may have heard, we sell a lot of phones at the Shack.  In the past couple of months since the WP 8.1 update, I have seen a huge increase in the amount of people coming to look into Windows Phone because of the productivity features and ‘grown-up-ness’ compared to its’ competitors.

The other big recent trend I see that benefits Microsoft is the consumer backlash at Apple and Google for security breaches and privacy invasion on their platforms.  I never thought the day would come when Snapchat would be an anchor around Google and Apple’s neck, but that day has come.  That combined with a huge hole in Apple’s security (that they neglected to fix for over 9 months) and Google’s attempts to invade every bit of your privacy and we actually have a market where Microsoft is suddenly the lesser evil.  Yesterday a woman came in and said she was actually switching from a Samsung Galaxy to a Nokia Lumia because she was just sick and tired of Google spying on her.  That might be a little paranoid, but I have to admit that reading the small print of a Google product these days is almost like reading a dystopian novel from the mid 20th century.

The final factor and I would argue the largest, is that Microsoft is now focusing a large part of its’ massive resources on WP for the first time.  Microsoft is kind of like the dark lord Sauron; you can beat them if you sneak around and hit them where they’re weak, but once they focus that big red eye on something, that something is about to get conquered.  Again I’m going to compare the mobile division to the Xbox division.  Back in 2006, there were a lot of people speculating that Microsoft would bow out of video games after the huge loss of face caused by red-ringing consoles.  Let’s just say they were wrong.  The big M threw a fortune at it and made a much larger fortune.  After releasing 4 best-selling Halo games that generation, as well as selling hundreds of millions of consoles, I dare anyone to call the Xbox 360 anything but a huge success.  I think we’re about to see something very similar to that in the mobile division.  A lot of people try to compare it to the more similar Zune instead and I think that’s a mistake.  Microsoft will often enter a market late and hit a point like the Zune or the Xbox brands where it starts to flounder.  The difference is that with Xbox, Microsoft decided to turn it around and with Zune they decided to cut their losses.  Zune never saw the complete refocus of interest that we saw from the games division and now from the mobile one.  Microsoft may be slow to correct failing projects, but when they do finally turn that all powerful eye on something, the enormous power of the Redmond giant can right just about any stumbling product.

Now you may ask: what do I know?  What makes my prediction that disagrees with the big analysts worth listening to?  Well, I’ll try not to be too snooty about it, but if you bought AMD stock when I said to do that, you doubled your money by last fall.  I tend to back the underdog in any situation and as a result, sometimes I’m wrong.  On the other hand, Microsoft is one big, tough underdog.  All I can say is I’m loving my Windows phone more than I have ever loved a phone and I think others will feel the same once they get their hands on WP 8.1.  Feel free to comment with your yays and nays about the new WP.

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