What Microsoft should change in order to make Windows Phone 8 a success
Windows Phone 8 is coming soon, it promises to be a great and innovative platform, as Windows Phone 7.5 already was. The problem is that even at this early stage I have the feeling that Microsoft is going to make the same the same mistakes in this new version of their mobile operating system. Just to leave it clear, this is a personal opinion and doesn’t represent anyone else than me (Jesus Bosch) or any company (including Plunge Interactive). And is my opinion again: I love Windows Phone, I think is the only mobile OS that brought some innovation, and I’d like it to success, but I think it will not because of Microsoft itself bad policies.
What Microsoft could do to improve their user base
- They are late, very popular mobile OS are already dominating the market. Desktop Windows 8 users will not switch to Windows Phone 8 just because it has the same square shaped icons on its desktop… so dam, spend tons of money on good marketing. They have the money, but their marketing is horrible. I have never seen a convincing Windows Phone 7 ad coming from Microsoft. This was actually one of their first ads, and it is horrible, and doesn’t actually tell anything to a final user.
- Give something to the users that they want, or might want: XBOX Live Gold accounts. That is something that Microsoft already has, and is cheap for them, give the WP7/8 a free year of XBOX Live Gold and make them happy… is not so difficult right?
- Give Nokia the WP8 OS exclusivity (and maybe even purchase Nokia). Other partners like HTC and Samsung are doing nothing to promote Windows Phone. If they are releasing few devices I think it is because they need to calm down Microsoft to avoid having to pay him fines related to patent infringements on their Android devices, and yes, give much more money to Nokia, they are the only company that is really promoting Windows Phone.
- Allow WP7 users to upgrade to WP8: Many WP7 users that bought their devices this year will not be very happy when they discover that their mobiles will become obsolete when Microsoft releases Windows Phone 8, old devices will not be able to be upgraded. Do you think their next purchase will be a Windows Phone 8 device? Difficult to believe…
What Microsoft could do to attract and retain good developers
- Developers are not making any money on Windows Phone. On the game development side, you need to publish a XBOX Live game to make some money, but only big companies can publish XBOX Live games, all others are margined into a Indie marketplace that is not profitable for almost anyone. Ok, then why you don’t make XBOX Live games you would say? Because Microsoft only allows it to few developers, and the rules are arbitrary: send an email to an address and we might answer you or might not. I think you have to be someone’s friend to be accepted. That is how it works.
- Give developers more than 70% of the benefits. Breaking that non written rule might attract many more developers.
- Don’t ban developers to get access to the Windows Phone 8 SDK like they are doing now. They are allowing access to few developers only, this is a policy to attract developers? I don’t think so.
- Give free devices to developers (and please, avoid boring contests and things like that, just give the devices, serious developers and/or companies are not going to compete for a device, we are not children).
And remember that I have developed several apps and games for Windows Phone 7 and love the platform, I used a Lumia 800 for several months and is one of the better mobile devices that I ever owned. They also have an easy to learn and comprehensive development platform that any developer would also love, but they still need to improve on many aspects…
Please feel free to follow me on twitter to discuss more about Windows Phone or other game development topics: @jboschaiguade
Ah, and I love the new Windows Phone 8 Lumias too, I hope they are a success… my best wishes to Nokia 😉