Diehard Microsoft fans abandon Windows Phone for iPhone

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Leaked promotional shot for the canned McLaren phone, Microsoft's flagship Lumina that was supposed to come out in time for the holidays. Photo: Baidu
Leaked promotional shot for the canned McLaren phone, Microsoft's flagship Lumia that was supposed to come out in time for the holidays. Photo: Baidu

If you needed any more confirmation that Windows Phone is dead in the water, two of its most high profile supporters have abandoned it for the iPhone.

Veteran Microsoft journalists Ed Bott and Tom Warren both published essays this week in which they criticized Windows Phone for its shortcomings and announced that they’ve stopped using Windows Phones personally. Citing a lack of carrier and third-party app support, both agreed that Windows Phone has missed its shot at being a real competitor in the smartphone market.

Over at ZDNet, Bott explained that a lack of support from Verizon is the main reason he ditched his Lumia Icon for an iPhone 6 Plus.

Because of Windows Phone’s almost nonexistent market share, he argued that carriers have no reason to negotiate with Microsoft and maintain a good experience for its users:

Thanks to Microsoft’s minuscule market share (small single-digit percentages in the U.S.), the carriers have almost no interest in collaborating with it on mobile devices. And Microsoft has almost no leverage when negotiating with carriers. The resulting not-so-virtuous circle is what stacks the deck against the Windows Phone platform and makes the experience so frustrating for the few who actually use it.

The reality of how poorly Windows Phone devices are updated is in stark contrast to how Apple can roll out a new iOS version and have it available on nearly every device no matter the carrier.

Bott, who has covered Microsoft for decades and written books on the company, also lamented how Microsoft released its flagship Lumia Icon phone in February and then stopped selling it in October. That would be like Apple halting iPhone 6 sales in May.

A lack of third-party apps has been another detractor from Windows Phone’s success, and it’s the main reason The Verge’s Tom Warren is now a “proud owner of an iPhone 6.” Warren, who has followed Microsoft closely for years and been a very vocal supporter of Windows Phone, also lambasted the platform for its shortcomings this week:

Microsoft is behind in mobile in a big way thanks to the rise of apps. While Windows Phone fans will argue that the platform now has more than 500,000 apps, most of the top iOS and Android apps have Windows Phone equivalents that are severely lacking.

Instagram has been on Windows Phone for over a year, but it still lacks video recording. “It’s simply unacceptable on a platform that prides itself on photography and the great Lumia cameras,” said Warren. “The irony here is that when Microsoft joined Instagram last month, the company’s first post was a video.”

Warren goes on to describe how iOS apps like Dark Sky and Citymapper have become daily essentials in his life. When Windows Phone still lacks even mainstream apps like Tinder and Snapchat, it’s clear that Microsoft has done an extremely poor job at courting developers:

Instead of attracting great indie game developers, unique apps, or photo editing software like VSCO Cam to compliment Lumia cameras, one of the top Windows Phone developers is simply mimicking official apps that aren’t available on the platform. Without these killer apps, Windows Phone will continue to struggle.

It’s hard to imagine more damning critiques of a platform with plenty of promise but no luck at gaining traction in a highly competitive market.