back to article Delta Air Lines makes mass Windows Phone 8, Lumia 820 buy

Microsoft finally has something it must have craved for ages: a colossal, enterprise user of its Windows Phone platform, with a super-recognisable brand to boot. But the announcement about the buy uses the most optimistic number possible to describe the sale. The buyer is Delta Air Lines, which has let it be known that as August …

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And the flight entertainment system...

...in front of every passenger on those 700 planes?

Surely it would be nice to put a Windows logo on that, next to the touch screen, wouldn't it?

It's a pity it runs Linux. Just like pretty much every other in-flight entertainment system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the flight entertainment system...

Microsoft would screw it up by putting Clippy on it to assist the user with their selection.

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Re: And the flight entertainment system...

Really?

The entertainment system in the Air New Zealand 777 I flew to SFO in 2010 ran Windows CE on the endpoints and my take is that these things do not change so fast.

I know this because I had to wait 30 mins while my screen rebooted loading the WInCE image over a serial connection.

Newer systems are probably Linux based I agree but the vast bulk of the install base is probably still Windows powered.

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Linux

Re: And the flight entertainment system...

I was on a United Airlines flight last week and the entertainment system rebooted just as we were loading.... and there was a little penguin sitting above the coding as it ran through boot-up. It was a very new jet, and clearly ran Linux

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Anonymous Coward

Bet they got a huge discount because there were so many unsold units still in the shelves, Microsoft must be giving them away.

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Holmes

Re: And the flight entertainment system...

The very first personal inflight systems (screen in the back of the seat) that went into service were Linux based and had a box containing the client PC (with AMD chips for the terminally bored) under the seat. There was a server somewhere else in the plane.

Subsequently a number of more integrated systems have been developed, certified and deployed, though I admit I have never seen a windows CE version, they might reasonably exist because WinCE is not a bad choice for that sort of application. The ones I have seen lately have been Linux, though you only notice if the reboot the system for some reason.

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Re: And the flight entertainment system...

i have actually witnessed the new touch-based in-flight entertainment system boot just a few days back while flying from JFK. the boot itself was quiet, i.e. no penguin logo and boot messages like on older systems, but at one point the distinctive "X" shaped cursor appeared, letting me know that there's an x server underneath.

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Anonymous Coward

But this does actually very little for the platform. Sure you have X additional out there, but they will never be used as a phone or used to access the Microsoft app store. Also, how much of a subsidy was given to get this deal?

The figure that I come up with sales wise; 700+. Every flight attendant does not need one, nor does every flight attendant on a plane. There is a flight attendant for first class and they are not going to be selling anything. In the coach area, all you need is one flight attendant with the cart of stuff to buy while the other flight attendant is getting the complementary drink.

To show how minuscule the number of devices really is; even if it was say 20,000 (all flight attendants plus some spares) were purchased, 1.5 million android handsets are activated per day. Even if Microsoft sold 20,000 every day, it would still be so far behind it is not even funny. It would take Microsoft 75 days of selling 20,000 just to match what Android does each and every day. Right now, Nokia is selling 80,000 Lumia phones per day.

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Figure 2 carts selling junk on a 2 aisle aircraft, 2 hosties/in-flight-retail-consultants per cart and you have 4phones per big aircraft.

Delta's fleet also includes an awful lot of Delta-connect services on small business jets/turbo-props that aren't going to be selling you scratch cards (these get counted as Delta when you are buying a ticket but are Acme Air when they crash or are late)

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Optimistically for Nokia,

they might supply each flight attendant one anyway, as a company phone.

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No, it'll be about 2000 devices at most.

If they were even considering providing them to a significant number of aircrew as a company phone, that would have been the headline, not "in-flight purchases".

The phones will be provided per-aircraft, there will be at least two per aircraft but likely no more than four even on the biggest jets.

One main and one spare on the small aircraft, and two per aisle at most on the big ones.

Plus a few spares on the ground at hub airports.

They'll want the spares because if none of the device on a given flight are working they can't sell anything.

How many tills does a plane need?

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Here in Europe I noticed the LCCs sell everything (nothing is free) and they have small dedicated handheld CC readers for processing transactions. Some of the airlines do not accept cash.

Basically, this deal is using a phone as a CC terminal. Doable, but is it smart or effective use of the technology?

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My guess is one per in-flight sales trolley, which is usually one per isle for 700+ aircraft the majority will be one, for wide bodies its two and jumbo's get three. So around 1200, if you add one spare unit to every craft it's 2000 units. I'd be very surprised if it's more than that.

Assuming every flight attendant gets a company phone is a nice idea but unlikely! They're just PoS* devices.

*Point of sale - of course what did you think I meant.

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Anonymous Coward

Of course the gap is large - at the moment - but Windows Phone market share is growing rapidly (over 70% a year). Many industry analysts say that Windows Phone is likely to overtake Apple to take the #2 position.

Who knows if they will ever be number one again - but I wouldn't be surprised if that happens...

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Facepalm

Maybe MS could sell some of these to Ryanair to embed into their aircraft toilet doors to take payment? If it was payment on exit they could call the service "wipe'n'swipe"

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Anonymous Coward

"Many industry analysts say that Windows Phone is likely to overtake Apple to take the #2 position."

Not likely and they are delusional. Sure WP is seeing big percentage points gains but that is a useless number. If I sell one today and four tomorrow, I could say I had 400% increase in sales. The fact is, it was just five devices. Nokia is the largest WP seller and they are SO FAR behind what Apple sells, it is not even funny. Don't believe statistics and don't believe analysts. If you really want to believe analysts, when WM devices were being sold, they said Microsoft would have over 50% of the market by now. Where is WM? DEAD. It never got close to 50%, never will and in fact, it didn't even get half of the way there.

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> Many industry analysts say that Windows Phone is likely to ...

In 2011 Gartner predicted that WP would sell 68million phones in 2012 for a 10.8% market share. How good was that prediction ?

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/2011/04/07/gartner-windows-phone-will-overtake-iphone-blackberry-by-2015/

In mid 2011 IDC predicted that in 2015 WP would overtake iOS

http://wmpoweruser.com/idc-maintains-windows-phone-7-to-overtake-iphone-in-2015-prediction/

By the end of 2012 IDC had dropped this to predict WP to have half Apple's share by 2016.

http://wmpoweruser.com/idc-predicts-11-4-smartphone-market-share-for-windows-phone-in-2016/

At this rate of change in prediction by next year they will predict a 3% share for WP by 2020.

The real problem is that Nokia sells most WP phones at a loss plus they are subsidized by MS, effectively they pay nothing for the software. It may build market share but eventually they will have to try to make a profit.

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Anonymous Coward

When were they ever number one?

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Anonymous Coward

"Not likely and they are delusional"

It is very likely - Windows Phone is already hitting 10% and over in many markets, and still growing rapidly.

"If I sell one today and four tomorrow, I could say I had 400% increase in sales."

Quite - but Windows Phone is selling in the millions.

"Where is WM? DEAD. It never got close to 50%"

Actually WM did briefly exceed 50% market share of Smartphones.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes they are a bit behind the curve compared to what the analysts predicted, but it's still heading steadily in the right direction. Previous key issues like app availability are now pretty much a non issue, and the handsets continue to increase in quality, features and desirability.

nb - Nokia does NOT sell any WP phones are a per unit loss compared to cost of manufacture. The agreement between Microsoft and Nokia is also not one sided: http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/07/all-told-nokia-owes-650m-more-to-microsoft-in-their-long-term-platform-deal-says-nokia/

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It's a phone ?

Won't it have to be switched off during flight ?

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Devil

Re: It's a smartphone ?

It's a smartphone, will it make a flight to Australia on one battery charge?

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Windows

Re: It's a phone ?

Windows phones have an airplane mode that turns off all the radio interfaces (I think most other smartphones have this as well). What is mystifying is why use a smartphone at all in this situation. It would act as just a small touchscreen pad.

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Re: It's a smartphone ?

Yes.

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Anonymous Coward

Delta have WiFi on many internal flights

Not a reason to fly with them, but if you do get stuck on one of their flights at 30K feet it does relieve the boredom.

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Happy

Re: It's a phone ?

Because the weird way the world works makes it cheaper to buy touchscreen smartphones that can do POS than buy application specific touchpads. Cash registers and POS specific devices are insanely expensive, especially for enterprise scale applications.

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Re: Delta have WiFi on many internal flights

Technically, you can't get stuck on a flight at 30k. Eventually, lack of fuel will give the pilot cause to descend.

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Anonymous Coward

Delta have in flight entertainment?

I flew Delta from Heathrow to Atlanta in 2009 and the in flight movies were shown on old fashioned CRTs stuck in the ceiling of the aisles. Of course most were not working which considering the films they were showing was a blessing. So have they finally moved into the present and installed seat back tv?

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Joke

Re: Delta have in flight entertainment?

You ought to ride in the front of the plane. The screens always work there.

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It's like Nokia and Microsoft are one company now. Weird.

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Anonymous Coward

Avanade are a consultancy that are tying Nokia and Microsoft products together here....They are have a lot of success in that space.

O2 are also likely to switch to Windows Phone and apparently HSBC are considering it.

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> O2 are also likely to switch to Windows Phone and apparently HSBC are considering it.

How many drinks trolleys do they have ?

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure how many users O2 have: http://www.intomobile.com/2013/07/30/leaked-document-suggests-o2-germany/

But HSBC have about 400,000 employees!

The savings are obviously significant - they can buy far more cost effective handsets, and ditch the need for separate Blackberry Servers and the £5 per month Blackberry network tax. The devices can connect securely to their existing Exchange OWA servers, and full management can be provided via SCCM - both of which they will already have. Not to mention that the Windows Phone OS is much more secure - Blackberry 10 was already completely rooted via a Flash exploit...

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Anonymous Coward

"But HSBC have about 400,000 employees!"

Well more like 250,000 and if you think that they are going to buy them all mobile handsets then you're more delusional than you normally are !

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Anonymous Coward

The Best Airline For WP8

Ryanair.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Best Airline For Android

Aeroflot. Propeller class...

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Security!

This announcement comes on the same day that the German govt announced that Windows 8 devices have Trusted Computing backdoor.

So MS or the NSA can change my order of coffee to tea and record my subversive eating habits.

http://investmentwatchblog.com/leaked-german-government-warns-key-entities-not-to-use-windows-8-links-the-nsa/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Security!

I downvoted this for three reasons.

1. WP8 is not Windows 8.

2. Assumption that an OS not built as as spyware is more likely to spy than one built specifically and for no other purpose than spyware and ad-delivery (ie Android),.

3. Lack of notice that PRISM is Apple, Google and every other bastard too.

Basically, you wrote a troll post to bash Microsoft while witholding or being ignorant of the universal factors because that's what most Reg commentards do. You sheep.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Security!

That article about TPMs and NSA backdoors is complete and total bollocks. Read some of the comments below. All the TPM does is store and authenticate a secure boot key.

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Wouldn't a larger form phone make more sense for taking orders?

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IT Angle

Surface RT?

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So, effectively they are replicating an old Psion handheld

This made me idly wonder if there aren't dedicated Android devices in this space. A moment's Googling says, yes, lots.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, effectively they are replicating an old Psion handheld

Exactly, it's fulfilling the apparent need for a modern successor to things like the Psion Teklogix (not Psion 5 etc) handheld. The Teklogix stuff was (sadly) WinCE based so maybe Delta's required software may indeed already exist (is there much compatibility between WinCE and WP8?).

There are already plenty of Android-based options from Motorola/Symbol (who, iirc, bought what remained of Psion Teklogix last year?) and the other usual suspects well known in this sector. An unbranded Linux/busybox-style setup (as found in almost all "smart" consumer electronics sold in recent years) would also be entirely practical, though I have no info as to whether that applies in this particular handheld sector.

Landfill WP8 may work out cheaper for Delta in the short term, and MS could certainly use the WP8 PR, if the churnalists pass it through as required.

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Re: So, effectively they are replicating an old Psion handheld

As far as I know there is next to no compatibility between WinCE and WinRT. At least no public one. I think the WinCE-API was loosely modelled after the Win32-API, however WinRT doesn't officially have a Win32-API.

So if they were smart, they cleaned up their systems, allowing them to have a very thin application running on the mobile device, which can just be re-created in a few weeks for any system. They probably got Win8 phones because Microsoft/Nokia made them a "good deal" on products otherwise landing up in a landfill. And as soon as Microsoft/Nokia charges the regular price, they are going to switch to Android or whatever is cheapest at the moment.

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Ancillary sales

The news gets better for Redmond when one considers that its Dynamics ERP software sits behind the in-flight ordering app that will run on the smartmobes.

I suspect that the software is the real $$$$ purchase and the phones are the cheapest that will run with it. Doesn't really matter if it's 1000 or 20000 phones if the software is $ millions. Seeing as you want the GSM/UMTS radios of the devices switched off probably all the time this probably just another example of commodity phone hardware with custom software replacing custom hardware and software.

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Anonymous Coward

Number of planes, not flight attendants

No reason for the mental gymnastics to try to figure out how many flight attendants are working on any given day. Just look up the number of planes in the fleet (700, according to Wikipedia). Each plane will require between 1 and let's say 6 devices depending on the size of the plane. Average of probably around 2.

So it's nice that the firm has 19,000 flight attendants but I strongly suspect the number of Lumias purchased is close to 1/10th of that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Number of planes, not flight attendants

BTW -- how funny would it be if a food/drink trolly company got a contract with Delta and stated in the press release that the firm has 19,000 flight attendants.

The implication being that each flight attendant gets his/her own drink trolly? That's a pretty funny mental image.

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Not 19,000 units sold but

That could be 19,000 users to influence in their next purchase.

Plus thousands of passengers who would see the device and might recognise it as a Win Phone and a Nokia.

Not saying either will happen, but there is potential...

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Anonymous Coward

I went down the fleet list from 2010 and came to ballpark 1000 devices including spares, development assets and what not. Two units per wide body, one unit per narrow body. It's all about trolley's, not attendants. I never fly Delta but do fly other full-service domestics and my (I need to get a life) observations on other carrier utilizations bear this out. Two attendants go up and down the aisles so a sample A320 with three attendants serving (two on the trolly's and one in first class) will use one unit. The 4th attendant has the roamer - if we're being charitable to the numbers. All the stuff on wide bodies is transoceanic therefore all food is free so the only use of a device will be for the duty free. That's one trolly down each aisle. Maybe some airframes carry spares so that would be narrow body units and take the total to 1500/1700. Hell, 2000. A hell of a long way from 19000.

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