back to article Microsoft's master stroke: Pay store staff per WinPhone sold

Microsoft, which has suffered years of irrelevance in mobile, has a new game plan, which looks suspiciously like its old game plan: pay retail employees to sell Windows. Microsoft isn't alone in trying to find incentives with partners to unseat Apple, but the bluntness of its approach will irk many as classic Microsoft. With a …

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  1. Phoenix50
    Go

    Ok....so let me get this right.

    "Corporate giant offers financial incentives to sales people in order that they push their products to a greater extent"?

    Reg - I need icons for the following:

    A wooded area

    A bear

    A turd

    1. Bob Vistakin
      FAIL

      Well your last item sums up WP7 perfectly.

    2. Big-nosed Pengie

      "A turd"

      Or a Winphone.

    3. Steve Evans

      Maybe we should come up with a name for this new, ground breaking practise.

      How about "commission"?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Devil

        desperation?

        1. Steve Evans

          @hplasm

          That seems to fit well too :-)

  2. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    Doomed to failure

    I suspect the slow uptake of WP7 has nothing to do with it not being marketed or pushed by retailers properly.

    It's the fact that 10 times in the past 30 days, I have been told by various websites they have an app available, only to discover they don't have a WP app. Which means the HTC Trophy I *have* to use for work (their security policy) is starting to look like a fancy paperweight.

    I would not be surprised if Microsofts strategists are all so young, they don't recall what did for Betamax ......

    And once again, I am going to bewail the lack of a call-recording app. Especially when an acquaintance in t'pub showed me there are at least 6 available on his android phone. So please, no mindless downvoters, wittering on about "the law" .....

    1. Phoenix50
      WTF?

      But surely A leads to B, leads to C? The More WP7 gets out there, the more apps wil become available.

      Of course there are probably 6 recording apps available on Android - there's at least sixty times as many phones!

      It's like complaining that there aren't enough games for the Playstation Vita - give it time.

      And if financial incentives are what it takes to increase WP7 in the marketplace, which in turn leads to app development for it becoming more widely adaopted, then that's a good thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "that's a good thing"

        Before Barry Shitpeas comes along to tell us it isn't a good thing, yes it is a good thing because it means there's competition which improves value for consumers. So unless you work for Google (ie, you are a corporate shill) then Microsoft being out there to compete is a good thing you. Yes you. Personally.

        Fortunately, the forthcoming "Tango" spec for low-cost phones means even more scope to compete with (and thus improve the value of) Android, which should delight Android fans.

        And they're already competing with the high end, which also puts pressure on Apple to keep up so the fanbois should also approve.

        Something tells me this logic will not be well-received but hey, we can but try.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "So unless you work for Google (ie, you are a corporate shill) then Microsoft being out there to compete is a good thing you. Yes you. Personally."

          Yes, if they are competing on quality. Simply bribing people to flog your shit is not the same thing at all.

    2. alexh2o
      Angel

      Is your complaint not just a direct consequence of being a newcomer to market? Android and iOS suffered the same app problems at their stage in life. And from what I can tell Microsoft is actually doing quite well at getting devs on side.

      I'm not downing your comment as I see what you mean, but it does strike me as pretty much saying, if you can't compete with the current market leader in every respect from the first iteration, don't bother trying because you'll fail!

      I prefer the notion of competition and encourage all to *build* a competitor, whether the underdog be Microsoft or not. Imagine the world where you only had iOS and Android, and Android continued it's copy Apple look/feel playbook. There would be little innovation! It's WP, MeeGo and webOS which seem to have 'come at things from a different angle', so good luck to them all!

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge

        Er

        I have had the phone over a year now - hardly a "newcomer" in IT terms.

        And notice, I have no grumble with WP7 per se (in actual fact, I quite like it). But when I can't get an Amazon, Chiltern Railways, Lloyds TSB, iPlayer app for it, whilst android and iOS users can, then it sucks. And it seems other people where I work agree too. I notice the next batch of smartphones being trialled are all android - with the MD himself signing off any extra cost.

        That said, I *did* just load up the TiVoRemote app to play with at home, so there might be a chance !

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          An awful lot of 'apps' for ios and android that people use provide no more functionality (and often less) than html.

          I agree it must suck bigtime not having the same number of games and true applications (like the call recorder you mention), hopefully some that that will come in time as that platform develops and gains popularity. I just switched from wm6.5 to android. I've used ios, not hugely impressed, its probably better when you get used to it. I'm no advocate of any one of them. The damn thing just needs to work. I'd have gotten a wp7 phone if there were better handsets (and maybe if 7.5 had been out).

          The majority of people reading el reg are relatively tech savvy, but they're a tiny fraction of the smartphone owning segment. The reason apple and google like apps is because they allow for segmentation of the market. It seems many companies just 'have' to have an app that usually just replicates functionality that already or could exist on their website. Amazon, newegg, imdb ad nauseum. Shit that's what safari / dolphin / explorer are for, but many folks don't know that.

          Wp7 needs a serious boost to get it going, once it has critical mass it could be a solid 3rd place choice. I don't think it needs to aspire to beat google on numbers or apple on looks. With phones getting more powerful I can see emulators occuring. Once wp7 gets more 'mindshare' it will get more apps (real applications) and become a more valid proposition, or it may just tank!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          agreed

          Not having Skype or kakaotalk or city index or any apps useful in my daily life is pissing me off. Ig index just came on board and now find themselves with a 5k deposit courtesy of yours truly. I just got my partner an android. Little bit jealous. But my win phone is so much slicker and lovely well thought ui, if lacking a little bit on apps :-(. Will probably go to android if no Skype in 1 months time on wp7. Due for a phone change. Crashing Zune fucks me off too on HTC hd7 and that subscription is going down too.

          Love the phone, but can't hack the lack of completeness anymore. Will definitely be on board for 8 though. That should be a game changer.

          1. dogged
            Unhappy

            I have to agree about Skype

            Apart from a Reg app (and I'm writing my own, so no biggie) the only thing desperately missing from the WP7 store is Skype. When you work most of your time in the Middle East and Asia but your family are in the UK, you really want Skype.

            1. rurwin
              Facepalm

              Hang on.... Don't Microsoft own Skype?

              That's one seriously deep hole they are digging for themselves.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      And for apps...

      You need developers.

      And for developers, you need a userbase....

      Windows Phone is screwed, because the only developers so far interested, as those paid to do so by Microsoft. They is no real developers, because there are no users, and there are no users because WP7 is crap and has no apps.

    4. Davidoff

      "It's the fact that 10 times in the past 30 days, I have been told by various websites they have an app available, only to discover they don't have a WP app. Which means the HTC Trophy I *have* to use for work (their security policy) is starting to look like a fancy paperweight."

      So you're saying that your employer insists you use a WP7 cell phone for 'security' reasons but then does allow you to install some apps you found on the web on your own?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WP7 fails... elephant in the room...

      Maybe, just maybe, it's because the Metro tile UI looks like juvenile shite, and first impression counts for most purchasers of smartphones.

      Hence, the less-than-stellar sales figures, and the desperate antics to kickstart the 'third ecosystem'.

      Or, if you would believe the MSFT astroturfers (which El Reg is getting a boatload recently), I'm an astroturfer from one of the rival brands, I'm an irrational Microsoft hater, and WP7 is really innovative and solid and funner, and 'my wife loves it'.... blah...'.

      You decide.

    6. JimmyPage Silver badge
      FAIL

      Here's another one ...

      how come you can't bluetooth a contact to another phone, in WP7 ?

      Anyone care to defend that ?

      1. dogged

        "you can't bluetooth a contact to another phone"

        does anyone ever actually do that? Really? Any Android and iOS users actually Bluetoothing contacts to other phones? Really?

        Really really?

        Colour me dubious.

  3. Armando 123
    Windows

    Doubt it will work

    This might have worked in the 80s and the 90s when much of the buyers simply knew little about what was available and they needed, but consumers are (generally) smarter and savvier now, and they have this thing called "the internet" available at their fingertips; they are going to be less susceptible to salesperson influence than before. (Not immune, and not in all cases, but less susceptible.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      The internet

      For that they have Waggener Edstrom doing their astroturfing campaigns, stuffing votes for "mobe of the year" sites, paying commentards and downvoters everywhere. They are hoping that even if their scheme is now quite public, they'll smother dissenting opinions just by volume.

      Don't believe me? Try saying here that the wp7 interface wastes one third of the screen with a useless blank area, and that the tiles look more like a child's toy than a smartphone, and see how many downvotes you get. And don't even mention the lack of USB mass storage, no expansion, medium hardware.

      Then go check the history of the authors of the praising opinions, and see if you find anything peculiar.

      Mine is the one with a rooted and customised android in the pocket...

  4. goldcd

    Seems quite sensible

    Looking at reviews for WP7 phones, the general opinion seems to be that it's a "nice OS" - in contrast to reviews of say the Playbook where it got a somewhat luke-warm response.

    It's not a massive leap to suggest that the reason it's therefore not selling well isn't the phone itself, it's the ecosystem around it - i.e. as people have pointed out "Why would I buy this, if iOS and Android have better support?"

    So MS need to improve the ecosystem. They can either pay people to shift the phones and hope the apps follow, or pay people to make the apps and hope the phone sales follow. They appear to have adopted the more sensible approach.

    Personally I think MS could be onto a winner ultimately. As much as you may love your smartphone, none of them really play nicely with your PC. Say, for example, those little metro tiles sync seamlessly between your PCs, your phone and your Xbox. Windows 8 isn't too far out, the Xbox 720 is going some all-singing, always on, PVRing media hub.

    The ongoing relationship/takeover of Nokia would gives them pretty tight control on decent hardware, with RIM vanishing into oblivion at great speed and their lock on enterprise productivity - they've got a pretty good shot at replacing those enterprise Blackberries with a handset that recipient might 'actually like to own'

    1. Paul Shirley

      WP7: not glamorous like iOS, not as much choice as Android

      Or maybe it's the devices, the lack of any wide choice of them.

      All the folk happy to have the same phone as everyone else are already locked into Apple and WP7 just doesn't look glamorous enough to steal back any of the fashionistas. Especially since most WP7 devices are barely distinguishable from the Android devices their creators also supply.

      Meanwhile the developers endless lament about fragmentation on Android is actually a great device sales driver, with almost any combination of form factor and feature list a buyer desires available. The highly uniform spec for WP7 devices sounds great on paper but doesn't get those vital 1st sales. That static spec is continually ageing and making life hard at the high end - bigger screens yes, but no higher res to take advantage of it for example?

      Microsoft locked down WP7's look,feel & hardware to ensure consistent performance, paying sales droids to demo that may be the only way to gain any benefit. Personally I'm more likely to hear alarm bells if the UI needs to be explained and I'm sure I'm not alone!

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge
      FAIL

      WP7 plays really badly with your PC

      It barely plays with your PC at all - instead, it connects to the Microsoft Cloud (Windows Live) or a corporate cloud (Exchange).

      So you have to put damn near everything of interest onto that, and there is no other choice.

      I would hope that WP7 does at least allow USB Mass Storage connections to download your photos and MP3s without sending those via the Cloud, though I don't know that for certain.

      It is in fact the case that Android and even iOS play better with your Windows PC than WP7, as those allow contacts sync without using any Cloud.

      They all want you to use their respective Clouds to backup and sync contacts, but only WP7 forces you to use it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      you do realise

      that all those nice reviews are basically sponsored by Microsoft reviews... "Here is some money, write this...." that the whole internet seems to be buying into these days.

      Microsoft have the biggest budget bar and every blog this side of mars wants some of that money....

      Who care idf you sell your soul by calling a turd like WP7 the best thing since sliced bread.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    What will happen is this....

    Punter goes into store looking to upgrade his iPhone or Android.

    Staff working on this 'incentive' scheme slag off his existing phone tech

    Staff then shows punter ONLY windows Phones.

    Staff then continues the sales method they have been brainwashed into following.

    'your old phone was crap'

    'It couldn't make calls'

    'We have SKYPE and SKYPE is part of MS so it is bound to be better than anything else.'

    'Apps? there are lots. More than you will ever need.'

    'This will be the only phone on the market in 6 months. So why not join up now'.

    Get the idea?

    The salesdroid will do anything to make the sale even if the customer clearly has a need that the WP7 cannot satisfy.

    Just go into any PC-World store just after Dell or HP etc have released a new flasgship model and merely suggest that you want a Mac.

    I've done it several times just for fun.

    <typed on a 4yr old MacBook running OSX and CentOS 6.2>

  6. Levente Szileszky
    FAIL

    Once again, the Ballmerian touch of uber-incompetence...

    ...is ready to spend gazillions, only to see almost no results. Paid Bing usage, anyone?

    I swear it's actually painful to see this now, how the totally clueless bald ego and his boy Belfiore with the golden parachute and deadly touch when it comes to business (he drove the Zune project, Windows Media Center project etc into the ground, only to be promoted every single time)...

    ...is there anything that was NOT completely and hopelessly screwed up with this WP project?

    It's breathtaking to see the utter lack of accountability in these circles, just amazing, really, it is...

    1. Quxy
      Linux

      "Ballmerian uber-incompetence"

      And this is a problem... why? Doesn't everyone like to watch train wrecks?

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Train Wreck?

        Where's the slo-mo? Where's the 3D?

        Looks like the WP trainwreck experience is lacking...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would that be a problem?

    Should it be a problem and if so, why?

  8. Peter Simpson 1
    FAIL

    Ho hum

    Apple's products are shiny, white and attractively designed with some level of competence. Apple computers don't require anti-virus. Apple stores are full of teens trying out the latest iGadgets. Apple accessories start at $20 and go up, even for a plastic case for the iPhone.

    Microsoft keeps trying, but they have failed with every hardware device they've tried to offer, with the possible exception of Xbox (and even that took two tries before they stopped cooking themselves).

    Now, tell me again why I would want to spend my money on a "smart"-phone that runs *any* flavor of Windows? The brand is tarnished, and no matter how hard Microsoft tries, if it's a "Windows-anything", people are going to look towards the Apple store and say, "Ooooh! Shiny! I want one of those!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you sure?

      "Apple computers don't require antivirus"?

      It's very generous of you to voluntarily share your Mac.

      "If it's a 'Windows anything' people are going to look towards the Apple store"?

      Sounds like they don't know who makes what.

    2. rurwin

      "Microsoft keeps trying, but they have failed with every hardware device they've tried to offer, with the possible exception of Xbox"

      The Microsoft optical mouse is probably the best mouse available. YMMV.

  9. Turtle

    It may be right. May be wrong.

    "Google calls this 'extortion,' and it may be right."

    It may be wrong. What is certainly not wrong, is that Google has consistently acted with blatant and willful disregard for other people's IP. For example, I am sure that you are familiar with the Andy Rubin email which Google is desperately trying to prevent from being admitted into evidence, right? (Maybe Google should have just gotten that $60m / year license from Sun, eh?)

    Android has had an incredible number of lawsuits pending against it. And note that the Oracle lawsuit is not only for patent-infringement, but for copyright-infringement too. And of course you know that Google refused to join the consortium that bought the Nortel patents, and for the stupidest of reasons: buying into the consortium would have prevented Google from asserting those patents against other entities.

    No, at this point, Google can't complain about anything, as their willful disregard of the rights of all other IP holders has brought this on themselves. And on their partners, too, who have been selling Android devices. You know how much help Google has given them, right? None whatsoever....

    1. Paul Shirley

      As SCO reminds us, its easy to accuse and nearly as easy to get a court to listen even if nothing actually happened (or even if you're just making up the whole story).

      Patent problems aside we'll just have to wait and see if a court agrees that Google did what the application licences allowed or if they went too far. There are a lot of disappointed people just discovering they didn't understand their own licensing terms though, Oracle for one ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Turtle - Not so fast, matey!

      The Andy Rubin email becomes less ans less relevant while USPTO is invalidating Oracle's so called patents one after another. Those incredible number of lawsuits you mention are against phone manufacturers who, let's not forget, customize Android. So far nobody has ever launched a lawsuit against Google regarding Android so how can Google be the one to blame here ? Before being proven guilty, they should be accused first, don't you think ?

      As for the reason why Google didn't buy those patents, you're wrong again. You call silly a decision of not buying a defensive weapon that will be shared with your biggest enemies ? What tells you Google planned to assert those patents ? Show us here how many patents has Google asserted so far against any other competitor or threatened to use ?

      As for your last paragraph, Google has helped each and every phone manufacturer who came at their door asking for help regarding these Android lawsuits which as you are mentioning, rises to an impressive total of zero. Maybe the fact that all these phone manufacturers are also Microsoft partners and a cleverly weaseled NDA from the Redmond giant might give a clue.

      Let's just wait for the courts to decide before calling for an execution.

      1. a_been
        Facepalm

        @AC

        1) Google sold patents to HTC so that HTC could sue Apple.

        2) Oracle is suing Google over Android.

        3) Andy Rubin's email is relevant to copyright infringement as he admits Google needs a license to Oracle's, at the time Sun's, software. Google loses the copyright case and Oracle can get an injunction against anyone possessing their copyrighted IP without a license, which makes Andy's email very important.

        1. Paul Shirley

          @a_been

          Did you read some supersecret email different to the ones in the case? the rubin mail is the smoking gun on Google putting the lawyers to work on how to work round a licensing problem. The court will decide if they did enough to avoid infringement.

          The fight to keep them out is about just how clueless a jury will be when Oracle misrepresents this. Based on your post I its a pretty legitimate concern.

    3. Mark 176
      WTF?

      And nearly all of the patents are for things so obvious I can't for the life of me understand how they ever passed examination.

      Apple and MS are just as bad as each other with their patents now, the majority of them should not exist.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    About blinking time

    They can afford it... isn't $10-15 what MS get for each Android handset? So Google are paying shops to sell MS phones ;)

    1. Keep Refrigerated
      Trollface

      The circle is almost complete

      Heh, shouldn't Microsoft be paying for grunts to shift Android phones, in order for their chosen business model to continue to make any money?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A waste of time but little money

    WP7 is still not going to sell because-

    They don't have the market presence like Apple (and before you shouting how stupid all the IPhone buyers are you know Microsoft would sell your soul for a customer base like Apple has)

    When you have single digit market share who is going to buy your product when all their friends have IPhones or Android.

    A newer, sexier, faster, bigger,... Android phone is coming out in what feels like every week. With the Microsoft hardware lock the WP7 phones look dated and don't have the specs that the upper end Android phones have. I know, WP7 has a much more efficient OS, blah, blah, ... Who cares - I'd say about 2% of the people buying phones (if market share means anything)

    The way I see most phones getting sold (in the US) is the customer goes in the store, plays with the phones and the one that hits their magic spot is the one they buy. Or all their friends have x (where x is Apple or Android) and that is what they want. The sales staff gets invoked at the end of the process.

    Waiting for WP7 to take off is like waiting for the Titanic's second voyage.

    Now all you WP7 lovers can jump on me (I know - it sucks to pick a losing platform).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, but

      "WP7 has a much more efficient OS, blah, blah, ... Who cares"

      Probably about the same percentage as people who actually care how many cores their phone has.

    2. eulampios

      ouvert ou fermé?

      >>I know, WP7 has a much more efficient OS, blah, blah

      How do you know? The first version of WP7 wasn't even multitasking. M$ historically is not good at efficiency ( asta_la_Vista is one of many examples) . Their OS's are closed, non-modular and poorly documented.

      No one mentioned one of many reasons why WP7 could be failing. Android is a free and open OS (with open app. store model). It is based on on the very successful and popular Linux kernel that beats M$ whenever a fair play is been observed.

      Apple iOS is, on the contrary, a closed OS. However, despite the fact that Apple has out-Microsofted the Microsoft in many aspects, iOS (together with Mac OS X) is based on Unix, BSD and even GNU technologies (e.g., gnu bash is the default shell on any Mac). Let me put it this way: without *BSD and GNU Mac would be still that piece of crap as the original pre-X Mac. FreeBSD et al. would still be great OSs.

      Openness, freedom to use, modify and redistribute is hitting the Redmond mongrel pretty good now!

  12. Mikel
    Devil

    Grand strategy

    Just go right out and tell everybody you're paying the clerk to push your ware. Brilliant!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice

    That explains the zeal with which the manager of Phones4you proclaimed he had sold his iphone and bought a nokia windows phone, I looked at them seemed quite a nice phone, ameoled looking screen, operating system seemed easy enough to use, 400 quid though, if I had 400 to spend on a phone I would have spent the extra hundred and bought an iphone.

    As it happens I had just bought a nexus s for £200, which though not quite as powerful, does seem to give better value for money, for use as a phone/pda, rather than anything else.

  14. Chad H.

    The 1990's called

    they want their strategy back.

  15. Bob Vistakin
    Devil

    So, m$ adds bribery to its $5 per handset extortion

    A worthless product which clearly no-one wants, being rammed down everyone's throat by a $300m ad campaign, all backed by a healthy dose of bribery and extortion. The stench of desperation is overwhelming - it's really obvious it's game over already and they know it.

  16. Knochen Brittle
    Trollface

    Ballmer's Genius ~ Now Throwz an Open Buffet of Trollbait

    Call me old-fashioned, but I suspect M$'s money swamp will be drained in a pretty obvious gaming of this 'strategery':

    ...

    1. Salesman pockets $15 / WP sold to 'Customer'

    2. 'Customer' reverses sale for full refund within statutory cooling-off period

    3. Incentive remains in Salesman's pocket until split with 'Customer'

    4. Secret of milking free M$-money propagates through youth

    5. Salesman has many new 'Customers'

    6. GOTO #1 UNTIL WP Sales == WP Returns and M$ == Busted

    1. Keep Refrigerated
      Thumb Up

      Now where have I seen this before...?

      Bing!

    2. DougS Silver badge
      Devil

      MS money swap strategy

      Microsoft may not think this is a bad strategy. The very high sales numbers will be big news, and they'll promote the hell out of as they always do. It'll only be later that the high returns numbers would become publicly known, but those stories always see 1/10th the penetration of the stories regarding the initial sales. The average punter would think that Windows Phone is the next big thing, and buying an iPhone or Android would be like buying a CRT TV in 2012.

  17. Mike Judge

    so remember that folks

    When that salesman tells you why you should buy a Windows CE phone, it's because he was bribed to tell you that.

    1. Pseu Donyme

      ... and the money to pay the bribe comes from the de-facto Windows desktop (+ Office) monopoly (that is, from customers without the benefit of free-market choice / competition).

  18. danny_0x98

    So, OEM gives Microsoft 20 bucks for the os license. With markup, the carrier gives the OEM 25 bucks for the os. The phone goes into the carrier's store where it sits next to other phones with different costs and different degrees of age as a product. Erstwhile enthusiastic seller pushes the Microsoft phone and earns 15 dollars (Microsoft's profit per sold phone is now 5 dollars, yes, that's right, Microsoft makes less when the phone sells more, unless OEMs recover some portion of the license fee for returns, and unless Micrisoft sees indirect gains through Bing uptake.)

    Meanwhile grumpy sales manager tells our 15 dollar richer sales clerk that his boss is yelling at him for not clearing the inventory of that Android phone that has its new model coming out next month or for not selling that other phone which gives the carrier 15% more revenues over the life of the contract. (I do apologize for the US-centricity of these scenarios.)

    And what did the carrier get out of the plan? I'm seeing nothing, unless the 10-15 is split by the carrier and the sales clerk, in which case, the less the clerk sees, the less enthusiasm for the incentive.

    Cash incentives are less effective then sales managers think they are. It's just short of a desperation act. Admittedly my opinion from experience and, thus, no more than an opinion.

    But hey, good luck with that.

    1. Jess--

      maybe MS are being a little more crafty than we think here

      a lot of people that would be looking at new phones would be fairly savvy and may be aware that MS is paying $15 for each one sold (and therefore avoid them like the plague)

      but if your figures are anything like accurate with MS only making $5 on each one sold would it be such a bad thing for them if none were sold at all, after all what other phone are they going to go to if they are turned off by MS paying the salesforce, Apple with its locked down walled garden approach or android with its open source approach. the majority will probably go to android.

      Don't MS already get $5 - $15 for each android handset already?

      Seems to me that MS make more and have less costs if they let WP7 die and just take the money they earn from android.

      in case anyones wondering about my handset.. its an iphone 3gS, it does what I need it to (mainly making calls) and gets given no respect whatsoever (its a tool and it gets treated as such)

      the day it cant do what I need will be the day its replaced with something that can

      1. DougS Silver badge
        FAIL

        Major flaw in your logic

        You claim that people who are aware MS is paying $15 for each phone sold will avoid them as a result. That's probably true for most.

        The problem is when you go on to claim that the rest of the people will go for Android because its open source. Seriously? Are you that delusional? Someone who isn't aware MS is paying $15 per phone sold probably has no clue about the differences between Apple and Android's approach, and even if they do, its as likely as not Apple's control will be something they see as being favorable (avoiding the potential for malware)

        I'll bet if you choose 100 people at random (not Reg readers, normal people) maybe 5 could tell you the differences between Apple and Android's approach to apps and app stores, or could tell you how both Apple and Android use open source in their phones, but only on Android can you actually see the source yourself (eventually)

        The vast majority of people base their decision on Apple vs Android without taking into account in any way what type of control is placed on available apps, or the availability of source code for their phone's OS. They base it on what their friends have/recommend, marketing, and price. And for many, price is the #1 thing - they wouldn't buy an iPhone any more than they'd buy the high end Android flavor of the month, because they want a free phone (and BTW the large majority have no idea of the subsidization that goes on, they think an iPhone 4S really costs only $199, and many phones that are more than good enough for them are "free")

        1. Jess--

          I meant the majority of people that have avoided MS because of the paid sales tactics would probably go for android.

          the rest of the people will go for whatever is shiniest and whatever their friends & family already have

  19. niya blake

    @danny_0x98

    Sales mangers have no clues and can't get one if you shoved it up them. I was doing sales at an electronic store. The sales gru was like you are not selling enough of printer X so no commission on any other printer. 2 months later he was like why are you not selling the other printers.

  20. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

    couldn't they just use the money to pay developers to build apps, thus a bigger market.

  21. cynic 2
    Trollface

    Mind bleach

    So Ballmer's throwing another bunga-bunga party? I'll never be able to look at his red sweaty face in the same way again...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Few incremental sales?

    If the Win Phone is aimed at the low-tech crowd, then the huge number of apps and features of the 'droid and iPhone may be a turn off. If so, they may have chosen the Win phone anyway.

  23. Christian Berger

    Copying others won't give you much of an advantage

    After all the concept of a "mobile browser" with some proprietary "Apps" has already been done. And there are the Apple-users who wouldn't buy anything else than an iPhone, perhaps with the exception of an iPad. Then there are the people who want essentially the same, but don't want something from Apple, those buy Android device.

    Microsoft should have chased some other markets. Like the one of people who want a "general purpose" computer. Sure there's no 30% in any software sale, but there's an untapped market, particularly if they find a way to make legacy Win32 applications run on a mobile device. (re-arranging forms probably is the main problem)

  24. ac008
    FAIL

    How NOT to sell 50 million windows phone 7.x handsets?

    How not to sell 50 million windows phone 7.x handsets?

    Windows phone 7.x Microsoft managers / architects have proven for the last 18 months how unskilful you all are – have never used a mobile let alone a feature or smart mobile :-)

    1. Proven you do not use a mobile phone [voice, mms, sms] at all

    2. Proven you do not use a mobile smart phone at all for Microsoft Office or even Outlook Client

    eg no MMS [ Video support]

    eg no native database - latency from your mobile to a server is seconds not milli seconds

    eg I have a 12 inch USB cable that syncs video, updates etc however not from Outlook Client to Outlook Client treating your Users with distain

    Try to run your business without any Users

    Nokia 800 projected to sell 2million handsets sold less than 300k because the Microsoft Usergroup is turning off Windows7 Mob because the promise of meeting and exceeding the Microsoft Evangelist’s requirements are dashed at the bottom of the cliff.

    Microsoft Listen Listen Listen and Act Act Act

    You have had 18 months to fire the WIn7 Mobile bozzos and use the Microsoft francise to sell a Bentley Mobile at a good little run about price spend the £444million on producing a maintence free Mobile operating system that is so good everyone will want it :-)

    A culture of quality serivce and useablitiy – Windows 7 Mobile you are definitely NOT :-)

  25. Jemma Silver badge
    FAIL

    *sigh*

    If Windows Phone was actually any good then it would sell itself. To be frank its not. Even Microsoft management employees admit that Windows Phone was a rush job (apparently evinced by the lack of support for legacy, a mistake they seem to want to make again with Windows 8).

    If Windows Mobile was released now, instead of back in the day, it would be a raging success compared to Windows Phone. Win Mo was before its time, it was powerful, effective, and more importantly infinately editable, modifiable and hackable. The success of Android is substantially due to those same factors. Windows Phone is none of those things, and more importantly its fighting against Apples stranglehold on the locked in/locked down paradigm. Whether it comes good in the end, which is by no means assured, second to market is usually second place.

    What Microsoft are trying to do has been done before, many times, by many notable companies - and most of the time its been a dismal failure. People will look at it, decide to take a chance on it on the basis of the distilled BS poured from straight faced salesdroids, spend the rest of the time loathing it (and or mourning lost features) and thats a customer lost entirely, probably for life, on the basis of a 24 month contract and short term sales massaging.

    It already appears to be coming clear that Windows Phone is not so much an also ran as an also limped. Putting their faith in Windows Phone is putting companies like Nokia at risk doubly - not only do they lose customers from their previous offerings (lack of features between old and new OS) they may fail to retain enough of the 'new' customers to survive.

    1. DougS Silver badge
      FAIL

      Sorry, it is you who fail

      The success of Android being because it editable, modifiable and hackable? Really? You must only hang out with geeks, I guess. Try coming out of your basement and talk to some regular people. They buy a phone and they just use it pretty much as is. They'll install apps, and hardly change any default settings other than ringtones and wallpaper. They aren't jailbreaking their iPhones, or interested (or even aware of) updating their Android phones to a newer OS version. Sure, techie types who read the Reg love this type of stuff, but the vast majority not only doesn't do it, but is unaware it is even possible, or that the ability to do so is different between Apple and Android.

      Android's success versus Apple in terms of market share is due to having a much larger set of choices than Apple. There are hundreds of models, versus only five iPhone models ever, and three sold today. Androids come in all different shapes, sizes and price points, and some include features that Apple does not. In addition, the feature phone market is rapidly disappearing, and is being entirely replaced by low end Android phones. That alone guarantees that Android will eventually take 90% of the smartphone market. But even when it does, and Apple is down to only a single digit share of the smartphone market, it will still be making way more money off selling phones than anyone else. Because that's what they care about, not getting high market share while only making $2 per phone.

      You can believe that Android is successful because it is more "open", but outside the echo chamber of techie forums like this or your circle of techie friends, you'll continue to be dead wrong.

      1. P. Lee

        Open is not just for users

        Android has done well because the manufacturers can play with it and add their own spin. That allows Samsung to differentiate from HTC. It also allows the geek circles to produce their own mods which further extends it's niche. Lots of people will ask their tech-obsessed nephew what sort of phone they should buy.

        Some people call the differentiation "fragmentation", some call it a "distro" and it probably works for phones as well as the washing powder market. Unlike PC users, phone users don't need to exchange more than trivial information for which text or html is usually more than adequate. No need for MS Word to be on every phone. That means the phone market is unlike the pc market where monoculture is helpful to business.

        This is a market where both Apple and Android could succeed, since one sells advertising (so $2 profit per device revenue doesn't matter) and the other sells hardware (so what you do with it doesn't matter). However, Apple wants everything, so it throws up walls around it's device to pick up the advertising revenue and Google "demonetises" (yuck) software features by giving them away for free.

        The openness of android (and linux in general) is what has allowed Samsung, HTC, RIM, HP and Amazon to put together their phones and tablets with varying degrees of success. Without it, most of these devices simply wouldn't exist. How far would android have got if it was only used by google's nexus phone? Of course we don't expect users to care about openness of android any more than we expect someone printing a word document to care about the openness of lpd. In fact, the openness of android is a direct requirement of the openness of linux. If it wasn't open, it couldn't legally exist, according to the GPL. You can't divorce android from it's origins. It is a success because FLOSS allows large scale deployment which is attractive to google and the megascale advertising which supports it.

      2. Jemma Silver badge
        FAIL

        *sigh*

        I might be a Hackerette - but what do you think custom ROMs for different mobile companies are?

        If the mobile company cant have what it wants then they wont stock it. End of.

        Of course you get some monumental mistakes - a notable one being the Orange ROM for HTC Touch Diamond. You know the one, it was where some 12 year old idiot decided to see what happened when he banjaxed all the powersaving and loaded it with crudware. The phone ran so hot you could have glued 50 together and heated a fair sized room (for say 20 minutes till the battery died)... It took me 4 different *FREE* ROMS and two lots of open source software and the phone was improved 100 fold...

        That was Windows Mobile - but with Windows Phone everything is that much more controlled and that can never be a good thing. With WinMo mistake = 45 minutes and a new ROM image - which even my mother could do herself. WinPhone = hard luck you're stuck with it (bar the odd 'update' that'll probably flake out something else on the handset.

        Handset companies are stocking the Lumia on the basis that its Nokia - for no other reason. If it fails then Nokia have nowhere else to go. They've effectively gut shot Symbian, and are gleefully watching it twitch and gurgle via accenture - while to paraphrase Hugh Dowding, "Praying to Microsoft and hoping for Customers...". They'll lose the people who liked the high functionality of Symbian - and against Android and iOS, for all their myriad faults, Win Phone has the popularity and appeal of a week dead skunk. So there goes their projected new customers...

        Oh. and just as an aside - alot of people have suddenly gotten into reflashing their phones since CarrierIQ et al went all 1984 on them...

        I wont say I told you so - but its hard to resist..

    2. DougS Silver badge

      @ P Lee

      Yes, the ability for manufacturers to customize helps it too - likely there are many people who have no idea that Android phones made by Motorola and HTC are based on the same software. They see all those phones out there and don't realize that their choices are basically amongst a few iPhones, a few Blackberries, a few (maybe more than a few eventually, we'll see) Windows Phones, and a bazillion Android phones, some of which look different enough that wouldn't even know they run the same software if they actually used them for a week in a comparison test.

      However, you're wrong about Android's openness being dictated by Linux. Yes, Linux is at the heart of every Android phone, and the terms of the GPL require the source code be made available. If Google had wished though they could have kept the parts of its software they wrote themselves closed source. Tivo is a good example, it uses Linux, and makes the GPL licensed software it uses freely available. It also uses some software they wrote themselves which remain closed source, so you can't download Tivo software and install it on your Tivo as is possible with Android. You can have the kernel to run it, but without the UI its not a Tivo, its just a Linux box with a slow CPU and MPEG hardware in a home theatre case.

      Google itself provides another example - if you don't believe me, try to find and download the source code for their search engine, or for GMail :) Apple uses a lot of open source code in iOS too, but it is licensed under the BSD license, which doesn't obligate Apple to make source available for those portions. Even though the terms of the license do not require it, they do feed back changes/bugfixes to the open source world for much of it, i.e. WebKit is a good example. So they are not quite as adversarial to the open source people as people make them out to be.

  26. OrsonX
    Coffee/keyboard

    Did MS pay El Reg?

    To make the MS advert at the top of the page so annoying*

    *it's moving the bloody text on the page when it re-sizes!!!!!!!!

    1. SJRulez

      Yep im curious about that, does everyone get the same add. I keep getting cloud ads, if microsoft actually knew anything about me or my 'demographic' it would know i hate the cloud ( i wouldnt be able to charge mileage to client sites)

  27. SJRulez

    Patents

    Love the fact patents got thrown in at the end, lets face it nearly all the new devices are the same as each other. The patent war is the last war of attrition, no one can come up with anything significantly better which makes you say ill go buy an X. its all about forcing your competitors product off the market and selling yours rather than here's our product its better for these reasons.

  28. EWI

    See, this is why Matt Asay articles are better ignored

    " Open-source Android wasn't free: it was better than free to carriers and device manufacturers who otherwise had to pay Microsoft or Apple hefty fees for each device."

    What device manufacturers paid Apple "hefty fees for each device"?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got the razor, now where's the blades?

    I don't think Microsoft have quite got it yet.

    Or perhaps they have - maybe, as we speak, they have thousands of top developers churning out quality applications and are in talks with top Apple application dev companies to churn out WP versions of their apps?

    Hmmm.

    Modern smartphones are the ultimate razor/blade model - the razor is relatively cheap, the blades are relatively expensive. The network providers have got their blades sorted and have done for decades - call and data charges.

    Apple have their blades sorted - fees from network providers + a successful app store.

    Android is fragmented, but Google get license fees and their market place is slowly gaining ground, not to mention the ad network.

    That leaves Microsoft with - by all accounts - a very decent razor, but hardly any blades.

    Time will tell, but it's fairly obvious Microsoft will eventually make serious inroads into the mobile market. There's so many Windows developers out there, it's a case of getting them onboard a mobile platform - chicken and egg.

  30. Flat Phillip
    Thumb Down

    It doesn't solve the main problem of windows phones

    The main problem with Windows on the phone is it sucks hard. No amount of pushing from a salesperson would get me to buy it, ever.

    I've tried it for a few weeks, it has some nice features but there are some downright stupid (as in very annoying for the user but oh so easy to fix for the developer) problems with it. I had to pay money to ditch the windows phone and got an android and it was the best money spent.

  31. JDX Gold badge

    re:WP7 is still not going to sell because

    Hmm, once upon a time iOS and Anroid were in single-digits too, and Nokia ruled the world. Once upon a time MySPace ruled the social network scene.

    1. seansaysthis

      Yes its true. Just becuase your number one now doesn't mean your be number one tomoorrow. Its easier to remain at the top when your there but you can be knocked off your perch. Commission is nothing new .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      once upon a time ..

      Once upon a time WebOS was in single digits (or less), now look at it.

      Once upon a time Kin was in single digits (or less), now look at it.

      Once upon a time Zune was in single digits (or less), now look at it.

      Just because successful products started with a small share does not mean that products that start with a small share (and for WP7 that is decreasing) will be successful.

  32. JDX Gold badge

    re:so remember that folks

    Sales clerks having an agenda is not new news. They have internal quotas or special bonuses on specific models/providers already. A salesman is NEVER unbiased.

  33. JDX Gold badge

    re:money to pay the bribe comes from the Windows desktop monopoly

    No it doesn't. It comes from the patent fees they get for every Android phone sold. As long as Android outsell WP, they can give $15 per unit and STILL BE UP ON THE DEAL.

  34. Mark .

    Any worse than Apple?

    I dislike the way phones are sold on marketing rather than ability, but why is this worse than Apple - just look at the vast amount of free hype and advertising they get? In the phone stores, IPhones and even non-phone IPads seem to get prominent advertising more so than other platforms. Why is it bad when MS try to get some marketing muscle too?

    At least MS are paying for their marketing - unlike all the "Get this for your IPhone" / hype about Apple's next product in the media; whilst more major platforms like Android and Nokia get ignored.

    I agree entirely with the first response. This is how it works for all big companies. Moaning about MS all the time is so 1990s...

    "It's the fact that 10 times in the past 30 days, I have been told by various websites they have an app available, only to discover they don't have a WP app."

    Sounds like it's those websites you need to complain about. When something is only available for Windows and not OS X, it's not Apple who get the blame, is it. (And at least that's following market share, unlike all the sites who only make apps for 3rd place IPhone.)

    "The ongoing relationship/takeover of Nokia would gives them pretty tight control on decent hardware"

    Yes - and a big question is how well Nokia can transition the Symbian sales onto extra WP7 sales. Whilst mostly ignored, the fact of the matter is that the market today is Android and Symbian, with Apple in 3rd place. Nokia have done a good job at getting all the important apps (e.g., I can run Swype, unlike Apple users; it's just all the website-wrapper apps that seem to think it's only worth supporting Apple).

    I do fear they will mess up the transition - and leaving us with only 2 platforms will give us less choice and innovation, so I don't see why so many people here seem to want that.

    "Just go into any PC-World store just after Dell or HP etc have released a new flasgship model and merely suggest that you want a Mac."

    PC World seem to act like Apple resellers these days. Last time I was in a store, there was a big illuminated Apple logo, and their website gives special mention to the IPad in the headline. Sad.

  35. Mark .

    re:WP7 is still not going to sell because

    "Hmm, once upon a time iOS and Anroid were in single-digits too, and Nokia ruled the world. Once upon a time MySPace ruled the social network scene."

    Indeed, it seems odd to criticise WP7 on market share, when the much hyped platforms were once like that (and Apple had poor sales initially, with gradual growth; it was only Android that had massive uptake as manufacturers switched to it).

    But - whilst Nokia never ruled the world - they were and *still* are the number one mobile company; and their Symbian sales alone outsells all of Apple! Which, given the Nokia support now for WP7 to replace Symbian, makes this all the more interesting.

  36. Tankboy
    Thumb Down

    Nothing to see here, move along

    You've "Jumped the Shark". On the plus side, this is one more thing that I don't need to read.

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