Microsoft Talks Up, Apologizes For, and Prevaricates Regarding Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 devices haven't hit the sales targets Microsoft hoped for when it launched the OS late last year. The users that have purchased WP7 smartphones, meanwhile, don't seem all that happy at the rate MS has rolled out new features thus far. Microsoft recently published a video interview with Joe Belfiore, the general manager of WP7, but has had to sharply change its tack after consumer response to the light-hearted fluff interview was vitriolic.

WP7 owners are upset over the fact that the much-desired 'copy-and-paste' or NoDo update, which was supposedly released several weeks ago for service provider testing, is scarcely on the US radar. The blowback has been high enough to force Belfiore to address it. He acknowledges knowing that the update process wasn't going as quickly as many users might wish but states "people were officially getting it, the success rate of its deployment on real-world phones was looking good, and we were happy that the process had STARTED well." (emphasis original)

According to Microsoft's Eric Hautala, the company is attempting to streamline and better communicate with its update-hungry customers through providing additional information online. WP7 customers can now check the status of either US or international carriers via the "Where's My Phone Update?" page. No offence to Microsoft, but these 'online resources' (their words, not ours) appear to have been written by a starving intern monkey using Frontpage '97. At present, they offer very little tacit reasurrance that Microsoft is listening to its WP7 user base.

Reading through the comments (over 100 as of this writing), it's clear that there's a very vocal group of unhappy WP7 users who want more transparency from both Redmond and their own carriers. This might seem to fly in the face of Belfiore's claim that the overwhelming majority of WP7 owners are happy with their purchase but inherent selection bias makes it impossible to compare the two. Belfiore certainly doesn't act like a man who knows he's going to be excoriated over his every word the moment he steps off stage.

Nokia is on record as believing it can push WP7 device prices downward while expanding the customer base.
The WP7 team is stressing that it's learned from previous distribution issues, despite users' doubts. Asked how the NoDo update would be handled, Belfiore posted the following over the weekend: "We're going to throttle it so it goes to a limited number of phones first so we can make sure the update is working really well and people have a smooth experience. The phase we're in right now is the early part of that throttling."

Windows Phone 7 hasn't made much of a dent in the handset market to date, but the NoDo patch could bring the mobile operating system a positive PR boost. With Verizon's iPhone launched and the iPad 2 unveiled, WP7 has a chance to make its own waves before the market turns its eyes towards Apple and the iPhone 5.