In our last post, we called Windows Phone as it currently sits a “lame duck”. On September 30th, Microsoft announced Windows 10, and in the QnA following confirmed that Windows Phones will run Windows 10, too. This means some significant changes to the phone, to apps and the app model, and to Microsoft’s approach to marketing both Windows Phone and Windows. A number of you pointed out that this isn’t really all that much different than any other phone OS upgrade – that iOS7 is different than iOS8, for example – and that the next version of Windows Phone’s OS will be coming right on schedule.
Lame duck status is just that, however. Microsoft is going to be designing and developing Windows 10 as a new computing paradigm, where everything from embedded devices to phones to tablets to laptops and desktops to giant display devices will all be running basically the same OS, with the same apps, and not only a common app model, but a common Store. Almost more importantly, it’s going to be marketing Windows 10 in all its forms as The Next Big Thing, aiming to make people forget about Windows 8, and yes, about Windows Phone, and come running to Windows 10.
As Windows Phone users, we know it’s a great OS, even now, but the market has been tainted, and Microsoft is well aware that something drastic needs to be done. There’s going to be a huge push, starting really with this announcement and the release of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, to focus attention on what’s coming. You’re going to be hearing a LOT about Windows 10 in the upcoming months.
And that, by definition, brings us back to our lame duck once again. How would you sell Windows Phone, knowing that the Next Big Thing is right around the corner? Would you release new phones with new hardware capabilities now, or would you wait until you could gain the benefits of that marketing push? Would you ignore the buzz around Windows 10 and just keep on keeping on with current marketing efforts? What about the supposed ability for Windows Phones to be upgraded to the new OS, would you push a “buy now, upgrade later” campaign?
Or would you just wait a cycle, as Microsoft may well be doing. Partially because of the acquisition of Nokia’s phones businesses and the intricacies of that transition, Microsoft didn’t release significant new phones for the first of two major selling cycles for phones in North America, “back-to-school”, and unless a giant bombshell drops in the next few weeks, Microsoft isn’t going to have any new flagship phones for this holiday season, either. Is that the right move? Microsoft seems to have conceded this round to Apple, and doesn’t appear to have an answer for the iPhone 6. Is it better to just wait it out and bet on Windows 10?
So what would you do? Wait for Windows 10? Push Windows Phone now, with promises of better times ahead? Or would you focus on the present, ignoring the future and pushing Windows Phone as a great phone and a great OS now?