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Carriers snubbing Windows Phone at stores, deal irony to MS

updated 03:30 pm EDT, Fri June 10, 2011

US carrier shops downplaying Windows Phone

An experiment in trying to buy a Windows Phone device has suggested that US carriers were neglecting Microsoft's platform. A visit to stores for each of the four WP7 carriers showed that the demo booths were either improperly kept or didn't have devices at all. Most of PCMag's questioning saw reps steering the buyer towards Android, even when the buyer explicitly stated an intent to get a WP7 phone.

"We sell what people want," the Sprint agent said. "There hasn't been much demand, but I think it's growing. Just yesterday somebody came in looking for this phone," he added, pointing to the HTC Arrive.

The shortfall may have come from Microsoft's inexperience with talking directly to carriers. While a vicious circle exists where Microsoft would have to get strong sales to get carrier support, the company also hasn't fought to make sure the platform was a major focus at the carriers.

Its difficulty in getting attention is also a reversal of fortunes relative to Apple. Macs during the 1990s once faced a similar situation, where Apple's looser policies on displaying and selling its computers often led to stores like CompUSA attempting to minimize the Mac section and staff that had virtually no experience with the platform or who actively tried to attack it. At the time, store salespeople were often paid on commission to promote HP or other Windows PC builders.

Apple decided to eventually open its own retail stores to combat that image and also negotiated for store-within-a-store setups in chains like Best Buy that guaranteed working demo units and knowledgeable staff. Microsoft has a similar practice with the official Microsoft Store, but its decision to purposefully treat them as 'experiments' to help other chains has led to less than a dozen US-only stores where Apple has over 300 worldwide.

The contrast reflects what many have considered Microsoft's inability to break out of its dependence on desktop software. While it still dominates computers, it has continued to lose share in mobile and won't have a viable tablet platform until Windows 8 arrives in late 2012.

by MacNN Staff



  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too many Android phone

    Carrier are literally flooded by Androids phones, HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, they all have multiple Android phones model and Carrier keep piling those phones in their warehouse. It is sure sales clerks got directives to dump Android phone as much as they can.

  1. Stuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wow, shocking!

    You mean WP7 phones aren't a hit? Tell me you're joking, that this is really a necessary news story!

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Payback *IS* a Sand-Filled Ocean-Front Stretch

    Welcome, Microsoft, to the Comp USAs, Circuit Citys, Best Buys, and other retailers in the 90's.

    Remember how you used to laugh at the way Apple products were portrayed, displayed and recommended? Ah those were the days, weren't they?

    Welcome to TODAY.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You need to make hardware for Retail

    The bottom line is people don't go into stores to by operating systems. End of story. And the only reason Android phones are even successful has nothing to do with the operating system and everything to do with people already knowing how amazing the iPhone was and Android was just a copy for people not on AT&T.
    If there were no iPhone, Android would be an ignorable bullet of text on Motorola and Samsung signage; people would go in asking for phones by the names of the companies who actually make the phones. People loved Nokia phones and their features, but no one went in and said "Ooo let me see the new Symbian phone from Nokia". C'mon, I'm just keeping it real for you Microsoft.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What goes around, comes around...

    Payback is a b****. Blame Microsoft for not giving kickbacks to carriers. They need that extra incentive to sell those few WP7 smartphones. Tough breaks. That's one thing Apple doesn't need to worry about. They have their own retail stores and iPhones are in such high demand, they practically sell themselves.

    I don't think people buy those Android smartphones because they run Android. Those smartphones are just popular because they're full-featured, cheap and they get highly marketed with high visibility. I still hear a number of complaints about their Android smartphones rebooting constantly, but that may be due to bad apps and not necessarily the hardware or OS. Whatever the reason, it's leaving some consumers with a sour taste in their mouths.

  1. krabbie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not about YOU MS

    Microsoft believes EVERYTHING is about MS. Let me say this sloooooowlllllly... it is NOT. It is about us, the users. We want items we pay for to work in our lives, not MS's idea of our life. We want it to work, to not give us problems, and enhance our lives not your bottom lines, in that order. MS has had years, yes years to come up with a user friendly ui for moble, nada. Not seeing too much of what I want in a mobile OS yet.... and vapor tails don't count, promises don't count.... shipping counts. IMHO

  1. beb

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The carriers do that mess with Apple iPhones too. Seriously, went to two Verizon stores to get a white iphone. All the sales people tried to steer me towards an HTC android thing.

  1. HappySlug

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It is odd . . .

    I find it odd that MS didn't lay out some cash to ensure high profile placement by the carriers. That's their usual MO. When in doubt, dump money on the problem. In this case, it would certainly have been the best way to go since WP7 was, in a manner of speaking, starting from zero.

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