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Microsoft accused of rigging 'Smoked by Windows Phone' tests

updated 08:25 am EDT, Mon March 26, 2012

Incidents show Windows Phone comparisons stacked

At least some shoppers have accused Microsoft of rigging its retail "Smoked by Windows Phone" tests to favor itself. One incident that happened to a SkatterTech writer saw him legitimately handle a test faster than a Windows Phone on his Galaxy Nexus. He did so by showing the weather for two different cities, for which he happened to already have two different widgets available. Despite this, and having already used an official feature of Android 4.0 that disables the lock screen (thus getting to the home screen more rapidly), retail staff insisted that the Windows Phone had won, despite taking longer.

When pressed, Microsoft Store staff reportedly used thin reasoning to justify its position, arguing that they had won "just because" and inventing a condition requiring that the cities be in different states. While terms allow Microsoft to disqualify anyone who "cheats," its definitions are vague and likely wouldn't include someone who was using features built into Android 4.0.

More serious accusations have followed with commentary on the story at Reddit. Microsoft was alleged to be deliberately throttling Wi-Fi speeds for non-Windows Phone devices attached to its store network. While this might be to prevent people outside the store from exploiting its Internet access, it would have the effect of artificially biasing the tests by letting Windows Phones work at full speed.

Microsoft hasn't responded to the claims.

While it remains possible that the stores are trying to justify mistakes, they also come as Microsoft has much stronger incentives to win than with the tests Microsoft conducted that Electronista saw at CES and Mobile World Congress. Either trade show, which saw most of the challengers come from the media or otherwise technically savvy users, were more than willing to let an Android device, iPhone, or other platform win, but often for much smaller prizes. At its retail stores, Microsoft not only has to award a $1,000 HP ultrabook if it loses but may have to give up one or more potential customers. The contest still offers a Windows Phone free on contract if the shopper loses.

What we saw at Mobile World Congress: occasional winners and ties

by MacNN Staff



  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Do you guys...

    "One incident marked by a SkatterTech writer saw him legitimately handle Microsoft Store a test faster than a Windows Phone on his Galaxy Nexus by showing the weather for two different cities, for which he happened to already have two widgets."

    ...check your copy before you post? Can you please rewrite the above sentence so it makes sense?

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If Microsoft Could Actually ...

    ... see the realities of anything - especially when it comes to technology - they wouldn't be in the position they're in.

  1. johncarync

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MS can't let anyone win

    In this day of instant communication via texts, Twitter, and Facebook, Microsoft can't let anyone win. If they did, it would be broadcast to thousands instantly and Microsoft would be inundated with people doing the exact same thing.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.

    Microsoft playing dirty? Microsoft bending the facts? Microsoft doing the whole thing so stupidly that they get found out almost instantly?

    And that's news... how exactly? :)

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No one likes a cheater

    So when the judges cheat by saying "microsoft wins "Just Because" .... uh-oh.

    Apple: We win because It just works.

    Microsoft: We work it to win ... just because.

  1. DaJoNel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I can take a photo on my 4S and post it to Twitter within seconds. Is Microsoft going to say I cheated because I didn't also post it to Flickr or Facebook or something? Am I disqualified due to my social networking preferences?

  1. FreeRange

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How can it be so????

    It seems that MSFT, for all the bright people they hire, just gets dumber and dumber! And the people that buy their products just seem to be.... well.... (fill in the blank)

  1. facebook_Konstantin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2012


    Nobody will win this challange

    I went to the "Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge" in Houston Galleria, I was told to find directions to the closest 4* restaurant. Sales rep didn't find directions he just found locations of closest restaurant, at the same time I found directions. When I showed it sales rep, he told me that I was trying to cheat and offered me redo, when I found closest restaurants faster then him he again told me again that I was cheating. I don't understand how Microsoft wants to get back on the Market when they are clearly not follow rules. And how they want to compete with somebody who's customer service trained way better then them.

  1. Nigel2112

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Standard Micros**t

    Anyone that has watched Micros**t for as long as I have are not in the least bit surprised.

    I believe technology should be exciting and liberating.
    All M$ has brought is beige drudgery with a jarring orange X in the top right hand corner.

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