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Reader Feedback: Windows Mobile Still Wobbly

We took a rare foray into Windows Mobile this week -- a bit of a detour from the enterprise-software-heavy content partners are used to here. And what do you know? Somebody cared enough about Windows Mobile to write to us. That somebody was Mark, and here's what he had to say:

"I realize that you need to be a good little Microsoft cheerleader to keep the Microsoft advertising revenue coming, but let's face reality please!"

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hang on a minute here, Mark. Let's stop you right there. If you've read any of our Vista coverage, you'll know that we're not Microsoft cheerleaders. In fact, in a post made almost three years ago, we compared Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and a couple of other Microsoft executives to Mafiosi. In fact, the mafia thing has come up more than once here as a comparison to Microsoft. And we've just been brutal on Vista because Vista and Microsoft deserve it.

We've said that Microsoft is too fat, that its cloud strategy needs work and that it might be giving partners a raw deal with its SaaS compensation plan -- among other criticisms. (To be fair, though, Microsoft has since more or less addressed the first two criticisms and seems to be evolving the third.) Sometimes we side with Microsoft, and sometimes we don't. It's a judgment call we do our best to get right.

(And let me, as the writer of RCPU, just add a personal note here, in case anybody's wondering: I have no idea who advertises with us. I'm not kidding about this. I write the newsletter, send it off to my editors -- hence the "we" all the time; it's a team effort -- and forget about it unless somebody has a question for me. I don't even read it when it hits my inbox -- but you should! In all seriousness, though, I've never made a comment here to appease an advertiser and never would. Just so everybody understands that.)

OK, end of rant. Sorry about that. It was nothing personal, Mark; you just gave us an opening to explain things a bit. Let's get back to Mark's e-mail:

"Microsoft couldn't get the mobile OS right in six versions, so why should anyone expect different from a Microsoft mobile OS update? They need to scrap what they have and start over with a new product team.

"We've returned more Windows Immobile devices than we've kept or resold, mostly due to constant OS-wide hangs during e-mail access and wireless roaming. Every customer hates them because Microsoft can't get the most basic functions to work reliably, much less the custom apps that the customers needed to run. At least now we have a strong alternative to integrate with business solutions -- the iPhone and BlackBerry platforms. Customers love them.

"What Microsoft has proven over the last 20 years is that they rarely innovate and that their product ruts run very, very deep. Fundamental design defects are rarely corrected, while many just get worse with each new release."

Here, Mark, we defer to your expertise. Windows Mobile experts we are not -- in fact, we rarely write about it, which might have been obvious from this week's entry. Our take was that Microsoft was at least trying to move forward with the forlorn OS, but you've brought to light a lot of issues we just didn't know existed. For that, we thank you, and we hope you'll write again. We'll (probably) spare you the lecture next time.

Do you have another take on Windows Mobile? Or anything else you've read in RCPU recently? Tempt fate at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on February 12, 2009 at 11:55 AM