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What's Going on with Windows Phone? The Register Knows

The Register sent Andrew Orlowski to Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, where he filed a report on Windows Phone called, "So much noise on WinMob, but Microsoft's silent on lovely WinPhone."

Orlowski brings history, market context and familiarity with the senior Microsoft executives involved to draw a nuanced portrait of the state of Windows Phone 8 and the marketing efforts surrounding it.

The upshot is that he's surprised at how little effort Microsoft seems to be putting into the everyday work of marketing a mobile platform, such as having a conspicuous presence at major shows like MWC and being hyper-responsive to carriers' every complaint. (He does acknowledge in passing Microsoft's massive primetime ad campaigns in a way that discounts their importance.)

He throws off several interesting asides in the article, as well. For one example, Nokia seems to be a very happy partner. For another, I've argued on several occasions that Microsoft is playing a long game, both with Windows Phone and the Microsoft Surface. Orlowski goes a little Occam's Razor on that idea:

"Now either Microsoft is playing a very long game, or perhaps it really doesn't care too much about winning here -- a muddling success is good enough for all the managers involved. This kind of attitude is common in bureaucracies -- keep your head down -- it's a form of risk aversion. But when the product is really good, it's baffling. Perhaps your career might actually (radical idea coming up) benefit from success?"

This piece doesn't shake my sense that a long game is a good framework to consider Microsoft's market moves in mobile. But Orlowski does raise a number of very valid questions about Microsoft's ability to follow through.

If you're interested in Windows Phone 8's prospects and the state of its marketing, this article is worth a read.

Posted by Scott Bekker on February 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM