Forget apps. Here is the problem with Windows Phone

The media and fanboys from competing platforms keep harping on about the lack of apps on Windows Phone OS. It has too few apps. It has no future. The lack of apps limit it. Bla bla. Yet, those who are loudest with this tiresome refrain are very often individuals who use and or hype Apple’s Mac OS X to high heavens. Just so you know, here is how the apps numbers compare between Windows Phone OS and Mac OS X:

Windows Phone apps

Windows Phone OS Mac OS X
300,000 apps 22,000 apps
App store created in 2010 App store created in 2010

Get the picture? Mac OS X isn’t dying off though there is a horrible lack of apps for it. It actually has much less apps than Windows phone OS. As a matter of fact, Mac OS X is growing, albeit slowly. I own a Windows Phone smartphone and can testify that those 300,000 apps are more than adequate for most users. No; the problem of Windows Phone is not the number of apps available for it.

Windows Phone’s problem is…

..Microsoft. Yes; that ecosystem’s real problem is Microsoft, and Adam Z. Lein over at PocketNow captured it well in a well articulated post. Have a look at these these two paragraphs that clearly indict Microsoft:

What’s Apple doing differently though? Well, they’re putting a lot of effort into keeping Mac OS X as part of their ecosystem which has seen much greater success in the iPhone, iPod, and iPad arenas. Mac OS X works great with Apple’s iMessage, Facetime, iCloud, iTunes, iWork, etc. The software and services Apple produces are designed specifically for their ecosystem and only their ecosystem. There’s no Facetime or iMessage for Android. It’s all Apple all the time. Sure that lock-in might suck in some ways, but at least you know that Apple products are designed to work well together.

Microsoft, on the other hand, doesn’t always design its products to work well together and sometimes designs its products to work better with competitor platforms. For a long time Exchange 2013’s Outlook Web Access didn’t work on IE in Windows Phone, but worked great on Android and iPhone. Office Mobile on Windows Phone is feature-wise, pretty pathetic, compared to Office on iOS (or Office Mobile on Windows Mobile 2003).

HERE Maps are now available on other platforms. Other brands are churning out cameras that perform very close to what exists on most Lumia smartphones. Microsoft’s own apps and services used to be a good reason to look to Windows Phone, but that is no longer so. Microsoft’s services and apps are now richer and more comprehensive on other platforms.

There just doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason to use a Windows Phone smartphone any more. The only cogent reason I can come up with why anyone wants a Windows Phone now is the user interface. And perhaps good old fanboyism.

I understand that Microsoft’s new push is for universal availability of their services on all platforms but putting better versions of their apps on other platforms simply makes Windows Phone as a platform less attractive. All Microsoft has to do is make their own services and apps more compelling on Windows Phone than on competing platforms.

Look at BlackBerry. While pushing for cross platform availability of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), they still ensure that the best BBM experience is found on BlackBerry devices.

Please go read Adam’s full treatise, If you think Windows Phone has no apps, you should try a Mac. Comments please.

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8 comments

  1. This is why I think Microsoft is putting their apps on other platforms.

    They were late (kinda) to the modern smartphone party so they are starting from a point of disadvantage.

    Android and iOS have the numbers already so it kind of makes sense for Microsoft to put their apps on these platforms for the widest reach.

    Microsoft Office mind you is the cash cow of Microsoft apart from Windows. Microsoft is saying just subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 and use on any platform.

    Enjoy Microsoft Office, OneDrive (which is now unlimited storage with Office subscription), OneNote anywhere.

    1. Jimtex,

      I agree with you. I mentioned the cross-platform drive in my article, and it is a good drive, However, like I said, it does not make sense that those apps are better on competing platforms. The result is going to be that smartphone users will have little reason to buy a Windows smartphone. It means eventual death for the platform.

    1. @ Elroy, the point you tried to make wasn’t articulated even close to what has been said here. And this is where experience comes into play – talking about a platform you know of but have never really used extensively leaves you at a disadvantage.

      That aside, I concur that the best BBM experience is on BlackBerry. What is the equivalent on Windows Phone?

    2. This isn’t a matter of experience, neither is it just an opinion, its a fact. I said this in the previous post,

      “Microsoft has moved their attention to developing and improving their apps on iOS and Android, while ignoring the same apps on their Windows Phone. For instance, the Microsoft Office Mobile versions on Android and iOS are miles better than their Windows Phone counterparts.

      The statement below was quoted in the above article, ”

      Office Mobile on Windows Phone is feature-wise, pretty pathetic, compared to Office on iOS (or Office Mobile on Windows Mobile 2003).

      How are these two statements not saying the same thing?

  2. Mr mo, why compare windows phone with mac os? They are two different platforms entirely. I however agree that Apple has losts of exclusive apps that beat down the competition such as final cut pro on mac os. I still hate window phone cause it’s not as easy to use as iPhone or Android, and yes have used windows phone but just hate that you need to re learn how to use it. There is more to a phone than a fancy interface and Apple has proven this. My dad of over 70 cab easily use iPhone and Android very well but not windows phone.

  3. @ Elroy, you know what they say about “opinions” 😉

    I wasn’t the only person who took issue with your “opinion”, it could be a case of symantics, but you then tried to reinforce said “opinion” with a disjointed and not very well laid out example. They may very well similar but not the same.

    But you are correct – it was what you were trying to say.

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