Right after Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 Series, rumours began floating that they were going to offer it side-by-side a version of Windows Phone 6.

New Windows Phone 6® Starter Edition For New & Emerging Markets

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Right after Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 Series, rumours began floating that they were going to offer it side-by-side a version of Windows Phone 6. Now, there seems to be an official confirmation of this – and we are ticked off.

windows phone 6 starter

Why? For one, the idea that this version is targetted at “emerging markets”.

Secondly, according to Bsquare, WP 6SE does not support 3G services on GSM networks.

Exactly what do these mean?

That African and Asian countries are the targets of WP 6SE? How did they arrive at this? Does it translate to cheaper devices? Experience shows that WindowsPhone devices are more expensive than same class devices from the competition. For example, the average non-3G WindowsPhone still costs an arm and a leg more than a 3.5G-enabled device from Symbian.

Note too that some of the most vibrant mobile markets on the planet are emerging economies – Nigeria, India, Brazil et al. These markets have much stronger 3G presence than some advanced economies have. The U.S. is an example of an advanced economy with horrible 3G presence.

How did this idea crystalize?

In closing, have you tried registering as a user at the official WindowsPhone 7 Series website? We did two weeks ago, and would you imagine that Nigeria was not initially on the list of supported countries? Apparently someone at Microsoft messed up big time. We were miffed big time. The good news, however, is that as at today Nigeria is now listed.

The laughable part is, there’s a section titled “My current phone is” on the registration form. The options presented there are:

  • A Windows phone
  • iPhone
  • Droid
  • Nexus One
  • Blackberry
  • Palm Pre
  • Other smartphone
  • Other

Apparently, Microsoft does not consider the world’s two largest smartphone platforms, Symbian, worth competing against. Plus, it is shortsightedness to list only specific products from Android and WebOS. Surely, the Droid and Nexus One account for only a small percentage of Android sales (though they may well be the current flagships).

Surely, Microsoft cannot be so shortsighted as not to see that emerging martkets currently make up some of the most vibrant smartphone markets?

Targetting non-3G devices at emerging markets? Doh! There goes Microsoft’s chance to expand the marketshare of WindowsPhone; and since Android does not seem to be into a show of strength in these parts yet, the chances of anyone knocking Symbian off as king of the smartphone jungle are still next to zero.

Sigh. And we were looking forward to some real competition.

Story via WindowsMobile Experts


  1. Is microsoft now trying to take over in the GSM Industry or what. It hasn’t been long since they released a version of Windows mobile. Now Windows 6 is out.

  2. I agree with Alireta at this dysfunctional policy. I think microsoft will make a mistake if they go on with this policy. First of all, microsoft phones are over priced as it is. I wonder who will spend precious money to buy a scaled down version of Windows phone? Beats me, the logic of the microsoft marketers.

    Based on details I read on PCworld, I think the phone is actually called “Window Phone 7, Starter Edition”. And the features and interface will be something like the present windows mobile 6.5

  3. I agree it’s truly a dysfunctional policy. The emerging markets are the only real plausible chance of spontaneous growth is in the emerging markets. Not having 3G is a letdown

  4. Microsoft has once again displaced a clear lack of understanding of the “emerging markets”. it appears to me that Microsoft still thinks places like Nigeria are still in the 80’s. I believe that its just not practicable to have a stripped down version of a software and expect people to buy it if they understand its limitations in functionality. Users here are getting more sophisticated everyday and are likely perfer a fully functional software and learn its use as they go on. I doubt I will conciously buy a downgraded phone even if i can access all its uses at the moment. This is because (1) the average length of time people hold on to phones here is about 12 -18 months(2) Nigerian subscribers are smart and learn along the way (3) the speed at which technologies are introduced in Nigeria is impressive and limitations easily become history. How would one feel if the shiny phone bought a few months back cant catch up.

    This is similar to what happen withwindows Vista having the premium and basic. I have used both and I think Microssoft was dead wrong to have segmented the market, There was insignificant diference between the main software and stripped down versions for emerging markets. The premium software works just fine here. The same insignficance will show in the smart phone market, i am sure of that.

  5. Windows mobile need a re-think if they are to make any impact in this part of the world.
    Seems they do not understand the market. They have not made any impact in developing world and with this type of attitude, they are going to continue being the loser.

  6. Laughable policy if you ask me.
    Just a continuation of their unrealistic approach to marketing in developing economies.

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