Funny thing. After Apple’s announcement, a lot of folks asked me, “What does this mean for Windows Phone?” (it’s what I do after all). My answer was always the same. “Not a whole lot, really.” Then, I would elaborate.
Windows Phone is kinda tiny. In the grand scheme it’s almost….almost…inconsequential. Now, now fan boys, it’s ok. I’m not saying that Windows Phone is nothing. It’s not. Far from it. But when compared to giants like Samsung or Apple, it’s nothing even close to impressive.
Stay with me here
This can be an advantage, believe it or not. Right now, Windows Phone’s fate is entirely in it’s own hands. It will stand on its own marketing, its own reputation and its own devices. There is really nothing that Apple, nor Samsung, nor HTC, nor anyone else can do to harm Windows Phone at this point. It’s running its own race at this point.
Now, before I continue, I should clarify that when I say “Samsung” and “HTC” I am neither talking about the Ativ nor the 8x. I’m referring to the Samsungs and HTCs that are actually….what’s the word I’m looking for…oh yeah…”selling”. The other phones, some of which have been rated in the basement of review scores by our staff, can do a lot to help shape the fate of Windows Phone – and not in a positive way. No, by “nor Samsung, nor HTC” I mean their Android (and in Apple’s case iOS) offerings. And they will do little to determine the near-future fate of Windows Phone.
Of course with every less-than-favorable phone that Samsung, HTC and anyone not (formerly) named put out on the market, they can indeed be damaging the reputation of Windows Phone and drawing users away from Windows Phone than any announcement Samsung may make, regardless of how much sexism is involved.
Some may say those announcements can cause Windows Phone to lose users who are deciding between platforms. That’s true. There are no absolutes in life. But the number of users that will make that decision because of a product announcement is so tiny, it’s not worth considering. So sit down.
What my argument is based on is percentage points – tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of users. Sure there will be the one friend of yours who knows a guy who works with a girl who is dating a guy who picked an iPhone because of the fingerprint scanner. We’ll all have anecdotes like that. But for the larger masses, Windows Phone is what it is. You will either embrace it, or you won’t, but the embracification (yay! A new word!) will be based mostly on Windows Phone’s own merits, or limitations. It’s too small to not stand on its own two feet.
Too small to care
One thing about Windows Phone is, compared to giants like iOS and Android, it’s barely a blip on the radar. Now, don’t get me wrong, the blip has gotten progressively bigger since entering the market. It’s doing very well, due mostly to Nokia’s design efforts and Microsoft’s marketing machine. This is all a very good thing.
But to think that a product announcement by a competitor will drive users in droves over to a competing platform is to not understand the market or Windows Phone’s place in it. Apple and Samsung can duke it out, and it’s in their best interest to duke it out. Their marketing is half based on what their product does and half based on what the other guys don’t. The recent “Don’t fight, switch” commercials are not far off that mark. People every day are trying to make the decision between Android and iOS because those are the main choices.
Method to the Madness
But those who are looking at Windows Phone are coming from a different direction. These are people who are generally looking at the platform with fresh eyes who have found something about Windows Phone that is compelling. It may have been the live tiles, or the camera, or the exceptional Bing-integration (almost got that out with a straight face). There is very little that other platforms do that Windows Phone *cough* *cough* Google *cough* doesn’t do. So those who are considering Windows Phone are doing so because of the aforementioned reasons, or possibly the fact that it’s the third alternative to the giants.
Even given those variants on Windows Phone customers, all of those are based on factors that the competition cannot change, nor should they. They can beat each other up, and indeed they will have to to gain customers. In the meantime, Windows Phone will continue to rise or fall based on its own merits. It’s a good news-bad news situation. Hopefully some day Windows Phone will need to bash a competitor to get ahead. In the meantime, it’s just fun to do.