Comments made by a Nokia executive highlight one of the biggest obstacles facing Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8: Microsoft itself.
At least that is the sentiment coming from Nokia. During an interview for the International Business Times, Nokia vice president Bryan Biniak shared his expectations for the platform, along with his feelings on things that are holding back sales of Windows Phone back, and by extension Nokia’s entire smartphone portfolio.
It appears that even Nokia is starting to worry about Microsoft’s progress with updating the Windows Phone operating system. According to Biniak, Nokia is trying to “evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say ‘time is of the essence.’”
Although Microsoft has released updates to the operating system, the most recently being the Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update, reports have all indicated that Microsoft won’t be shipping a large update to Windows Phone 8 until sometime in early 2014. If true, that would put the next significant Windows Phone update as coming more than year after Microsoft first shipped Windows Phone 8. The appearance of slow progress on Windows Phone isn’t helped by the fact that Windows Phone 8 included a huge update to the operating system’s underlying software, but wasn’t exactly a revolutionary upgrade from Windows Phone 7.
In contrast, Apple has consistently shipped updates to the operating system on the iPhone.
It appears Nokia is also finding Microsoft’s efforts at attracting application developers to be somewhat lax as well with Biniak saying, “people rely on applications for their day-to-day life and if you don’t have something which I use in my day-to-day life I’m not going to switch [operating systems] because I don’t want to compromise the way I live my life just to switch to a phone.”
Yet despite alluding to Microsoft’s not doing enough to attract first-time developers and companies looking to include the platform in its initial line up of operating systems to launch their apps on, Biniak still generally doesn’t seem to think that there are large gaps in the Windows Phone Store’s application offering.
The Windows Phone Store has seen a total of 165,000 applications built for it in just three years, though that is not nearly as robust as the 900,000 applications available to iPhone owners.
Whether Nokia has been successful in evolving Windows Phone’s internal update culture remains unclear. What is clear is that Windows Phone users are starting to notice the slowing pace of Windows Phone development themselves. If Microsoft doesn’t act quickly, it risks its reputation for moving slowly damaging the Windows Phone brand as much as it did Windows Mobile.
Microsoft announced that it would kill off Windows Mobile in favor of starting fresh with Windows Phone in 2010.
Problems like these are why Nokia has gone through the effort of partnering with developers to bring applications to its phones exclusively. It would also explain why Nokia’s Amber Update seems to have been created solely for bringing its vision of software features to Windows Phone without the help of Microsoft.