How Microsoft Convinced Me to Buy an iPhone 5s

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was a staunch Windows Phone user. After switching from a simple mobile phone, Windows Phone became my life companion, the operating system I turned to when I needed to get anything done – even with a Windows PC right in front of me. So how did Apple convince me to stand in line for an iPhone 5s on launch day? It didn’t: Microsoft did.

What have you done for me lately?

Windows Phone isn’t that long in the tooth. Having scrapped Windows Mobile, Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 to critical acclaim. Here, finally, was a fresh new concept of what a mobile interface could look like. Unfortunately, Windows Phone’s design team seems to have sat on their hands for the next three years.

Windows Phone 8S by HTC Red

Windows Phone 8’s live tiles are great, they’re also overly relied upon.

Windows Phone 8 is still flat, and Live Tiles are still the greatest form of notifications I’ve seen implemented into a smartphone operating system. However, watching a few videos of the way notifications work in iOS 7 convinced me that Live Tiles and one-time pop-ups should never act as a device’s sole source of notifications.

These issues, and Microsoft’s inability to get large comprehensive updates in the hands of users in timely fashion, left me with a sour taste in my mouth. There Apple was, shipping a new flat attractive interface, questionable icon philosophies aside, with an operating system that is fully featured. Meanwhile, I was still waiting for an update to enable the radio playback functionality that my Lumia 920 and HTC 8X shipped with a year ago. For the record, I’ve yet to receive that update, and Microsoft finalized it in early June, reportedly.

Microsoft Anywhere

Xbox Music on Android is available today.

Like Xbox Music, most of Microsoft’s apps and services are available on Android and iPhone.

For all the issues I have with Windows Phone at the moment, I both value and cherish many of the Microsoft’s other core products like Xbox Music, SkyDrive, Office 2013 and Bing. Until fairly recently, you’d have had to own a Windows Phone to get such a potent mix of Microsoft products.

Luckily, Microsoft has been more than generous about providing iOS applications for nearly all of its services and products. My iPhone 5s has Xbox Music, Office 2013, Bing, Xbox SmartGlass, OneNote and SkyDrive installed, and you can bet I’m using them over Apple’s equivalents.


Should I decide to switch back to Windows Phone, or even Android, I can take all of my information with me, and each application already works with the Windows 8.1-equipped Dell XPS 13 and Microsoft Surface I already have.

Microsoft’s other businesses have to embrace other mobile platforms, and its good business to do so. However, that also means that Live Tiles, its unique interface and first-class SkyDrive syncing are the only thing separating Windows Phone from platforms with a lot more apps and accessories.

Great Devices Where?


The Nokia Lumia 920 next to the iPhone 5s.

I’m a staunch Nokia supporter and have been ever since I took my HTC 8X out of the box and realized how much of an also-ran the device was when compared to the Lumia 920. The company’s phones are the real deal, the only thing standing in between Windows Phone’s complete annihilation at the hands of the iPhone 5s and the Samsung Galaxy S4.


Nokia’s devices are also completely not attractive in any way that I find relevant beyond color. At a time when the world has embraced colored metals and other high-end finishes, Nokia seems hell-bent on shipping heavy, polycarbonate designs. Don’t get me wrong. I value, sturdiness. The Lumia 920 can take a beating. But, I don’t think it’s fair to place a Lumia 1020 or a Lumia 920 next to an iPhone 5s and ask people to choose.

Of course, the company seems to have rectified this issue with the Lumia 925, but that device made it to store shelves in early spring. The Lumia 925 could be replaced in Nokia’s line up any day now, and it’s not like its specifications placed it in flagship device territory anyway.

So there it is. I purchased an iPhone 5s because Microsoft made the choice easy. I’ll likely return to Windows Phone at some point. I adore its interface, and I use more Microsoft products than one person should be allowed to. However, even for Microsoft fans, an iPhone 5s is just a better place for the moment.