Windows Phone’s Canary in the Coal Mine

Charlie Kindel, writing for Geekwire yesterday:

A human salesperson, acting 1:1 with a customer is an extremely powerful force. In the mobile phone space, particularly in the US, phones are purchased from carriers. It is the retail sales people (RSPs in industry jargon) in the carriers’ stores who interact with the people who wish to buy a new phone. More often than not, the final decision on what phone to buy is made based on what the RSP is pushing.

It does not matter how good a product is; if it is not marketed, assorted, and SOLD, consumers will not buy it. They WILL buy the alternative they’ve heard more about, is highlighted in the store, and is being pushed on them by a salesperson.

Apple countered this in a few ways. First, when the iPhone shipped in 2007, Apple had already developed a legion of fans from the iPod and Mac — fans who would have lined up to buy it on day one no matter what the salespeople at AT&T had to say about the thing. But second, they had a symbiotic relations with AT&T — Apple needed a major U.S. carrier partner, and AT&T needed a competitive advantage against Verizon. Both got what they wanted.

Nokia has no such fan base and not much to offer the carriers.

(Via this thread on Branch, where the consensus seems unanimous that the lack of pricing and the fact that the software is unfinished bode poorly for the readiness of Nokia and Microsoft.)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012