Microsoft's Windows Phone division President Andy Lees is touting Windows Phone and its "Mango" update, while pushing back at Apple's iPhone 4S.
Apple's iPhone 4S may have earned 1 million preorders in its
first 24 hours, but at least one person doesn't seem onboard with the new
smartphone's features: Microsoft's Windows Phone division President Andy Lees.
"From a pure hardware perspective, I was surprised they're
not giving the consumer more choice," he told The
Seattle Times Oct. 11. "People want a variety of things."
Lees also extended his trash talk to the other platform
currently dominating the market, Google Android.
"I think Android is heading down this chaotic phase," he
added. "If you've used some of the (Android) phones, some of them are great,
but some of them are not great. But it's random."
Microsoft hopes its new Windows Phone "Mango" update, which
offers some 500 tweaks and new features, will give the platform the momentum it
needs to combat both Apple's iOS and Google Android, which reign as the twin
titans of the mobility market. Although Microsoft has poured millions of
marketing dollars into its Windows Phone effort, and done its best to highlight
the product as an important part of its overall ecosystem, the company's
smartphone share has continued to dip in recent quarters.
Microsoft began rolling out Mango to smartphones starting
Sept. 27. It has also signed significant deals with companies like Nokia to
produce a wide variety of Windows Phone Mango devices. Other partners include
Samsung, HTC, LG Electronics, Acer and ZTE, all of which will likely obey
Microsoft's minimum hardware requirements while giving their own unique spins
on their respective smartphones.
Dual-core and LTE devices are supposedly in the pipeline,
Lees added in a separate interview with AllThingsD.
In theory, those efforts could pay off with increased
adoption: a recent report from research firm NPD Group's Connected Intelligence
Service suggested that some 44 percent of smartphone owners are considering the
purchase of a Windows Phone device.
"It was under a year ago that we launched the first Windows
Phone," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told an audience of media and executives at
this year's financial analyst meeting. "We haven't sold quite as many probably
as I would have hoped in the first year."
Microsoft's Lees evidently hopes that a broad number of
hardware configurations for Windows Phone, paired with Mango and tight OEM and
carrier relationships, will translate into increased sales. But a lack of
varied hardware options hasn't exactly hurt uptake of the new iPhone, either.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.