If it didn't seem like Windows Phone was enough of an underdog, there may be another, unsurfaced, unspoken, a most important reason why Windows Phone market share improvement is moving slowly.
Over the weekend a friend of mine was looking to dump T-Mobile due to his experiences with horrible service. Granted, it's important to remember that each user has varying levels of experiences with the different service providers. T-Mobile works just fine for some I know, it just didn't work well in my friend's situation (which I'll get to in a minute).
Personally, Verizon is tops, while AT&T was one of the more horrible involvements of my life when I was forced to use them at one point in my professional career. Verizon just works better where I live and work. For others I've talked to, AT&T is the cat's meow.
So, my friend chose to seek out what Verizon offers. As a Windows Phone user, he was completely appalled at what happened during a visit to his local Verizon store.
First off, the store didn't carry one single Windows Phone, neither did it display any Windows Phone banners or promotions. And, when he specifically asked about the Microsoft devices (particularly the Icon), the floor salesperson said:
"No one wants them, no one is buying and they don't have any apps."
The salesperson then attempted to sell my friend on a Samsung. My friend held out his Lumia 920, showed him the apps, and then suggested the salesperson try out the phone before bad mouthing it.
In his story, my friend went on to suggest that part of his horrible service experience with T-Mobile, and his intent to eliminate T-Mobile, was due to the company blaming the Windows Phone OS for his problems on the hardware they sold him. So, it seems, T-Mobile and Verizon are guilty of the same problem.
So, what's the story here? Is this common? Is this just Verizon and T-Mobile, or are the other carriers also joining the battle against Microsoft's mobile OS and smartphones?
My friend went on to wonder how Microsoft could purchase Nokia's smartphone business and then expect to be successful when no one in the public sector is pushing them. And, rightly so. I'm sure there must be a revenue incentive for pushing Android and iOS, or particularly Samsung and Apple, but where's the choice? When a person walks into a store and boldly says, "I want that," but the salesperson says, "You don't want that, it's terrible," how is Microsoft supposed to combat that? I can't believe Verizon would bypass a sale and a happy customer for this reason. There has to be some money to be made on selling a Windows Phone device, right?
Truth told, Windows Phone, seems to be doing well considering the real world opposition. Windows Phone device usage has been steadily climbing the ranks for the past year, with the exception of July when it saw a slight drop (Windows Phone Device Stats: July 2014). I have no idea if Microsoft is truly aware of the situation in the trenches, but they need to be. As we've experienced over the past many months with Windows 8, Microsoft can get sidetracked and lose sight of what's going on in the actual world outside the Redmond commune.
I just don't believe Microsoft is doing enough. Windows Phone 8.1 is a fantastic OS. Those I know that have switched from Android or iOS rave about Microsoft's latest mobile offering. Whether the company needs to institute a "secret shopper" program or offer carriers deeper incentives to push its mobile offerings, it needs to do something proactive or Windows Phone will go the day of the Dodo.