Every time I write about platform ecosystems, I hear from people outside the US who tell me that they see considerably less functionality in their own countries. Microsoft’s offerings have always been particularly bad with this. And a new availability matrix shows just how bad.
The comprehensive Microsoft Feature And Service Availablity Matrix (For Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 & Xbox) comes courtesy of Andrew Birch, who previously provided similar charts for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5. He started doing this when I off-handedly commented that someone should make a chart showing which Microsoft ecosystem features were available in which countries. Such a chart, I surmised, would have more holes (missing features) than checks (working features).
I was too lazy to make it myself, but Andrew took on the challenge and in doing so both proved me right—Microsoft’s services availability is pretty terrible as expected—and did a great service to the community. And now he’s doing it again, for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox.
Needless to say, it’s pretty ugly.
Looking over his chart, a few general comments can be made.
First, there is exactly one first class citizen in the world when it comes to Microsoft actually supporting features it announces for its platform ecosystem: The US. Then there are several second class citizens (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the UK) and a bunch of third class citizens (basically everyone else). The Windows Store (for Windows 8 and RT) and Windows Phone Store (for Windows Phone 8) are now amazingly broadly available. It’s just that their offerings are not.
Andrew does a tremendous job keeping these charts up to date, and if you live in a country outside the US—he’s from Australia—and can fill in some gaps, I know he’d love the help.
For Microsoft, this chart is, for now, a wall of shame. As I noted in In Praise of Finishing a Job, anyone can ship something and declare it done. But the real win comes when you actually fill in all the missing and broken features. Removing the holes from this chart would be a great step towards making that happen for Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone 8.