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Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Update Process is Just Awful

Mar 24 2011, 11:23am CDT | by , in News | Windows Phone 7

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Update Process is Just Awful

"The update is late. Here, have a schedule!"

The folks at Redmond have done a surprisingly good job with Windows Phone 7, on the whole. They delivered an attractive, modern, usable platform with a healthy app ecosystem and a surprisingly enlightened attitude on the homebrew community. But the road hasn't been totally smooth for WP7- sales in the US have been slow, and the update process is proving to be an absolute nightmare.

The Cut and Paste update was promised to WP7 users from the beginning. That guarantee was a big reason many of the early adopters I've talked to decided to take the plunge. After that early March roll-out came and went, people started to get angry. Microsoft's admission that the update was being delayed due to complaints from carriers sparked outrage rather than smothering any embers.

Now the software giant is attempting to make nice by launching a useless status page. The Where's My Update schedule was conceived as sort of an analogue to the notifications a company like FedEx puts up to show you where your package is.

But shipping notifications provide a user with real-time information about where their package is. This update schedule is just more carefully controlled PR from Microsoft. It doesn't even provide a meaningful schedule. Check out the wording for Stage 3: Delivering update:

"Microsoft has started to send out the update. Because updates are typically delivered to customers in batches, it might take several weeks before you receive notice that an update is available for you."

So, once the update is in its final stage, the most exact information Microsoft's little "schedule" can provide is that it "might take several weeks" to get there. Imagine hearing that your new laptop was "being packaged", "en route to the shipping facility" and then "shipping for several weeks, maybe. We don't really know."

Why is it so OK to mistreat customers in the mobile industry? Is it just that people are so used to being crapped on by carriers that we don't consider what Microsoft is doing here to be exceptional?

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