Nokia, Samsung and HTC are pleading with Microsoft for permissions to tweak its OS following lacklustre sales.
When Microsoft first started making smartphone software, the operating system was the most versatile, inviting user-customisation so that it could accommodate the precise needs of the individual. Versions 6.0 and 6.5 were open-minded and were only let down by their inarticulate understanding of touch input and screen technology, favouring the cold inanimate stylus over the sensual hand.
Following Apple’s meteoric rise to smartphone dominance, Microsoft decided to turn their back on loyal followers by ditching their flexible philosophy. Instead, they exercised regimented software that can’t be customised by manufacturers, forcing bland uniformity over the industry to avoid software fragmentation. In other words, Microsoft decided to be more like Apple.
With Microsoft’s ‘metro’ styled platform nearing its third major update, Samsung, HTC and Nokia are criticising the OS’ lack of customisation. Unlike Android, manufacturers can’t tweak the operating system to differentiate their software from one another’s. In essence, an HTC, Samsung and Nokia Windows Phone will have the same software texture which doesn’t really help manufacturers compete.
A DigiTimes report claims manufacturers are finding this one of the reasons sales of the OS have been lacklustre, with the platform’s market share below 5% in all major markets.
Additionally, the current Mango 7.5 version isn’t compatible with the slew of cutting-edge hardware Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS is. With no variation to the OS’ software, manufacturers are relying on hardware and styling alone to woo customers, but are disadvantaged by unimpressive single-core phones that lack expandable memory and high-resolution screens. Worse yet, it lacks the mature ecosystem its rivals Android (400,000 apps) and Apple (550,000 apps) have with a limp 70,000 on offer.
The “if you can’t beat them, join them” bravado Microsoft adopted has resulted in sluggish sales and slow market adaptation.
Read: Windows Phone 8: Dual Core, NFC, Skype & More
There is some light at the end of the tunnel for the company as customers who upgrade to the new Windows 8 OS will be more inclined to adopt the complementary Windows Phone offering. Windows 8 will make its debut in the second half of 2012 and will rely on its computing laurels to drive sales of the mobile counterpart. But with Android filling the versatile OS void left by Windows and cultivating its own multi-platform ecosystem, there’s doubt Microsoft’s closed-minded mobile approach will be enough to draw its ex-customers back.