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Microsoft shouldn’t announce Phone updates so far from release

Today Microsoft announced the Mango update for Windows Phone 7. It’s scheduled to make to actual phones some time in the Fall. I think it was a bad move for Microsoft to make this announcement months in advance of the actual update. The reason is because they should have learned from the infamous “January” update that it takes months longer than anticipated to get updates through the carriers. In the months between now and the announced release the consumers are now going to be in a constant state of “I want that update”. Which for a while is good synergy, but it quickly turns into bad feelings if they’re in that state for too long. Then the inevitable delay will happen, which will cause the frustrations to grow by leaps and bounds. It’ll get to the point where there will be customers who say “Never again, I was so frustrated with that.” Whereas if they didn’t know about the update in the first place they would have been satisfied with what they had.

I think I understand why Microsoft has done the announcement this far out. The first reason is because they want to give developers time to make use of the new features. That way when the update is shipped there’ll be a slate of new apps that can take advantage of it right away. It creates a positive wave of improvements when the OS update actual is installed on the device. One of the problems with this is that there’s no guarantee that developers will have the updates to their apps ready. They may be waiting till the update begins making it to the actual end user phones before putting resources into updating their individual apps.

The second reason Microsoft has done this is because there have been times when they’ve surprised the world with a product (.Net being an example) and business complaining that they weren’t given enough heads up. Because if they had known earlier about the new product, they wouldn’t have made some recent planning/purchasing decisions. Microsoft is trying to extend this to the consumer marketplace. Buy a WP7 now, and in a few months it’ll be what you wanted it to be in the first place. This will only result in frustration though because it’s not going to happen fast enough from the consumers point of view.

I think that Microsoft should announce the phone updates after at least one carrier has approved it and will start pushing it out within the month. That way, there’s less frustration from the “why isn’t it out yet” feeling and since Microsoft is trying to build a brand instead of one-off product, it would be better for them in the long run.

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