In an awesome bit of journalist discovery and investigative reporting, Brad Sams at Neowin today posted a confirmation of my earlier report where I told the story of a mobile customer who was looking for a new Windows Phone but was turned away by a Verizon store salesperson. Brad took the extra step of soliciting the online chat features available on the web sites of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. As shown through screen captures of the conversations, each service provider tried steering him away from Windows Phone and toward something else.
Verizon said that the iPhone was the easiest to learn and use. AT&T went directly down the consumer route, touting the music capability of the iPhone. And, Sprint steered Brad toward Android devices, stating that the HTC One M8, Galaxy S5, and LG G3 smartphones are the best devices that have been released in 2014, based on the reviews. In each case, Windows Phone was not a supplied option.
You can read Brad's full post here: When talking with customer service reps, it becomes clear why Windows Phone isn't selling well
One thing I think is important to realize here is that those hired to hang on the chat lines are fed scripts of what to say and how to handle specific situations. These scripts are designed to promote each provider's corporate sales policies and intent. Chat engineers are trained on the company sales policies and how to read the scripts. In-store salespeople are similarly trained, and I'm sure there's a special paragraph (or entire page) on how to handle queries about Windows Phones. Based on the evidence Brad and I uncovered, both online and in-store, it's becoming clear that Windows Phone is intentionally being blacklisted.
And, this underscores commentary that Paul delivered today. Late yesterday, IDC released smartphone market stats and in it showed that Windows Phone share has dropped. The report release was immediately met with headlines like "Is Windows Phone About to Go the Way of Windows Mobile?" and "Windows Phone up against the ropes as global market share slips" and "Enterprises to Windows Phone: Drop dead" and "Windows Phone is dying on the vine."
In his commentary, Paul provides a reality check and gives reasons for the decline, suggesting that maybe Windows Phone is simply in a stall with a surge coming in the next few months due to "zero dollar" licensing and 11 new models releasing soon. He also tells that though Windows Phone share dropped, sales of the iPhone dropped dramatically more, yet no one seems to be talking about that. And, we'll see with new Windows Phone models being available, and Apple soon to release its next generation iPhone, those numbers will change for the positive.
But, here's the kicker. No matter how fantastic Windows Phone actually is (and it is), those 11 new models won't mean much if no one is buying because no one is selling. Microsoft needs to do a market check. Zero dollar Windows Phone licensing is a good idea, and it will spur manufacturers to build new devices sporting Microsoft's mobile OS, but that's where it will stop if Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and others don't improve their sales policies and better train sales employees to act on customer requests. Customer service starts with the sale, and as it's becoming quite clear, that's also the juncture where the Windows Phone market stops.