Preston Gralla

Consumers give thumbs-down to Windows Phone 7

July 28, 2011 8:15 AM EDT
If Microsoft is looking for a reason why Windows Phone 7 has languished, it need look no further than what consumers have to say --- a recent survey found that only seven percent of shoppers prefer Windows Phone 7 over competing smartphone operating systems, barely edging out RIM Blackberry.

The survey was conducted by the shopping comparison site PriceGrabber of its customers. Here's what it found about smartphone operating system preferences, according to a press release:

When asked which smartphone operating system they prefer, an overwhelming 48 percent of PriceGrabber survey respondents said Apple iOS. Nineteen percent of respondents indicated that they prefer Android OS, 7 percent said Microsoft Windows, and 6 percent chose RIM BlackBerry.
Given that, it should be no surprise that Windows Phone 7 hasn't been able to gain any traction with consumers.

The survey didn't offer much insight as to why consumers don't like Windows Phone 7. Survey results found that most people, not surprisingly, use their phones for basic functions, such as making a phone call, email, or texting. Here's what the press release said:

When asked what they generally use their smartphone for, 88 percent of respondents said phone calls, 77 said email, 73 percent indicated texting, 69 percent use it to browse the Internet, 51 percent said searching, and 50 percent use the phone's Global Positioning System.
That seems to indicate that consumers are making buying decisions either on image, or based on phone features that they use less frequently, or some combination of both. There's no significant difference among smartphones for performing all the basic functions mentioned in the survey.

The message for Microsoft is that the company has a tremendous amount of work to do around crafting a better marketing message for Windows Phone 7, and pumping up its lesser-used capabilities. If I were Microsoft I'd push very hard on getting more developers to create apps.

If Microsoft is counting on the Nokia deal to solve its Windows Phone 7 problems by itself, this survey shows that won't happen. Unless consumers want what you have to sell, they won't buy it, no matter how good your business partner or distribution channel.