Here at the Noisecast, we keep a keen eye out for Windows Phone. We know eventually it will take its place among the major players. When you consider it’s role, not as a smartphone OS, but part of the whole Windows 8 ecosystem, it only makes sense. They’re even doing a pretty good job of building that ecosystem. Sprint, however, is having none of that.
Speaking at CES, Sprint VP David Owens said, in no uncertain terms, that they’re not interested in the Windows Phone platform at this time. Sprint is concerned that Microsoft isn’t doing enough to promote the product (we’d be inclined to agree). Owens left open the possibility of adding Windows Phone devices to their portfolio, but it’s not likely to happen any time soon.
It seems odd that Sprint is limiting their options. On the other hand, Sprint recently acquired the iPhone, AT&T failed to acquire T-Mobile, and Sprint is readying their LTE deployment and have devices like the Galaxy Nexus waiting in the wings. Sprint isn’t in quite the tenuous position they were a year ago. They’re still a distant third, sure, but there’s plenty of promise on Sprint’s horizon. They have some room to exercise some discretionary confidence.
Still, it doesn’t bode well for Microsoft. Flashback several years, when the iPhone was still an AT&T exclusive, Sprint jumped on the Android bandwagon before Verizon even got their feet wet in the modern smartphone wars. Today, they’re not even interested in keeping up with the big dogs. It says something about the state of the smartphone world. When Android came on the scene, it was critical for carriers to find an iPhone competitor. Their livelihoods depended on it. Windows Phone is not nearly so critical.
Windows Phone certainly has the potential to become something great, but it’s going to need to do something extra to convince the carriers that it’s worth investing in. Slick animations and colorful tiles might not be enough to build the ecosystem Microsoft needs right now.