Microsoft says it learned key lessons from Windows Phone update fiasco

Microsoft did not realize how different smartphones are from PCs until recent software updates broke new Windows Phone 7 devices that were already in the hands of cell phone users, Windows Phone Vice President Joe Belfiore explained Wednesday in a keynote address at the MIX11 conference.

Microsoft has years of experience rolling out Windows software updates to computers made by HP and Dell, but devices built by phone manufacturers and sold by cellular carriers turn out to have some key differences, Belfiore said.

PHONE STRATEGY: To top iPhone sales, Microsoft must aim low

"We found issues with the way the update was getting deployed on phones because of things we hadn't anticipated," Belfiore said. "Phones are different in some significant ways that I think we've now got a handle on."

With smartphones, OEM vendors play more of a role in the code used in the core operating system than PC manufacturers do, he said. This results in manufacturing issues that are different on phones than PCs.

"We have tried to improve the team that does this infrastructure," Belfiore said. "We've added people, we've staffed it up to make sure we do it as quickly as we can... We expect that we're going to get these problems licked and get good at this and have no issues in the future."

Several weeks ago, Belfiore stated publicly that most phone users had gotten the February update, and "I was wrong," he said at MIX11.

Updates were tested on "pre-manufactured phones," but when they rolled out to phones in the hands of users some issues cropped up. A small group of phones from one vendor - less than 100 - contained a setting to indicate when something goes wrong. The phones worked fine at first, but once an update was pushed out to users the phone "switched back into factory-diagnostic mode," Belfiore said.

This was one of several problems Microsoft encountered. "There was no one issue, and none of the issues were particularly widespread," he said.

Once Microsoft ran into problems it decided to halt the update process to ensure its reliability. Some users got their updates later than others, but Belfiore said that is preferable to making everyone wait.

ALL BUSINESS: Windows Phone 7 takes Office, SharePoint to new level on mobile

Google's Android goes through a similar process, with carriers and phone manufacturers pushing out updates at different times to users of different phones. But Android's updates have also gone a lot smoother than Microsoft's.

Belfiore said Microsoft had promised to add copy-and-paste functionality to Windows Phone 7 earlier this year, but that was delayed. "It's now rolling out," he said. "It's not available to everyone yet because some mobile operators are still testing it."

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is well behind Android and Apple's iPhone in market share. Belfiore delivered his explanation of the Windows Phone7 update process at the beginning of his keynote, and was expected to focus on future improvements to WP7 for the rest of the session.

"We're pretty optimistic that we've gone thru that learning process and we're not going to face those issues in the future," he said.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Dellconsumer electronicsMicrosoftNetworkingwirelesssmartphonesPhonesAndroid

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?