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46

Joe Belfiore responds to update criticism

Lots of folks may be upset with Microsoft and the update process (we're getting a little tired of the drama ourselves) but you have to give them credit: they're listening and trying to make things right. You may not like their response, but at least they're giving a response.

To recap: this week we saw the beginning of the NoDo update, then came the outrage that it could take "weeks" to get it people, then Microsoft gave us a way to check our update status. Last night on Microsoft's Channel 9, Joe Belfiore gave a cheery interview which though entertaining, didn't reveal too much. However, lots of people were miffed to see him saying things were going well and appearing a bit out of touch.

Fast forward 24 hours and he's responding to the criticism, which like we said above, is good damage control. The message, re-posted in its entirety after the break, is quite forthcoming and sincere. A lot can be said about the update process but we do appreciate Microsoft's position in trying to reach out to consumers and developers alike. Like before, sound of in comments on your thoughts.

Keep reading Joe Belfiore's response from Channel 9; Thanks, Windows Phone Metro, for the heads up

Many of you are making critical comments here which are certainly fair. First, I was wrong when I said “most people have received the February update.” There are many of you who have yet to receive it, and I don’t blame you for speaking up and pointing out my mistake. Second, I referred to our updates as “complete” because I was thinking of the internal process where we pass completed software to another group who delivers them – but of course no update is complete until you all have it. Plus, at the time I did the interview we had started the NoDo (“march update”) delivery process and I knew “it was going well” from our perspective: people were officially getting it, the success rate of its deployment on real-world phones was looking good, and we were happy that the process had STARTED well. Still—these are NOT the same as all of you getting it and I’m sorry that I came across as insensitive to that fact.

I am a very, very big advocate for all our end-users and developers, and it bothers me a lot if I sounded out of touch. I wasn’t as prepared for this interview as I should have been—I walked into the studio with an informal state of mind, thinking about MIX and what we WILL be talking about, and I didn’t have the right up-to-date information to give a good explanation on updates which I know to be a very high-interest topic right now.

I have read all of the comments here (and many of them on the other blogs) and so has pretty much everyone in our management team. We know it’s been frustrating to wait for features/fixes and (probably worse) to hear little from us on specific dates. We are sorry the process has been rocky. The “where’s my phone update” table is our first step to try to remedy this in the face of technical problems that have made our first wave of updates take longer than we expected. We know the table would benefit greatly from more detail, and we are hoping to add more to it by working with the Operators who own the “testing” phase to get more clarity. If your phone is shown in “scheduling”, it’ll be worth checking the table next week.

In the spirit of “MIX as a conversation” – I will make sure that when I show up in Vegas that I’m well prepared to give an update in person and to try to answer your questions as best I can. You folks are obviously a very important audience for us and it’s right for you to expect us to communicate and execute better. I know at this point it’s our actions that matter… The main thing we are trying to do is to get the updates out to everyone in a way that is reliable and works, and then make our process better and more transparent in the future.

Thanks,

Joe

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Reader comments

Joe Belfiore responds to update criticism

46 Comments

Well written, and very respectful in his apologies. This is the better damage control.Now, get all the phones updated before MIX! *dreaming*

I think most people are just frustrated with the lack of transparency. I mean is copy/paste really that big of a deal? For me it isn't. I've been more upset the update was promised late March and there's no word on when I'm going to see it. If they can get a weekly status from carriers who are still testing the update then I think it'll do a lot to quiet the controversy.

Yeah I'd agree with you mostly, the frustration is being generated because everyone saw this update cycle as the indication of how slick the update process would be, and are now worried that it will affect the big updates like Mango.Personally copy and paste is only going to be 'must-have' in a couple of instances, when I want to copy postcodes from a text message into maps to search, and when I need to put information from the browser into an app (for example Twitter integration through OAuth requires you to put a 7 digit code into an app before it's authorised).

This is honestly the best corporate response I've seen out of Microsoft since November. This wasn't condescendingly self-congratulatory, it didn't focus on number of apps in the marketplace and it didn't talk about how exciting the future is. It was a sobering, straight-forward and seemingly honest response. THIS is what should have been posted back at the end of Feb/beginning of March. I hope this is the type of writing we see from them from now on.

Honestly, I am so tired of the pissing and moaning over this update. Do I want it? Yes. Am I frustrated that I don't have it? Yes. WILL I LIVE WITHOUT IT FOR ANOTHER MONTH? YES. This gimme, gimme, gimme need for instant gratification is just nuts.

I think you're mischaracterizing the source of the frustration. It isn't so much that we've just gotta have those NoDo features, it's that the whole update history since launch calls into serious question the ability of Microsoft's WP7 to compete in the phone OS wars. Apple and Google have both released multiple major and minor updates since WP7 was released, yet Microsoft is still struggling to deliver its first - very minor - service pack, with the first major update another 9-12 months out. The Motorola Atrix, released in late February, running Android (which if you believe the chatter around this forum is *never* updated) has already received its first service pack, and another update is scheduled for next month. As best as I can estimate, Google and Apple are moving about six times faster than Microsoft; the only way Microsoft can ever hope to catch up with Apple and Google is to nuke them.

Comparing what Apple and Google have done to what MS has done since WP7 has been released is comparing apples and oranges.Apple has complete control over its hardware and software and Google has ZERO rersponsibility for actually getting the updates to the devices, save the Nexus (and can we not forget what a disaster THAT device has been?). Microsoft can say neither - Microsoft doesn't control the hardware and Microsoft is responsible for delivering the update, all the while dealing with various carriers that all do things differently trying to get it tested and approved for deployment.This is the FIRST update for chrissake. Now, if we get to Mango and Microsoft STILL can't get their act together, well then I'll be the first one in line shouting at them about their incompetence. But having had some experience coding and delivering software, the first time you do something rarely, if EVER, goes completely smoothly. The more you do it, the better you get at it. And I, for one, am prepared to give MS the benefit of the doubt on their first deployment before I start proclaiming WP7 a failure (Neowin) or becoming a whiny little girl (Thurrot) or knee-jerking to the fear that MS will never catch up.And no, I don't think I am micharacterizing the source of the frustration. While folks like yourself may truly be frustrated for the reasons you state, I'd bet a **** that a good 85% of the bitching is from people that are used to getting spoonfed what they want when they want it like little screaming toddlers. These are the children this era of instant gratification has raised.

Sure I'm comparing apples and oranges. But that is exactly what the customers in the store are doing as well. To continue your analogy, they have to decide between that ripe apple and that green orange, and Microsoft has been promising since last year that very soon that orange will be ripe and when it is it will be better than that shiny apple. But it is obvious that this isn't happening - that apple keeps getting better and better and that orange just sits there green as ever.This is the first update for WP7, that is true. But Microsoft isn't some raw startup company, they've been making phone OS's for decades, and they've been doing software updates for decades, and they should learned enough about the process to avoid these sorts of embarrassments.In order for WP7 to catch up with Apple and Android, NoDo should have been out in January, with a second small update in April, and Mango rolling out in June. If that's impossible for Microsoft then they should just pack up and go home, because that's the speed at which their competitors are evolving. At this rate it's uncertain that WP7 will even be able to catch Blackberry. I don't think it's a knee-jerk fear; it's not just based on the botched nodo update but the sluggish announced schedule for Mango. The botched nodo update just makes it seem more likely that Mango will slip into next year. But even if it doesn't, even if Mango makes it into phones for the Christmas season as scheduled, even if the existing phones are updated with Mango before the end of the year as hoped, that's still too slow to catch up with their competitors.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think you are just dead wrong. MS has said all along this is a marathon, not a sprint. Anyone that expects the make or break period for MS to "catch up" is the first 12 months is just being flat-out unrealistic.And while MS has been putting out Windows Mobile for years, that is also comparing BUSINESS APPLES to MASS CONSUMER Oranges.

Last year = 4 months ago. Don't use technicalities to make it sound longer.Some devices have received the update. Saying that there's no progress is silly.WP7 is not Windows Mobile and very much not Windows desktop, so saying they have experience with the update process is fallacy.Unless MS as a whole company goes down (i.e., Windows desktop, XBox, Office, etc.) or they just don't want to try anymore, it's never too late for them to catch up. They have the ability to keep supporting WP7 until catches up. Once NoDo and Mango are on handsets, they'll pretty much be "caught up" to the main feature-set for most smartphone OSes. When that happens, only the exclusive features should matter to consumers, which in WP7's case is XBox Live integration, Office, UI, etc. It's extremely short-sighted to be so pessimistic.

"WP7 is not Windows Mobile and very much not Windows desktop, so saying they have experience with the update process is fallacy."I don't know about that...I'd say that MS have shown themselves to have, hands down, the best update delivery capabilities in the world. The sheer variety of hardware that runs Windows is breathtaking, and they successfully push out updates to virtually all of them. I think when people look at WP7, they assumed MS' prowess in this area would help them meet their promise of frequent updates.

Agree that MS should be issuing frequent updates. I am a former WM fan bordering on evangelist who was very disappointed when MS removed the power user features from WP7. Even though disappointed, I did wish MS well, and purchased a HD7 to familiarize myself with the OS based on the promise that more features would be coming shortly. When MS abandoned the power user, I did join the Android camp for my "daily driver" since it was the closest in feature set to the old WM.I see MS committing the same mistakes with WP7 as they did with the original Zune. I purchased the original Zune 30 in brown (because that color was dissed in the tech press). I liked the bigger screen, and better navigation on the Zune vs. the then current iPods, but the original Zune was missing some basic features. MS invited feedback on the Zune, and promised timely updates when calling their 800 number. Unfortunately, the updates were few / far between, and my initial enthusiasm for the Zune was zapped. The Zune 80, and HD were nice devices, but the market had moved on, and MS did not advertise them very well. I see MS following the same game plan with WP7. Maybe the update promises were exaggerated in the press, or taken out of context, but the bottom line is the tech world believed we would have frequent updates, and the missing features would be forthcoming shortly. In this day / age when new competing devices are released weekly, frequent updates are not "nice to have", but critical to keep pace with (or hopefully leapfrog) the competition. The WP7 hardware is already getting old, and the missing features vs. the competition more glaring enhanced by the lack of successful updates.In spite of my disappointment with MS for abandoning the power user, I still wish them well, and would like to rejoin the MS mobile fold as a super fan / evangelist. Unfortunately, the lack of public update / improvement action on MS's part is causing my initial enthusiasm to be zapped like it was with the Zune.I respect other opinions, and if you are satisfied with the current MS schedule, fine. Just wanted to add my comment as a former WM (over a dozen devices) fan. WM still was the best device for my needs, and out of the box, supported more of the tasks I do than the competition including Android.

I'm no longer pissed about this, as I'm focusing all of my hate towards Verizon and their lack of instilling confidence in me for the Trophy. Hate you Verizon. Please love me soon.

Your no longer pissed about this TILL you get your Trophy on Verizon..I agree tho, I am pissed at Verizon for dropping the ball.Where is my Windows Phone 7 model ? Early 2011 has come and gone.

I could careless for copy and paste. I was more upset about the delays; don't do this for future updates microsoft. Anyhow this is a very professional responce and Joe should get a beer or something for not being like everyone else and giving a half-assed vague reponse. Props to you Joe. Anyhow I hope to see my Venue Pro recieve this update sometime soon.

He does make it sound like the delays were for technical reasons and not the carriers dicking around with us. I'm guessing in the testing for the January release they found the bug that they patched with the pre-nodo update (7008) which then needed a new round of tests and so on. If the next update doesn't run into some big bug that needs it's own update to fix it should be on-time.

Put it this way,I came from the Palm Pre, where we had had no word on update process. A lot of original Sprint Pre owners were promised things like Flash and compatibility with the new TouchPad. Once HP had their event, lots of die hard Palm fans waited anxiously, in major hopes that we'd be getting good news. HP made no formal announcements about updates. Soon after the announcement Rubenstien stated that the promised 2.0 update, an update shown on the original Sprint Pre, would not be coming stating that the hardware was not capable to run it. Considering that the WebOS internals team have made it work with 2.1.0 we can conclude that it simply isn't true and that they actually just wanted to further develop on their new devices rather than focus on a small demographic of loyalists.At least Microsoft has made a page stating what's going on. I agree that there are a lot of problems that are occurring, but we all can't get angry and upset when a company doesn't deliver.Furthermore, no one is immune to problems with updates. Heck, the 4.0 update on the onset of the iPhone 4 basically killed the 3GS to the point where people were downgrading. Android has various hardware manufactures with problems (cough cough Samsung Epic froyo cough cough).I have faith in Microsoft and I hope that they will pull through with these updates. I understand the pain you earlier adopters have had, as they are really frustrating. Palm/HP lack of update consistency had pushed me away from their platform. But at this point, we just got to accept that this is going to be a normal thing no matter what platform.

Me too. Just got an Arrive one week ago. There are lots and lots of things that are soooo much better about webOS -- in fact, as an OS it simply rocks the pants off WP7 -- but I am already more productive and happy on my Arrive than I ever was on my Pre. I can *edit documents*. I can listen to Rhapsody (but oh man does multitasking need to get here yesterday). I can sync memos in a way that works and doesn't force me to use Google! I can tag multiple messages in email. I can load the NYTimes.com Web page in under four minutes. I can reboot my phone in about 30 seconds. I can get local search results (from Bing, which works great) without waiting several minutes for my software (Google maps) to launch. I can use voice dialing.In short, while I miss webOS dearly, the fact is that WP7 has a growing ecosystem, is absolutely lag free (at least in the native apps), and is stunningly beautiful to look at. I cannot believe how gorgeous the email client is.That said, MS would do well to copy everything they possibly can from webOS. With the exception of performance (which is dismal on webOS), it simply rocks WP7 in every other way, especially multitasking, app launching, notifications and access to homebrew. When there is anything half as badass as Preware on WP7, then we can start comparing. Also, the touchstone is life-changing. They should be a standard accessory with every phone.But right now, if you want to get work done, you simply can't use webOS, it is too crippled. Given that webOS is just 100% dead and buried, and all its users are suffering from some kind of Stockholm syndrome, I would strongly encourage anyone left in that quagmire to jump in the pond over here. The water's fine.(That said, webOS was updated something like a dozen times in the first six months after its release, and most of them were significant. MS needs to get it's butt in gear and get Mango out *this year*, preferably in less than six months from NoDo.)

Wow. Microsoft (specifically Joe Belfiore) have all my respect for a most sencere response to all the criticism. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and with that I truly believe that this fiasco will only help them learn, absorb and excecute alot better for future updates, which in turn will make all of us happy.

I still don't see why Operators have to approve updates. I understand if it's OEMs but why Operators??? Apple bypass operators, don't they???!!!. I hope they will come up with a better way to send out updates so everyone around the world will get the update regardless of the OEM and Operator.

Well, operators testing updates isn't anything new, they also test iPhone updates actually. The thing with apple is that there is no OEM middle man who also has to test, so the time gets cut. Also there's just one device not 10 or 20 etc.Lots of operators add their own apps and stuff so there could be testing to see if those still work fine and that the updates don't somehow **** on their network.

exactly where the operators like ATT put their own apps (in some cases bloatware which thankfully now we can ditch much easier than before) and ensure that those work with the new update. And apple now has to contend with not only ATT but VZN and cdma "culture" so the process with them may take longer also.

Blah i'm not buying anything Microsoft says. Joe already has the NoDo update and a beta on Mango on his phone. its sucks but lets all face it not everyone will get the NoDo update. Carries will block and delay it along with MS. All to push the newer handsets that they want everyone to purchase. Watch it'll be November / December before all carries give out the update. So will give it out before the summer but a lot wont.

Please give.r it a rest. Those carriesr who did not roll out pre nodo HAVE to roll out nodo MS has said carriers muay sjip one update cycle but must roll out the next. Sammie had issues with some/many phones so they HAVE to roll out nodo Perhaps because of those issues they are being more carefull in testing to ensure that there are no problems with the nodo cysle. take a chill pill and wait for a while without whining like a spoiled child. Please!!!

Frankly, I don't understand why you are all fawning over this horrible explanation."I wasn’t as prepared for this interview as I should have been"Quite right, Joe was not prepared! He clearly has lost the perspective of who his customer is. He was also very unaware of the lack of customer satisfaction on the update cycle. What kind of rock is he living under?This is so very typical of the Microsoft mentality and why they are performing so poorly in the consumer market. Perhaps Joe should look at the iphone update cycle. Updates are frequent, come with features people want, and are also very fast on bug fixes. This is the reality of Microsoft's competition and they seeem to discount the customer loyalty this type of service can generate. Look at all the Apple Fanboy's out there if you want to understand customer loyalty.As far as trying to blame the carriers for this problem, I'm not sure if that holds water. Microsoft was dumb enough to crawl into bed with these guys and because of this we lose features and Microsoft loses control. I think the "Love your Bank" commercials are funny, but does anyone out there "Love your Wireless Carrier"? AT&T is the sole reason we do not have front facing cameras on our phones, or tethering apps, or Skype and with 2 year contract locks there is no real competition for your dollar as you cannot change carriers easily. Bad Decision MS, you should have divorced yourself from the carriers like Apple did.Guys, I love my Windows Phone, but Microsoft, you are making it hard for me to recommend it to my friends and family. I once bragged about all I could do with my Windows Mobile handset, now all my friends have the cool features and laugh at my phone. Sure it looks cool and it's got potential, but with Mango close to a year away (anyone want to bet on January or later in 2012) that potential will not come anytime soon.Microsoft, you are letting us down, and sinking your own ship at the same time. Please, Please get a clue.

Hard to recommend to friends and family? Do they scour Windows Phone websites like we do? Do they even have an idea who Joe is? Do they even know what CDMA means? I think that's taking it a little too far. Not everony out there knows every technical detail about phones. I can easily show off Windows Phone to people I've never met before--just because it doesn't have all the teeny-tiny geeky things about it doesn't mean people out there can't enjoy it.Basically, just because a phone doesn't have this feature or that doesn't mean it can't be a cool phone. My girlfriend and a friend's mother both own a Focus and this is their first smartphone, and they LOVE it.

I'm with you, in the beginning I got 4 friends to drop there blackberry and android phones to switch to wp7. I even stated to them updates will be coming with all the features the missed. I guess I look like a lair now. I can see why Rep's at phone stores over look the WP7 and don't recommend it.

That's great! Joe seems like a super Guy He is very sincere. He really seems to connect with the enduser, which is why he's where he is.....unfortunately this does nothing to make me believe MICROSOFt is capable of handling this platform like winner.Dave

I appreciate Joe's coming forward and trying to shed some light on what's been going on BUT this whole update fiasco has been spiraling downward since the 1st release of the "pre-NoDo" update.. In my case maybe I have gotten spoiled being a iPhone/iPad user, with iOS updates are announced and arrive to EVERYONE on that given date.. With WP7 I still haven't received the February pre-update and April is a few days away.. Let's hope Mango comes earlier then expected and is more successful then this debacle, I have to say the excitement and luster of wp7 has been lost in my case by this whole incident.. Not to mention according to what I have read being a AT&T Focus owner it appears we will be one of the very LAST to see the update, allowing Carriers to hold it back for "testing" is nothing more then a shell game which most of us see through.. MS has tested it, AT&T is just letting the other carriers be the guenia pigs, we will be lucky if we see the Feb/March updates in April/May.. It truly STINKS to the high heavens!!

In tne past ATT was the only carrier in North America who had to test the updates on the iphone now there are more MS starts off with many more carriers world wide that have to run the update on each of the windows phones they are selling from several oems. It takes longer and when they find problems they take time to correct and then there are more tests. Maybe you are right to some degree and maybe you are not. The public may never know or find out. Meanwhilethe update for we focus owners will get here when it get's here. All the whining and moaning and groaning and espousing of consipracy thereiries will not make it appear any faster. So either wait aptiently for it or become a basket case or send your bp through the roof worrying about it . For me I will continue toi use my focus and be happy that I have a newer phone that opens quicker and gets my work done on it faster than my old tilt2.

out of all the carries microsoft has rolled out NoDo to ZERO. So being that AT&T was the only one testing the iphone updates means nothing. Apple went from 4.3 release to at&t and verizon users to 4.3.1 in under two weeks. so how is that 2 carriers can get updates processed and rolled out and even with 6-7 carriers MS can't even roll out 1

First time I have ever seen a sincere and forthright response from a major corporation. Kudos to Joe and Microsoft.Ok AT&T, now its your turn to come clean. I'm waiting.

AT&T probably doesn't even acknowledge WP7 users exist on their network. They're pushing pretty hard with Android.

It's frustrating that the carriers hold so much power over updates. It should honestly be direct to the customer through Zune without the roll out.

You got to be kidding... The big issue for me is that we were lied to. I purchased a Focus after having a Samsung Captivate that many features (GPS being the major one) didn't work. When I purchased it, I was told it would be updated in a matter of days...After 2 months of frustration, I sold it and became one of the first adopters of WP7. We had been told that Microsoft would not let the carriers dictate when we would get updates...they would push them out as they were completed. It would be seamless. And there would be many as they understood that WP7 was an incomplete platform. Well we all know that was a huge lie... I'll bet all of us early adopters will never see Mango... We need more people like Paul Thurott making noise, and less people complaining about "instant gratification". This was an incomplete platform when shipped, and nothing has been updated. Shame on you Microsoft!

At MWC, Microsoft stated they wanted to the most carrier friendly platform so should we be at all surprised that carriers are getting to have their way a little with Microsoft. This update is the first major update to a great platform. Do I want it? Yes! Am I killer mad at Microsoft for not delivering it when they "promised" it? Not even close. Its really sad to see people who support Microsoft act like complete band wagoners, it's as bad as dealing with sports fans.Like others have sad, if they botch up Mango then we should be upset for sure. But NoDo is peanuts compared to Mango.

Well I for one think Joe is a class act and really appreciate his commitment with WP7 users.It's clear that it's easier to complain than to compliment.For me, the most important thing about all this is that I consider I am talking a really big leap of faith with WP7. Don't get me wrong I love my phone a lot. I'm a software developer only use MS tech's. So I'm also jumping to make apps for WP7. But when I say it's a leap of faith, I'm talking about buying a phone of an unproven platform. I live in Venezuela, WP7 will only come to the carriers here in 2012 so I had to buy an unlocked phone which makes it expensive and I'm not able to enjoy all the services that make the platform great.I know the only way WP7 stands a chance against the other "ecosystems" is to really get behind and push those updates fast to catch up. When they do, I think they will be much better than the other platforms because MS has some services that they wish they had. And I really think WP7 will gain a lot because of it's new relationship with Nokia.I know MS is trying it's best and I hope they get their act together. I'll wait with my fingers crossed, but I can't wait for evere.

What I don't understand is that if he meant ' another group who delivers the update' is carrier, why in the world would the update for the open market phones have to be in batches? For what reasons? Carriers definitely have nothing to do with the open market phones. No? It can't be the OEMs can it?Whateve... something just not right here!

Comments, Observations & PhilosophyThese comments are strictly my own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of any other person mentioned herein.-Joe, thanks for your frank admission. Do your homework.-I have a thirty-five year-old mind trapped in a 60+ body; I'm a proud veteran.-No one is more impatient than I, but I've learned not to let impatience control my life/happiness. That's one of the bene- fits of experience (age).-I am an MS fanboy!If you stand for/behind nothing, you'll fall for anything.-I am an early WP7 adopter (Samsung Focus); no pre-NoDo yet.-At&T will not allow 'special characters' in my att.net password (kind of quirky & poor security?). Why not drag their feet/ flex their muscles.-Remember, you can get AIDS of the ear, listening to too many a***oles. Tech journalists have enough imagination to hype/ create a crisis on a slow news day/week/month.-If you're that unhappy with your WP7, go on over to the com- petition; I'd rather have you on their side than mine!-Quit complaining; pay $99 for a dev license & side-load an XDA ROM.-Buy a WP7 device through a 99 cent deal (e.g. amazon.com), cancel your contract, pay the $325-$350 early termination fee and be master of your fate. It's much cheaper than buying an unlocked phone. Take it to another carrier.Hope I stopped talking before you stopped reading.I'm glad I got that off my chest.Flame On Kiddies!