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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Microsoft yanks Windows Phone update from Samsung phones

By Rob Pegoraro

Microsoft's first attempt to update its Windows Phone 7 operating system ran aground when users of some Samsung smartphones reported that it "bricked" their devices. Instead of patching WP7 to prepare it for a significant software upgrade due soon, it fried their firmware and left them unable to boot up--with no cure besides taking the dead phone to a store for replacement under warranty.

windows_phone_logo.jpg

In two words: not good.

Peter Bright's post for Ars Technica outlines the problem as well as some diagnostic and repair procedures (and includes a wonderful photo you should click through to appreciate).

Microsoft responded yesterday by disabling this patch for Samsung phones, including AT&T's Focus. A blog post by Michael Stroh, titled "More answers about our first software update," tried to put a good spin on the situation, noting that 90 percent of WP7 users had no trouble with the update:

Of the 10 percent who did experience a problem, nearly half failed for two basic reasons--a bad Internet connection or insufficient computer storage space. Luckily, both are easy to fix.

But a 10 percent failure rate on an update is nothing to brag about. When 5 percent of attempted updates fail without an easy fix, that can only be regarded as horrific.

This undercuts a key point Microsoft made when it introduced WP7 in October: By limiting the changes manufacturers could make to this platform, it could retain control of the update process and make patches available to users faster. That would be a distinct contrast to Android, where individual manufacturers or carriers can hold up software upgrades for months while they adapt them to their own configurations--or, in some cases, for no discernable reason.

This also undercuts what had been a series of good headlines for Microsoft's mobile operating system, an overdue and satisfying break with its failed Windows Mobile platform. Most notably, Nokia announced earlier this month that it would scrap its own Symbian software and adopt Windows Phone instead. And WP7 is about to move outside AT&T and T-Mobile, the only two nationwide carriers to support it in the U.S.; this morning, Sprint unveiled the HTC Arrive, a phone with a slide-out keyboard that it will sell for $299.99 before a $100 mail-in rebate beginning March 20.

An e-mail from Sprint notes one feature unmentioned on its site: This device "will come out of the box with the latest Windows Phone 7 software, including features like cut and paste."

Problem is, every other smartphone operating system added support for copy, cut and paste months or years ago. Microsoft is already behind in this fast-moving market; further delays are not its friend.

By Rob Pegoraro  | February 24, 2011; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Microsoft, Mobile  
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Comments

Is 5% semidecimation?

Posted by: beetsnotbeats | February 24, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Some programmer in Asia is in some real hot moogoogaipan...

Posted by: ozpunk | February 24, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The actual failure rate was much much lower than 10%

Microsoft products virtually never have significant problems.

The enclosed link describes how Microsoft looks out for any possible failing in their products with an eagle eye.

http://rcpmag.com/articles/2007/07/01/minding-your-microsoft-manners.aspx

Its a hilarious link from a pro MS website advising potential Microsoft partners on how to behave when visiting Microsoft.

Posted by: dfolk1 | February 25, 2011 1:16 AM | Report abuse

What else do you expect from Microsoft? It doesn't have a history of great successes, does it.

Posted by: ccs53 | February 25, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

You Get What You Pay For...

Posted by: kkrimmer | February 25, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

ccs53,

Actually, yeah they do have a pretty good history of success: XBox, Windows, Office, Flight Simulator (some or all fairly old at this point, but still), not to mention a lot of gaming success for the Xbox. All reasons why they are one of the biggest and most successful software companies ever.

Posted by: Albert911emt | February 25, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

This failure is a very bad indicator for Microsoft's prospects in the phone business. Even, in the best case where they deliver a clearly superior product, they face an uphill battle even to establish Microsoft as a serious participant in the phone business. The ability to do a flawless job delivering updates is one of their most substantial success factors. The fact that they could not deliver on that competency even in a situation where their reputation is so clearly on the line is a very negative predictor for their future. The other unfortunate factor is that this failure comes as part of a growing history of substandard Microsoft performance over the last year. Some of these failures have been very visible. Kin is the most obvious example. Others have affected use cases that were particularly significant to me. Unfortunately, the lesson I have learned as someone who was an early and enthusiastic Vista adopter is that I can no longer count on a new version of a Microsoft product being at least as good as what it replaces.

Posted by: dnjake | February 25, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

After the debacle known as Windows Mobile 6, I swore, never again. MS is good at hype, not so good at software that works the first (or second) time out of the gate. Use at your own risk.

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