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Is the Atmosphere on Steve Ballmer’s Planet Breathable?

Steve Ballmer talking recently about the Windows Phone ‘brand’:

"I think you clearly have a lot more variety than Apple has. There’s really only one choice in the Apple world," he said. " I think the problem, if you don’t have a minimum kind of standard […] the brand means nothing to the user. Our brand means something to the user. It means something to the developer. It implies a certain level of consistency and high quality, which I think is important for the Windows Phone."

Wow. This reminds of the best bit of advice I ever got years ago when I was a complete rookie in my first telephone tech support job. A user asked me some bizzarre, Twilight Zone type question about what could be done with MS Excel and a radio antenna (seriously). A very wise veteran (thanks Clive) told me to ask the user how many moons there were on his planet and was the atmosphere breathable.

That’s what I want to ask Steve Ballmer when I see that quote of his above.

This is Windows Phone, the direct and long overdue descendant of Windows Mobile, we’re talking about here. Here’s what comes to mind for me when thinking of what this brand means:

— It’s still got Windows in the name, and Windows in the mobile space stands for failure and lack of ideas.

— An over-complicated, user-unfriendly interface – even if Windows Phone may have some fresh and more effective ideas, that’s the brand image I have for this platform.

— A company that has proved to be clueless about mobile for years, and a platform that’s been on nothing but a downward trajectory.

— A mobile platform that never cared a jot for apps, that never offered any sort of attractive delivery method for apps.

AppStoreMarketShare2009

Image via: arstechnica

And meaning something for developers, maybe so – but how much enthusiasm can they be feeling for an apps marketplace that is light-years behind iOS and Android.

As far as future prospects, I think MG Siegler says it perfectly in his reaction to the unveiling of Windows Phone 7 this week:

I think it’s safe to say for now that they’ve successfully stuck the landing. Now they just have to run a marathon. Up a mountain. Against competitors that they gave a 20 mile head-start to.

I guess maybe the name of Ballmer’s home is Planet Delusion, not sure about how many moons it’s got.

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