Yesterday, I had an experience that shows why Microsoft should kill the Windows Phone brand and name its new phones something fun like Mango.
I went to Radio Shack to buy a cheap audio cable. The clerk was excited because it had just become an official Verizon outlet as well — the front of the store had a special Verizon awning, and there was Verizon advertising all over the place.
As I paid, the clerk and I began talking about phones. He said he used to work at the Apple Store, and was well-informed about the upcoming iPhone 5 and iCloud service. But he carried a Blackberry and was still a fan of those phones, too.
When customers come in looking for a new phone, here’s how he decides what to sell them.
If customers want a lot of games and video, he recommends an iPhone. If they mainly want an affordable phone to make calls and do a little Web surfing, he sells them an Android. And if they are on their phone all the time for email but don’t really care about apps and games, he still sells them a Blackberry, although as he said “they’re basically going away.”
“We only carry high-end smartphones.”
Image: Matt Rosoff Business Insider
So I asked him, “What about Windows Phone?”
“We haven’t seen those in a long time. Palm went with their own Web OS, although that’s kind of gone now.”
(He was talking about the Palm Treo, which was sort of popular before the iPhone came out in 2007.)
“But aren’t there some new ones coming out with Nokia or something?”
“Well…we only carry the high-end smartphones. Windows is really old.”
This is just one story, but Windows Phones have absolutely been getting buried at retail stores because of these kinds of interactions.
Nokia exec Chris Weber recently told me that one of the company’s biggest goals is to get retailers to carry and evangelize for Nokia Windows Phones. Looks like they have a lot of work ahead.