Ovi's Blog on technology and the web

Why Microsoft loses customers

It was that time again for me to look at new cell phone options. My two-year contract with Cingular was over and I already decided a while ago that Verizon Wireless was looking better this time around. It also meant it was time for a new phone. I had a Windows Mobile-based smartphone the last couple of years which worked well, syncing nicely with my Outlook Calendar and Contacts. I ended up getting the Motorola Q which came with the same version of the Windows Mobile OS on it, but had a bigger nicer screen and QWERTY keyboard, so it was worth the price. The only problem was that about a month prior, I had decided not to use Outlook anymore since Windows Vista had built-in Email, Calendar and Contacts apps.

And that’s where things get messy. It turns out that even though Vista has a new Sync Center, as it’s called, a Windows Mobile 5 device cannot sync with Vista Calendar or Contacts. So I did some research and found out that there will be a Windows Mobile 6 released by the end of the year, but still without support for syncing with Vista Calendar and Contacts. And after even reading a post from a Microsoft developer’s blog where most of the comments posted are people’s pleas to include the sync support, the responses is that there are currently no plans to implement it.

Now, technically, Microsoft hadn’t lost me as I customer. I ended up getting the phone anyway and upgraded to Outlook 2007 (mainly because I had gotten used to the Vista Email and Calendar UI which it’s pretty similar to). But consider an alternative option: A Palm OS-based phone with its own software for Calendar and Contacts for your Desktop that would sync to your phone. All included with the phone, no need to buy additional software.

The way Microsoft is really losing customers though is by disappointing them. I’m sure a lot of people considered Vista Email, Calendar and Contacts as an alternative to Outlook and expected that its fancy new Sync Center would easily be able to sync with their Windows Mobile phones, especially in the new version coming out. But because of the complicated and pricey “solutions” they provide and in a way that seems to take advantage of some of their most devoted customers, they end up losing their customer’s trust, which in the long run is the worst they can do.

Originally published June 20th, 2007