What it is: Microsoft promised that all Windows Phone 8 devices would be able to upgrade to Windows 10. Now they’re breaking that promise.
It must be hard to be a loyal Microsoft smartphone user. As an alternative to iOS and Android, which dominate the smartphone market, Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 as a third alternative for people who didn’t like iOS or Android. Technically, Windows Phone 7 and all subsequent versions are decent, but there’s little compelling reason to switch to Windows Phone if you’re already using an iPhone or Android phone. However for people choosing their first smartphone, Windows Phone 7 was a good alternative to iOS or Android.
Then Microsoft introduced an improved version of Windows Phone called Windows Phone 8. While Windows Phone 8 looked and worked like Windows Phone 7, it was actually an entirely new operating system. That meant that developers who had worked to create Windows Phone 7 apps essentially had to rewrite their apps from scratch to get them to work on Windows Phone 8.
Even worse, anyone who bought a Windows Phone 7 phone couldn’t upgrade to Windows Phone 8. The only option was to buy a new smartphone running Windows Phone 8. For loyal Microsoft supporters, this wasn’t too much of a hardship since most people replace4 their smartphones every few years anyway, so once they upgraded from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8, everything seemed comfortable because Microsoft promised that all Windows Phone 8 devices would be able to upgrade to Windows 10.
Now Microsoft is breaking that promise. That means only some (not all) Windows Phone 8 devices can upgrade to Windows 10. Even worse, any developer who created Windows Phone 8 apps will essentially have to rewrite them from scratch to create Windows 10 apps. The promise of Windows 10 was that it can upgrade Windows Phone 8d devices and run on multiple devices such as tablets and PCs.
While this sounds appealing, it’s not necessarily useful from a developer’s point of view. If you create a smartphone app, the user interface is uniquely optimized for mobile use. Putting that app on a desktop may not make sense.
For example, the most common smartphone app is a mapping app that gives you directions as you’re driving. Put that same app on a desktop PC and it’s totally useless since you’ll never use a mapping app to get real-time driving directions on a PC that remains fixed to a desk and an electrical outlet.
Going the other way, how many people want to run a desktop program on a smartphone? Many architects use AutoCAD to design buildings on their desktop PC, but how many would continue designing buildings using AutoCAD on a smartphone?
Not only has Microsoft broken its promises with consumers by constantly forcing them to buy new hardware to run the latest smartphone operating system, but they’re constantly breaking their promises with developers by forcing them to constantly rewrite their apps for a nearly non-existent market. On top of that, Microsoft’s great promise of letting you write code once that runs on multiple form factors is another promise that sounds good in theory, but often fails in practical application.
With Microsoft constantly breaking its promises, being a Microsoft supporter is getting more and more frustrating. If you want to continue supporting a product that keeps breaking its promises with you and making your life more difficult, you know which company to support. On the other hand, if you want a product that will simplify your life so you can actually do something with your technology instead of constantly wrestling to make your technology work, then you know which companies to consider and which one to avoid completely. If Microsoft expects both consumers and developers to remain loyal to them, they just have to start making promises they know they can keep.