Microsoft’s Core Problem

The Nokia Lumia 920 has been announced, and it will ship with Windows Phone 8. Everything I’ve read and heard so far about the operating system itself sounds great, and it seems like it might do for Microsoft what Android 4.1 did for Google — continued refinement and filling in feature gaps. Although the device seems a bit large for my own personal taste — a continued and popular trend with all but Apple smartphones — it does indeed look like a good quality product.

After reading a transcript of this morning’s press event, I can’t help but shake my head when I read things like this:

(T.C. Sottek reporting for The Verge):

CEO Stephen Elop declined to give specific pricing or release dates, but he did say that Nokia would be entering “select markets” with “intense focus” in Q4 of 2012.

I’m not saying the new Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices will be bad — far from it — but the fundamental difference between Microsoft and Apple, is that Apple will always announce something with a price and ship date at any event they host. Why is it so difficult for Microsoft to grasp this concept? I doubt they really want to invite press out to an event with the intention of leaving people in the dark. I’m sure the entire Windows Phone team would love nothing more than to announce a new product with pricing and a ship date.

It seems to me like a deep-rooted fundamental core failing of the culture inside the company. Whilst it’s easier said then done to say: “Oh, they should just plan better!” — I lean towards upper management being the final deciding factor here. I’ve worked for companies that have shipped products as well, and in my experience it’s always been the marketing department that had fear, uncertainty, and doubt in so much as how pricing should be set, and when to release to market.

Even if you have something that is feature complete, don’t get me excited and entice me to buy it, only to tell me you aren’t announcing pricing or a ship date yet. Here’s a novel concept — announce your product when the trucks are full with boxes to ship to our doorsteps.