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Windows Phone 7 glitch magnified by confusion, inflexibility

John Cox | Feb. 23, 2011
The software glitch affecting some Windows Phone 7 is being made worse by lack of coordination, misinformation, and inflexible procedures by handset makers and mobile carriers.

FRAMINGHAM, 23 FEBRUARY 2011 - The software glitch afflicting some Samsung Windows Phone 7 users is being magnified by an apparent lack of coordination among the key players in Microsoft's mobile environment.

After complaints from end users, Microsoft (MSFT) has suspended its first Windows Phone 7 update for Samsung handsets, in order to correct an unidentified "technical issue with the Windows Phone update process." But the glaringly public glitch has highlighted the fact that the "Windows Phone update process" involves more than just Microsoft, its code, and the end device. Some afflicted end users complained in online forums that neither the handset manufacturer nor their mobile carrier were even bothering to help.

A user with the handle Qboid_WP7Fail, complained at the Microsoft Answers Web site that his Omnia 7 phone, on Virgin's mobile network in the U.K., "is currently unusable, even after hard reset."

And anything like tech support, let alone customer service, was in short supply: "Samsung Customer Service were useless (I had to explain what Zune was) and Virgin (the carrier) told me they haven't approved the update so were washing their hands of this issue."

Another U.K. user with a different carrier had a similar experience. "In my case, T-Mobile UK also said 'it was nothing to do with them'," wrote Loconinja. "This does not bode well."

Microsoft says the problem affects a "small number of phones." Once the fix has been completed, the update will be released again for Samsung Windows Phone users.

Microsoft's complete statement on the matter is: "We have identified a technical issue with the Windows Phone update process that impacts a small number of phones. In response to this emerging issue, we have temporarily taken down the latest software update for Samsung phones in order to correct the issue and as soon as possible will redistribute the update."

That will be too late for some irate users. Another T-Mobile customer in the U.K., gcaw, says his handset is "quite literally bricked." A minor, routine software update now promises to be a weeks-long ordeal, compounded by business and support procedures that now look strikingly inflexible.

"What's most annoying is that T-Mobile UK, who sold me the phone just two months ago, are claiming this isn't their problem," his post continues. "They're telling me that I can take it to one of their stores [which Microsoft tech support has told users is the only option for a bricked phone], but it will have to be submitted as a manufacturer warranty claim - so rather than T-Mobile providing me with a replacement handset today, I'm going to have to wait "4-6 weeks" for the phone to be sent back to Samsung, for them to perform "diagnostics and checks", and to assess whether or not I'm entitled to a replacement handset."

 

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