by Shane O'Neill

Windows Phone 7: Well-Liked But Far from Popular

Jul 18, 20113 mins

Despite miniscule market share and anemic sales, Windows Phone 7 beat Android in a mobile customer satisfaction survey. So why can't Microsoft sell these things?

Google’s Android mobile OS may be the most widely used smartphone platform, but Android user satisfaction does not match its mighty 38 percent market share. In fact, Android’s customer satisfaction ratings fall below the often-dismissed Windows Phone 7.

That’s according to a new survey of more than 4,000 consumers from ChangeWave Research, a division of analyst firm The 451 Group.

Not surprisingly, Apple’s iOS (which runs on the iPhone and iPad) had the highest customer satisfaction ranking, with 70 percent of survey respondents who are iPhone users saying they are “very satisfied.”

But the Android and Windows Phone 7 rankings were a bit of a revelation, and provide some much-needed good news for Microsoft.


When each mobile operating system was broken out, Windows Phone 7 finished second to iOS, with 57 percent of survey respondents who use WP7 reporting that they are “very satisfied” compared to 50 percent of Android users who are “very satisfied.”

It’s worth noting that the main ChangeWave chart hid the high WP7 customer satisfaction rankings (probably not intentionally). It lumped Windows Phone 7 with the old platform Windows Mobile, which is extinct but still leaves a bad taste in consumers’ mouths. Together, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile were labeled “Windows OS” and received a “very satisfied” rating of 27 percent.

Only when ChangeWave’s Windows Phone 7 customer satisfaction data is broken out in another chart, compiled by tech writer Dan Frommer on the site, do we see that 57 percent of WP7 users are “very satisfied.” This is emblematic of Microsoft’s mobile problem: a new platform being dragged down by resentment toward an old one. Microsoft is beating the Windows Phone drum all right, but only small number are listening.

Despite the positive customer satisfaction, WP7’s market share and sales numbers are still at dangerously low levels. IDC’s recent numbers have Windows Phone 7 at 3.8 percent market share among smartphone platforms, down from 5.5 percent in March. You can’t get much lower than that.

Yet the few and the proud who do own a Windows Phone 7 are very satisfied, according to the ChangeWave survey. However, this is just one survey and not an indicator that Android has lost momentum or that the WP7 tide is turning. But it does lend credence to the notion that WP7 is not dead in the water.

With positive customer satisfaction ratings, a major WP7 update coming this fall (“Mango”), a pending partnership with Nokia that will help expand globally and reports from both IDC and Gartner predicting that Windows Phone will be the No. 2 mobile platform by 2015, there are concrete reasons for consumers to consider a Windows Phone.

Microsoft is spending a reported $500 million on Windows Phone 7 marketing and has repeatedly committed to being “all in” for mobile. So far, expensive advertising has not paid off with revenue and market share gains.

But Windows Phone 7 is growing on consumers as Android is showing chinks in its armor. However, it doesn’t mean anything if Microsoft and its partners can’t figure out how to sell some phones.

What do you think? Is Windows Phone 7 on the upswing?