Anger at Microsoft over Windows Phone 7 update policy change

News 13:33, 9 Jan 2012

Microsoft's changes to Windows Phone 7 updates have not been well received

Windows Phone 7 users have reacted to Microsoft’s announcement that its update process will change.

The Windows giant revealed on January 6 that it will no longer require carriers to push out new updates for devices, meaning customers of some carriers may be stranded without new builds of the platform.

Posting on the official Windows Team Blog, Windows General Manager Eric Hautala revealed the company will no longer be using the site to give customers update information:

‘As we continue our growth, we won't be individually detailing country, model and carrier details on the Where's My Phone Update? site any longer.’

However, Hautala’s preceeding comments were of much greater concern. He explained that a new update would be pushed out when carriers request it, rather than being mandatory.

‘This week we started to make a new Windows Phone update, 8107, available to many Windows Phone customers. The update, available to all carriers that request it, is part of our ongoing maintenance of Windows Phone,’ he said.

'In the months ahead, we’ll continue to send out firmware and maintenance updates as needed. These will be available across the globe—although not everybody will receive or require them. It depends on your country, carrier, and phone model. But remember that you’ll never have to guess when a Windows Phone update is waiting: Just watch for the pop up notification on your device.'

Now, to us this doesn't necessarily sound like all future updates will also be offered on an opt-in basis. Hautala hasn't explicitly said this is a permanent change of policy as far as we can tell.

It could be a storm in a teacup, but nonetheless it's proving to be a case of lock all your doors and Windows for Microsoft.

One poster said the decision was a ‘HUGE step backwards,’ another claimed it could be ‘the single thing that drives me away from Windows Phone.’

Yet more chimed in, saying that Microsoft’s new direction was ‘extremely disappointing’ and ‘not acceptable at all.’

Assuming for a moment that it's true, the knock-on effects are potentially even greater still.

Developers for the platform have expressed concern that this will create Android-style fragmentation and cause a multitude of compatibility issues with apps developed for Windows Phone.

One developer commenter said: ‘As a Microsoft partner that develops applications for Windows Phone, I have to protest this decision, and I will also speak to our contacts on the Microsoft Phone team. This is a mistake of major proportions.’

He added: ‘Making a change to allow the carriers to request updates hurts the end users, the hardware OEMs and ultimately the developers (and partners) that build applications for your platform.’

The comments page has snowballed into virtually unanimous protest over the move. If accurate, it does seem pretty insane to us, we just hope this has been one huge misunderstanding.

Microsoft has not yet made a comment or response to the outcry.

We’ll update as soon as we hear more.

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