Microsoft has finally addressed the Windows Phone 7 update issues and says around 90% of devices have successfully updated. What about that other 10%?
The software giant finally spoke out after 48 hours of radio silence after a large number of Samsung users experienced issues updating their devices. The issues stemmed from a seemingly minor software update issued on Monday, to ironically improve the Windows Phone update system for future releases.
WinRumors readers began reporting issues late on Monday with their Samsung Omnia 7 devices. The issues ranged from users not able to complete the update, leaving their phones in a frozen state, to users rebooting their devices after a failed update to find that their phones were unusable. Samsung Focus users were also affected but it appears there’s less cases of “bricked” problems with that particular model. Microsoft has now removed the update for Samsung phones and says it’s working to “correct the issue and as soon as possible” and will redistribute the update shortly.
Microsoft said on Wednesday that “contrary to some of the gloomy headlines out there” the company’s preliminary internal data paints “a very different picture about update progress”:
- 90 percent of people who’ve received an update notification have installed the new software patch successfully. (So when your turn to download it arrives, chances are good this will be a non-event.)
- Of the 10 percent who did experience a problem, nearly half failed for two basic reasons—a bad Internet connection or insufficient computer storage space. Luckily, both are easy to fix.
The company appears to be proud of the fact that 1 in 10 devices is failing to update correctly. If we put that into perspective, that’s 200,000 devices out of the 2 million Microsoft claims to have shipped to carriers. It’s not clear exactly how many devices have tried to take part in the update process as Microsoft has not shared that data. However, it’s safe to assume the actual figure of devices is much lower than 200,000. The software giant says that half of that 10% are “easy to fix”, what about the other half? The other 5% of devices are the main concern in this picture and Microsoft failed to address these users or the “bricked” reports.
Bricked users can try Microsoft’s troubleshooting steps outlined on the company’s support site. Unfortunately the steps for the “bricked” issue simply instruct users to reboot their devices, which isn’t working in a large majority of cases. WinRumors posted an unofficial fix on Wednesday that users have confirmed works well on their devices. Microsoft’s Brandon Watson says the company is “working” on updating the support documentation. Microsoft’s official line is that owners should return their devices for exchange at carriers or stores if the update has caused their devices to become unusable. However, this policy has angered many owners and has left carriers and stores confused.
Some owners report that Samsung and a number of mobile carriers in the UK have refused to swap devices, claiming that the issue is software related. WinRumors is unable to verify these reports but if they are true then it only adds to the lack of clear communication and confusion. Despite the confusion, Microsoft says it’s “committed to learning from our first update and improving the process. We know we have work to do, and we won’t be satisfied until you are.”
Microsoft, learn now. It’s time to open up a clear communication channel with your affected users rather than bragging about your 90% success rate and pointing them to convoluted KB support articles. Software issues will always arise across a large number of devices in the industry but it’s how a company deals with those issues that counts. Apple benefits from owning the ecosystem with a clear channel of support and retail outlets. Despite some high profile iPhone 4 issues, I have yet to read reports where 10% of iPhones failed to update correctly and a small number left unusable. Windows Phone 7 is in its infancy and if you’re serious about this platform then you need to improve that open support channel and respond quickly, now.