Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore explains Windows Phone update delays

By Tom Warren, on 25th Mar 11 10:35 pm with 25 Comments

Microsoft has put a face on its Windows Phone 7 update delays.

The software giant has encountered fierce criticism from Windows Phone 7 owners since it started distributing its much delayed “NoDo” update earlier this week. The company has started pushing the copy and paste update to unbranded devices in Europe and is scheduling carrier devices soon. A number of European carriers have confirmed that the update will be available in the next couple of weeks, some claiming that Microsoft is to blame for the delays.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore explained the update delays in a Channel 9 video on Friday. Belfiore explained that the company “found some situations” where Microsoft “hadn’t anticipated the way that OEM phones would be configured.” Microsoft wanted to get fixes in the channel before people went and updated to NoDo. Belfiore also explains the phased approach for the March NoDo update. “The way we’re going to do that is we’re going to throttle it so that it goes to a limited number of phones first so we can make sure that the update is working really well and that people are going to have a smooth experience,” says Belfiore.

The admission that Microsoft hadn’t anticipated OEM changes is a worrying one. The company owns the platform and the Samsung issues with the February update are a far cry from what many were expecting. Microsoft has one chance to get back into the market and its first set of updates have been less than smooth. It appears that Microsoft is learning from the update glitches though, but at the expense of every device owner who will now face an uncertain delay if they are randomly throttled or blocked by their carrier. The situation is messy and as a Windows Phone owner, I only hope we’ll see this less and less as Microsoft updates more frequently in the future.

  • Steve Jobs

    Samsung is putting too much effort on its Android devices instead of it’s WP7 devices.

    • Anonymous

      Not profitable enough to invest heavily in a platform with such a small userbase. They’ll wait until WP7 gets broad public appeal and is adopted by lots of people…

    • Jesseisfts

      I have a Focus and the only reason i got one was because of the super AMOLED display, other than that samsung can suck it. Im getting an HTC next time.

    • andy

      I had plenty of htc in the past and I’m not going back. got a samsung and I perfectly agree with your reasons, but at the same time I’m waiting for a nokia.

    • Anonymous

      You also missed LG. My LG Optimus 7 feels like it is hewn from granite. Just like the update, different UK carriers handled the LAUNCH of Windows Phone 7 differently. Deutsch Telecom’s T-Mobile in the UK, messed me around terribly with delays (and lies). So I cancelled 2 orders with them. And look how slow they have been with approving NoDo, its _still_ not approved. Orange UK put a great big ugly Orange square Logo on your lovely new smartphone, so I didn’t go with them. O2 had the Samsung, and VodeFone had the LG. I went with the LG, because of the larger battery, and wanted the smaller LG. I am so glad I did, VodaFone UK have been an excellent carrier, in terms of customer service and approving updates, and I am not suffering from Samsung issues.

  • Bnlf

    hope it doesnt take 1 month to get nodo update.

  • Anonymous

    Good idea of them to put a human face to it – and I think he described it well.

    Hopefully in the future it can be a smoother process, but as an Android user I deffinately see advantages in how Microsoft are doing things.

  • Kostja M

    Thats all I wanted to know in the first place, “random” and “throttel”

  • ynotm

    can’t believe it took this long and a VP to come out and plainly say what’s been going on, but glad they finally did, rather than keeping up all the crappy marketing spin/tables that don’t tell us anything.

    basically, the pre-nodo update spooked them, so they’re doing a slow roll out to make sure they don’t brick anyone elses phone (or as small a group as possible). OEMs + Microsoft have been testing the update these past months (which still seems like ridiculously long time for such a small update), and once they signed off, it was handed to the next link in the chain: the carriers, which is where we are now.

    or at least that’s how I interpretted it.

    • Anonymous

      I hope they do something about the hardware manufacturers who built outside of the specs given to them. Android would be wise to do the same thing because at some point people are going to give up on trying to find a decent Android phone when the competition (Apple) is priced the same.

  • Masoud

    In that case i really worry about Mango update !!!

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t Microsoft push out weekly updates to thousands of configurations modified in multiple ways by oem’s all over the world? Not sure I understand the mobile situation, seems like all the phones have pretty much the exact same specs. This should be a cake walk to a software giant

    • Andy

      I love wp7 and everything but this… ( Monty python ) …
      Not …good…enough !

  • Koki_v3

    If they really want to release Mango in the fall or “later this year”, they should distribute it to carriers and OEMs like… right now, haha

  • Anonymous

    This is why the Nokia announcement is so huge. The Windows experience has ALWAYS been ruined by lazy, cheap or overly ambitious hardware manufacturers. Windows Vista would have been a decent operating system rather than a colossal failure if they would have forced manufacturers to actually put some horsepower into the hardware they sold. A modern example would be to look at the number of $1,000 plus laptops on the market still running 5400 RPM hard drives on 64bit Windows 7 with 2GB of RAM and an on board Video Card.

    How do you think that user is going to compare their computing experience to a fast Ubuntu boot up or a “smooth” OSX on a brand new Macbook?

    They’ll be CONVINCED they need to pay for quality and rather than investigate and pay for a quality Windows machine they’ll buy the Apple one.

    The same thing is going to happen with their mobile product if they don’t fix this HUGE consumer perception issue. Those kind of crap specs should be relegated to Windows 7 starter edition and any other kind of builds should result in some kind of retribution.

    • andy

      I think if I weren’t so drunk I would have said almost exactly the same you did, except for the fact that I can’t manage to even type the fruit toymaker name.
      At the same time, I’m not worrying so much as I’m always confident the right and best product wins in the long run, even with this tons of bad publicity and communist-like medias propaganda

    • Anonymous

      hmm just like Zune won over the iPod and Betamax won over VHS

    • Anonymous

      There is no such thing as “win” in the mobile telephone space. It is a huge market, with lots of choice. It’s not like MERCEDES “won” and now we all drive Mercedes cars. Its a nonsense. Betamax and VHS is not the same, as they polarized around a “format”, not a manufacturer. And I don’t think iPod “won” over Zune, Zune is very much alive which proves my point.
      As long as Microsoft are committed to their phone platform this time, then thats good enough for me.
      In fact, Windows Mobile 6.x and prior were probably one of Microsofts biggest failings/awful products. On the other end of that scale, you have Xbox and Windows 7 which are excellent. So as long as Windows Phone 7 is more like Xbox than WM6 then it will be great. And as a current owner, I can tell you it is already a great phone and phone OS.

  • Tony Gorham

    If the carriers can sell a new phone with nodo installed then it has been accepted for their network. They clearly do NOT need to retest it for handsets they have already sold. If you buy a new Focus it will surely come with NODO so there can be no reason to withhold the rollout of NODO to existing customers. If anyone knows differetnt I would love to here and I am happy to stand corrected.

    We all feel betrayed but that is all a side issue. MS say that the carriers are testing but these same carriers will sell you a new phone with the update so the only issue is the deployment of the update.

    • andy

      on that regard, maybe the good side of the deal will pan out. Carriers/Vendors can’t hold back more than one update -ever- for the lifecycle of their handset, which if I understood it correctly means Microsoft decides which phone gets up to which update. This is very different than android where everybody can stop updating a phone (or just not update it) in order to sell the new model

  • Guest

    I think people are a little too worried about this, what it’s a few weeks late because there were unexpected issues with the first update and they want to make sure it works perfectly the second round. Does Android or iPhone really do this any better? iPhone updates you don’t get warning so they can’t be seen as late even when they are, and Android you’re lucky if you get updates at all. For the vast majority I don’t think they’re checking everyday for the update, they probably haven’t even heard of this “issue” because it’s not really an issue at all for them.

  • andy

    Now … if only they would solve the 800705B4 error…

  • Shiro

    When the heck is sprint getting wp7???

    • Tim M

      There’s this thing called the HTC Arrive…check it out…

  • CAH

    Microsft manages to push through loads of updates on a monthly basis to PC machines with different hardware specs and different installed software bases, doing the same for Windows Phone would be have even easier. The problem with Microsoft is that it values its relationships with its partners (OEM’s and Carrirers) above those of the end user/consumer. Naively I have only recently realised this, anyway being a little wiser now, it is something I will to take into account in my future purchasing decisions (i.e. unless this culture changes).

    Typically I change my phone on a 12 monthly basis. I like WP7 and whether I stick with it will depend on a dispassionate view of where it is when decision time approaches in the fall. I knew WP7 was not feature complete when I bought it but mistakenly expected Miscrosoft to make a better effort of the update process in an attempt to match the offer from other platforms – however I try to rationalize, it is difficult to conclude that at least to- date, the update process has been a mess.