Why is Verizon unwilling to support Windows Phone?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: November 5, 2011

So we’ve passed the one year mark for Windows Phone. We’ve hit that huge bump in the road, so to speak, where people are looking at the mobile platform and evaluating its position in the market. Now, after we’ve seen it out in the wild for over a year, we can safely weigh it against the competition. We can sit here and say, pretty confidently, how it stacks up against the likes of Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS (soon to be BBX). Unfortunately, Windows Phone is still kind of hovering right there at the bottom of all those percentage lists, detailing where our favorite mobile operating systems stand in comparison to one another. Of course, personal preference plays a big part, but at the same time, so does availability.

And right now, availability of Windows Phone handsets in the United States is pretty slim. And that’s not anything to do with AT&T or T-Mobile USA, because those two carriers are putting in work when it comes to handling Microsoft’s mobile OS. Ever since launch both of the GSM-based major wireless carriers here in the States have been behind Microsoft and their fledgling platform, and it doesn’t look like that support has waned at all. In fact, we know that a few major handsets will launch for both networks here soon, from both Samsung and HTC. So, this isn’t something that we can fault those two for.

No, I’m looking right at Verizon. Actually, I could be looking right at Sprint, too, and maybe I should. Maybe I should be pointing two index fingers right now. But you know what? Sprint’s upper-management hasn’t come right out in the past, or at any point that I can remember, and said that Windows Phone wasn’t needed. You remember what I’m talking about, right? I’m referencing Tony Melone, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon, who at the beginning of the year said that the three main competitors on the Big Red network were (are?) iOS, Android and BlackBerry. He also added that Verizon doesn’t need the Microsoft and Nokia partnership (and therefore, by default, Window Phone).

I wrote about that back in February, and I said that I hope Verizon changes their opinion, and plans. It seemed pretty clear to me, after what Melone had said, that the HTC Trophy would be it for Windows Phone on the Verizon network in 2011, and you know what? That turned out to be true. In fact, while we’re hearing about new handsets for AT&T and T-Mobile, we aren’t hearing anything about Windows Phone for Verizon at all. The wireless carrier recently had a rally for its employees, and Android was the main focus of that gathering.

I seriously believe that Verizon (and Sprint, I’ll concede) need to change their outlook on Windows Phone. Or, if there’s something beyond that, it needs to be fixed right now. The HTC Titan would be an amazing replacement for the HTC Trophy, and I bet it would sell more than a handful of handsets overall. Or how about any of the high-end Samsung-branded devices that are heading to AT&T? Why are none of these handsets heading to Verizon?

If this is something that Microsoft needs to do, something that they need to negotiate or change, then they need to do it. It’s all well and good that we’ve got new handsets coming to AT&T and T-Mobile, but Verizon is too big of a market to just hand over to the competition. And that’s exactly what’s happening. Microsoft and Verizon, listen up: you’re both in the market of selling phones, one way or another. Microsoft, you’ve got manufacturers who will create CDMA-based phones for Verizon’s network, and high-end ones, too. Verizon, you’ve got subscribers out there that want to get Windows Phone. How about we figure it out and make everyone happy, shall we?

Yes, this is a rant, but as happy as I am that both Verizon and Sprint have apparently completely jumped on the Android wagon, I want them to also offer up something different. Choices, that’s all I want.