Microsoft, setting new (low) standards for success

Redmond suspends WP7 update, even as it dismisses "bricking" problems

What would you think if an airline ran an ad promising a 90 percent chance that passengers would reach their destinations? Or if a restaurant bragged in a radio commercial that 90 percent of its customers actually get the meals they ordered?

(Also see: Stephen Elop may yet want to climb back on burning platform)

That's what it sounds like to me when I hear Microsoft claiming that its recent Windows Phone 7 update (the Brick Edition) resulted in a 90 percent success rate, as ZDNet reports. Furthermore, Microsoft says, most of the failed updates were the stupid customers' fault: "Of the remaining 10 percent, the top two issues encountered are the result of customer Internet connectivity issues and inadequate storage space on the phone or PC," a company representative (told ZDNet). But just because Microsoft is tired of all this customer whining and media carping, it's decided to suspend the WP7 update that began Monday. From Microsoft said in a statement on Wednesday that it had found "a technical issue with the Windows Phone update process that impacts a small number of phones." A Microsoft support forum contains complaints from users of the Samsung Focus and Omnia 7 smartphones. In some cases, the phones were "bricking up" or becoming unusable after starting the update process. Redmond also used the forum to detail the long and illustrious history of bricks throughout the world. Just kidding. I'm not sure why Microsoft is so certain that "customer Internet connectivity issues" and "inadequate storage space on the phone or PC" are responsible for more than half of the WP7 update failures, nor do I understand why it considers a 10 percent (or even 5 percent) failure rate the equivalent of a "small number of phones." Unless, of course, we really are talking about a small number of WP7 phones being sold. So maybe in a literal sense, Redmond is correct. Stephen Elop, you made your brick. Now you have to lie on it.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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