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March 18, 2010

Know Your Audience

Wow, MIX10 rocked. I’ve lost my voice which made it pretty hard to do a podcast interview this morning; I’m glad I had the morse code app someone coded up at MIX for Windows Phone 7 Series using the tools we made available there!

If you didn’t get a chance to see the day 1 keynote for the conference you missed an amazing presentation of not only the Windows Phone 7 Series user experience & developer experience but a bunch of amazing 3rd party app demos as well.  You can watching it online here.

I had a great time talking with developers and designers about the new development platform at MIX. You’d be amazed how much planning went into delivering these keynotes, demos and sessions. I’ve been doing these shows for years, and the first thing I was taught was to know your audience. For me MIX has been all about exciting developers and designers, but I appreciate that there are people watching online or reading press articles who see things through a different lens. With that in mind, I’d like to clarify a few things.

I’ve talked at length on my developer focused blog and in other forums about our commitment to designing a platform that prioritizes end user experience. Creating and then preserving an incredible customer experience is priority one for Windows Phone 7 Series. We make this point in every session. To illustrate the point we often remind developers that the vast majority of phones are purchased at retail, which means the “end user” we are focusing on is often referred to as a “consumer”. This is not to say that phones or Windows Phone 7 Series in particular are less valuable to business or corporate scenarios; it’s simply a comment on purchase behavior. 

We are building a phone focused on the end-user. We are building a phone that will be, primarily, purchased by end-users. We know those end-users have busy personal & business lives. We are building a phone that will be GREAT for helping end-users deal with BOTH their personal & business lives.

Windows Phone 7 Series will be a great business phone. We applied the same end user focus to designing the phone’s business capabilities that we did with every other element of the phone. We asked people and even IT administrators what they need from a phone. The answer was consistent. They want a single device that excels at core business functions like email, reading and editing Office documents and collaboration, while also offering rich features and capabilities that help people stay on top of the different parts of their lives, at home and at work. 

We expect Windows Phone 7 Series to appeal to people who are active, connected and working, so Exchange & SharePoint integration and the features within the new Office hub are core to the phone’s value. Similarly, we know that people add these phones to corporate networks and that we need to make that process easy for administrators. Interestingly, when we talk to corporate IT staff and business decision makers they ask us to give them a compelling phone that will not only improve productivity,  but also appeal to the end user’s “whole life,” as people wish to carry only one Smartphone to meet both business and personal needs. We think Windows Phone 7 Series will do this better than any other phone on the market today.

For us, it’s not a matter of “consumer” OR “corporate.” We view our target customer as the kind of person who is looking to technology as a helper in their lives, and we find this kind of person in small businesses, all the way to the largest corporations.  Whichever end of the spectrum they are in, we are building a phone that works for them, in their environment.

So when we tell developers and designers that we’ve built a platform for consumers / end users / people, we simply mean that experience is the high order bit – not quantity of features, range of form factors or anything else.

How we tell our story may vary by audience or event, but our singular focus on creating and preserving a great experience for the people who carry a Windows Phone is consistent.


Charlie Kindel