An Open Letter To Google: I Won’t Be Leaving Windows Phone Just Because You’re Evil

Posted: December 16, 2012 in Technology
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Dear Google.

 You like numbers, so I’d like to share one with you.

 4.5 Million.

 That’s the number of Windows Phone 8 devices that have shipped since the platform launched in November.

 I was one of those device activations. And, even though you’ve now declared war on the users of that platform…who number in the millions and growing…I’m not going to be running back to Android for your services. I’m sticking with Windows Phone because, even without you, I like it better.

 A bit of background.

 For the last two years, I’ve been a good little Google evangelist. Chrome has been my browser and, briefly, my daily driver OS. Google Apps were my day to day productivity tool, I reallocated my Facebook/Twitter time to get comfy on Google+ (which is brilliant by the way) and I snickered every time I saw a Bing product placement on TV. Want an example of real sci-fi? The idea that Peter Parker would use Bing for his search results. I use Drive, and I pay for extra storage. I use Google Music and pay for a bigger data plan so I can use it every day.

 In short, I am the type of customer that you need.

 But today I woke up to a world where I now have to decide whether I need you.

 You say that Google goes where the people are, and since there are no people going to Windows Phone and Windows 8, you’re not going to bother with those platforms. But Windows Phone is expected to hit 11.6% of global smartphone market share in the next three years (over 100 million users) and Windows 8….well, it’s a Windows OS. Strip away the fact that laptop and desktop purchases are seeing a year over year decline anyway, and you’re still looking at a scenario where, two years from now, most of your customers will be using some form of touch interface Windows 8 device. That’s reality. Oh. You thought Chrome OS was going to achieve some sort of market dominance?

 Heh.

 Don’t get me wrong, I love my Chromebook. I live in Canada, so I had to pay a friend in the States to buy one and ship it up to me (37 million: The population of Canada, another number you don’t seem to care about) that’s how much I love the idea of Chromebooks. But ChromeOS isn’t going to replace the traditional desktop OS anytime soon. Thin client, always connected computing is coming, but you were a tad early to the party. Which means that people are still going to be buying PC laptops and, for a little while longer, desktops. Which means that, by snubbing your noses at everyone on those platforms today, and everyone who will be on them tomorrow, you’re starting to piss off a growing population of people who used to love you.

 But back to the issue at hand…

 Dismissing Windows Phone and basically telling people that if they want to use your services in a non-broken/wonderfully-useful way then they need to own either an Android or iOS device, might have seemed like a good idea.

 It really, really wasn’t.

 I’ve now started to look at Skydrive as a viable alternative to Google Drive. It used to suck. It doesn’t anymore. I’ve started looking at porting all of my contacts and primary email to Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail). It used to suck. It may even be better than Gmail now. Ditto for Docs vs. SkyDrive Office. Zero compatibility issues with the number one productivity suite on the planet and syncing between multiple devices turned on by default? Sign me up.

 In fact, the only thing I would miss if I went completely off Google for everything but search, would be the Chrome browser. You guys have won my loyalty there.

 But that’s the thing, you see. I don’t have to go on a strict non-Google diet just because you pissed me off. I can pick and choose what I want to use for my daily online tools. Because I’m the consumer and, ultimately, I’m going to make the final decision as to whether something you’ve done is good or bad, and I’ll do that by allocating my dollars either towards you or away from you.

 Which brings me to the point.

 When Apple decided to eliminate the native YouTube and Google Maps applications from iOS 6 they did so without thinking about what the customers actually wanted. And the customers, except for a minority of fan boys who just cannot criticize Apple for any decision, revolted. For the first time in iOS history, consumers actively chose not upgrade rather than lose functionality that they depended on. You’re now making the same mistake that Apple did.

 Telling myself and the millions of other savvy consumers who have switched from iOS and Android to Windows Phone that, despite our years of loyalty to you, we mean less than your war with Microsoft, is not going to make any of us rush back out, screaming apologies, to buy a new Android handset. Instead, it’s going to make millions of us (and growing every day) find ways to replace you. And we will. Because you cannot bind us to your ecosystem. We like Windows Phone better than Android, and you’re going to have to live with that.

 We are in charge, not you.

 You don’t exist without users, we can exist quite comfortably without you.

 If you forget that, you will ultimately pay the price and drift into irrelevancy, not us.

 Google, for your own sake, don’t be evil.

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