On a recent episode of Windows Weekly, I noted that I was considering making a table depicting all of the countries in which Windows Phone was available on one axis, and all of the possible online services on the other, and that I would then check off which features were available where. And what we’d see, I guessed, was a bunch of holes, because many of these features simply aren’t available everywhere. Furthermore, the distribution of features seemed crazy to me. Some countries, for example, have access to movies but not TV shows. Some get access to movie rentals, but not movie purchases. It must be crazy, I figured.
Well it is crazy.
Andrew Birch took up the challenge and actually made the table. And … oh my. What a freaking disaster this is. If you were wondering about one of the top reasons people don’t trust Microsoft to provide a compelling, consistent user experience, look no further than Andrew’s post, where there are actually two tables, one for Zune Marketplace features (App Market, Zune Pass, Music Market, Podcast Market, TV Market, Movie Rentals, and Movie Purchases) and one for Xbox LIVE, Bing and other services (Local Search, Traffic, Voice Search, Xbox LIVE, and clickable phone numbers and addresses). It’s pretty pathetic. Unless of course you live in the US.
So when we discuss missing features and a need for Microsoft to move more quickly, let’s not forget this very important aspect of the Windows Phone ecosystem. Which in most countries is not so much an ecosystem as it is chaos and confusion.
Thanks to Andrew for doing the hard work on this one. Nicely done, sir.