Open Plea to Microsoft on Mango release outside US…

Microsoft, I am writing this post as an open plea to you prior to the FALL/AUTUMN US release of the Mango 7.5 Windows Phone Update to the world.

As most of us know, There were a number of features and functions in the initial Windows Phone 7 release that did not make their way to regions outside the US.  Already, signs are that there will also be new Mango release functions that Aussie’s and other market regions are going to not have access to…Pretty disappointing.

Read inside my open plea to Microsoft to treat us like the grown up customers and supporters that we are…

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UPDATE: Andrew over at his TECH HELP Blog has just posted an update to his earlier Windows Phone Global Deature List/Comparison by region (excerpt of original below).  He will be keeping this updated as more Mango news and information is released – so make sure you check back regulalry.  I share his wish to see Australia in particular share in all the Mango, Zune and Windows Phone goodness – so read on!

Click on the picture to open his post.

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Previous posts here and other Blogs have highlighted the feature-set variation around different regions of the global Windows Phone market at time of release late in 2010.


Now, as official MANGO release information hits the net, we have disclaimers like this appearing for key new features like “LOCAL SCOUT”:

“LOCAL SCOUT AVAILABLE ONLY IN US AND UK”…..image again kindly courtesy of Andrew (twitpic).

Microsoft, we get:

  • That Local search is optimised for US search results and may not work as well outside US.
  • That Voice control works best with US voices/accents, and my broad Aussie accent may stump it!
  • That you want to deliver the best User Experience for all regions of the world for Windows Phone &
  • You don’t want sub-standard performance against the high expectations you hold for Windows Phone.

SO MICROSOFT.  HERE IS MY PLEA TO YOU FOR WINDOWS PHONE 7 – MANGO release:  Please allow individual customers in regions outside of the US/UK etc to elect via the advanced menu options in the phone to turn on (or off) the LOCAL search features from RTM1 and MANGO RTM…

By all means – ship the update with these disabled by default.  Advanced users should have the option however to turn on these features if we want them on.  I’ll take a 30% accurate Local search added functionality – or even a limited returned result range over 0% removed functionality any day.  If you have to – just use a nice big warning like this in the option selection in the menu:

We understand.  But PLEASE give us the option…..

……Don’t leave us in the exclusion zone and penalise us more than you already have!

Sheeds. 25/05/11

UPDATE:  I have closed the petition – thanks!

P.S. Look I got through a whole region restriction post without mentioning Zune Pass Music for Australia! (Ooops!) lol.

  • BTW – I actually got into the emulator and managed to actually get into the Local Scout section and did a search for Sydney & Brisbane. It showed proper results for eat & drink etc. (I’ll get some screenshots later today after Uni)

    So there is data for some Australian cities in there already, it’s not completely blank. So yea, can’t see why they can’t unlock it for us completely, with your warning!

  • dgaust

    Stuff the warning. Microsoft, invest in countries outside the US and UK. You have regional arms to do the work for you. What a are Microsoft Australia doing?

    Your half-baked implementations of products for regions outside the US & UK are hurting your products, and your supporters.

  • Circuit

    Microsoft is not going to get large volume support for WP7 without supporting its customers here. We need Zune music, local search and all the other features we keep hearing about from the US. I’m not going to show the phone to friends when I am still unhappy that we don’t get these services at all.

  • dgaust

    I just sent this to Steve Ballmer 😀

    Dear Mr Ballmer,

    I watched with interest Microsoft’s latest VIP event outlining the improvements to be introduced in the Mango update for Windows Phone 7. As a consumer who bought my WP7 device on launch day in Australia, and a developer who has a couple of applications available in the Marketplace, I’m a great supporter of this innovative platform.

    However, as an Australian, I’m becoming more and more disillusioned with Microsoft’s inability to make services that are currently available to US (and in some cases UK) users available to those in other countries.

    For example, Australian’s do not have access to the full Zune experience (despite your comment “Every Windows Phone is also a Zune”), nor do we have access to Bing Voice Search, Bing Local Search, Bing Traffic. Nor does the phone recognise Australian format telephone numbers so the clickable phone numbers/addresses function does not work.

    In Mango, one of the most publicised features is Local Scout – it looks great, the ability to use your location to show what’s around you including restaurants, points of interest, local attractions. The only problem is that again, it appears you locked people out unless they live in the US or UK (based on the marketing material used by Microsoft).

    This is greatly disappointing. From a user perspective it appears that Microsoft has no intention of making these features available to anyone other that US or UK users. Zune has been available in the US for years, yet no apparent effort has been made to make it available in other countries (with the exception of the UK when WP7 was released).

    Is Microsoft making any effort to make sure that, as a global company, your products are able to be enjoyed in their entirety by your customers? Are Microsoft Australia actively working to secure the necessary deals to ensure we get the same user experience as US users, or are we to be left behind?

    Your advice on these matters would be appreciated.


    • Scott

      Agreed. Even some news that they are trying would be appreciated in this case. All we get is silence. I’ve been pushing for this for a long time and get nothing back.

    • dgaust

      Well, I got a response. Not sure what it’s worth. Entire quote below

      “We are building the services out sorry for the delays”

  • nice. hope you get a reply, after all – you are a Developer, Developer, Developer !!! 😉

  • Dan Morrall

    hey it’s not all working the same as the US in the UK either

  • For sure Dan. My post here was really to bring some attention to MS to ensure they do EVERYTHING they can to delight ALL their WP7 customers and fans ALL around the globe in their markets. We really only have that 1 slide from MS for Local Scout indicating that this feature will be region-limited….time will tell I guess.

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  • Alan Howshall

    Note: At least on WP7 itself you need to manually shorten the email confirmation URL for it to work properly. The code is fine, not invalid as it suggests, just remove 2nd HTTP:// and everything following that and re-try shortened URL.