Microsoft’s “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign was a bomb waiting to detonate

As we’ve learned through many media outlets today, Microsoft’s relatively successful ad campaign called Smoked By Windows Phone has hit a bit of a roadblock. Couched in bureaucratic exceptions, an Android user was denied the prize he felt was owed to him after successfully “smoking” a Microsoft employee at his own game. When asked to display the weather of two separate cities, the user shouted “Done!” after merely turning on his screen; he’d set up two separate widgets for two cities near his home town.

The Microsoft Store empoyee denied that he was faster — she did have two Live Tiles of separate loctions on the home screen — but regardless of who won, the incident was the result of a ticking time bomb. While the idea of a Smoked by Windows Phone is great — showcase how quickly the platform gives access to all your essential tools like SMS, tweets, Facebook messages and, of course, weather info — speed is not the essential tenet of an operating system.

In the end, @benthepcguy, the progenitor of the campaign, apologized to the man and offered him a laptop and a phone as an apology. Whether it was the right thing to do or just lip service is debatable, but it seems to have calmed the fray for now.

I’ve said this many times before: Windows Phone is a fantastic, capable OS with muddled consumer messaging: a powerful, attractive, feature-rich mobile operating system that you will spend less time using. Consumers don’t want to spend less time on their smartphones; usage is through the roof, and it is not slowing down any time soon.

Smoked by Windows Phone had it coming in being so supercilious about its superiority. While Windows Phone is on its way to a solid third place, it’s going to get there not through cheap tricks — so what if you can check the weather in under three seconds, it’s what happens in the ensuing hour that I care about — but by creating a compelling developer environment, ensuring updates are comprehensive and plentiful, and by preventing the same fragmentation problems that Android is currently working through.

I’d love to be smoked by Windows Phone, but first they need to clear the air and focus on what counts.