Five things Microsoft can do to save Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 has been languishing ever since launch, and a recent survey found that only 7% prefer it over rival smartphones.That doesn't mean that Windows Phone 7 is doomed. Here are five things Microsoft can do to help revive it.

Launch a better ad campaign

Windows Phone 7 "Really?" ads are quite witty, quite well done, and send exactly the wrong message. They promise that if you get a Windows Phone 7, you'll spend less time with your phone. But people don't want to spend less time with their phones. They want to spend more time doing nifty things with them. Microsoft should launch a new ad campaign focusing on the Windows Phone 7's niftiest features.

Pump up the apps

Apps sell phones. And Windows Phone 7 has far fewer apps available for it than do either the iPhone or Android phones. Microsoft needs to do more to seed the market for app developers.

Pump up the salespeople

Go into almost any store that sells phones and see what phones they recommend. The odds are that a Windows Phone 7 one won't be on the list. In fact, it's not uncommon to walk into stores and find salespeople who know very little about those phones. Microsoft can do all the work it wants improving the phone OS, but if salespeople aren't selling them, the phones won't sell. Microsoft needs to work with carriers to get salespeople to push the phones.

Invest in a cloud-based music service

Plenty of people manage and play music on their phones. Windows Phone 7 uses Zune software for that, which is no competition for iTunes. And it's even less competition for Google's great cloud-based music service, which is the best music app I've seen on any phone. Microsoft should invest in a cloud-based music service as well.

Give it a new name

It's time for Microsoft to face the fact that slapping the name Windows on a phone may be a liability. A Gartner report claims that Windows Phone 7 suffers from the "Your-dad-uses-it" syndrome, that it's something your father uses at work, but that you would never use. What name should Microsoft choose? I'm not sure, but I wouldn't vote for Zune.

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