Ed Bott for ZDNet:
Thanks to Microsoft’s minuscule market share (small single-digit percentages in the U.S.), the carriers have almost no interest in collaborating with it on mobile devices. And Microsoft has almost no leverage when negotiating with carriers. The resulting not-so-virtuous circle is what stacks the deck against the Windows Phone platform and makes the experience so frustrating for the few who actually use it. […]
The good news for smartphone enthusiasts is that Microsoft figured out a way to push OS updates out independently of carriers, using its Preview for Developers app. If you’re willing to color outside the lines, you can get Microsoft to deliver the latest Windows Phone release to you without having to wait.
The bad news is that carriers control the firmware updates for devices. And without the matching firmware, some of those OS updates don’t work properly. Many of the new camera features, for example, depend on firmware, as do connections to devices like the Fitbit. […]
And as long as U.S.-based carriers, including the biggest of them all, Verizon, are able to drag their feet and ignore Windows as a mobile platform, it’s unlikely that anything Microsoft can do will be able to make a dent in its market share in the United States.
It’s always seemed that a good chunk of tech writers want Windows Phone to succeed, being a viable third platform. Unfortunately, thanks to grief like this, customers may look to alternatives next time. Even looking at fragmentation on the Android side of things for updates, Apple is the only one who truly got it right by removing the carriers from the equation of software updates.