In my entry on AT&T’s Unlimited Plan debacle I discussed why despite AT&T’s customer unfriendly policies I was probably going to stick with them. Now I’m having second thoughts on that conclusion, because of AT&T’s refusal to ship Windows Phone updates in a timely fashion. The latest slap in the face is AT&T’s apparent refusal to ship build Windows Phone build 8107, which fixes a disappearing keyboard problem on some Windows Phones (including on my Samsung Focus). Microsoft made this fix available at the beginning of January, and we are approaching the three-month mark without AT&T having allowed it to ship to their customers. This is inexcusable.
The problem isn’t isolated to simple bug fixes. In March of 2011 fraudulent SSL certificates were issued by hackers of the Comodo Registration Authority. This was a serious breach of one of the key Internet security mechanisms and vendors reacted quickly. Windows was patched almost immediately. Apple pushed the IOS 4.3.2 update to iPhones and iPads in mid-April. Microsoft made the certificate fix available in build 7392 of Windows Phone in early May. When did AT&T make build 7392 available on my Samsung Focus? Not until October, when I received it as a prequisite to the Mango update. So my Windows Phone was vulnerable to a site faking that it was Google or Live for 6 months, all because AT&T refuses to ship updates to Windows Phone in a timely fashion.
The update situation around Windows Phone is intolerable, and while the fault might not be Microsoft’s the repercussions certainly will accrue to them. I am on strike against Windows Phone (and Android, BTW) on AT&T, and on any other carrier that doesn’t have a customer-friendly update policy. This means I won’t be getting a Nokia Lumia 900 or any other new device until I am assured that I’ll be receiving software updates in a timely fashion. The policy I want to see is that the carrier will ship all updates made available during my contract period within 60 days of the OS vendor or OEM making them available. I’d prefer 30 days, or less. Absent this, or a similar clear and customer-friendly, policy from the carriers I will likely move to the iPhone. For better or worse that is the only smartphone platform that currently enjoys an update policy unfettered by the customer disdain shown by the carriers.
I know that Microsoft is working the problem of carriers not making Windows Phone updates available in a timely fashion, so I’m not abandoning the platform yet. They have some time, at least until the next generation iPhone ships. If they haven’t solved it by then I probably will make the switch. But it certainly won’t be to the iPhone on AT&T. This is strike 3 for them, and unless they announce a customer friendly update policy soon I’ll be looking for a new carrier.