Smoked By Windows: Is There Always Fire Where There's Smoke?
May 10, 2012

Smoked By Windows: Is There Always Fire Where There’s Smoke?

Michael Harper for

We´ve heard it more times than we could count. Whenever Apple has a win, gets some positive press or blows through initial inventory during opening weekend, there are always those who fall back to one paltry response: The only thing Apple is good at is marketing.

Yes, Apple does have great marketing, Sam Jackson and Zooey Deschanel notwithstanding. So what happens when other companies are able to pull off a marketing hit with a great campaign?

For example, what about Microsoft´s #smokedbywindowsphone campaign? (forgive the Twitter parlance)

To be sure, Microsoft needs a win where mobile is concerned. This is the same company who, by the way, continued to use the hideously garish Windows Mobile as iOS and Android were eating their lunch.

And to be honest, Windows Phone looks very good. They´ve put in a lot of thought into the way things work and obviously took care to not copy what Apple had already done.

To advertise the fact that they have a real contender on their hands, Microsoft began a campaign wherein company representatives and employees could challenge users of other phones to a bit of a smartphone drag race, offering them $100 cash if Windows Phone beat their phones in simple tasks such as checking the weather, sending texts, and the like.

Their “Smoked By“¦” videos show us some of these tricks. For instance, a Jonny Ive look-alike named Ben shows us a feature he calls “Pocket to Picture to Post” which allows the user to snap a picture directly from the lock screen by holding down a physical button, then instantly sharing it with Facebook.

In the YouTube clips, Ben is, in truth, able to simply “smoke” Android and iOS phones alike with this feature, as the Android phones simply lagged during the entire process and the iPhones made their users double tap before they could open their camera.

It´s a great campaign, and Microsoft is saying they´ve now “smoked” 50,000 devices since their campaign launched this year at CES. In fact, Microsoft has even said Windows Phone has only been beat 2% of the time during their stunts.

In the light of such numbers, then, it´s only prudent to ask a few questions.

For instance, what does this prove?

In many ways, the best or fastest of something doesn´t always make it the most popular. Some might even say the iPhone 3G and 3GS were superior phones at the time and yet, weren´t the best selling beasts the 4 and 4S have become.

There´s also the question of how scientific these tests are, and as such, if their results are even valid.

For example: The case of one Sahas Katta, who tried to win the $100 cash and was rejected when the Windows Phone rep claimed he had played the game wrong.

But every campaign has their hiccups, and every company has their battles to fight, and since Windows Phone only holds 1.7% of the current smartphone market, it might be best for them to release some numbers about phones sold to tell a more complete story about the phone. Until then, Microsoft should keep up the good work and improve upon the things they´re already doing well. Until then, it´s all just smoke.