Microsoft and Google’s strategies are quite similar in the mobile space. They each have a mobile OS, third party hardware vendors (excluding the Moto-Google deal), and have to wait for carriers to provide the updates to their hardware. But where these two differ is on their OS strategy: While Microsoft has a walled garden approach to its OS, Google is more liberal with its platform.
When you look at Google, they literally have dozens of different devices and different platforms out on the market. For Google, updating their devices is not as easy because of numerous manufacturers and various versions of the OS; this is called fragmentation.
If we look at Microsoft, they have more than a handful of devices on the market and managed to update nearly all of them at the same time to the same version of their Mango operating system. This is something Google has yet to be able to do with any version of its Android OS.
If you start to think about all of the carriers and products, you begin to see that there are hundreds of combinations of carriers + Windows Phone devices and all of them need their own version of Mango to run properly on the carriers' network. Sure, it could be a small tweak of adding carrier branding, but, it still must be done.
When you sit back and look at what Microsoft accomplished today, a near simultaneous rollout of Mango to many devices on even more carriers, you begin to understand the scope of this project. It is, by no means, an easy task.
Google, we could fathom, had wanted this same approach to work for its products when it launched Android a few years back. But for many reasons, which could include Google not feeling the need to put pressure on carriers to update their devices, they were never able to execute a mass rollout like Microsoft just did.
In all fairness, this is Microsoft’s first major update that has gone over cleanly. Sure NoDo wasn’t perfect, but as we can see today, it was a valuable lesson in how not to execute an update. Mango, as of now, has gone over amazingly smooth, considering the breadth of coverage Microsoft had to include. The next big test will come when Microsoft has two product lifecycles on the market. We still primarily have only the initial batch of Windows Phone devices distributed to consumers, which does set Microsoft apart from Google since a new Android device is launched every week but in theory should all be running the same version of Android.
Yes, we have heard about the LG Optimus 7 issue and know that this is an isolated issue for the Mango update. But, to be fair, it has affected some users while others have reported that the update went smoothly. But as it stands now, Microsoft just executed a near perfect distribution of Mango to many devices, on many carriers, all around the world simultaneously, something Google has not been able to do.