Print 41 comment(s) - last by Trisped.. on Mar 27 at 3:21 PM

...or not
Microsoft has since apologized for the hassle, but won't give the customer his prize

An Android user recently took the Windows Phone challenge at a California store and won, but Microsoft employees told him he didn't "just because."

Sahas Katta took his Android-based Samsung Galaxy Nexus to the Santa Clara Microsoft store yesterday morning for the Windows Phone challenge. The challenge asks those who use phones other than a Windows Phone to come into the store and complete a task faster than a Microsoft employee, who is using a Windows Phone. If the customer can beat the employee, they can win a $1,000 Special Edition Laptop. But if they lose, they have the option of trading in their current smartphone for a Windows Phone.

Upon entering the challenge, Katta followed all procedures the store asked him to complete before facing off with the Microsoft employee. He powered down his device in front of an employee to show that he wasn't launching any apps in advance, and listened carefully to his challenge: he was to bring up the weather of two different cities.

Katta accepted the challenge, and after the three-second countdown, he simply hit the power button on his Galaxy Nexus and said "Done!" Katta had disabled the lock screen (a feature that is built-in to Android and not a third-party add-on) on his phone prior to the challenge and already had two weather widgets right on his home screen. They displayed the weather for San Jose, California and Berkeley, California.

The Microsoft employee finished a second later. She had to power on the Windows Phone and swipe away the lock screen before revealing her two weather widgets.

"However, I was quickly told that I lost. I asked for a reason and was told Windows Phone won,” said Katta. “I showed her my device which also was showing off the same information with two side-by-side weather widgets on the center home screen. After pressing for a better reason, I was told that Windows Phone won 'just because.'"

Another employee informed Katta that he lost because you need two different cities in different states in order to win. Katta said he was never told that this was the case, but gave up on trying to reason with the employees since it was clear they weren't backing down.

Katta posted about the incident on Skatter Tech, where it received quite a bit of attention -- even from Microsoft. Ben Rudolph, senior manager at Microsoft, tweeted Katta on Twitter with an apology.

"Just saw this," said Rudolph's tweet, referring to Katta's incident. "Sorry for the hassle...come back for a rematch on a random challenge!"

Sure, Katta received an apology, but no compensation for the lost challenge. Many Twitter users responded to Rudolph's tweet saying that Katta should receive the prize he was promised, but Microsoft has yet to respond.

Sources: Skatter Tech, Twitter

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By Motoman on 3/26/2012 10:14:37 AM , Rating: 4
1. The guy won the contest based on what he was told the rules were. Put him in the pool to win the laptop...I don't see why anyone at that store really even cares - it's not like it's coming out of their pay.

2. If the MS people wanted to apply their additional restrictions on the contest, they'd pretty well better lay them out all up front.

This is a good example of why MS doesn't actually have "fanbois" like Apple does. Macolytes will bow to the alter of Apple no matter what happens...regardless of the reality around them.
MS users, at best, regard MS as nothing more than the most rational choice...and at worst, a necessary evil. Always keeping them at arm's length regardless. Can't say I think anyone really trusts MS farther than they can throw them.

...and naturally, MS has about the same smartphone marketshare that Apple does in computers. So...screw you MS, you're irrelevant in the smartphone business, just as Apple is irrelevant in the computer business.

I do have to wonder if the guy would have a worthwhile claim in small claims court...even if only to point out how poorly treated he was by the MS store.

RE: >.<
By youngliz on 3/26/12, Rating: 0
RE: >.<
By Motoman on 3/26/12, Rating: -1
RE: >.<
By Mitch101 on 3/26/2012 10:39:57 AM , Rating: 2
"Katta had disabled the lock screen" - Lets disable the lock screen on a Windows Phone and rerun the race. Simple enough.

RE: >.<
By Goty on 3/26/2012 10:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
I think the implication is that the ability to disable the lock screen is not implemented in WP7.

RE: >.<
By Mitch101 on 3/26/2012 2:13:42 PM , Rating: 3
Settings -> Lock + Wallpaper -> password off.

You still have to do the slide which is nice because you don't want to be accidentally hitting tiles.

RE: >.<
By ChronoReverse on 3/26/2012 2:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
That's not the same thing. You can disable the password (or grid password) lock but you'll still have the slide to unlock. This can also be disabled if you so choose (presumably because your usage of the phone isn't affected by the lack of lockscreen).

RE: >.<
By omnicronx on 3/26/2012 12:52:56 PM , Rating: 1
1. The guy won the contest based on what he was told the rules were. Put him in the pool to win the laptop...I don't see why anyone at that store really even cares - it's not like it's coming out of their pay.

2. If the MS people wanted to apply their additional restrictions on the contest, they'd pretty well better lay them out all up front.
I really can't feel sorry for the guy as he pretty much cheated. Who actually disables the lock screen in Android or any touchphone for that matter so that you can pocket dial all over the place.

Furthermore, to answer #2, it seems as though the rules either were laid out, or he found out in advance what was being quized. I REALLY doubt that this guy keeps by default two weather screens on his main screen and disables his lockscreen.

Perhaps MS should have been more stringent, but it kind of seems more likely that this guy merely tried to scam the system and was rejected.

I have no idea what device is faster, and I'm personally an Android user, but I can't really side with this guy..

RE: >.<
By omnicronx on 3/26/2012 1:07:08 PM , Rating: 3
I also find the entire story to be a bit sensational as its not like this is the first time someone has won the challenge.

People have legitimately won already...

RE: >.<
By av911 on 3/26/2012 1:08:06 PM , Rating: 3
I disable the lock screen. And how the hell do you "pocket dial"? Doesn't the phone require actual fingers to work?

RE: >.<
By B3an on 3/26/2012 5:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
You think touch screens magically only work with fingers?

RE: >.<
By Scrogneugneu on 3/26/2012 1:11:33 PM , Rating: 4
You're complaining that the guy might have known the challenge beforehand, therefore he had 2 weather widgets on his home screen?

And not a word on the MS employee, who did also have those 2 widgets (or tiles, whatever)?

That race was pretty useless. Other than proving "If my Windows Phone has 2 weather tiles up and you don't have 2 weather widgets up, I can check weather in 2 cities faster" it does very little. Even if the lockscreen was enabled, the time would have been the same.

And if you complain that nobody is checking the weather in 2 cities, well, why is there even a race to find out which phone can do it faster?

RE: >.<
By omnicronx on 3/26/2012 2:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not complaining, I was answering back the OP stating 'he probably didnt know what the test was'. The person who went to the store also made it out as though it was pure luck which I really doubt.(Clearly you had to have two weather panels ready to win this test, but there was no 'luck' involved here..)

Ton's of people have fairly won the challenge, the entire story (and this guy's facebook post) makes it out as though MS is flat not letting people win which is just not the case.

A very small percentage of users don't use the lockscreen, and to the poster above, you are kidding yourself if you don't think buttons can't be pushed in your pocket. (or do you just not use your pockets for anything)

MS seems to be in good faith here, they are honoring people whom actually defeat the test with a normal smartphone setup. I'm sure I can do a whole bunch of things to my android device to make the weather come up even faster than this guy.. Why even boot into the gui? Just boot to console and have a script that automatically updates the weather and displays it as text. I bet that works even faster!

RE: >.<
By av911 on 3/26/2012 2:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
I've disabled my lock screen for the past 2 years and NEVER have I once "accidentally" do something I don't want. And yes, my phone has the pocket all to itself. Why would I subject my phone to any other objects (in my pocket) to potentially scratch my screen?

RE: >.<
By twhittet on 3/26/2012 6:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
Same here - no problems with my pocket literally "pocket dialing" the screen, and having other things in my phone pocket would be pretty dumb. I have no screen protector (Droid 2) and the only scratch it has is 1/16" long.

RE: >.<
By Nik00117 on 3/27/2012 1:25:10 AM , Rating: 2
Erm, I had the locked screen turned off for quite some time. But I had an incident where I needed to lock it.

In addition I travel quite a bit for my work, often times on short notice. I have 3 different weather location widgets on my phone letting me know what the weather is in each location.

In addition to this I also have two world wide clocks letting me know what time it is in each part of the region of the world I do business with. Example I bank with a bank in Germany. I maybe in Thailand. I need something urgent and I know that banks opens up at 8:30 local time. I can quickly look at my phone and see "Ah it's 7:30 there in 1 hr I can call"

I also have a plane trip ticker, stock market ticker, currency conversion cal, and coverison cal.

Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By bug77 on 3/26/2012 9:52:52 AM , Rating: 1
So, basically they want you to be faster at something they probably train at beforehand?
If anything, this sounds like a rigged contest rather than a technology showcase. Then again, maybe this is the only way WP7 can look better then the competition.

RE: Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By Brandon Hill on 3/26/2012 9:59:23 AM , Rating: 4
My problem with this is that the only people that even know about these "Smoked" competitions are the people that are more inclined to buy a Windows Phone device: tech nerds.

Microsoft has failed at actually getting general consumers to latch on to platform. They need to start working on marketing for that audience instead of these silly little challenges.

RE: Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By GGA1759 on 3/26/2012 10:05:37 AM , Rating: 1
The challenge is a form of marketing. It gets people to come in to see first hand the capabilities of a windows phone.

Also, 'tech' nerds already have a phone. We call them droid phones.

RE: Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By KnightBreed on 3/26/2012 12:16:16 PM , Rating: 5
Most tech nerds are smart enough to recognize "droid" as a Verizon marketing brand.

It's an Android phone.

RE: Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By GGA1759 on 3/26/12, Rating: 0
By twhittet on 3/26/2012 6:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
I don't consider it to be connected to Verizon at all.

Really? Is this a real comment?

RE: Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By Mitch101 on 3/26/2012 10:36:48 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is people read sites like this and go on to think there is something wrong or missing with the Windows Phone. They don't understand that a single CPU phone with a well optimized OS can beat a dual/quad core phone. Microsoft is trying to dispel the myth and the FUD that is generated by every fanbois out there who never used a Windows Phone who is talking out their arse with a dose of reality.

Nokia is also selling Windows Phones really well and Windows Phone sales are growing. The problem is smartphone sales increased above the pace of the Windows Phones sales so Microsoft shows a share decline in the smartphone market despite increased sales. Very similar to Apple trying to hide the Android growth by stating IOS sales lumping in iPod and tablet sales to keep it looking like IOS wasnt in danger of being overtaken by Android sales.

This is a single incident case its not the only instance and why is this article worthy? Heck lets have a race and Ill start in the car with it running and you have to take the keys out of your pocket get in the car, start it and then go. The guy bypassed a step "Katta had disabled the lock screen" its not a direct comparison. Game over not lets make this news.

By ChronoReverse on 3/26/2012 10:45:22 AM , Rating: 2
Eh, I can even have the weather widgets right on my lockscreen so it's not like it's impossible to beat the stacked odds.

By theapparition on 3/26/2012 10:45:43 AM , Rating: 3
The guy bypassed a step "Katta had disabled the lock screen" its not a direct comparison. Game over not lets make this news.

Was that a criteria? Most likely not. Sounds a lot more like playing backyard football with pre-teens who start claiming you're out of bounds because the branch next to the tree stump is really the bounds marker, not the tree stump.

The store had the responsibility to make sure the conditions of the test were met before accepting the challenge. They challenged him and lost. Now pay up like a man and not whine about it.

Katta should've challenged them to a game of Angry Birds: Space. You know, the one that's available on almost every platform except Windows Phone.

RE: Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By bug77 on 3/26/2012 11:02:46 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is people read sites like this and go on to think there is something wrong or missing with the Windows Phone.

The employers seem to have been instructed to cry foul and M$ doesn't seems to be on the customer's side either. Does that spell "our product is clearly better than the competition" to you?

Plus, if WP7 is doing so great, why do they need this campaign in the first place?

By StanO360 on 3/26/2012 11:18:39 AM , Rating: 2
Marketing. Truthfully, they need to market the carriers more than the public. Costco had one Windows Phone and that was T-Mobile, playing with it for a few minutes it is impressive. But, no one will buy it while it's sitting there like the lonely step child. And not with the carriers that most people use.

RE: Idiotic challenge, idiotic outcome
By Boze on 3/26/12, Rating: -1
By jnemesh on 3/26/2012 10:59:38 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft! They just lost any and all credibility and marketing from this worthless promo. The game IS rigged to begin with, they just didn't expect someone to beat them at their own game. It's just like the carnival may win, but then you get beat up by the carnies! Have fun with this PR debacle Microsoft! You EARNED it this time!

By retrospooty on 3/26/2012 12:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
Really stupid contest to begin with. Not necessarily the concept, but the actual steps. The first one to display weather forecast in 2 different cities, and both phones had 2 pre-loaded in a widget? So the contest is really who can swipe/unlock the fastest. Wow, really relevant... Made more irrelevant since you can disable the lock.

By msheredy on 3/26/2012 1:01:54 PM , Rating: 2
The first one to display weather forecast in 2 different cities, and both phones had 2 pre-loaded in a widget?

I was beginning to think I was the only one questioning this.. what are the chances LOL!

By Camikazi on 3/26/2012 5:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well I have a feeling that MS sets up their phones so they have the best chance at winning these "random tests". As for someone else having the setup to beat an MS, well it can happen, I have 2 cities weather on my home screen ATM.

One Person's word vs another
By youngliz on 3/26/2012 10:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
So what proof does he have that he actually won? I can just as easily go online and claim that I went and did the challenge and won. I guess anyone that posts a story online is automatically telling the truth. What a completely pathetic story.

RE: One Person's word vs another
By Mitch101 on 3/26/2012 10:44:46 AM , Rating: 3
Same here I have yet to find why this is news. Its fanbois article submission meant to cause trolling fanboism posting.

Apple marketing claim all sorts of falsies but when Microsoft does it the end of the world is coming and you cant trust Microsoft.

I fail to see how this isn't rigged
By bodar on 3/26/2012 10:17:25 AM , Rating: 3
It's a random challenge, yet the Win Phone already had 2 weather widgets on the home screen? Who has weather widgets for 2 cities in different states already on their homescreen? Is this info really necessary for daily life. Once again, Microsoft misses the point of a friggin homescreen.

Oh, if only the challenge was to have a homescreen that didn't look like it was designed by 5 year old who likes to eat paint chips...

By Aikouka on 3/26/2012 11:52:22 AM , Rating: 2
That was my first thought when I read this. I can't imagine too many people would care enough about the weather in distant cities to have it so readily available.

Of course, I say that and I have two cities about 1000 miles apart on my phone, but that's because it's the city that I recently moved from and the city that I moved to. :P

By CityZen on 3/26/2012 12:33:47 PM , Rating: 3
Here's an update to this story:
Apparently they finally gave him the laptop he had rightfully won (and a Windows phone too)!/BenThePCGuy/status/184283190...

By TSS on 3/26/2012 2:27:03 PM , Rating: 2
heh, atleast microsoft backpedals when there's fan backlash. Won't see that from apple. Actually you won't see (significant) fan backlash from apple.

Still they should've given it straight away. The marketing division tried to be clever, this guy found a loophole, he deserves to win. Next time, include in the contest rules that the participant needs to actually unlock the phone in order to win. It's not that hard.

So shame on microsoft for the fail. But kudos for the (late) save.

Publicity Stunt
By FS on 3/26/2012 3:05:41 PM , Rating: 3
since any publicity is good publicity (and windows phone need it badly). The android dude could've been paid via the MS marketing department for all it matters. Here's his site (pretty cool to be honest)

By kenyee on 3/26/2012 10:24:52 AM , Rating: 2
No deniability...and you can post it everywhere for people to see...

Waiting for the rest
By Trisped on 3/27/2012 3:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
"However, I was quickly told that I lost. I asked for a reason and was told Windows Phone won,” said Katta. “I showed her my device which also was showing off the same information with two side-by-side weather widgets on the center home screen. After pressing for a better reason, I was told that Windows Phone won 'just because.'"
Having worked retail for as long as I have, I am waiting for the stores side of the story.
I have seen so many customers come in and ask questions which I answer in detail (because no one likes to find out the limitations later) only to have someone else come in the next day saying they had talked to the first person and I had given them incorrect information. So I run through the whole thing again at which point the new customer realizes I had given the first customer the whole set of information, they just had not remember/paid attention to the details.
I have also been in the situation that a customer will not listen no matter how many times you tell them that the printer is free after mail in rebate IF they buy a computer at the same time. I am pretty sure these customers go away thinking that there just is not a free printer for them "just because."

Most likely what happened is the customer came in prepared to win, listened to the rules they had gone over so many times, listened as the sales associate read the contest rules to the task which they 'knew' they were ready for, and would not listen as the sales associates try to explain why the customer lost.

I could be wrong though, which is why I am waiting for the rest of the story.

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