The Windows Phone Challenge, provocatively dubbed “Smoked by Windows Phone” by Microsoft, appears to have suffered its first defeat at the hands of a competing smartphone this weekend, and Microsoft’s response has reportedly been less than sporting.
The “Smoked by Windows Phone” Campaign is Microsoft’s latest advertising war where any customer in the US can work into its retail stores between 9AM and 10PM local time to challenge Microsoft to a Windows Phone speed test — winners will walk away with a Hunger Games Special Edition PC and “losers” will be offered the opportunity to swap their current smartphone for a Windows Phone. There are 10 prizes per store each day.
A customer confirmed that Microsoft will accept modern smartphones like iPhones, Android handsets, and RIM’s BlackBerry devices. The shoppers will be asked to sign a release form to use their story in future advertising and there’s a number of strict rules involved — including a limitation to one attempt only. Microsoft Store visitors won’t have to hand over their phone at the end of the challenge if they don’t want to, but they will get the opportunity to swap it for one of the latest Windows Phones (excluding the Nokia Lumia 800) without a contract. The $1,000 Windows Phone challenge started during the weekend, as part of The Hunger Games opening weekend, and will end on March 29th.
Sahas Katta, a self-confessed fan of Windows Phone’s design, went down to his local Microsoft Store to pit his Android 4.0-powered Galaxy Nexus in a speed test against Microsoft’s smartphones and, surprisingly, came out on top. The tests are geared heavily in favor of Microsoft’s services, but Sahas still managed to outdo them when tasked with showing the weather for two different cities. The Microsoft Store assistant already had weather tiles for two cities pinned to her Start screen, but Sahas similarly had two weather widgets on his Android homescreen and, importantly, had disabled the lock screen on his phone, allowing him to show the requisite info within a moment of pressing the Galaxy Nexus power button.
Bewildered by this turn of events, the Microsoft Store employees were apparently unwilling to acknowledge Sahas’ win, eventually offering the tenuous excuse that he needed to show the weather for “two different cities in two different states” to qualify as a winner. We have no way to immediately verify that portion of Sahas’ story, but the facts of his victory over Windows Phone are sound — Android has a native option to disable the lock screen and you only need to download one extra third-party weather widget from the Play Store to recreate what he has done here.
Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph, the man playing a central role in pushing the Smoked marketing campaign, has offered Sahas an apology for the hassle and a rematch on a random Windows Phone challenge. Sahas’ own post, although tinged with disappointment, ends on the same note: “If anyone from Microsoft would like to have a rematch, I would be happy to smoke a Windows Phone with Android, again.”