Ben Rudolph

A few weeks ago on the GeekWire podcast, Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph challenged Todd Bishop and I to a speed test, matching our iPhones against his Windows Phone as we performed a browsing challenge. It’s part of a larger-scale marketing effort by Microsoft, dubbed “Smoked by Windows Phone,” to build buzz for its latest smartphone platform, which remains stuck at just under five percent marketshare.

We may have lost our challenge to Rudolph. But a California blogger actually was able to outdo the Windows Phone this weekend with his Galaxy Nexus as he pulled up weather information from two cities on his device faster than those at Microsoft. Fair enough, right.

Well, what happened afterwards is where Microsoft is taking it on the chin. According to the challenge winner, Sahas Katta, Microsoft employees at a store in Santa Clara, California where the competition occurred didn’t want to recognize his accomplishment.

“After trying to push for a real answer since I clearly won the contest by their rules, another Microsoft Store employee (possibly a manager) came by after noticing me asking more questions. Thinking on his feet, he quickly gave a ridiculous out-of-thin-air reason that I need to display the weather of different cities in different states and that “my phone could not do that.” I calmly and politely tried pointing out that I was absolutely never told about having to show off two different states, but at this point I realized there was no point in even attempting to argue since the Microsoft Store employees clearly had no intention of even potentially discussing the possibility of considering me the winner,” Katta wrote in a blog post.

Well, Rudolph, also known as “Ben the PC Guy,” says in a Tweet that he wants to “make things right” and has a laptop, phone and an apology for Katta.


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  • Guest

    Kudos to Microsoft for owning up to this error and for making things right. Here’s a better headline for GeekWire: Seattle Area Software Company, Microsoft, Apologizes to Valued Client; Some Companies Still Know How Business is Done.

    • Guest

      Little late for praise.  They knew certain phones would smoke WP challenges, and chose to stack the tests against the and when somebody slipped thru the cracks, they acted in poor faith.  Shame on you MS.

      • Anthony Stevens

        That’s a big assumption.

      • Monbleau

        It’s not just the phone.  I have a HTC Trophy and I can “Smoke” iPhone 4s and Galaxy IIs most of the time.  It’s all about the process.  If the WP7 phone is set up right and I’m 100% confident in the process I use in a challenge, I can usually win.  Phone and network speed is not what SmokedByWindowsPhone is about.  It’s user experience.

  • Guest

    Not the kind of publicity they need, but kudos to Rudolph for doing the right thing after the fact to address it. 

  • Guest

    If you read his blog about how he won, it came down to him disabling the lock screen on the Android device.

    Obviously the MS store people were wrong in not honoring the win since it was legitimate. But this was still a pretty good result for WP. Ben took the appropriate action imo. This incident aside, this WP challenge concept has been one of their only inspired marketing ideas. It’s fun and shows the benefits of the platform.

  • Donovan Kliegg

    How about “Retail employee creates national gaff for Microsoft because he was improperly trained in the details of a promotion.” Seriously? This is news? How about “Burger chain wage slave accidentally leaves pickles off of value burger” then?

  • Andrew

    This is how the store employees are trained for the “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge. They evaluate what type of phone they are going up against then choose from pre planned challenges they know they can win against that particular phone model. 

  • MHazell

    Cool. He gets a laptop out of it as well.

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