Why Mobile Carriers are a Threat to Us All

Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft is no longer guaranteeing that mobile updates will be delivered to end-users and will no longer give guidance about when/if those updates will come.

I suspect that Microsoft’s actions are the result of carriers not caring one lick about security and actively opposing performance updates to “old” phones. Carriers aren’t themselves affected by security deficiencies that they are largely responsible for prolonging, and if new cool features are automatically provided in a smartphone update then the customer is less likely to rush out and buy a new phone with the same features. Carriers need to be held accountable: if they know there are security updates and refuse to let them go out to customers, then customers’ contracts should be broken with those same carriers. If customers experience actual harms, then the carriers should be legally – and financially – liable.

Microsoft, and the other mobile OS vendors, need to realize that the most important customer base is the people buying phones, not the device manufacturers or carriers. The latter two groups are important, yes, but if Microsoft can’t convince end-customers to pick up their phones and be happy about the choice a few months later then Microsoft is going to turn into an Android-like OS manufacturer. We already have one too many of those.

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