Microsoft denies Windows Phone Challenge winner his prize

Microsoft has been attempting to build momentum behind Windows Phone recently by kicking off the Windows Phone Challenge. It challenged any competing phone to be faster at a task than a Windows Phone, and if it was you got $100.

Microsoft “upped the stakes” recently by increasing the prize to a $1000 Hunger Games Special Edition PC if you beat a Windows Phone at a Microsoft Store. The problem is, they aren’t delivering on that promise if a competing phone wins the challenge.

Skattertech founder Sahas Katta decided to enter the challenge by visiting the Santa Clara Microsoft Store. He has a Samsung Galaxy Nexus setup to not load the lock screen (a standard feature of the OS), which he had to demonstrate being turned on while a Microsoft employee watched to ensure no cheating occurred. The task given was then to “bring up the weather of two different cities.”

Sahas did as much using the two weather widgets his Nexus had installed, and he beat the Windows Phone by a split second. The reason: the Windows Phone had the lock screen enabled and therefore required an extra step that took more time.

Sahas clearly won the challenge and expected to get his $1,000 PC reward, but the staff at the Microsoft Store told him he’d lost. When he asked why, the response he got state that the Windows Phone “displays the weather right there.” That wasn’t good enough, so Sahas kept enquiring until a manager told him his phone couldn’t show the weather from different cities located in different states, and therefore he lost.

Realizing there was no way he would get his hands on the prize he had legitimately won, Sahas left the Microsoft Store with his faster than Windows Phone Galaxy Nexus in hand. The Microsoft Store staff clearly didn’t have a proper answer for him and decided they couldn’t be seen to lose the challenge. It could have been argued the lack of lock screen gave an unfair advantage, or the installed weather widgets were not allowed, but neither of those points were made and even if they had been they are weak arguments.

Sahas points out several times in the comments on his article that he actually really likes Windows Phone. The thing that leaves a bad tatse in the mouth here is not the OS or the phone, but the actions of the Microsoft Store staff.

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