Nexus user ‘smokes’ Windows Phone, loses, then promptly wins

What’s the Microsoft Challenge? It isn’t seeing how many times you can smack Steve Ballmer before he falls over. No, the Microsoft Challenge is finding out if your smartphone can “Smoke a Windows Phone” or not. Predictably, the competition was heavily biased towards Windows Phones. Let’s explain.

In the US, customers with non-Windows Phones can win a US$1 000 HP laptop if their smartphone can beat a Windows Phone in a defined task. If the non-Windows Phone users loses, the customer has the option to trade in their iPhone/Android/Blackberry/Moleskine for a Windows Phone.

The game began earlier this week with Sahas Katta, a Galaxy Nexus user who entered the competition at a Santa Clara Microsoft Store. Katta dutifully followed the instructions of the challenging Microsoft Store employee. The following is his harrowing tale.

“The Microsoft Store employee I was up against explained the selected challenge. Her exact words were the following: ‘bring up the weather of two different cities.’ The one who could do that first would win. I felt like I struck gold since I knew I already had two weather widgets on my home screen: one for my current location (San Jose, California) and another for Berkeley, California,”

“After a three-second count down, I hit the power button on my phone and said ‘DONE!’ out loud. I had disabled the lock screen entirely, which is a rather awesome out-of-the-box feature of Android that takes you straight to the home screen with a single push of the power button. I didn’t even need to touch the screen, since the two weather widgets were already there.”

Sadly, Katta had lost before he had won. The reason for his loss was because the Windows Phone “displays the weather right there,” and that Katta was supposed to pull up weather reports for two different cities in two different states. Katta forced a better reason out of the MS Store employee regarding the loss. “Just because,” she said.

Katta continues. “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 realised 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”.

A good sport

Microsoft did right though. Windows Phone promoter Ben Rudolph apologised to Katta on Twitter, offering him shiny tech in compensation.


Well played Microsoft, well played.


Katta plans to donate his laptop and phone via an eBay charity auction. Reddit users will be able to select the charity.

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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