Is the Windows Phone story “starting to come together”?

windows_phone_logoMicrosoft and Windows Phone have taken center stage this week, admittedly during one of the slowest tech news weeks of the year, as quite a discussion broke out about the fate of Windows Phone.

It started with a post by ex-Windows Phone GM Charlie Kindel in his blog post Windows Phone is Superior; Why Hasn’t it Taken Off?  Charlie got things started off by reasoning that since Windows Phone’s business model doesn’t cater to the OEMs and the carriers, while Google’s Android does (easily modified, free to use, etc.), and Apple controls their own whole stack, although it is a “superior” phone, Windows Phone hasn’t had an easy time of it in the marketplace.

The post was picked up quickly by a number of tech news bloggers (see: slow news week), notably Robert Scoble and MG Siegler, and the meme carried across blog posts and comments (and yes, even on Google +), generating a LOT of interest for a phone platform with 1.5% market share.

Charlie noted on Twitter how much traffic and commentary he had received:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/ckindel/status/151805731174227968″]

And indeed, our own post on the subject (which was picked up for a time on Google News, generating some healthy traffic) garnered 80-some comments, a good number for a post on LiveSide.

The point of all of this, beyond whether or not apps rule or Android sucks up to OEMs, is that people actually seemed to want to talk about Windows Phone.  The commenters here, and on Scoble’s and Kindel’s blogs (and many others), acted as if they were actually interested, beyond the usual “Windoze sucks” mantra we hear from the anti-Microsoft types.  Sure there were some negative comments about Microsoft and Windows Phone, but there were lots of accolades, too, and lots of interest.

We’ve been saying all along that we’ve considered Windows Phone to be in beta, at least up until the release of Mango, and probably until Nokia Windows Phones hit the US Market, sometime early in 2012.  Has that “beta” gone according to Microsoft’s plans?  Of course not.

But Windows Phone isn’t a failure, except in terms of units sold to date.  The buzz about the Metro interface has been positive, the Windows Phone Marketplace has just passed the 50,000 app plateau, Nokia is set to unveil its US Market strategy at CES in just a few days, and, as we’ve seen this week, people are interested in talking about Windows Phone.

WMPowerUser points to a CNET interview of NPD’s Ross Rubin, who says that the Windows Phone story is “starting to come together”, noting the positive vibe, and the number of new smartphone owners who are just coming or have yet to come in to the market.  What do you think, is this just the beginning for Windows Phone?  And if so, can Microsoft survive a late start, perhaps not by convincing Android or Apple users to switch, but by capturing that large untapped market of smartphone owners-to-be?