Microsoft releases Switch to Windows Phone, but you won't want to

Well, it's May 1 somewhere, which perhaps explains why Switch to Windows Phone popped up on Google Play tonight with the date. The concept is simple: Microsoft tries to ease the transition between platforms, or at least help evaluate if such move is workable. But the app-matcher comes up short and can't resolve something more fundamental: People with money invested in apps won't be quick to rebuy them elsewhere.

StWF is easy enough to use once installed; letting it scan and match on my Nexus claims to match 85 percent of the Android apps. But like most of the people reviewing the app, there's no way I see to view the list. Could it be the app posted early and the supporting services aren't switched on, or did Microsoft simply muck up?

According to the FAQ: "Your app match list will be saved to a private Windows Azure cloud service that's just for the Switch to Windows Phone app. Your matched app list can only be accessed using the Switch to Windows Phone app along with your Microsoft Account email and password". There's no option I see on Android, and I couldn't find a Windows Phone version on Microsoft's mobile store. Surely people want to know which apps match before committing to a new platform.

The reviews are scathing, and few in number as I write since the app is live for a short time. Out of 48 reviews, 37 are one star, giving awe-inspiring 1.7 stars.

Brandon Hull calls the app "garbage. People want to know which apps with work with Windows Phone 8. A simple percentage is useless unless users are told which apps can also be found on Windows Phone 8".

"Worthless", Joel Sacco blames. "It basically gives you an arbitrary percentage of apps which are compatible based on your installed apps. Doesn't actually give you a list or show any useful information past that. If you really wanted me to switch to WP8, you might want to make the data you provide a little more informative".

Eric Weiss: "Can you imagine the meeting where this was pitched and approved? 'How can we get people to switch to Windows Phone'. 'An Android app that lies to them?' 'That's perfect!' Give that guy a raise!"

Luis Escobedo calls Switch to Windows Phone "downright embarrassing".

For the record, I used the app four times, each instance getting an 85 percent but not being presented (that I could find) with option to see which ones. Again, I wonder if something isn't working yet. That's best case scenario, a simple screw-up releasing StWP before the Azure service is on. Maybe there's some missing instruction about accessing the matched app list, which I understand is stored on SkyDrive (like some reviewers, I looked but couldn't find anything).

Otherwise, yeah, this is a helluva cock-up and makes Microsoft look stupid. Too bad, because "The Wedding" commercial airing yesterday made the company look so smart.

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