Microsoft are clearly in a firm third place when it comes to the battle of smartphone supremacy, but they are still struggling when it comes to getting devices into consumers hands. However, Microsoft is trying to improve the uptake of its Windows Phone devices by offering a free Nokia Lumia 520 in exchange for purchasing an Xbox Music pass.

Sure, the Nokia Lumia 520 isn’t exactly a high-end device but it’s a free device. In addition, with the Lumia 520 and the accompanying Xbox Music pass you have a very media-rich ecosystem in which you can explore and use utilise the content, all at very little cost.

An Xbox Music pass costs $100 per year, so not only do you get unlimited access to Microsoft’s wide range of 20+ million tracks, but you get a free device to enjoy them on. The offer is also valid with the Lumia 521 – the T-Mobile version of the smartphone – and expires on February 17th.



The state of Microsoft

Unfortunately, I don’t think that this will help Microsoft’s problem. See, the problem is two-fold; the first is getting devices into consumers hands, but then there’s the issue of the actual ecosystem. Whilst Microsoft’s stores and ecosystem have been the subject of awards for the intuiative interface and alternative approach to what the rest of the market are doing, Microsoft cannot seem to attract the necessary developers to get the wide range of Apps which the other smartphone manufacturers have.

Placing a free device into every Xbox Music subscriber unfortunately won’t fix this, and potentially the only consumers interested in Xbox Music will probably already have a Windows Phone. We’ve even heard how Microsoft could be making cross-manufacturer marketing as incentives for OEM’s to release Windows Phones, but the same problem exists – Microsoft need Apps in their store, and for that they need developers.

So what’s the answer for Microsoft? Sure, a free Lumia 520 is a fantastic marketing method for those on the fence about Xbox Music, but will it ultimately kick-start the Windows Phone platform by plugging the holes in which many popular Apps should sit? Probably not.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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