Interview with Ben Rudolph, the Architect of #smokedbywindowsphone

Smoked by Windows Phone

If you use Twitter and were following the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) tweets, it would be very hard for you to miss the #smokedbywindowsphone campaign, run by Ben Rudolph from Microsoft. I wrote about this campaign which pitted Windows Phone against a variety of today’s smartphones in conducting common tasks, in an earlier post. This campaign has been a super hit, and now that Ben has had some time to recover from CES, I asked him a few questions about the campaign. Here’s what he had to say:

Techie Buzz (TB): What was the motivation behind the campaign?

Ben Rudolph (BR): Everyone here on the Windows Phone team knew anecdotally, from talking with friends and family, and even strangers at airports, that Windows Phone is faster and easier than any other smartphone at doing the stuff that we do every day on our smartphones. We never went out to prove it in a head-to-head test. So, we decided to put our money where our mouth is at the biggest tech show in the world! What better place to put Windows Phone head to head against a huge variety of smartphone users, both in terms of their technical depth, but also in terms of the phones they have in their pocket. All in all, this was a fun way for us to stand up and say “We think we built something really awesome, and when you see it, we think you’ll agree”.

TB: What were the challenges like?

BR: All of the challenges involved tasks that smartphone users do every day – posting a photo to Facebook or Twitter, checking the weather, sending an SMS to your best friend, updating your status on your social networks, finding someplace nearby to eat – that kind of stuff.

Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph with Yet Another Cool Campaign (#smokedbywindowsphone): Smokes Galaxy Nexus, iPhone 4S, Others


At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph (@BenThePCGuy on twitter), the creator of several cool campaigns in the past like #DroidRage, outdid himself. This time, he first teased, and then announced a challenge where he would pay $100 to anyone whose phone could beat his Windows Phone (an HTC Titan) at common tasks. These tasks included identifying songs and downloading them from stores, updating social networks, finding a restaurant nearby with certain criteria and getting directions to it, etc.

The challenges were in fact suggested by the challengers, and mutually agreed upon. This laid rest to the speculation that the tests were rigged to help Windows Phone win (for example, uploading to Facebook which is native on Windows Phone but not anywhere else). Believe me, I was there, and I heard that allegation a lot.

The challenges were in fact suggested by the challengers, and mutually agreed upon!

Here’s Ben introducing the challenge:


So, how did it go? As of this morning, Ben tweeted that he had 30 wins, 3 losses and a draw. I say that is pretty fantastic considering that the challengers who lost included some of the latest and the greatest phones from competitors like the Galaxy Nexus, iPhone 4S, Galaxy S II, iPhone 4, etc. Heck, there was even a Palm Pre Plus!


One of Microsoft’s problems with Windows Phone has been awareness in the general market. Folks who use other smartphones have got used to those systems, and the best way to get the Windows Phone advantages across to them is for them to actually experience it. There is only so much someone can do if you walk them through the system (trust me, I have done that a lot, and it is good, but not ideal). That’s why this campaign is even more fantastic. It takes something that a person likes to do on the phone, and shows how they could do it faster on Windows Phone. 30 out of 34 challengers realized that at CES, and because they “lost” the challenge, it was a great opportunity for Ben to educate them on that specific feature and why Windows Phone is faster at it.

Some of the videos of Windows Phone “smoking” other phones out:


More videos are on this YouTube playlist. Check them out!