Microsoft have finally deployed their secret weapon in the mobile phone war; Minesweeper! This program has wasted more work-hours and done more damage to productivity than the Stuxnet worm and hangovers combined.
Now Microsoft are giving it away for free, luring people into integrating their Windows phones with XBox Live. Of course, there are a couple of problems: the free software is ad-supported, and if you live outside the US you’re a filthy foreigner and deserve nothing.
Minesweeper doesn’t appear in the UK or Canadian XBox Live stores, and the official response to comments on the Windows Mobile blog confirms that it’s not a delay; it’s a permanent and total “Screw You” to everyone else in the world. Apparently our inferior Anglo-brains can’t handle the sophisticated strategies of Minesweeping.
Since “converting” the software for other markets would consist entirely and only of saying “put that out on the other markets,” it actually takes more effort for Microsoft not to. It’s a real symptom of corporation-level problems.
No one person would decide “Actively annoy every customer in other countries,” but in some deep darkened layer of marketing strategy the US team had the great idea of making the game free. It just wasn’t their job to tell the other divisions. Even when customers contacted them to complain.
Alas, we can only hope that glorious Microsoft deign to notice our poor little country, and graciously allow us to sup some of the things they’re giving away for free to get people interested in their services. Or we could just play one of the dozens of Minesweepers on the iPhone.