Alright Android nation, ready your torches and pitchforks. Santa Clara resident and Android enthusiast Sahas Katta mozied on down to the Microsoft Store to participate n the Windows Phone Challenge on Sunday. The challenge is simple: if you can perform a given task faster on a non-Windows smartphone (in this case Katta’s stock Verizon Galaxy Nexus) you win a free $1000 special-edition laptop. Long story short: Katta performed the task faster, but Microsoft representatives refused to award him the prize. Their reasoning? “Just because.”
The contest was to see which phone could display the weather for two separate cities the fastest. Katta was in luck here, since he happened to have weather widgets for two separate cities sitting on his homescreen. When the challenge began, Katta turned on his phone and shouted “Done!” Since he’d disabled the Android lock screen before coming into the store (a feature that’s built in to the OS) that was all he had to do. The Microsoft employee had to turn on her phone and perform the slide-to-unlock function. Katta won by a split-second, thanks to Android’s ability to disable the lock screen.
When he claimed his prize, Katta was told that he had lost, without a real explanation as to why. He demonstrated the weather or two separate cities using widgets, the same way that the Windows Phone 7 device had with its Live Tiles interface. After pressing for an answer as to why he had “lost”, the representative finally said, “Just because.” When Katta went up the chain he was told that the rules stated that he had to show the weather for two different cities in two separate states, something that was never mentioned at the outset.
Katta left the store without his rightful laptop. While his story is gaining traction on Reddit and other social networks, he hasn’t contacted Microsoft to try and get them to honor the contest. But he was asked to pose for a photo in front of a banner on his way out of the store, emblazoned with the somewhat erroneous phrase “My phone just got smoked by Windows Phone”.
UPDATE: Microsoft’s Ben “The PC Guy” Rudolph (a pretty infamous Android detractor himself) has reached out to Sahas Katta via Twitter, offering him his just reward: a free laptop and an apology. And a free Windows phone, too, though it’s hard to see why Katta would want one – it did get smoked, after all.