The Windows Phone meltdown begins

Wired went out and found a bunch of Windows Phone developers to see what they think about Windows Phone 7 Series. The response is…less than pleasant. In fact, most of them sound pretty concerned if not downright pissed. That’s bad for Microsoft, considering its developers that keep a platform viable in the marketplace. Let’s start with one of the more hilarious quotes.

“I think it’s just royally fucked. That place is so big: The tools, the people, it’s all so fragmented.” Awesome. That’s Kai Yu, CEO of BeeJive, a company that develops an IM app. There is at least one developer, though, that’s excited about the new platform. “My speculation is that Microsoft has some incredible platforms they can tie all together with the new mobile platform.” That’s Jim Scheinman, COO of Pageonce, a productivity app developer. “If one developer can write across all the other platforms, that would be easier for us and all the developers…. If you want to attract hundreds of thousands of developers, it would behoove Microsoft to try to make that happen. That would be a very, very exciting opportunity for all of us.”

It would be exciting, but Microsoft has burned a lot of bridges by torching its last platform. It’s got a lot of ass-kissing to do before there will be any happy Windows Phone developers in the world.

Source: Wired


Windows Phone 7 Series: Ballmer’s gambit

people_wpFor all the talk of the Windows Phone 7 Series, you’d think it was going to save Microsoft in the mobile market. That may be true, but it’s going to be an ugly transition. I’m sure few people missed the fact that Windows Phone 7 means everything that came before is obsolete, least of all the current Windows Mobile users. It’s gone. Kaput. None of the current Windows Mobile software will function in the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem.

A lot of people say it was necessary. I tend to agree. Windows Mobile was butt ugly and ran about as fast as an 80 year-old with an artificial hip. It had no evolutionary cycle, not to stay competitive anyway. But doing away with the old has left Windows Mobile with an 8-10 month lame duck period. Development is going to grind to a halt, likely within the week. That’s going to leave a lot very unhappy users who have been loyal to the brand to this point. I guess Microsoft expects that they’ll be willing to wait until the holidays for a phone with any new features.

The message from Microsoft today was clear: Windows Mobile is dead. We’re looking at an eight month grieving period at the very least.


Windows Phone 7: Microsoft makes the Palm mistake

wp7_startLet me start by saying this: Windows Phone 7 is the best thing Microsoft has done in the mobile market. It is the company’s first serious entrant in the smartphone category and a real and viable competitor with the iPhone and Google’s Android platform. There, I said it. Now let’s do that thing people love to do and talk about where Microsoft went wrong.

The Windows Phone 7 (I’m going to leave that god-awful name alone for a moment) is late to the party. Just as Palm did with the Pre, Microsoft waited too long for the Windows Phone 7. It’s three years after the iPhone, three years during which Redmond was constantly lambasted for its terrible mobile experience. Three years Apple took to entrench users in its iPhone OS experience. Three years that include millions of handset sales and billions in profits. Three years Apple used to build the world’s biggest mobile development community. Microsoft is way behind. The question is, can this platform make the comeback?

I’m leaning toward yes. Everything I’ve seen so far shows a beautiful user interface that looks highly intuitive. Microsoft borrowed a page from the Apple handbook and made the Windows Phone 7 experience as similar as possible to the Zune HD. It gives Zune users a level of familiarity they will appreciate. The phone also integrates other Microsoft services that have been points of criticism for other platforms. Office, Exchange, Outlook, Windows Live, Xbox Live – they all have a home with Windows Phone 7 and have been designed to function well in that platform. Any serious Windows user will feel very at home with this platform.

That’s also the platform’s biggest downside. While most of the world is using Microsoft’s operating system, I would call a very small margin of that user base “serious.” The rest are there because of a lack of options, and a lot of people, especially young people, having been drinking the Apple kool-aid of late. How do you convince a generation of Apple students, people who have grown up playing with the iPod Touch, that Windows Phone 7 is where it’s at? The features that set this experience apart from the iPhone are business oriented as I see it. Sure, the interface is organized differently, but people are already familiar with and seemingly in love with the app system – will content hubs be enough to break that paradigm?

Windows Phone 7 has a lot stacked against it (and the name isn’t helping), a problem compounded by the release schedule. The first Windows Phone 7 series won’t launch until the holidays of this year. If you’ve been paying attention to the industry, you know that “iPhone 4G” rumors are cropping up, which means we’ll probably see the next iteration of the iPhone before the Microsoft launch. While the promise of the Zune Phone be enough to keep anxious consumers from getting Apple’s latest?