Walt Mossberg writes a damning review of Windows Phone 7

A customer views a mobile phone with the new Windows 7 operating system after its arrival in British shops, in central London October 21, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SCI TECH)

Let me start by saying this: I don’t think Walt Mossberg’s review of Windows Phone 7 will make or break the platform. The platform will break the platform, especially if, as Mossberg suggests, Windows Phone 7 fails to compete with Android and the iPhone.

Here’s the real hammer blow:

But I couldn’t find a killer innovation that would be likely to make iPhone or Android users envious, except possibly for dedicated Xbox users. Even the built-in Office can be replicated with third-party Office-compatible apps on competing platforms; and the iPhone and Android phones also can interoperate with Microsoft’s corporate Exchange email, calendar and contact system.

So for now, I see Windows Phone 7 as mostly getting Microsoft into the game, and replacing the stale, complicated Windows Mobile system that preceded it. It will get better. The company is already working on a copy and paste system, and said it is coming early next year. But, today, I see Windows Phone 7 as inferior to iPhone and Android for most average users. It’s simply not fully baked yet.

That was Microsoft’s whole schtick – that Windows Phone is different from old Windows Mobile, different from the iPhone, different from Android. The only difference, though, is that it’s months, even years behind its competitors in terms of tech. Without improving the tech behind the phone, how can Microsoft hope to compete?

The bottom line – they can’t. If anything, Microsoft should have looked into producing a killer set of apps for the current mobile marketplace. If Windows Phone 7 bombs, which seems very likely at this point, there goes millions upon millions of dollars in development and advertising. In a couple years, maybe even just one, Windows Phone could have a competitive offering, but my guess is that by then it will be way too late.


Verizon won’t be selling Windows Phone 7 at the onset

Hoho, I can already hear Ballmer’s ears spewing steam as the entirety of the tech blogosphere compares Windows Phone 7 to the iPhone. Bloomberg reported today that Verizon would not be carrying Microsoft’s new phone any time this year, though there are plans to support the new platform at some point in 2011.

Of course, the world says “Hey, you don’t need Verizon to be successful. Just look at the iPhone.” Yeah guys, let’s do that. When the iPhone launched, there was nothing like it in the marketplace. Nothing. No one turned to Apple and said, ‘Just look at the…’ There was nothing to look at. Now, there is. There’s the iPhone, but more importantly, there’s Android, which has a far more attractive licensing structure (free) than Microsoft will for Windows Phone 7.

If I were Microsoft, I’d be really worried. I know they aren’t. I know we’ll get to hear about how strong the relationships are with other carriers and how widespread success on those carriers will bleed over into eventual success on Verizon. I doubt it, I really do. Microsoft is late to the party. The best thing Windows Phone 7 could have done was showing up at the door with the hottest chick in school.


Windows 7 tablets are dropping left and right

I know the iPad 3G launch and the cancellation of at least two Windows 7 tablets in the same week is likely just a coincidence, but it’s hard to shut out the voice telling me the news might be related.

You might remember Microsoft’s Courier, the dual-screen tablet that could fold like a book and had an amazing demo video. It’s dead, folks. Done. Microsoft said the project would no longer be supported. Alongside that bit of bad news comes word that HP is canceling its Windows 7 tablet, the same tablet Steve Ballmer debuted at CES 2010. HP is reportedly displeased with Windows 7 as a tablet platform and will be moving to Google products.

The HP cancellation is the big news of the two. Dropping Microsoft for Google’s cloud operating system is a first for big manufacturers, and it points to a growing sentiment in the development community. The world wants simple products, and while some might decry iPhone OS and its relative lack of features, no one can deny its success. For the average consumer, Windows just doesn’t make much sense.


Netflix for Windows Phone 7 is the best mobile idea since…ever

Netflix on Windows Phone 7.For all the features that have been billed to us as the ‘iPhone killer” in the past, nothing stands out quite like Netflix for Windows Phone 7. Granted, the media service will probably be coming to other platforms as well, but it’s being pioneered on Windows Phone 7, replete with subscriptions and 3G video streaming. What more could you want?

Unless Steve Jobs has something truly compelling up his sleeve this June, Netflix capability will make more than a few media geeks reconsider an iPhone purchase. There have been rumors of this and other similar applications coming to the iPhone for years now, but we haven’t seen much progress. There’s Slingbox, but that’s not quite the same situation. On demand streaming is where the world is pointing, from potential iTunes deals to the success of sites like NinjaVideo.net.

Gizmodo has a preview of the service working. It’s just a prototype, but usually the word prototype means it’s only going to get better.


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