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MS: "Too many people with too much invested to let Apple win"

Microsoft intent on fighting its corner in phone market - Connell

Microsoft Games Studios' Kieron Connell told the Evolve In London Conference yesterday that Microsoft is "very serious" about Windows Phone 7 and will not sit back and allow others to dominate the mobile handset market.

Answering a question from panel chair Will Freeman, Connell made clear that although Microsoft is fighting an uphill battle, it has no intention of rolling over and giving up.

"How much momentum does the iPhone have? Is it dominance a reality, is it going to stay that way for a long time," asked Freeman of the guests.

"I think there are too many people with too much money invested to let Apple win in terms of flooding the entire market," Connell told listeners.

"You'd better believe Microsoft is very serious about Windows Phone 7, and protecting their part of the business. It's going to be an interesting time - that's for sure."

In an earlier response to the question, Ngmoco's Neil Young had observed that Google's Android platform was gaining ground on Apple, but failed to mention Microsoft as a player in the market.

"Yes, it is dominant in the west," he said of iPhone. "In the East it's probably Android then some of Europe is probably up for grabs. Android has lots and lots of momentum right now but an inferior publishing model."

The feelings of the panel reflect recent findings from a study in the US which show that the gap in market share between iOS devices and Android platforms is closing fast, but Microsoft remains a peripheral player in the area.

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Latest comments (24)

Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
M$ has to work on the AppHubb, and its not available in all countries.
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Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna5 years ago
M$ got Gamerscore. If they can do crossover solutions where buying a 360-game lets you earn additional Gamerscore on Windows 7 Mobile they'll got a hardcore audience waiting. I know people who has bought a Win7-phone ONLY for the extra Gamerscore.
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis5 years ago
I'm waiting on the DELL Venue Pro to come out but as soon as its out I'm scrapping my iPhone and getting set up on Win7-phone.
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Show all comments (24)
Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
I'll have your iPhone Barrie if you're just going to 'scrap' it! ;)
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Joe Bognar Junior PR Manager, Techland5 years ago
I am about at the end of the decision making process whether it's going to be an iPhone or an HTC HD7 WinP7!
I think that iPhone rules... but: it seems like Apple is slowing down and Android is soon at it's doorstep. Also, I don't think that Microsoft would just accept that it's last in something. They have the resources, the technology and the drive so it is highly possible that they will catch up quickly!
Anyway, I'll probably get the HTC HD7 with WinP7! So they better not just leave it!

@ I'm not a Gamerscore addict but that would definitely add value to it for me!
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Marque Pierre Sondergaard European Development Account Manager, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe5 years ago
"You'd better believe Microsoft is very serious about Windows Phone 7, and protecting their part of the business."

Excuse me? What part of the mobile business is there for Microsoft to protect?
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
@Marque:

4%.
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gi biz ;,pgc.eu 5 years ago
Why would people pay to stick an extra Windows on their mobile?? o.o
A windows phone will probably earn MS a new anti-ecologic award, and will likely open your phone to all sort of worms and crap.

iPhone has proven to be nothing more than a marketing success, as well as the iPad, but that's all. Of course this makes it an interesting platform to develop for, but as a customer I wouldn't buy either one.

Anyways, companies developing for WinPhones will likely be forced to get a Windows only SDK, therefore Visual Studio and Windows Vista at least, so of course MS won't give up...

Imo, phone market has always been owned by Nokia, and the upcoming Meego will probably confirm that.
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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London5 years ago
I still find it somewhat extraordinary it's taken so long for the company to have a decent answer to rival technologies. Its uphill from here. Microsoft were in the space long before Apple so I'm disappointed with them.
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Simone Donnini developer 5 years ago
Everyone was in the space long before Apple
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Johan Ekblom5 years ago
Windows Phone 7 will flop

THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM in the IT industry press expresses cautious optimism about the prospects for Microsoft's latest mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7 (WP7).
But I believe it's going to fall flat on its face, and I'll outline here three major reasons why I think so. I also suspect that there are some other factors that are going to work against WP7 too, but these are the main problems that I see now.
First, WP7 is handicapped by the legacy of the Windows Mobile line of operating systems for mobile phones put out by Microsoft over the past ten years. Based upon the fairly awful Windows CE software platform initially developed for Pocket PC gadgets, Windows Mobile never stood out or attracted a base of satisfied customers on either feature phones or smartphones.
It is also telling that the Vole renamed WP7 in a desperate and probably vain attempt to distance it from the clear design, execution and marketing disaster that was Windows Mobile.
Windows Mobile's market share has steadily declined over the years, to the point that it's in fifth place behind the competing Symbian, Blackberry, Android and Iphone operating systems. A year ago Windows Mobile had less than 20 per cent of the mobile phone market in the US and about 5 per cent worldwide, but it's likely a fair estimate that it now has less than 10 per cent of the US market and far less than 5 per cent globally.
A whole generation of mobile phone users have already rejected Windows Mobile and that's a history of bad memories that's bound to weigh heavily against WP7 in user attitudes. Having had a bad experience before with Windows Mobile, or known someone who did, punters are going to be skeptical of WP7 right from the outset.
Second, the smartphone specifications that Microsoft laid down for its devices aren't especially attractive in any way, but instead are depressingly ordinary and in some respects are lower-end than those of the decent competing smartphones.
Apple's Iphone 4, with its 3.5-inch 960x640, 326ppi 'retina' display, clearly has a sharper, more attractive screen than the WP7 phones' 800x480 displays that come in varying sizes ranging from 3.6-inch to 4.3-inch. Depending on the WP7 smartphone's screen size, the Iphone 4 has roughly 25 per cent to 50 per cent higher resolution. That means that an Iphone 4 screen looks just as clear and sharp at 12 inches distance as a WP7 handset's does at 15 to 18 inches. It also has a whopping 60 per cent more display area.
Even the Motorola Droid smartphone has a higher resolution display, at 854x480, than a WP7 handset, and other smartphones that run the Android OS, such as the Samsung Galaxy S, have equivalent 800x480 displays.
Similarly, the 1GHz Snapdragon chip specified for WP7 devices is no faster than the ARM Cortex A8 processor in the Galaxy S, and will surely be surpassed soon by the next generation of ARM CPUs that will come out in newer Android smartphones.
In most other respects, the WP7 device specifications are unremarkable, with a capacitive multi-touch screen, 3G and WiFi connectivity, an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, GPS and a 5MP or 8MP camera, much like most Android smartphones. The INQUIRER has been told that some WP7 smartphones will have external microSD storage cards but that some will have only internal flash storage that can't be changed by the user. It is certainly a baffling move by the Vole and its partners and can only be a mark against the handsets.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, Microsoft seems to have released WP7 in an unfinished state. It has tried to excuse this by claiming that this latest version of its mobile OS is "a complete reboot" of its mobile strategy and explaining that features - including some formerly present in Windows Mobile - will only be rolled out when they reach high enough quality.
We think the Vole means by this that its developers haven't managed to code these features yet, so like many of Microsoft's initial products this is merely a partial first implementation and the company is perfectly glad to flog it to all those gullible enough to buy it, while it keeps working to produce the fully completed version of the product.
The features that WP7 lacks in its initial release reportedly include a file manager, copy and paste functions, full multitasking, Adobe Flash and Silverlight plug-ins in the web browser, and support for tethering, IPsec virtual private network (VPN) security, video calling and Bluetooth file transfers. These are simply startling omissions, arguably, which are likely to put off a lot of potential customers.
Without these features WP7 smartphones will compare poorly against the Iphone 4 and smartphones running Android that now or soon will support copy and paste, full multitasking, and at least some or all of the rest. Why will anyone want to buy a crippled smartphone?
One can only surmise that the Vole was so desperate to build a product to sell into the mobile market to replace its cratering Windows Mobile that it rushed out WP7 in a partially completed form just to get something, anything out the door.
It's hard to overstate how badly Microsoft seems to have botched WP7 and how much further damage this is likely to do to its reputation and future sales in the mobile marketplace.
From wasting years of development on its earlier and failed 'Photon' initiative through failing to envision a bold enough strategy, all the way to settling for uninspiring hardware specifications and falling short during its software implementation, Microsoft seems to have done everything wrong with WP7.
Well, maybe not everything. It did manage to spend reportedly $400 million on marketing and advertising, get a fair amount of press and make a splash.


Edited 1 times. Last edit by Johan Ekblom on 9th December 2010 6:27pm

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Private Industry 5 years ago
Never had a phone that was using a Windows OS and I don`t plan to change that any time soon, next one for me is probably an Android phone thanks to the open OS.
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Jason Gholston Producer, Griptonite Games5 years ago
I have a Samsung Focus and it's great. It's fast, games play fluidly, and the UI is very tidy in comparison to most other platforms. The more I use the phone the more I like it. Identifying the one thing that makes it stand out from iOS and android is tricky. On paper they are all pretty similar. In the end it's thousands of smaller choices that MS made that makes it great.
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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London5 years ago
@Simone Donnini

Sure, and I'm even more disappointed with Symbian - it's former shareholders and Nokia who astonishingly still dominate the market with the OS.

So far Google's acquisition and major marketing of Android has been the biggest rival in a very small amount of time.

They pretty much all let Apple run away, but good for Apple..
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John Blackburne Programmers 5 years ago
Microsoft are "very serious" like they were about the previous version of the OS for phones? Or like they were very serious about Silverlight as a better Flash? Or like they were very serious about the Kin? MS can say what they like now but we all know that if two years from now it's still a poor third or fourth it will be cancelled and the investment written off (probably with Silverlight ported to Android and iOS to keep it going).
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
You'll need to give it 2 years to see the full picture in the UK at least purely becuase most people with smartphones have 2 year contracts, I am just as interested in windows phone 7 as another iPhone (I like my iPhone but still am not happy it was nearly unusable for 3 months after the iOS 4 update), but I have 14 months before I can consider it.
I can't say for sure if WP7 will take off, but some slow sales must be down to people still being in contract.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
I agree with Andrew's comment; it's very easy to make hasty judgements about Windows Phone 7, but the fact is a lot of potential consumers will already be tied up in phone contracts, so won't be able to upgrade unless they want to incur massive additional costs. I think a fuller picture of its position in the marketplace will present itself over the next 12-24 months, whereby we can see if Microsoft's marketing paid off and whether their position in the phone marketplace is sustainable.
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Joe Bognar Junior PR Manager, Techland5 years ago
@ Johan: Nice stuff but sorry, you're doing nothing but attacking WinP7 aggressively... I had an iPhone before and to be honest, I loved it. But I could not stand the restrictions on it. What do you call a device that doesn't let you change your ringtone for an MP3? Definitely not 'Smartphone'! Obviously you can say that there's Android there that gives you more freedom. But WinP7 is quite new. I bet that the first iOS and Android systems were extremely bad too. And again, to be perfectly honest, the 'new' Win OS seems like it matches both the iOS and the Android system.
Also, why someone would buy a handicapped phone? I remember that people with Android phones were begging me to try to understand that the new update is coming soon and it will be awesome. So maybe you should ask them this question...
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Mark Bridges Human 5 years ago
Its down to personal preference. My wife has an iphone, i personally dont like it. I've had a look at Android phones and again i personally dont like the OS. I've had a look at the WP7 and i like the OS so when i upgrade my still functioning Sony Erricson K800i i'm looking at getting a HTC HD7 WP7 because i like the OS. Being able to use XNA to develop for it is an added bonus. :o)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mark Bridges on 10th December 2010 2:30pm

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Joe Bognar Junior PR Manager, Techland5 years ago
@Mark: 'Like' ! :)
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
Joe, I wouldn't take Johan's comments too seriously. You just need to take a quick look at his account to see that he pretty vehemently dislikes Microsoft.
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Johan Ekblom5 years ago
Stop dark figures MS. WP7 is a disaster out of seldom seen. UI is so ugly that it becomes tearful.
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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London5 years ago
Good point Andrew, and that's something I mentioned before. Contracts play a big part in adoption.

There will always be new adopters and those just going into contracts, but many would be already have deals and probably have to wait at least a little bit of time until they jump ship.
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Joe Bognar Junior PR Manager, Techland5 years ago
I couldn't find the comment but someone said that it would be really good if you could unlock achievements with WinP7. I saw an ad on Xbox LIVE during the weekend and it listed that too! :) Maybe problem solved. :)
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