Microsoft will release a tool for syncing Windows Phone 7 with Macs, according to a company statement. That could allow Microsoft to make a play for Apple fans.
Microsoft is planning a software tool that will sync its
upcoming Windows Phone 7 with Macs.
"Later in 2010 Microsoft will make a public beta available
of a tool that allows Windows Phone 7 to sync select content with Mac
computers," reads a statement from the company e-mailed to eWEEK. As other news sites have
pointed out, however, questions remain about the nature of that "select
Should a Mac-syncing tool for Windows Phone 7 come to
fruition, it would suggest that Microsoft has aggressive designs on the entire smartphone
user-base. More to the point, Windows Phone 7 needs to take market share from rivals such as the Apple iPhone if it wants
to succeed-and a big part of that strategy involves supporting Windows Phone 7
on as many platforms as possible.
That being said, Apple may very well push back however it
can. In 2009, Apple
and Palm engaged in the smartphone equivalent of whack-a-mole
, with the latter
pushing software updates that allowed Palm Pre users to sync their devices with
iTunes. Apple reacted with its own series of updates, denying the Pre that
capability. Should Microsoft try something similar with Windows Phone 7, it
would likely provoke a similar response from Apple.
Yet syncing with iTunes may not be a top Microsoft priority.
Oded Ran, head of consumer marketing for Windows Phone in Britain, Tweeted Oct.
12: "DAILY #WP7 ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm glad to confirm that Mac users would be able
to use Zune on their Macs to sync with #WP7. More details soon." That Tweet was
subsequently yanked, but
a screen-grab can be found on Neowin.net
Zune software on the Mac would conceivably allow users to
sync their music and multimedia with a Windows Phone 7. Until Microsoft
provides additional details, though, everything remains the purest conjecture.
launched Windows Phone 7
, its latest attempt to regain market share in
smartphones, with a colorful New York City event Oct. 11. The platform will
debut in the United States in November, on nine different devices from
manufacturers such as Dell, LG Electronics and Samsung.
"The challenges are considerable given that Microsoft is
coming to this three years or more behind," Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC,
wrote in an Oct. 11 research note. "However, they have done about as best as
anyone can do in a 12-month timeframe from inception."
Hilwa predicts that app developers will gravitate towards
the platform in coming months. "I have no doubt that they will have several
thousand apps six months from now, and they appear to be covering the bases
with the major popular apps. The new angle, which is a bit of an outflanking
strategy, is the gaming angle and the ties to Xbox Live."
Windows Phone 7 will launch first on GSM-only networks such
as AT&T, which is planning to roll out three smartphones in the
November-December timeframe. It will then appear on CDMA networks such as
Verizon in early 2011.