Microsoft may see its new Windows Phone 7 Series operating system ported onto Motorola phones, according to comments made by Motorola's co-CEO to The Wall Street Journal. That would be positive news for Microsoft as it seeks to interest handset manufacturers and developers in its new software, designed to help the company either halt or reverse its slide in mobile market share. Unlike Google Android devices and the iPhone, which emphasize individual mobile applications, Windows Phone 7 Series centers its user interface on "hubs" that collect Web and application content.
Motorola may re-embrace the idea of releasing smartphones running a Windows
operating system, according to comments made by one of the company's CEOs to
The Wall Street Journal. The news potentially bodes well for the adoption of the
Windows Phone 7 Series
, which was announced in a high-profile press
conference in Barcelona, Spain,
on Feb. 15, by phone manufacturers.
"I'm open to it," Sanjay Jha, Motorola's co-CEO,
the newspaper in response to a question
about the company's willingness to
release phones running Windows software. "I think I need diversity in our
portfolio." Motorola is also looking to expand into new areas, the Feb. 17
article suggested, with the company planning to port its Motoblur
social-networking application from phones to television set-top boxes.
has produced Windows Mobile devices in the past
, it has lately focused on
pushing phones that run the Google Android operating system, including
the Motorola Droid
, which enjoyed solid sales and mostly positive reviews
after its release in November 2009.
Unlike Google Android devices or the iPhone, which emphasize individual
apps, Windows Phone 7 Series focuses its user interface on "hubs," which
aggregate Web and application content into categories such as
"People," "Pictures," "Office," "Music &
Video" and "Games." The touch-screen user interface and consumer
sheen of the new mobile operating system are heavily reminiscent of the Zune
HD, Microsoft's portable media player.
On Feb. 18, the WMPoweruser blog posted what it
called leaked Windows Phone 7 development documents
, which indicated that
the software is built on Silverlight, XNA and the .NET
compact framework. Microsoft will presumably flesh out those language details
for developers at March's MIX conference.
During the Feb. 15 press conference in Barcelona,
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer indicated that
Microsoft would continue to support its previous smartphone operating system,
Windows Mobile 6.5, even after the release of Windows Phone 7 Series. However, Microsoft
subsequently refused to confirm reports that Mobile 6.5 would eventually be rebranded
as Windows Phone Classic.
Microsoft plans to roll out Windows Phone 7 Series devices at some point
before the 2010 holiday season. Analysts and pundits seem to feel that
Microsoft is drawing a line in the proverbial sand with this recent release,
with a radical alteration seen as possibly the only way for the company to halt
or even reverse its mobile market share declines. Vital to that road map could
be ensuring that devices running the operating system appeal to both the enterprise
and SMBs (small and midsize businesses).
"The main difference is that companies like Microsoft see the
smartphone as a device that can accomplish work; Apple is on the other side,
saying that we're going to make media devices that you can use to do most of
the things you need to do for work," Charles King, an analyst with Pund-It
Research, said in a Feb. 17 interview with eWEEK. "Microsoft is drawing a
firm line between what their next-generation smartphones are doing and what
other people are doing."
Whether Microsoft's strategy provides enough of a competitive differentiator
to gain market share back from the likes of Google Android and the iPhone
remains to be seen.