Apr 052013

Facebook just had its turn in the fisting Google queue by joining hands with HTC to deliver a lariat to Android. I’ll have some more thoughts about that later, but I just wanted to say a few words about Microsoft’s pissy response to the news. The adorable Frank X. Shaw delivered a predictable “Yea, but we did it first” tantrum via The Official Microsoft Blog, citing the Microsoft’s Window Phone launch event in 2011 as being similar to that of the HTC First. Just like Bill Gates invented the iPad in 2001.

For a moment let’s set aside the premise that its antics in the 90’s should effectively shut Microsoft up about anyone copying from them until the end of time. There are some caterwaul-specific aspects of Shaw’s post I find particularly hilarious. First is that Microsoft was hardly the first OS to “Put People First”: they borrowed that metaphor pretty heavily from WebOS’s Synergy. Second, and perhaps more galling, is the fact that Facebook was pretty much the cornerstone of Microsoft’s strategy. Without Facebook integration, Windows Phone would have weaker legs than it already does.

One bonus bit of hilarity: Shaw’s choice of video to exemplify the fact that Facebook chose the same three words to launch their phone that Microsoft did in 2011 depicts Windows Phone 7.5 – aka “The Road to Nowhere“. Fitting that Shaw would brag about “Putting People First” by linking to a promo for an OS that upgraded buyers of Nokia 900s by making them grab their ankles 3 months after they bought their Windows Phones.

Then again, hasn’t that always been Redmond’s way of “Putting People First”?

Jun 212012

Seems like only a few months ago Microsoft announced the fruits of its partnership with beleaguered Nokia. Actually, it was only a few months ago. Released in April, the Lumia 900 was launched with much fanfare, and promptly fell on its face. It was a big, inexpensive smartphone that brought little else to the table aside from its tiled start screen. The reviews were meh. But it was something to build on.

Or something to burn down and start over from.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced its eagerly anticipated update to Windows Phone 7 in line with the announcement of the Windows 8 Surface tablets and with that announcement, they buried their 3 month old flagship. That’s not entirely true: Windows did announce an upgrade for current WP 7.5 customers. Windows 7.8 will bring many of the Windows 8 features to folks that just bought their 900s. Not only will they get the “re-imagined” Windows 8 Start screen, they’ll be able to resize those tiles (three tile sizes instead of one!). They also get WP 8’s ability to perform updates from the phone. You might ask what the point of the last feature is, given that the road ahead of 7.8 reads “Bridge Out”.

It gets worse. Not only are none of the other features of Windows Phone 8 coming to the WP 7 users, apps written for WP 8 won’t be compatible with 7.8. It’s fair to say between now and this fall, when WP 8 is scheduled for release, you won’t see a ton of development on the side of the tracks with the warehouse buildings and the brothel.

And you thought iOS legacy support was brutal.

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