Apple needs a geography lesson while Microsoft fails to impress

Jul 19, 2010
Finance

Microsoft (MSFT) released another preview of Windows Phone 7 for mobile phones, a product that apparently needs more work. Also in today’s App Industry Roundup, we recap the iPhone 4 bumper give-away and wonder if Apple (AAPL) has taken a geography course recently. Here comes Microsoft, again Fresh on the heels of pulling the Kin phones […]

Microsoft (MSFT) released another preview of Windows Phone 7 for mobile phones, a product that apparently needs more work. Also in today’s App Industry Roundup, we recap the iPhone 4 bumper give-away and wonder if Apple (AAPL) has taken a geography course recently.

Here comes Microsoft, again

Fresh on the heels of pulling the Kin phones from the market (still available at Verizon for nearly nothing), Microsoft released a preview version of the Windows Phone 7 phone software on Monday. Windows Phone 7 is considerably different than the Kin since Microsoft is not making phones here, just an operating system. Yet the Windows Phone 7 mobile product is huge for Microsoft, as it has fallen well behind Android and Apple in terms of mind share.

The early reviews of the preview appear mixed. Retail phones with the software won’t start arriving until the holidays near, and it looks like Microsoft needs the time. There are some goodies, however.

The software offers “probably the most accurate and nuanced touch response this side of iOS4,” writes Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky. But by the end of his long review, he still thinks Apple and Android remain ahead of Microsoft.

At the Boy Genius Report, the review notes that using the built-in Zune music player was a “really pleasant experience. We’d absolutely put it second to Apple’s iPod on their iPhone.” But overall, the Boy Genius said this version of the software had many annoyances and “there is no killer application on Windows Phone 7, and we can’t see an overwhelming reason to use one instead of an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android handset.”

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We laugh because we care

The iPhone 4 drama is coming to an end, but now the comedy and reflection begin.

— A top bit of comedy comes from a Taiwanese news organization, which created an animated news short that provides a wonderful look at the saga from beginning to end. The casting is inspired.

The New York Times David Carr marvels at how “antennagate” went from a story only the tech press seemed to care about (and largely ignored by Apple) to a PR disaster for Steve Jobs thanks to a stalwart of old media, Consumer Reports. The analysis is spot on, and points out that paid subscriptions for Consumer Reports — print and digital — have been growing since 2004, a rarity in media today.

— Will the iPhone bumper work? Yes, but it won’t solve Apple’s new image problems, writes Kevin Maney in an exclusive story for Appolicious. A history of product problems and the responses by their makers may prove Jobs’ reaction on Friday damaging. A bumper may not be enough, Maney writes.

— Apple’s competitors — HTC (2498.TW), RIM (RIMM), Nokia (NOK) — are not happy about being dragged into the mess, writes Ars Technica. RIM, in particularly, didn’t mince words: “Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation,” RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie said in a statement.

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Apple and geography: back to school

Apple released a press release this morning and it had nothing to do with the iPhone 4’s antenna. Rather, it focused on the iPad, the clear hit of 2010 for the company that has the innovation lead in touch-screen devices. On Friday, the iPad will launch in nine additional countries: Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore, according to Apple’s official press release.

Well, that should be eight countries. Hong Kong is not a country.

Hong Kong is an odd duck of a place, certainly, but since 1997, it has officially been part of China. Despite that geography lapse, the iPad is now offered in 18 countries and one special administrative region.

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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