Microsoft’s “compelling story” for Windows Phone 7 starts next week

Oct 4, 2010
Finance

It’s hardly news that Microsoft (MSFT) has a lot on the line with its new mobile operating system, and CEO Steve Ballmer is not shying away from talking about the platform. Also in today’s App Industry Roundup, we explain why HTC (2498.TW) will be a key Microsoft Phone 7 partner and showcase a new iPhone app […]

It’s hardly news that Microsoft (MSFT) has a lot on the line with its new mobile operating system, and CEO Steve Ballmer is not shying away from talking about the platform. Also in today’s App Industry Roundup, we explain why HTC (2498.TW) will be a key Microsoft Phone 7 partner and showcase a new iPhone app that finds a doctor when you need one.

Ballmer on Windows Mobile

Steve Ballmer has been on a media tour this past week, as he starts to promote a coming line-up of phones that run Windows Phone 7. The software behemoth’s new mobile operating system has been discussed for nearly a year, since Microsoft started talking about how great it will be since even before Windows 6.5 was released. Microsoft even talked about Windows Phone 7 when software giant prematurely killed the Kin mobile phones.

Now, after those market flops, a fantastic year for Android, a revision to the BlackBerry OS and Apple’s ongoing popularity, Windows Phone 7 will enter the market. How will Microsoft fare? How will its partners fare? Here’s a little of what Steve Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal.

WSJ: Are you trying to protect Windows or do you see Windows Phone 7 as a big revenue opportunity in and of itself?

Ballmer: No, I see it as a big opportunity. There’s the sale of the device, there’s potential for search revenue on top of that and commerce revenue. There’s potential for subscription revenue from various entertainment or productivity experiences.

Job One here will be selling a lot of phones, and if we sell a lot of phones, good things are going to happen.

WSJ: If you look at the market share stats, the Apple guys have done well, the Android guys have really surged and you guys have lost share the past couple years. How hard is it to make that ground back up?

Ballmer: We’ll see. The fact that things have been pretty dynamic means that they’re probably still pretty dynamic.

WSJ: The software on Windows Phones looks more different from the other phones than any of the other products that are out there [with a homescreen featuring a grid of colorful tiles, some of which change with fresh content from the Web]. Is it a risk bringing such a different user interface to consumers?

Ballmer: Well, we’ve got to look forward. The market’s still pretty nascent, but at the end of the day, I think the wall-of-icons [on iPhones and Android devices] is getting pretty complicated for people. That doesn’t mean people don’t want applications, though I’m not sure that’s really the way the average person really wants to work.

Putting the activities that are most important in people’s lives and the people that are most important in people’s lives front-and-center through these hubs, I think we’re going to capture hopefully the imagination of quite a good number of people.

Windows 7 phones will be officially unveiled next week in New York. T-Mobile, according to Engadget, will have a starring role. AT&T is also expected to be a critical launch partner.

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HTC a key Windows partner

If HTC can do for Windows what it has done for Android, Ballmer will be a happy man. The HTC Android phones — including the sexy HTC Evo 4G and refreshed Google G2 — helped give the Google-backed platform credibility and sales momentum.

HTC has been a Windows mobile partner for some time, but until the Android phones, few people cared. Now they may. Here’s a sneak peak at one of the HTC phones for Windows, courtesy of Engadget via Germany. The interface is very Zune-like, if you’re familiar with that platform. (Probably not but it is pretty good IMHO.)

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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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