Microsoft exec admits Windows Phone was response to Apple's iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Microsoft's head of software design for Windows Phone has admitted that the company completely redesigned its mobile operating system platform as a response to Apple's iPhone and the "sea change" it created in the industry.



Joe Belfiore, one of the first engineers brought to the new Windows Phone team when it was formed, made the comments in an interview with The New York Times.



?Apple created a sea change in the industry in terms of the kinds of things they did that were unique and highly appealing to consumers,? he said. ?We wanted to respond with something that would be competitive, but not the same.?



According to the report, "once the iPhone exploded into the marketplace, Microsoft executives knew that their software, as designed, could never compete." In December 2008, Microsoft's then head of mobile engineering called a meeting to decide the fate of its aging Windows Mobile software. Seven hours later, Myerson and his team decided to scrap the OS and start again from scratch.



?We had hit bottom,? said Myerson, who recently replaced Andy Lees as head of the Windows Phone division, adding that doing so gave the company "the freedom to try new things, build a new team and set a new path.?



Former Microsoft manager Charlie Kindel compared the decision to start over to mountain climber Aron Ralston's now famous accident where a boulder fell on his arm and he was forced to amputate it.



?This boulder comprised of Apple and Blackberry rolled on our arm,? he said. ?Microsoft sat there for three or four years struggling to get out.?



While designing the new operating system, Microsoft deciding to strike a balance between Apple's highly-controlled approach and Android's more permissive strategy. It upset handset makers by instituting strict rules on the level of technical specifications required for Windows Phone devices in an attempt to avoid the fragmentation and performance issues that had plagued Windows Mobile and, to some extent, Android.



?It?s not just about software,? Albert Shum, general manager of the design studio for Windows Phone, told the Times. ?It?s about the whole end-to-end experience.?



Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer experienced "some hesitancy" after his first look at an early version of Windows Phone, according to Myerson, but the team made revisions to address his concerns.



The decision to start over was costly, as the two years that it took the software giant to create Windows Phone left iOS and Android with a huge opportunity in the smartphone market. Android held 25 percent of the worldwide smartphone market and iOS 16.6 percent in the third quarter of 2010, while Windows Mobile had dwindled to 2.7 percent. Windows Phone's first year on the market failed to reverse the trend, with Android holding 52.5 percent share an iOS claiming 15 percent, while Microsoft's portion slid to 1.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011.



The first reviews of the platform praised Windows Phone for its unique tile interface when it arrived in fall 2010, but they also noted that the operating system was several years behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Sales of Windows Phone devices since then have failed to gain significant momentum.



Myerson himself admits that the platform has faced an uphill climb because of the time it lost. ?Entering the market so late with this experience has created some special challenges for us,? he said. ?I think if we were there earlier it would be different.?



The mobile OS will have a second chance in the U.S. market early this year when the first Windows Phone-based Nokia devices arrive. Nearly a year ago, the Finnish handset maker announced that it was abandoning its Symbian OS in favor of a close partnership with Microsoft, but the first phones resulting from the deal have yet to arrive in the U.S..



The two companies are reportedly set to unveil the flagship Nokia Ace smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show next week. The handset is also rumored to receive a $100 million marketing push from Microsoft, AT&T and Nokia, but even AT&T's own executives have confessed their belief that Windows Phone will see "a lot of challenges" in going up against its more-established competitors.
«13456

Comments

  • andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Duh...
  • christophbchristophb Posts: 1,370member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Duh...



    Yeah, I think it'd been news if he'd denied it.
  • gprovidagprovida Posts: 215member
    They chose to compete on innovation not being a copycat and that is what is in the long run the most valuable to users.



    It goes without saying that is NOT the model of Google, Samsung, HTC, etc.
  • 8002580025 Posts: 172member
    [QUOTE=



    According to the report, "once the iPhone exploded into the marketplace, Microsoft executives knew that their software, as designed, could never compete." [/QUOTE]



    And it still can't. A clown-like interface designed for pre-schoolers. What majorcrap doesn't get it's all about functionality, technology transparancy, and easy of use. Concepts they fail to understand over and over and over...
  • cmvsmcmvsm Posts: 204member
    The problem is that MS needs to wipe out their top leadership, design team, and start over with a fresh and different approach. Everything that Balmer touches turns to turd cake. I'm really not sure how the share holders have allowed him to stay in his position.
  • whatisgoingonwhatisgoingon Posts: 273member
    I'm surprised it only took them two full years to figure out they needed to completely scrap wince and start over [well, they at least scrapped the wince UI layer].



    I wonder how many chairs monkeyboy broke on that day. Or did they just keep the decision from him for a couple of months...
  • lkrupplkrupp Posts: 4,200member
    "“Apple created a sea change in the industry in terms of the kinds of things they did that were unique and highly appealing to consumers,” he said. “We wanted to respond with something that would be competitive, but not the same.”



    According to the report, "once the iPhone exploded into the marketplace, Microsoft executives knew that their software, as designed, could never compete." In December 2008, Microsoft's then head of mobile engineering called a meeting to decide the fate of its aging Windows Mobile software. Seven hours later, Myerson and his team decided to scrap the OS and start again from scratch."



    Kinda refutes Slappy and his ilk and their talking points that allege Android was the first and finest. Apple's long time rival admits Apple did it right first. Oh, and this also means Ballmer knew from the beginning that the iPhone was not a "rounding error." It scared the crap out of him apparently. I can just see him screaming and sweating "I WANT IPHONE, I WANT IPHONE, I WANT IPHONE!!!!!!"
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,500member
    Once again, I'd like to offer my thanks and congratulations to Microsoft for making something with an original UI and use style for once in their company's existence. I wish only for Windows Phone 7 to be made better. Android as an iOS competitor isn't a stable future, and Apple needs SOMETHING in the way of professional competition to prevent monopoly whiners and keep innovation pushing forward.
  • nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gprovida View Post


    They chose to compete on innovation not being a copycat and that is what is in the long run the most valuable to users.



    It goes without saying that is NOT the model of Google, Samsung, HTC, etc.



    Agreed. It’s still a long way from offering what iOS does (and iOS isn’t standing still). But they’ve done something better than Android, and not by Google’s method: switch gears from copying RIM to copying Apple.



    (And yes, Google has innovated in many specific details with Android. Not every last element is an iPhone clone attempt. But the overall OS has been from first release. The same can’t be said for Metro, and Microsoft deserves credit—and maybe some customers!—for that.)
  • sippincidersippincider Posts: 398member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    “Apple created a sea change in the industry in terms of the kinds of things they did that were unique and highly appealing to consumers,” he said. “We wanted to respond with something that would be competitive, but not the same“

    (...)

    "This boulder comprised of Apple and Blackberry rolled on our arm,” he said. “Microsoft sat there for three or four years struggling to get out.”



    To think Microsoft chewed off their good arm (Courier) in their effort to get out.
  • macismacmacismac Posts: 1member
    Looks like they did not get Craig Mundie's memo. WinMo 6x was just fine. It was just a marketing problem!
  • f1ferrarif1ferrari Posts: 223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Once again, I'd like to offer my thanks and congratulations to Microsoft for making something with an original UI and use style for once in their company's existence. I wish only for Windows Phone 7 to be made better. Android as an iOS competitor isn't a stable future, and Apple needs SOMETHING in the way of professional competition to prevent monopoly whiners and keep innovation pushing forward.



    Exactly. Windows Mobile is still kind of strange, but at least it differentiates itself from iOS.
  • crawdad62crawdad62 Posts: 87member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gprovida View Post


    They chose to compete on innovation not being a copycat and that is what is in the long run the most valuable to users.



    It goes without saying that is NOT the model of Google, Samsung, HTC, etc.



    I agree. I've said that at least WP7 is original. Actually if it weren't for iOS I probably look at a Windows phone but after getting my son an XBox for Christmas and using its UI I'm not so sure now. Regardless it's an alternative to iOS. Android is a mess IMHO.
  • dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,513member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 80025 View Post


    And it still can't. A clown-like interface designed for pre-schoolers. What majorcrap doesn't get it's all about functionality, technology transparancy, and easy of use. Concepts they fail to understand over and over and over...



    You contradict yourself. What's easier to use than a "UI designed for pre-schoolers?"
  • michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,901member
    2 years to develop Windows Phone 7 from scratch isn't all that bad.



    It took 5 years for Microsoft to have an answer to the iPod.
  • steven n.steven n. Posts: 825member
    "According to the report, "once the iPhone exploded into the marketplace, Microsoft executives knew that their software, as designed, could never compete." In December 2008, Microsoft's then head of mobile engineering called a meeting to decide the fate of its aging Windows Mobile software. Seven hours later, Myerson and his team decided to scrap the OS and start again from scratch."



    It took 23 months after the iPhone was first shown to the public for MS to realize WM was seriously outdated.



    The other sad thing is, WP7 is actually very good and it could have been released in late 2009 early 2010.
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    ?This boulder comprised of Apple and Blackberry rolled on our arm,? he said.



    That brightened up my day.
  • sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 335member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post


    "According to the report, "once the iPhone exploded into the marketplace, Microsoft executives knew that their software, as designed, could never compete." In December 2008, Microsoft's then head of mobile engineering called a meeting to decide the fate of its aging Windows Mobile software. Seven hours later, Myerson and his team decided to scrap the OS and start again from scratch."



    It took 23 months after the iPhone was first shown to the public for MS to realize WM was seriously outdated.



    The other sad thing is, WP7 is actually very good and it could have been released in late 2009 early 2010.



    I can believe this all happened at Microsoft. But what is mystifying is why it took until December 2008 to scrap Windows Mobile. If I were Ballmer, I would have engineers working on a solution the moment Steve Jobs left the stage in January 2007 before the iPhone hit the market. If they had then, they might have gotten a product out the door before Android effectively took their market space. Waiting 23 months to mak a decision on your mobile strategy is pretty much management malpractice.
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 17,192member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Once again, I'd like to offer my thanks and congratulations to Microsoft for making something with an original UI and use style for once in their company's existence. I wish only for Windows Phone 7 to be made better. Android as an iOS competitor isn't a stable future, and Apple needs SOMETHING in the way of professional competition to prevent monopoly whiners and keep innovation pushing forward.



    Agreed.
  • swissmac2swissmac2 Posts: 216member
    Quote:

    The decision to start over was costly, as the two years that it took the software giant to create Windows Phone left iOS and Android with a huge opportunity in the smartphone market.



    That's a laugh, when was any Microsoft phone software a player in mobile phones? Like never. I think the most they ever had was about 11% market share, so them not being in the market "in the two years it took to develop Windows Phone" probably wasn't even noticed by iOS or Android: the opportunity had come before that and Apple and Google saw it, grasped it and owned it long before MS even noticed.



    Microsoft for years have polished their B2B credentials to a fine sheen, but they have never had much clue when it comes to ordinary individuals. Until the top brass at MS change, I don't see this changing.
Sign In or Register to comment.