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

post #1 of 119
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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.

Its not just about software, Albert Shum, general manager of the design studio for Windows Phone, told the Times. Its 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.
post #2 of 119
Duh...

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post #3 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Duh...

Yeah, I think it'd been news if he'd denied it.
post #4 of 119
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.
post #5 of 119
[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...
post #6 of 119
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.
post #7 of 119
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...
post #8 of 119
"“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!!!!!!"
post #9 of 119
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.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #10 of 119
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.)
post #11 of 119
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.
post #12 of 119
Looks like they did not get Craig Mundie's memo. WinMo 6x was just fine. It was just a marketing problem!
post #13 of 119
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.
post #14 of 119
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.
post #15 of 119
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?"
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post #16 of 119
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.
post #17 of 119
"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.
post #18 of 119
This boulder comprised of Apple and Blackberry rolled on our arm, he said.

That brightened up my day.
post #19 of 119
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.
post #20 of 119
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.
post #21 of 119
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.
post #22 of 119
One has to wonder if these two public admissions of late; this one from Microsoft and the one earlier this week from the Google exec praising AirPort, are coming out now since SJ is not around to hear them. They probably would have never given Steve the satisfaction while he was alive.

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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post #23 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

One has to wonder if these two public admissions of late; this one from Microsoft and the one earlier this week from the Google exec praising AirPort, are coming out now since SJ is not around to hear them. They probably would have never given Steve the satisfaction while he was alive.

Google continuously praise Apple. Hell I think they work with Macs as I always see them whenever they give a presentation. Android may compete with iOS in some categories but they will probably always have an undying appreciation for both Apple as an innovative company and especially Steve Jobs as an irreplaceable innovator.
post #24 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

Waiting 23 months to mak a decision on your mobile strategy is pretty much management malpractice.

MS has had little but management malpractice since Balmer took over.The guy is a failure! Any other company would have said good riddance long ago. Asleep at the wheel!
post #25 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Google continuously praise Apple. Hell I think they work with Macs as I always see them whenever they give a presentation. Android may compete with iOS in some categories but they will probably always have an undying appreciation for both Apple as an innovative company and especially Steve Jobs as an irreplaceable innovator.

I don't think the feeling is mutual.
post #26 of 119
no surprise here. everything microsoft does is in response to what apple does. why should their copy of the iphone be any different?
post #27 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

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.

My comment was along those lines, but you said it first. Instead of Ballmer putting the engineers to the task in '07, he scoffed at the idea of a $600 device, went back to his collection of belly button lint (one supposes), and only picked up his fiddle when Rome really started burning. Too little, too late; how long can you sustain a 1.5% market share (ask RIM next year)?

It seems that there will be two portfolios of patents available: Palm/HPs (Pre) and Microsoft's once they throw in the towel with their phones…it's a shame, but yeah, management malpractice is a good phrase.
post #28 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmvsm View Post

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.

There's a lot of truth to that. Microsoft has fallen into a position of constant reaction instead of action.
post #29 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

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.

We wanted to respond with something that would be competitive, but not the same.

In other words: "We decided we couldn't allow ourselves to be viewed as having copied the look and feel of Apple's software......again."

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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post #30 of 119
It's interesting to think about the timeline here. Microsoft realized they were in trouble with their mobile OS in December, 2008. That was five months after the launch of the App Store. Really, the App Store should have been the game changer that would immediately call together everyone involved with Microsoft's mobile division. The fact that it took FIVE MONTHS after the release of the iPhone 3G and the App Store shows just how slow to react Microsoft is.
post #31 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

You contradict yourself. What's easier to use than a "UI designed for pre-schoolers?"

Will it be called a toy because of what they called it dumb down.
post #32 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Duh...

That was my exact same reaction when reading the article. I cannot grasp the reasoning for someone to share this info with a newspaper; it is simply rhetorical.

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.

Spot on! I'd rather see them, or any company for that matter create a poor product that is new and fresh, than a copy of somebody else's work. That way, they have a chance at getting it right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmvsm View Post

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.

Steve told Walter that things won't change at MS with Ballmer at the top. I think he will be proven right for many months to come. Possibly years. Quite possibly about a lot of things he has said in the biography. Time will tell, obviously.

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.

Together with Solipsism you two are the only ones who praise Microsoft for their efforts, which has to be appreciated with so many bashing posts. Thanks TS. (if I forgot anyone, sorry, not intended)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

This boulder comprised of Apple and Blackberry rolled on our arm, he said.

That brightened up my day.

That line stood out, didn't it? I like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post

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].

Why do you believe it took them two years to figure out they needed to scrap and start over? The article clearly states it took them 7 hours. It took them two years to create the new product.
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post #33 of 119
This is Windows Mobile 6 Professional... running on a Palm Treo 750... announced around the same time as the original iPhone.

Quick question: If the iPhone had never existed... or some other disruptive product... how long would Microsoft have continued down this road?

post #34 of 119
In the long run I think Windows 7 will replace android to a large extent and become the primary competitor for apple. The clean slate approach has given them a huge speed and usability advantage over android.
post #35 of 119
Apple announces the iPhone in January 2007 and Microsoft doesn't have a meeting about it until December 2008???

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post #36 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

That was my exact same reaction when reading the article. I cannot grasp the reasoning for someone to share this info with a newspaper; it is simply rhetorical.
----

Why do you believe it took them two years to figure out they needed to scrap and start over? The article clearly states it took them 7 hours. It took them two years to create the new product.

1. Jan 2007, Steve Jobs reveals the iPhone.
2. Dec 2008, Microsoft holds a seven-hour meeting at which it is decided that "Something Must Be Done!!!"

Twenty-three months is really quite close to 'two years', generally speaking.

Cheers
post #37 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

This is Windows Mobile 6 Professional... running on a Palm Treo 750... announced around the same time as the original iPhone.

Quick question: If the iPhone had never existed... or some other disruptive product... how long would Microsoft have continued down this road?


I owned that phone. It had the worst interface of any phone I have ever owned. Nightmarish garbage. I was shocked at how much worse it was than the Palm OS Treos I had used before it.

To answer your question: forever.

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post #38 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I owned that phone. It had the worst interface of any phone I have ever owned. Nightmarish garbage. I was shocked at how much worse it was than the Palm OS Treos I had used before it.

To answer your question: forever.

Agreed. Microsoft would have been TOTALLY happy to let IE6 be their last version of Internet Explorer if Firefox hadn't come along and messed up their plans to stay the course.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #39 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by macismac View Post

Looks like they did not get Craig Mundie's memo. WinMo 6x was just fine. It was just a marketing problem!


Are you kidding me? The phone I had before my OG iPhone was a HTC touch running winblows mobile. It was a horrible piece of crap. Doing the simplest thing on it was a Hurculean labour! Half the time I couldn't even figure out how to get on-line, and when I did, it was the crippled Internet that SJ talked about in his initial presser for the iPhone. The OS was a nightmare to use, and completely user unfriendly. Don't miss it at all.


It's interesting to look back though, how monkey boy initially said the iPhone was never going to go anywhere, or be successful. Obviously, he recognizes innovation with the same talent level that he runs Microsloth......
post #40 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maecvs View Post

It's interesting to look back though, how monkey boy initially said the iPhone was never going to go anywhere, or be successful. Obviously, he recognizes innovation with the same talent level that he runs Microsloth......

Yeah the pre-iPhone days were really terrible. I envy the next generation who go to grow up with all this handy technology.

Under Ballmer MSFT has lost half its value in the past 10 years. It took the board also 10 years to finally see this and cut way back on his bonus, though he still makes millions.
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