First of all, I hate to admit it, but I appreciate the frank honesty that Joe Belfiore has to publicly admit this. I am not sure how SB feels about him saying it, but I'm glad that someone at MS had the guts to admit it.
I'm betting that the upper management was in denial of the iPhone's success, while those working in the mobile OS division understood early on that the iPhone was a game changer. Rim is going thru the same thing. The employees and lower management are begging for their upper management to "get with the program" as witnessed in an open letter written by a RIM employee a few months back, but it takes a long time for someone as big as MS and RIMM to finally take the "if you can't beat em, join em" approach, in regards to going with a touch U.I. It probably took 2 years for the "final" meeting in upper management to move forward and go with Windows Phone 7. But even then, you see the reluctance for complete change, as Microsoft chose to keep the "WINDOWS" name in phone os title. Just for branding purposes. I bet this is one of the things that Ballmer had changed to keep WINDOWS in the phone os name. On the other hand, Apple is quick to shed it's skin, changing it's name to Apple, Inc. instead of Apple Computers, because of the iPod's popularity. Changing the mobile os to iOS instead of iPhone OS, because of the iPod touch and the iPad. It's pretty impressive to see Apple being very nimble and act like a start-up in this respect.
Microsoft reminds me of GM. Slow to make change until it's almost too late. I hear that GM is doing very well now and had a nice increase in sales last year, maybe MS will have the same luck. I'm not crazy about the METRO UI, but I confess, I've never actually seen it in person, because I don't know a single person that has a WIN7 phone. It looks interesting in the videos I see online, but I think the UI is a little too heavy on the social media theme and the tiles are a bit too youthful, which doesn't really fit the WINDOWS branding. Seems a little lost too me. MS has strong enterprise roots, and this metro theme just doesn't seem to fit in well with that. It kind of seems like if our law makers in D.C. all started to wear clothes from Abercrombie and Fitch.
Anyhow, there might be some truth to what other's have said about Apple's competitors being a bit more open now that Steve Jobs has passed. SJ was a genius that surrounded himself with even more genii. SJ also appeared to be a bit eccentric, paranoid and tended to hold a grudge, for a long time. Even worse, he had no qualms letting it be known. I hope that Tim Cook has a more diplomatic approach to things. He's definitely a smart fellow and he is surrounded by genii, but hopefully he can smooth things out with those that Steve Jobs couldn't or refused to do.
Time will tell. Maybe Steve Jobs is just another thing that, sadly, Apple needed to shed. (damn that was tough to write.)