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  (Source: rizhal.com/)

Windows Mobile 7 has reportedly been delayed until 2011, due to tough competition from Google's Android. With Microsoft's mobile OS marketshare already in decline, it doesnt look like a pretty year for the company's mobile business.   (Source: Unwired News)
If reports are true, future looks bleak for Windows Mobile 7

Reports indicate that the marketshare of Microsoft's Windows Mobile smartphone operating system has been plunging in recent months.  The company recently slid down to a mere 7 to 8 percent of the market, amid tough competition from RIM and Apple, and even from emerging competitor Android (Google).

One of the biggest problems with Windows Mobile are the numerous delays of Windows Mobile 7.  Much like Windows Vista, Windows Mobile 6 drew a lot of criticism.  However, in the case of WinMo 6, the OS's shortcomings were much more clear cut -- the OS was simply not as functional as competitors' specialized operating systems such as RIM's Blackberry OS (better at business) or Apple's mobile version of OS X (better at media).  Part of the blame was on the core components of Windows Mobile 6, part was on the lack of compelling apps.  Despite this poor performance, the OS has managed to leverage its veteran position to cling to a dwindling market share.

And this year, a Windows Mobile 6.5 refresh gave WinMo loyalists some hope.  Still, Microsoft and its supporters in the handset community are counting on Windows Mobile 7 to give the veteran OS brand a boost, much like Windows 7 delivered in the PC market.

Now European publication Bright Side of the News is citing multiple sources as saying that Windows Mobile 7 will be a no-show in 2010.  They cite a rather exhaustive list of sources at "Microsoft, Lenovo, Qualcomm, TI, Nokia, NVIDIA, HTC and many more" as saying that the mobile OS will not be released this year.  Reportedly the delay is due to stronger than expected competition from Google's Android OS.  Microsoft reportedly is afraid that Windows Mobile 7 won't measure up to Android 2.1, so it's going back to the drawing board to trying to further refine the new OS.

They say that the soonest we'll see a preview of it will be at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona in February 2011.

That's bad news for Microsoft, as it is finding it increasingly hard to convince customers to buy WinMo 6.5 phones in the face of attractive Android and Blackberry offerings, in addition to the much talked about iPhone.  If WinMo 7 doesn't land until next year, it's fairly safe to say that Microsoft's marketshare will be in shambles at that point.

Whenever it does launch, though, WinMo 7 still stands a fighter's chance, to start over from scratch, emulating new entries like Google's Android OS.  It even has the advantage of having some residual brand power.  However, if Microsoft indeed doesn't deliver a mobile OS in 2010, it will have a lot of ground to cover when it finally looks to stage a handset comeback. 

Update 1: 10:00 p.m. Tues. Jan. 12, 2009 -

The report from the Bright Side of the News certainly stirred up a hornet's nest of debate online.  Neowin adamantly denies the report, writing:
If the original headline made you jump then join the club. It's sad that we're even covering this but when big named sites like PC World begin reporting this belief as "news" and Twitter spreads it as news then it's time to put some facts straight
...
The truth is, Windows Mobile 7 will be shown at Mobile World Congress next month and Neowin will be there live to keep you up to date. From what we've seen, it will blow you away. So as always, stay tuned.
PC World, as the Neowin report suggests, repeated the original story, citing the European publication.  And Beta News offers a slightly different take than any of the others.  It suggests that Windows Mobile 7, as we know it, may be getting scrapped in favor for a new set of connected smart phone services, including a revised core operating system.  It says that as all of these services may not come online until 2011, that may be what BSOTN was talking about.

The site writes:
Given multiple opportunities to clarify Valich's report, and to deny that any delay was in the works, Microsoft spokespersons would not provide Betanews with information that shed any light on the timeframe, or that would refute the information from vendors cited in that report. The company appears to be taking the position that, since it has never set a firm timetable on WM7's release, whatever date it announces, however far in the future that might be, is not a delay.
Ultimately, those skeptical of the accuracy of the reports absolutely are reasonable in being as such -- there has been no official information to confirm or deny the reports.  It is a bit strange, though, that Microsoft would not move to officially deny such a potentially damaging story.  Nonetheless, as can be seen from our original wording, we are careful to note that at this point all the sources are suspect and there has been no official word from Microsoft yet.


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Chasing last year's competition
By psonice on 1/12/2010 6:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
There were suspicions last year that WinMo 7 would be made to be competitive against the iphone - unfortunately, last year's iphone, with last year's OS. Now it seems that it's not competitive against android, which I would say is a little behind the iphone on the OS side still (not far behind, and they have other advantages for sure). All this 6 months or more before WM7 is due.

Now what - will they go back and plan something competitive with android 2.1? For release in 2011? It'll be competing against a new iphone likely running os4.x, and perhaps android 3.x.




RE: Chasing last year's competition
By melgross on 1/12/2010 7:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to make the same point. If they're revising it because of Android 2.1, what's going to happen when ver 3 comes out later this year? What about iPhone OS 4?

Both camps will have more advanced hardware as well.

Is MS going to look at all new versions and go back to the drawing boards?

If so, they'll never get it out the door.

What's worrying for those on the MS platform is that MS obviously isn't working on a leading OS. They're just playing catch-up, and don't seem to have any groundbreaking ideas of their own.

I'm saying that because of the delays. If they had something new and advanced, they wouldn't be worried about new versions from the competition.

So it seems that whenever this comes out, it will be behind. The question is how many Win Mobile phones will be coming out by the end of the first quarter 2011? That number is shrinking now. You know the old expression - "out of sight, out of mind".


RE: Chasing last year's competition
By mcnabney on 1/12/2010 9:14:43 PM , Rating: 1
I imagine both Zune and WM will be retired as product lines soon.


RE: Chasing last year's competition
By Omega215D on 1/13/2010 12:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly the ZuneHD should be turned into a phone. Just doll up the system a bit to be able to include some business oriented features and it might have a chance at being a hit.


RE: Chasing last year's competition
By melgross on 1/13/10, Rating: 0
By Omega215D on 1/13/2010 8:49:49 AM , Rating: 5
How about using the device thoroughly before passing it off as a failure. Everyone these days seem to be fixated on Apple products which are quite mediocre at best. And yes I have devices from both parties.


RE: Chasing last year's competition
By The0ne on 1/13/2010 11:24:24 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Chasing last year's competition
By Magius on 1/13/2010 1:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
You are confusing "not as popular" with failure. The Zune HD may not be as popular as the iPod but it certainly is a much better device, hardware-wise. It also comes very close to be as good in general use, the only reason being that the iPod has the advantage of years of maturing. I have to give it to MS, the HD version of the Zune is leagues above the original.

I would love to see someone re-design it with an integrated phone.


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