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Microsoft can't explain away why its communications hardware is deficient

With Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) already punting its plans to sell Windows Phone on the world's biggest market -- China -- to sometime in 2012, it's crucial that it does its best to capture U.S. sales in the meantime.

Recent comments from Verizon Wireless reveal that the dated wireless communications hardware on current Windows Phone models may be a deal-breaker for it.  Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- controls over a third of America's subscription customer base.  Missing that massive chunk of sales in its largest current smartphone market (the U.S.) would be a huge blow to Microsoft's already struggling Windows Phone project.

Marni Walden, Chief Marketing Officer for Verizon Wireless sounded frustrated in her comment to CNET.  She remarked, "We've communicated to Microsoft that LTE is critical to us. We need to see a timeline that makes sense if we want to continue to represent them."

Verizon LTE
Verizon: "Y U No have LTE, Microsoft?" [Image Source: Android Spin]

Thus far, Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android has been virtually the sole platform of LTE handsets in the U.S.  With Verizon and AT&T, Inc. (T) promoting their rapidly expanding 4G LTE networks [1][2][3][4] that's been a huge boon for Google and its partners.

The holdup with Windows Phone LTE support appears to be on Microsoft's shoulders, as many Windows Phone manufacturers like Taiwan's HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930already support LTE in their Android handsets.  Thus the hardware capability for LTE seemingly exists for Windows Phones, but the software is the limiting factor, thanks to Microsoft's sluggish response.

Microsoft has been on the defensive about its Windows Phone performance for some time now, as flagship Android smartphones seemingly have better specs on paper.  While its argument that Windows Phone runs faster on single core-CPUs than Android on dual-core CPUs is certainly plausible given real world evidence, it's hard for Microsoft to generate a convincing excuse for why its phones can't support the latest wireless communication standards.

Add LTE to a growing list of problems such as poor advertising and poor dealer incentives that have plagued Microsoft, turning a slick operating system into a market dud.

Source: CNET

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Is Microsoft really lagging?
By vortmax2 on 12/6/2011 10:48:39 AM , Rating: 3
It's hard to believe that Microsoft is dragging its feet on this. It's more likely that they don't think adopting LTE at this point is important...maybe they're waiting for the new gen chips that integrate LTE?

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By vortmax2 on 12/6/2011 10:50:02 AM , Rating: 5
With that said, I don't see Verizon complaining about Apple's lack of LTE...just sayin'

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By Arsynic on 12/6/2011 10:54:24 AM , Rating: 5
They've been kissing Apple's ass since the iPhone release in '07.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By AssBall on 12/6/2011 11:16:00 AM , Rating: 1
I thought i-junk has only been on Verizon for a year or so?

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By WLee40 on 12/6/11, Rating: -1
RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By Omega215D on 12/6/2011 1:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's been made clear that Verizon didn't want to play ball with Apple until they saw how many sheep were willing to line up for the new phone each and every time.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By mcnabney on 12/6/2011 4:29:58 PM , Rating: 5
No, Verizon would have been the exclusive from the beginning, but they wouldn't agree to Apple's terms. Apple wanted top dollar for each device and a big chunk of data revenue too. Verizon told them to pound sand, so Apple went to AT&T.

And Apple suffered for it. AT&T agreed to their demands, but required long term exclusivity - which gave Android an opening which it used to steal Apple's crown.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By Arsynic on 12/6/2011 1:08:21 PM , Rating: 1
They've been trying to get iPhone since then.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By Omega215D on 12/6/2011 1:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
Not enough people to line up around the block for WP7 or Android phones. sad really as Apple can continue it's douchebaggy ways.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By Mitch101 on 12/6/2011 1:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By DFranch on 12/6/2011 1:06:41 PM , Rating: 5
LTE drains battery too quickly at this point. They're better off waiting for the next gen LTE hardware, which will hopefully be able to get a whole day of use on a single charge. Verizon is just making excuses. They never wanted to support WP7, that's why they've only ever had 1 WP7 phone on their network. Why not just come out and say it.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By dew111 on 12/6/2011 6:25:18 PM , Rating: 3
I was basically going to say all this. Anyway, Microsoft wants a platform that is consistent, and the 40nm LTE radios suck down power, offering a sub-par battery life. Next year the 28nm variants will be available and hopefully Microsoft will respond with updated support for them. Verizon carries iPhones which don't have LTE, this is just a poor excuse.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By kmmatney on 12/6/2011 1:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
"We've communicated to Microsoft that LTE is critical to us. We need to see a timeline that makes sense if we want to continue to represent them."

I think its obvious that Apple has given them a timeline...

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By a5cent on 12/6/2011 4:16:05 PM , Rating: 3
You've got it exactly right. If WP7 did support LTE Microsoft would get beaten up for WP7's poor battery life.

Anyway, this is NOT Microsoft dragging it's feet! This is Microsoft standing up to ridiculous requests in the interest of developers (keeping hardware variance low) and the majority of consumers (striking the right balance between features, performance and battery life). This is a really good strategy, but Microsoft would do well to educate the public better. Even tech journalists often fail to understand (you almost need to be a developer to get it).

However, once Qualcomm's Krait is out, which will support LTE without sucking the battery dry, I will gladly join in with the Microsoft bashing if WP8 isn't running on that platform shortly thereafter.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By supermitsuba on 12/6/2011 4:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
Why is it hard to put in a switch to do 3g, my android phone does it, after i rooted it of course. But seriously, give people the options, dont just say that you cant do it cause of reasons they cant control.

RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By a5cent on 12/6/2011 9:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I don't know why most 4G android handsets lack an LTE radio on/off toggle switch (out of the box). Apparently, this also applies to 3G radios. It's certainly not a cost issue. It appears intentional.

Anyway, for 4G phones, LTE transmission speed and decent battery life both constitute core functionality. Having to sacrifice one to get the other is not good. The average user doesn't want to understand or fiddle with such things. For mass market penetration, Microsoft and Apple need hardware platforms that do not force this compromise. That is what both of them are waiting for.

By TakinYourPoints on 12/6/2011 4:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
You are exactly correct. Qualcomm's LTE chips will be smaller and much more power efficient next year. This is the logical reason why the iPhone and WP7 devices are waiting on them. It would be unacceptable for new models to have less battery life than the prior model, or if they increased the size in order to accommodate a larger battery.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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