02.17.09

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Microsoft Kills “Windows Mobile” as History’s Lesson Resurfaces

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Smashed phone

FOR SEVERAL months now we have been passing testimonies and analyses that were predicting or calling for the death of Windows Mobile. Some of these were voices of prominent Microsoft fans. Believe it or not, it has just been announced that Microsoft took radical action and buried the old identity of Windows Mobile, perhaps admitting that Windows Mobile was on a road to nowhere. The company is therefore presenting superficial UI changes that neglect much of the “Windows familiarly” factor (thus also shattering the myth/perception that the Windows metaphor is naturally “user friendly”).

One reader sent us a pointer to this news article a couple of days ago. It contains memories of a story about Microsoft stabbing a handset partner in the back. Here is one portion of interest:

Iain Thomson: In 2001 things looked good for British firm Sendo.

The company was doing development on mobile platforms and signed a contract with Microsoft to build the first handset for Microsoft’s upcoming smartphone operating system. This looked to be a cash cow.

Microsoft bought a stake in the company and a seat on the board and the two worked on the development of the Stinger’ Z100 smartphone, which was eagerly awaited by press and public. But then deadlines got missed, then missed again and the company announced the deal was off.

Shortly afterwards HTC announced it would produce the first Microsoft smartphones and Windows Mobile was born, albeit with some major revisions along the way.

Microsoft and Sendo got into a legal battle over the ins and outs of the situation and signed a deal ending the affair in 2004 and the Brummie boys and girls were shortly swallowed by Motorola.

A friend of mine still has one of only two Z100 Stringers that ever made it into private hands. It worked perfectly for many years and was a favourite phone of his before being superseded.

I just can’t help feeling that Sendo’s staff might have wanted to bolt the doors when Microsoft came calling.

Shaun Nichols: We could probably build a top ten list just from the names of companies that have been done in by Microsoft. This one is also an example of just how unforgiving the IT industry can be, particularly a fast-growing market such as smartphones.

Sendo is also an example of how some of the coolest products can often be sent to the scrap heap through no fault of their own. Sometimes politics, bean-counting or just plain bad luck can do an otherwise promising technology in.

Let this teach any company which decides to collaborate with Microsoft why it mustn’t. They usually ends up in tears.

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2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 18, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Gravatar

    There used to be a list of companies totalled by M$. This site would be a good place. Two lists would be better. One list with a court-based paper trail and the other with references.

    I notice that the astroturfers have been quiet here and elsewhere. It seems many have probably been layed of an others transfered to attack OpenDocument and open source development from the inside.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 18, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Gravatar

    There used to be a list of companies totalled by M$. This site would be a good place. Two lists would be better. One list with a court-based paper trail and the other with references.

    This is already work in progress and help from readers may be required.

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