Mossberg reviews Microsoft’s Windows Phone ‘07: Missing key features, inferior to iPhone

Apple Online StoreWalt Mossberg reports for AllThingsD, “I’ve been testing two of these initial Windows Phone 7 phones, the Samsung Focus from AT&T and the HTC HD7 from T-Mobile; each will cost $200.”

MacDailyNews Take: US$101 more than the iPhone 3GS with iOS 4 that runs roughshod over it, not to mention also multitasks, has a unified inbox, can Cut-Copy-Paste, etc..

Mossberg continues, “My conclusion is that Microsoft has used its years in the smartphone wilderness to come up with a user interface that is novel and attractive, that stands out from the Apple and Google approaches, and that works pretty well.”

MacDailyNews Take: Exceedingly late Microsoft was forced to design around what their competitors aren’t doing due to not only concerns about infringing upon patented IP — Google seems to have conveniently ignored this not-so-minor issue; a slip-up for which they may someday pay dearly — for which, this time, no badly-written contracts signed by unprepared sugared water salesbozos exist, but also in a vain attempt to differentiate their offering. Why they think a Zune phone will sell when Zunes didn’t is as unexplainable as Kin or, for that matter, Ballmer himself (may he remain Microsoft CEO for as long as it takes).

Mossberg continues, “However, despite having all that time to study its rivals, Microsoft has inexplicably omitted from Windows Phone 7 key features now common, or becoming so, on competitive phones. These missing features include copy and paste, visual voicemail, multitasking of third-party apps, and the ability to do video calling and to use the phone to connect other devices to the Internet. Plus, because it has waited so long to enter the super-smartphone market, Microsoft is starting way behind in the all-important category of available third-party apps. At launch next month, the company hopes to have about 1,000 apps available for the Windows Phone 7 platform, compared with nearly 100,000 for Android phones and around 300,000 for the iPhone.”

MacDailyNews Take: Mossberg, whether he knows it or not, has hit upon the real reason why Windows Phone ’07 works the way it does: Microsoft is deliberately trying to de-emphasize apps, not because it’s a good idea that’s beneficial to the user, but because they have very few developers and therefore no apps upon which to focus. This is the way Microsoft works. Because they’re always late, always copying, they have to do things in certain ways to either skirt legalities (that’s why Windows is an upside-down and backwards Mac, not a pure Mac knockoff) or to avoid market realities (an unassailable everest of 300,000+ apps staring them in the face means they have to try to convince consumers that apps aren’t that important). In reality, however, apps drive smartphone sales. And, Microsoft has no apps. No crystal ball necessary.

Mossberg continues, “In addition, Microsoft, unlike Apple, has ceded prominent home-screen real estate to the phone makers and carriers so they can push their own apps, like subscription-based TV and navigation services.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wait, Microsoft sold out their users, diminishing their experience, in order to satisfy greedy “partners?” So it ain’t so, Walt.

Mossberg continues, “But I couldn’t find a killer innovation that would be likely to make iPhone or Android users envious, except possibly for dedicated Xbox users.”

MacDailyNews Take: Dedicated Xbox users. Those would be the ones who returned their faulty Red Ring of Death pieces of crap four or more times. If you gave up after the third Xbox failed, you’re not dedicated. On the bright side, at least you are semi-sane.

Mossberg continues, “The built-in Office suite… failed to open a simple Word document I tried. Microsoft says this plain document had some hidden corruption, but it opened on an iPhone and Android, and was editable in their Quickoffice app. Microsoft says it is working on a fix.”

MacDailyNews Take: Pffft.

Mossberg continues, “So for now, I see Windows Phone 7 as mostly getting Microsoft into the game, and replacing the stale, complicated Windows Mobile system that preceded it… But, today, I see Windows Phone 7 as inferior to iPhone and Android for most average users… The main feature of Windows Phone 7 is the Start screen, which takes the form of a long vertical list of tiles that can represent either an app or a hub. The phones lack multiple home screens or traditional folders for grouping apps.”

MacDailyNews Take: As one insightful Microsoft insider told us recently, “The whole home-screen tiles idea is to cover for the fact that the app store is a bit on the empty side. So rather than the utility of iOS and Android allowing you to arrange your apps the way you like, WP7 lets you have any home screen color you like, as long as it’s green. WP7 is covering their empty platform with a big green tarp in hopes that you’ll focus more on the hardware choices than the software drawbacks.”

Mossberg continues, “Overall, I can’t recommend Windows Phone 7 as being on a par with iPhone or Android…”

Read more in the full review — in which Mossberg pathologically inserts Android into each discussion as if it’s somehow iPhone’s equal despite the fact that everyone who’s used both knows that is simply not the case (we fear that poor old Walt has developed Android Tourette’s) — here.

MacDailyNews Take: Inferior to iPhone we can understand, but inferior to even Android? The “WOW” starts now. More bad news for Microsoft. Aww, ain’t that a shame? LOL

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

118 Comments

  1. Take it easy with the “takes,” MDN. You might as well call the above “Mostly MDN Commentary (with a bit of Mossberg).” I think there’s a higher word count from MDN than from ol’ Walt. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    I’m (quietly) rooting for Windows Phone “07” to NOT be a total disaster, so that the lazy phone makers who rely on a third party to provide some as critical as their product’s OS have an alternative to Android.

  2. Take it easy with the “takes,” MDN. You might as well call the above “Mostly MDN Commentary (with a bit of Mossberg).” I think there’s a higher word count from MDN than from ol’ Walt. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    I’m (quietly) rooting for Windows Phone “07” to NOT be a total disaster, so that the lazy phone makers who rely on a third party to provide some as critical as their product’s OS have an alternative to Android.

  3. ken1w,

    The quality of the insights in the MacDailyNews Takes are significantly higher than Mossberg’s.

    If you can’t see that obvious fact, you shouldn’t be commenting.

  4. ken1w,

    The quality of the insights in the MacDailyNews Takes are significantly higher than Mossberg’s.

    If you can’t see that obvious fact, you shouldn’t be commenting.

  5. @ken1w You have go to be kidding or mentally incapacitated. The MDN Takes are WHY we’re here. Geez.

    It’s not the word count that matters, but the quality of the thoughts. MDN’s Takes tell the real story. If you can’t see that, I feel sorry for you.

  6. @ken1w You have go to be kidding or mentally incapacitated. The MDN Takes are WHY we’re here. Geez.

    It’s not the word count that matters, but the quality of the thoughts. MDN’s Takes tell the real story. If you can’t see that, I feel sorry for you.

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