Microsoft has truly been blindsided by the success of the iPhone and now the Android platform. This could not be more evident by the repeated delays in bringing the OS to market, and now some reports are indicating we may be waiting even longer. According to a report on tech news site Bright Side of News, any release could be pushed back to 2011. If true, it would mean a two-year delay from Microsoft’s initially announced release date.
The delay has a lot to do with the success of Android. Manufacturers and developers are still falling head over heels for the OS, leaving little room for Microsoft to maneuver. Devices that originally were pegged to run WM7 will now be Android based. Manufacturers were apparently telling BSN at CES that the delay was real, and the strategy was to employ Google’s mobile OS to remain competitive in the market.
If true, it certainly spells nothing but trouble for Microsoft. Already failing in the digital music category with the Zune, it now stands to lose the smartphone segment as well to a surging Google and already dominant Apple. A delay just cannot happen.
It seems as if there may be disagreement in the Microsoft press ranks, however. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley — who definitely has more credibility in predicting Microsoft’s moves I’d think — seemed to suggest in a January 7 post that it was all systems go to see WM7 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. Microsoft would talk about the platform as well as My Phone — it’s upcoming answer to MobileMe — there, with development details at MIX10 in Las Vegas the following month.
She pointed to comments by Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division President Robbie Bach at CES last week which did say Microsoft would be discussing WM7 in Barcelona.
So who do we believe? It’s hard to be sure. Microsoft must get this release right to stay competitive in the mobile space. But at the same time, I’d find it hard to believe they would risk failure by leaving the ship date for WM7 to slip once again.