Yesterday it was confirmation that Windows Live components would replace their Windows counterparts in Windows 7, and today Ina Fried at CNET is reporting that Windows Mobile 7, the next generation smartphone operating system, will be delayed until the second half of 2009.
Certainly unfortunate news on the day that T-Mobile announced their first Google Android G-phone, and when analysts are predicting 5 million iPhone sales in Q4, and could sell 10 million iPhones by the end of the year.
Ina got some predictable spin from Microsoft, with group product manager Scott Rockfield noting that in a meeting between Steve Ballmer and 17 cell phone makers and carriers, "They all expressed their excitement of what we are doing in the short term and the long term". No Windows Mobile 7 does not mean no improvements in the short term, according to Ina:
Microsoft is not expected to have a major update to its core operating system ahead of Windows Mobile 7. However, other improvements are expected to debut sooner, most notably an improved browser that brings the rendering engine of Internet Explorer 6 onto Windows Mobile. That update, still expected this year, should pave the way for Windows Mobile phones to display rich Web pages, including those that are home to Flash content and Ajax applications.
In addition, a number of carriers and handset makers have been working with Microsoft to add new touch interfaces and other features, separate from Microsoft’s operating system updates. The T-Mobile Shadow was one of the first devices to benefit from such work, while more recent products from HTC also have their own custom interfaces above and beyond those included in the most recent version of Windows Mobile.
Never the less, Microsoft is setting itself up to have to play catch-up in the lucrative mobile market the same way they did with Search, with online services, and with browser innovation. This isn’t good news for Microsoft, no matter how you spin it.