Windows Phone 7 Launches Amid iPhone and Android Rumors
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today launched Windows Phone 7, but rumors involving (1) Verizon and the iPhone and (2) Amazon and a Google Android marketplace reinforce the fact that Microsoft remains an underdog in the smartphone market. Here’s what Microsoft has to say about Windows Phone 7, plus the latest competitive chatter.
First, the facts: Microsoft and its partners are set to launch nine Windows Phone 7 handsets from mobile operators in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. According to Microsoft:
“With more than 60 mobile operators in over 30 countries worldwide committed to bringing Windows Phones to market, the millions of people around the world looking for a phone that plays as hard as it works will have a variety of phones from leading device-makers to choose from.”
So, who plans to back Windows Phone 7? According to Microsoft:
“Windows Phone 7 will be available in a variety of sleek form factors from device-makers such as Dell, HTC Corp., LG and Samsung, and from mobile operators including América Móvil, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Movistar, O2, Orange, SFR, SingTel, Telstra, TELUS, T-Mobile USA and Vodafone…A broad selection of phones will begin shipping in holiday 2010 with more arriving in 2011, including phones from Sprint and Verizon Wireless. In addition, select models will be available at Microsoft Store locations and from Amazon.”
The VAR Guy certainly is intrigued. But Microsoft faces a steep, long uphill battle with Windows Phone 7. Indeed, Gartner indicates that Microsoft controls less than 5 percent of the smartphone operating system market, a significant drop since 2009.
No doubt, Microsoft put on a heck of a show today with with the Windows Phone 7 launch. And a healthy list of smartphone makers plan to back the operating system. But rumors about rival smartphone initiatives stole some of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 launch thunder today. Two prime examples:
- The New York Times is the latest media organization to report that Verizon will offer the iPhone in 2011. The VAR Guy’s David Courbanou previously downplayed a similar report from The Wall Street Journal. But The VAR Guy is starting to wonder: Is Apple leaking some iPhone-Verizon information to stall or freeze Windows Phone 7 launch sales?
- Separately, there are signs that Amazon.com may launch an app store for Google Android devices. That move could pressure Microsoft, which wants to make sure Windows Phone 7 has plenty of its own ISV support.
Like The VAR Guy said: Even when Microsoft is making noise, it seems like rival chatter is flooding the wireless airwaves…