Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer opted not to talk about his company’s soon-to-be-expected Windows Mobile 7 OS during his keynote address at last week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Considering the huge media profile the show attracts, the lack of a sneak preview from the Microsoft chief was seen as a little odd by many media pundits, with many around the blogosphere proclaiming Microsoft’s silence as another step backwards with the Windows Mobile platform.
Even though Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, told financial analysts later on at CES that Windows Mobile 7 will be “talked about” at February’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, the damage was already done and many wireless junkies left the show disappointed.
I can’t say I blame anyone for jumping to this conclusion.
Its initial 2009 release date was pushed back to sometime this year and many surveys suggest Windows Mobile is losing market share by the bundle. A flood of new Android-based phones, such as Motorola Inc.’s Droid and Google’s own Nexus One, isn’t doing Ballmer and company any favours in this respect either.
The Redmond, Wash. giant also didn’t help matters a few months ago when it made a big deal over nothing at the Windows Mobile 6.5 launch event. Mark Tauschek, a lead analyst with London, Ont.’s Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., memorably compared the release to “putting lipstick on a pig.”
I’d recommend Microsoft put away the lipstick now and instead trade it in for some ChapStick.
If the software giant ever wants to be a mobile device giant, Microsoft will need to start kissing up to developers.
Because CES isn’t a mobile-focused conference, the decision to stay silent about Windows Mobile 7 could end up being a good move. Microsoft’s new OS — which many consumers either haven’t heard about or don’t care about — would have been lost in the shuffle at CES.