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Ballmer: Win Mobile 6.5 an unwanted stopgap

updated 02:30 pm EST, Thu March 5, 2009

Ballmer on Win Mobile 6 5

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer delivered a partial surprise at his company's Public Sector CIO Summit yesterday through remarks that his company's upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 wasn't an intended part of the company's cellphone OS roadmap. Although the executive still considers 6.5 important, he noted the update is "not the full release [Microsoft] wanted" in 2009 and implied that it was filling in for possible delays that have put Windows Mobile 7's launch a year later, in 2010. Ballmer added that 6.5 is likely to fall short in some key, though unspecified, areas.

"We still don't get some of the things that people want on the highest-end phones," he said. "Those will come on Windows Mobile 7 next year."

What these features are wasn't elaborated at the CIO Summit, though Windows Mobile to date lacks support for capacitive touchscreens that would allow both more precise finger input as well as multi-touch gesturing. The 6.5 upgrade tries to mitigate this by introducing larger, touchscreen-sized buttons and other interface elements that would otherwise require a stylus to use comfortably. It also introduces a central mobile marketplace to compete against Apple's App Store and other competing portals.

In addressing the problem, the CEO noted Microsoft has chances to "accelerate" development and ensure that major updates come earlier in the release cycle. The company's Zune staff split and ensuing movement of some workers to the Windows Mobile team is believed to be a key part of the sped up development process.

Ballmer's statements follow criticism from attendees at the meeting that Windows Mobile is becoming steadily indefensible when end users voluntarily bring iPhones or the Android-based T-Mobile G1 into the workplace and voice a preference for their interfaces. The early Microsoft employee responded to the concerns both through the promise of Windows Mobile 7 as well as by claiming at least a short-term advantage in smartphone sales.

"We did sell more Windows Mobile devices last year than Apple did iPhones -- just an important factoid to have," he said. "Blackberry was a little bit ahead, and Google was nowhere to be seen, except in Silicon Valley, I'm sure."

by MacNN Staff



  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Typical MS

    MS always presented a vision for the future to drive the sales of its current c***.

  1. OS2Guy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Poor MS

    The saddest thing about MS is their inability to deliver. Everything has always been "next year ... next version" and that's the way it will always be with Microsoft. They have never once hit it out of the ball park - unlike Apple who keeps popping home runs one after another after another (OX X, iPhone, MacBook, Mac Pro, MiniMac, iMac, iPod yada yada yada...)

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just one please...

    "We did sell more Windows Mobile devices last year than Apple did iPhones"...

    Could someone name just one "windows mobile device" that Microsoft sold??? Soft ware.. yes..... devices.... NO.

    Just a thought.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fail to consider....

    You zealots fail to consider that while Apple only has to create an OS that works with a specific set of hardware (that they also manufacture), MS has to create an OS that works over a broad range of hardware, in which they take no part in the manufacturing.

    I would hope that most people can realize the implications of this fact. Not to mention MS caters to a much more diverse consumer group, from low end to high end phones.

    The paradox of apple is that on one hand mac addicts want them to grow, but many of the aspects they love about apple are only possible because of the focused nature of their sales.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Still a tard

    Go Monkey Boy - Go!

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Luckyday

    Apple chose to be in the marketplace they are in, where they deliver a soup-to-nuts solution that works. Microsoft chose to not follow that model and instead provide some software to other people who made hardware and the final product inevitably had issues. Your argument that "Apple is only good because Microsoft is a victim" is pure nonsense.

    Also, check out what "Zealots" actually means before using it.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Firstly, I know what a zealot is. Perhaps you have chosen one definition that doesn't apply, but the common meaning of a "zealot" is a fanatic, or an over-zealous person. Overly enthusiastic. Excessively eager. I am not referring to a bunch of Jews. But thanks for the vocabulary lesson.

    Secondly, Microsoft also chose the marketplace they are in... and they have over 90% of the worldwide market share and profits over 5 times that of Apple. All I am saying is that you can't hold them to the same standards.

    Lastly, thanks for paraphrasing me but you are wrong. Please point to the statement I made that equates to "Apple is only good because Microsoft is a victim"

  1. MacnnChester

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You define zealotry correctly, but you define competition and comparison incorrectly.

    Comparing an iPhone and a Win Mobile phone is perfectly legitimate when you need a device. Whether MS has to support 40,000 other devices is as relevant as whether MS headquarters is painted blue.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hey lucky

    how's that zune thing work out for them? i don't see any other manufacturers making them. do you? they didn't have to make an os that works across many devices.
    i hope you can realize the implications of that fact. even their cash cows that made xbox a "success" (it's popular, but sill not a money maker thanks to those cash cows) hasn't helped the zune.

    you apologists are all the same.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Macnn Chester

    I didn't claim you can't compare an iphone and a winmobile device generally. I was referring to the article (which discusses the time lag between OS versions) and stated that that it is hard to compare timelines for release because of the higher amount of preparation that goes into producing an OS that is run on multiple devices.

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