Smartphones: Is Windows 7 fighting a losing battle?

Smartphones with Windows 7 mobile operating system are designed to compete against Apple and Android. But some analysts are wondering whether Microsoft's smartphones strategy is swimming against the current.

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    The new Microsoft mobile OS is intended to compete with smartphones running Android and Apple software. Here, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer discusses the Windows 7 OS at an event in New York.
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In November, Microsoft will launch its Windows Phone 7 – a smartphones operating system that is intended to hurl the company back into a market currently dominated by RIM, Android, and Apple smartphones. Could it work? Depends on whom you ask. Microsoft reps seem optimistic. Tech analysts – well, not so much. After all, Android is growing in leaps and bounds, and Nokia's Symbian is still going strong. (And don't forget about those Apple smartphones.)

Microsoft, says John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine, "is at least two years or more behind the competition and needs to catch up fast if it wants to be in the game." But Dvorak says Microsoft is already stumbling: He calls the decision to launch in the Europe market "somewhat mystifying," and pans a new multi-million-dollar ad campaign that does little to get users excited about the Windows 7 mobile OS.

"[T]he mistakes are already apparent with the Microsoft approach," Dvorak writes in a column published today. "For one thing, it is harping on the idea that the phone should be a device that you use efficiently and you 'get on, get off and get on with your real life' sort of thing. This notion not so subtly says that the phone is simply not that interesting."

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Meanwhile, over at eWeek, Don Reisinger has written up a multi-point presentation on the ways the Windows 7 smartphones fall short. What Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off at a recent event "wasn't all that impressive to a person who has been using the Motorola Droid X, Apple's iPhone or any other of the wildly popular smartphones over the past couple years," Reisinger writes.

He goes on to call the Windows 7 mobile software "a little outdated"; he also pans Ballmer's presentation as not quite "fresh and unique enough to make anyone care all that much." Among Reisinger's many criticisms is the failure of Microsoft to include Verizon Wireless as one of the carriers for the Windows phone, and the release date, which Reisinger says is spectacularly mistimed.

"Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 7 will be coming to the United States in November," he writes. "The company seemed confident about that release date, but it's hard to see why it would. November just gives Apple and Google another month to steal more market share. And it ensures that Microsoft and its partners will have a limited time to capitalize on the holiday shopping season."

Over to you. Would consider purchasing ones of the Microsoft Windows 7 smartphones? Or are you happy with Android or Apple's iOS?

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