John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Stink the Pink

zhuneAs if the Zune weren’t embarrasing enough.

Microsoft and Verizon are reportedly discussing a touchscreen multimedia cellphone that could launch on the carrier’s network in 2010. The project, code-named “Pink,” will apparently involve some ungodly combination of Windows Mobile and Zune software. That code name is particularly interesting in light of recent reports that Microsoft (MSFT) has requested proposals for a new ad campaign for a mysterious mobile application by the same name.

Beyond that, details are slim. Representatives for Verizon (VZ)–which already has six Windows Mobile touchscreen devices in its lineup–refused to comment on the report. And Microsoft is apparently holding to the party line, insisting that its mobile strategy is to provide a software solution, not devices. Consider these remarks from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at a recent McGraw-Hill (MHP) media conference:

With Windows Mobile, we want to permit a range of hardware innovation, and yet, still have a pretty good experience end-to-end, with good applications, and we want the ability for software developers to target both a very high-end and a lower range or mid-range phone.

And the ability to scale up and down, to work with multiple hardware vendors, to get a range of competition and innovation and price competition amongst the hardware guys is a big asset. It is certainly what our strategy is. It’s very different than Apple’s, and it’s very different than BlackBerry’s. But, unless you assume Apple and BlackBerry are going to sell the lion’s share of most phones … which I don’t, because I think they’re going to get a lot of competition from the Samsungs, LGs, Sony Ericssons, Taiwanese. I mean, there are a lot of guys who are going to be in that phone business.

I think that the play for us is to permit broad innovation at many price points, with a very good and very feature-rich, in terms of applications, experience. If people want keyboard input, that’s great. If they want touch, that’s great. If they, you know, want voice, we need to give them a range of modalities for interaction. And that’s the direction we’re headed with Windows Mobile 6.5 and into the future.

Ah yes, Windows Mobile 6.5. When are we going to see that again?