Windows Mobile 7 has quietly been pushed back by several months, according to tips reportedly given to CNET. Microsoft has publicly kept to a goal of launching the major revision to its handheld operating system in early 2009, keeping with the company's yearly update schedule, but is now said to be warning hardware and software partners that the platform won't be ready until sometime in the second half of that same year. The reason for the delay isn't explained.
Microsoft in turn has declined comment on the matter but does acknowledge that company chief Steve Ballmer and Windows Mobile group head Andy Lees have talked to some of the Windows developer's bigger partners in recent days.
The timing potentially creates significant trouble for Microsoft, which now won't have a modern phone operating system to compete in the immediate wake of the iPhone 3G, the Android-based T-Mobile G1 and the upcoming release of the BlackBerry Storm. At present, Microsoft has no built-in gesture support in Windows Mobile 6.1 and is using the basic email, media player and web browser components that have remained largely unchanged since the introduction of Windows Mobile 5 in 2005.
The Redmond, Washington-based firm has also lashed out at Apple and Google for attempting to "own" their platforms by providing what they see as better and more carrier-independent online stores and mapping software. Windows Mobile product manager Scott Rockfeld claims that his company's platform is more enticing to carriers and to some hardware makers, who can develop their own subscription-based or otherwise proprietary services and require that customers use these instead of the more universal and at times free alternatives.
Carriers "don't want to sit there and just become a dumb pipe," Rockfeld argues.