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Ballmer Admits "We Screwed Up Windows Mobile" 275

Barence writes "Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has blasted the company's own mobile operating system at the firm's Venture Capital Summit. One tweet from an attendee claims Ballmer said the company had 'screwed up with Windows Mobile. Wishes they had already launched WM7. They completely revamped the team.' Another claims Ballmer said 'we've pumped in some new talent. This will not happen again.' It's not the first time Ballmer has attacked Windows Mobile, having publicly stated that version 6.5 was 'not the full release we wanted.'"
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Ballmer Admits, "We Screwed Up Windows Mobile"

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  • Title (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:05PM (#29541889) Journal

    Nice way to twist the title and forget "with" too. They didn't screw up whole Windows Mobile like you could think, but they wanted to launch WM7 already.

    I actually like Windows Mobile most from the mobile platforms (however, I haven't tried Android yet). It's *a lot* more open than iPhone, as in you can run any software on it that you want. Also it seems to be customizable quite much, since HTC's version is a lot different from others. And there's a lot programs available.

    And dont even get me started on Symbian and the insanity to program something for it...

    • Re:Title (Score:5, Interesting)

      by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <> on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:31PM (#29542203) Homepage Journal

      They didn't screw up whole Windows Mobile like you could think

      I have a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone and... Well, yes they did. Totally. I have heard that the vendors that took the time, cost and effort to customize WM6.5 have produced fairly usable products. The HP iPaq 914c Business, not so much. Not at all, frankly. But I will give them this; they have ported the unique Windows experience to the small screen - I have to reboot the phone about once a week to prevent it from locking up when answering or placing calls. This functionality was obviously a low priority. I have to go into the task manager daily to remove programs, or else they fill up the memory, even preventing the task manager from running, another condition forcing a reboot.

      Executive summary/mini-review of the HP iPaq 914c: Nice hardware, lousy camera, shitty OS.

      • Re:Title (Score:5, Informative)

        by manekineko2 ( 1052430 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:53PM (#29542465)

        Unless you're an internal tester, you do not have a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone. Windows Mobile 6.5 isn't even out yet. The first phones with it are slated to ship in late October.

        There are people out there with hacked ROMs running leaked builds of 6.5, but you can hardly judge the final OS based on hacked ROMs running leaked builds.

        That said, yes, WinMo 6 is totally crappy. Based on my playing around with the leaked builds, WinMo 6.5 is still rather crappy. WinMo 6.5.1 is getting decent, and its UI doesn't look like it was from 2001, but it still has those general WinMo unexplained slowdowns and could use a lot of improvements.

        Overall, Windows Mobile is clearly suffering from that Microsoft problem that once they think they are in charge of a market, all innovation completely stops. It's so total of a stop, it really looks intentional, but it's a little hard to believe even Microsoft execs could be so short-sighted as to purposefully derail development. Still, Internet Explorer and Windows Mobile sure look like two examples of that.

        • Unless you're an internal tester, you do not have a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone.

          Oops, you are correct. I have 6.1.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jurily ( 900488 )

          Overall, Windows Mobile is clearly suffering from that Microsoft problem that once they think they are in charge of a market, all innovation completely stops.

          I'm going to get modded to hell and back for this, but Microsoft never really did "innovation". What they did was "buy up competitors who innovate, and integrate the result poorly".

          • by manekineko2 ( 1052430 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @03:30PM (#29542849)

            Okay, strike the word innovation, which actually wasn't what I was looking for anyway and insert improvement.

            Regarding your point though, I do strongly disagree, unless you define innovation in terms of only large ground-breaking break-throughs and not small-scale advancement.

            Their R&D labs produce a large amount of interesting research.

            In terms of the small-scale, Surface is definitely neat, the Office ribbon bar is (regardless of your opinions on its merits, as it does have its fans including myself) as far as I know a wholly new UI approach. They've been advancing the state of tablets and hand-writing recognition continually over the years. Their Bluetrack mice seem to be a solid improvement over the status quo. I could go on, but they've made a huge number of fairly innovative developments, both large and small, over the years.

        • Unless you're an internal tester, you do not have a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone. Windows Mobile 6.5 isn't even out yet. The first phones with it are slated to ship in late October.

          There are people out there with hacked ROMs running leaked builds of 6.5, but you can hardly judge the final OS based on hacked ROMs running leaked builds...WinMo 6.5 is still rather crappy. WinMo 6.5.1 is getting decent, and its UI doesn't look like it was from 2001...

          I'm puzzled by this self-contradictory post.

          The leaked 6.5 roms are the same builds that testers are currently using, so provided which build is going to be the official WM6.5, it's fair to assume that the official one is already leaked, and you may or may not have tried it already.

          The WM 6.5 builds showing up in hacked roms now are actually based on later revisions than what will come out next month. Builds 23052 and higher [] show off a new interface which gives a fair indication of what WinMo will look/

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by obarthelemy ( 160321 )

        Lucky bastard. Mine locks up once a day, and that's with 2 third-party apps: an e-reader and a media player. It locks up even when I don't run those 2 apps between lock-ups, so I'm fairly sure they've got nothing to do with it.

        Also, I just love having the Windows Experience on a tiny screen, with no real keyboard nor mouse, but lots of windows to scroll, tiny red Xs to click... It makes me appreciate how easy Windows is on a real PC !

        The worst of it is: I blame Palm. If those suckers hadn't screwed up so ba

      • Re:Title (Score:5, Informative)

        by nwf ( 25607 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @05:30PM (#29544299)

        My wife had a Palm Treo with Windows Mobile. It was the worst, most pathetic attempt at an OS I've ever seen.

        It locked up constantly, got to where you could not actually make calls, ran out of memory, etc. Settings scattered through like 17 different sub-panels, combined with a ton of completely useless settings. Doing anything required far too many clicks. Bluetooth? Forget about reliability. It would just refused to connect to the headset after a while until one power cycled it. Email was painfully slow, particularly when you had attachments or images. And the need to manually delete stuff when it ran out of memory was just crazy. And audio would sometimes just stop working. No ringing, no voice, nothing.

        But my favorite was how it handled text messages. Every now and then, she'd need to delete a bunch of them because it ran out of memory (a user should never have to worry about this, IMHO.) Deleting all of the messages took at least half an hour. No exaggeration. I've never seen anything that lame. It's like they were deleting the first, moving all the others down in memory, rewriting them to flash, then repeating.

        Even trying to turn the thing of was nearly impossible to figure out. To reboot, it was faster to just pop out battery.

        She returned one and got another, no better. She then got an iPhone and loves it.

      • Re:Title (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MrCrassic ( 994046 ) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Friday September 25, 2009 @05:37PM (#29544371) Journal

        I disagree somewhat.

        I don't think that Windows Mobile was a screwed up product. I think that its latest competition is starting to reveal just how outdated the platform is.

        Ever since I can remember (user since Smartphone 2002 with the MPx200), WinMo devices were designed to be the jack-of-all-trades. You could check your email on them, play music and videos, surf the web and run most of the apps like being on a PC. Unfortunately, this usually means they inherently become the master-of-none, as their background processes would often cause lock-ups, memory leaks and other baddies and had horribly high power consumption, especially when compared to the RIM and Palm devices.

        Today, iPhone can do those same tasks faster, easier and much more elegantly than WinMo could ever dream of doing. Blackberries are still the swiss-knife of corporate and personal email collaboration, but are now able to do media fairly well (though they still suck horrendously for internet browsing). Even Palm, which is on life support, can compete with WebOS. Then there's Android which basically claims ALL advantages Windows Mobile use to have, but in a much more elegant fashion...

        On top of all of this, the fact that service providers always had to customize Windows Mobile to extremes (i.e. HTC TouchFLO3D, Palm's customizations, etc.) makes jumping to Android and, for Palm, WebOS that much more attractive. On its face, Windows Mobile 6.1 is a BEAR to use, especially when compared against other devices. (Ever try using that TINY TINY keyboard with your fingers? Sure, the stylus can do it...but who wants to use a stylus anymore?) Windows Mobile 6.5 is getting there, but still has a lot of work to do. (Moving the bar to the bottom is a great step ahead.) Why wouldn't anyone want to save time and money? (As an aside, HTC didn't really need to provide SenseUI for Android, as Android is pretty decent from a usability standpoint as-is, but I guess having TouchFLO3D there made it easier to port.)

        Either way, Microsoft was never really known for innovation, and because of this, I highly doubt that even Mobile 7 can really save their mobile division at this point. It's a has-been.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Oh, oh! I can do that too!

      Ballmer Admits "Windows is Screwed Up".

    • Re:Title (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:58PM (#29542509)

      Ballmer laughed off the iPhone when it came out. An appstore and a billion plus downloads later and who is laughing?

      Microsoft can't even launch an mp3 player that is good, they haven't even bothered launching it in the UK and much of Europe.

      • Re:Title (Score:4, Interesting)

        by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @05:22PM (#29544203)

        What do you mean? The ZuneHD is amazing. And with a ZunePass the experience is incomparable.

  • Correction (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) * <> on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:07PM (#29541917) Homepage Journal

    "We Screwed Up Windows Mobile"

    There you go.

    • Re:Correction (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AndrewHowe ( 60826 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @04:47PM (#29543891)


      Whatever you think about Microsoft (and if it's the usual cult mentality, I really don't care) Microsoft have screwed up pretty badly (more than normal, if you will) on WM7.

      It's hella late and they have pissed off a lot of people. I would personally really like to see Microsoft's continual presence in the mobile space if only for the sake of diversity... I'm unashamedly a Microsoft user and mostly supporter. Downmods be damned. But WM7 is pretty much a disaster area.

      I hope they have something really good on the way... And even then, I worry that they're gonna let Android rule the world. Which is careless, because Android used to suck. But it's getting better very quickly, and there's still no sign of WM7.

  • Let me guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:07PM (#29541919) Homepage

    The old one was crap but the new one is perfect - just like every other Microsoft launch *ever*.

    • Re:Let me guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Friday September 25, 2009 @03:11PM (#29542633) Homepage

      I don't know anything about the new one, but the old one was definitely crap.

      Windows Mobile uses almost exactly the same APIs we're used to on the desktop. Anyone that knows how to code a Windows GUI app should have no trouble coding one for Mobile. Hell you can even use .NET if you want, so there is a whole other class of developers who can do it too. In short, the possible developer pool is *huge*.

      The problem is, apps tend to look and feel too much like they should be running on a desktop. In their rush to make the development experience so similar, they didn't think to make the UI actually work on a phone. They completely missed the touch window. Even now, I have yet to see a really intuitive touch interface for Windows Mobile that isn't a completely custom third-party shell.

      If they want to attract users, they need an intuitive UI and a single place to find apps. If they want to attract developers, they need easy tools to make intuitive UIs and a single place to sell apps. It's not a hard concept, but they're failing pretty spectacularly at it.

      • Re:Let me guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert@slashdot. f i r e n z e> on Friday September 25, 2009 @04:20PM (#29543553) Homepage

        It has a subset of similar APIs... It's effectively a completely unique os that uses the windows name to try and fool people into thinking it has some level of compatibility with the applications they already use...

        OSX and Linux are actually much closer between their desktop and phone oriented versions, many applications can simply be recompiled (i have things like nmap on my phone for instance) tho it obviously makes a lot more sense if you design a new interface which is appropriate to the device.

        In terms of interface, windows mobile has an interface designed for a desktop, which has been crudely kludged for use on a pda, and even more crudely kludged to try and make it work on the phone... The interface is just terrible.

        And yes, you're right that they need a single place to find apps... But remember that's not the windows way, users should be expected to locate their apps manually by buying them in physical stores and downloading binaries from arbitrary websites... And then manually run a setup program and blindly click next a few times until it's installed.

        Countless people on this very site have claimed that linux is unsuitable because it typically has a single simple place to find apps rather than doing things the same way windows does.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ajlisows ( 768780 )

          And yes, you're right that they need a single place to find apps...

          No doubt. With the Pirate Bay shutting down it WILL be hard to find Windows Apps. ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        Anyone that knows how to code a Windows GUI app should have no trouble coding one for Mobile.

        And this is exactly the problem. Microsoft marketed Windows Mobile to traditional Windows developers. But a phone is not a desktop. A phone is a resource-constrained device, and traditional desktop programmers are not used to this environment.

        Worse, it seems, from my experience, that Microsoft marketed WinMo internally in the same hare-brained way, as the phone has a UI metaphor and a resource consumption totally u

    • by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @03:15PM (#29542683)

      The old one was crap but the new one is perfect - just like every other Microsoft launch *ever*.

      It's the opposite with anything Apple. The *current* version is perfect... until the next version comes out... then the older version was crap.

      PS - I'm a Mac user too.

      • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Friday September 25, 2009 @03:38PM (#29542955)

        Any fan boy will say that, regardless of the platform. A fan boy is someone with an irrational brand loyalty.

        I don't class myself as an Apple fan boy, I didn't get an iPhone until it was developed enough to meet my needs. I'm not sure I will get a 3GS when my contract ends in Feb 2010.

        Perhaps if Ballmer spent less time criticising Apple and criticising his own product then things would be better for Windows Mobile?

        WM7 is only late because it probably started life as another rehash of Windows Mobile and needed a drastic rethink when the iPhone appeared.

      • Actually, real Mac users will tell you that the latest OS X version greatly annoys them because of [insert list of resons here] but it's still awesome. Hey, Stacks not following symlinks in all display modes is a big deal!
  • Journalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:08PM (#29541929)
    You have a quote directly attributed to Ballmer, and your source is some dude's tweet. Sounds legit to me.
  • by Haxzaw ( 1502841 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:13PM (#29541995)
    Hell called, they say send parkas.
  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:14PM (#29542027) Journal

    If the browser on this HTC was any good for browsing. Seriously logging into a website can take a good 5 full minutes because my STYLUS isn't accurate enough to click the username field - unless I zoom in, which is something that I have yet to master, because its the least intuitive user control ever. If I hold down my click I can select zoom in, and it will remove about 1 pixel from each dimension requiring multiple hold&zoom selections to get it to a point where i can click on what I want. OR, on the odd chance I DO do it correctly, it zooms me in the full 200% possible and I have to literally scroll the screen sideways in order to enter my full username visibly. But since I don't know what it is to do it correctly, I will sometimes zoom in the full 200% on accident, and there seems to be absolutely NO way to Zoom out that I can find.

    Don't even get me started on actual BROWSING... sometimes, and by that I mean about 30% of the time, my page will load, and then it will start to Refresh even though its done loading, but it won't actually refresh, it'll just sit at a white blank page with the URL I entered and a progress bar, despite it already having loaded the full page less than a second ago.

    Seriously, if I didn't use my email so much, I would say that Internet browsing on this thing is NOT worth the Data package.

    • It's not your phone its slashcode. I've got a Nokia 5800 which has the same webkit browser the iPhone has (in a direct comparison me and a friend couldn't see a difference) and it struggles with Slashdot. I have no idea why.

      For me slashdot takes ages to load the last 10kb's of any page, then immediately tries to load another page which isn't a new page. Once I press Stop the page loads and displays properly however the browser will lock up for approximately 30 seconds. If I wait too long to cancel the pre
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by SigILL ( 6475 )

        Once I press Stop the page loads and displays properly however the browser will lock up for approximately 30 seconds.

        That's caused by the large amount of Javascript processing /.'s dynamic frontpage does. I disabled the dynamic frontpage and all the other ajaxy features of /. and now it's quite usable on my iPhone 3G. On my commute I occasionally even find myself reading comments and moderating.

        •'s quite usable on my iPhone 3G. On my commute I occasionally even find myself reading comments and moderating.

          It's drink and drive in moderation, not drive while moderating.

          The question is, what suffers more -- your moderation skills or your driving?

          (Yeah, yeah, I know -- you take the bus/train/monorail/motorized walkway)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Default Opera browser on my HTC Diamond, which is actually already a generation out of date, is pretty good. In fact, I'd say it's the best-designed mobile browser I've ever used, better even than the vaunted iPhone Safari.

      It initially loads a whole page with absolutely tiny fonts so you can get an overview. Scroll wheel zooms in or out so you can get detail where you need it. Double tap does a quick zoom in with reflow, so that on pages with long lines of text you can read it all in one column. This du

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Though I never did use it, I already suspected they screwed up Windows Mobile. Now I'm wondering: if Ballmer says it was crap, what are they hiding, what's their agenda? Was Windows Mobile actually really great?
  • Manufacturers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:15PM (#29542047) Homepage
    I'm glad I'm not the manufacturer of a WinMo phone right now. It's tough enough to choose one over the other options based on its actual merits, without the king of the developer essentially saying it sucks. Wonder if Ballmer thought of the implications before he spoke.
  • by BcNexus ( 826974 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:17PM (#29542071)
    Tiny buttons, scroll bars and radio buttons keep it from being finger friendly. However, the platform is more open than the iPhone so I can choose my apps and let them run in the background.

    Besides making it more finger friendly, there also should be an official JVM from Sun. That'd be awesome.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mobby_6kl ( 668092 )

      I've used mainly two WM devices, an old PDA and a recent 6.1 smartphone. The touchscreen OS was clearly designed for the stylus, but I've never had much problems with using my fingers to scroll through a page or dismiss a dialog when absolutely necessary. And when using it with two hands, which is apparently how the various iphones are usually used nowadays, I prefer to use the stylus anyway.

      The more recent smartphone version works just fine as a phone though, that is, the regular keypad is enough to comfor

  • Pumping (Score:5, Funny)

    by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:17PM (#29542075)

    It would certainly explain a lot about the quality of the software coming out of Microsoft if their CEO is someone who thinks of "talent" as some liquid commodity you can "pump in" to a project.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:18PM (#29542079)

    It's not the first time Ballmer has attacked Windows Mobile, having publicly stated that version 6.5 was "not the full release we wanted"."

    But you released it anyway, didn't you, Steve? You say you're sorry but you don't mean it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rattaroaz ( 1491445 )
      I think you may be quoting him out of context. He is talking with investors and industry analysts. He is not saying "I am sorry the product sucks." He is saying "I am sorry we were not able to sell more, because the product sucks." Different message, and I think he really did mean it.
      • Key audience: investors and analysts. While WM6.x does work fine for typical smartphone usage, it lacks an appstore, which has been a real moneymaker for Apple. This will be standard in WM7.
    • Hey, a broken watch is still right twice per day.

  • by tha_toadman ( 1266560 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:20PM (#29542101)

    Developers! Developers! Developers!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If I hadn't used up all my mod points... LOL

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but instead, they went with:

      Mind you, that still doesn't explain Vista...

    • by manekineko2 ( 1052430 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @03:07PM (#29542601)

      I think you're joking, but Ballmer's original insight actually holds up pretty well here in the mobile arena. Having played around with the different mobile platforms, the biggest problem with Windows Mobile 6.5.1 is the lack of modern developers.

      All of the software on the iPhone is modern, and finger-friendly.

      On Windows Mobile, most of the the software applications still look like Palm applications from circa 2001 with tiny drop down menus and radio buttons. It's not impossible to design good applications, but most of the best developers are no longer developing on Windows Mobile. The number of apps may be somewhat similar on the iPhone and WinMo but the quality is leagues apart, even taking into account the 1,000 fart apps on the iPhone.

      While maybe not as much so as on a desktop, for a mobile OS, the apps are still a large part of the success of the OS, and Windows Mobile despite its openness to development is basically terrible when it comes to attracting the developers to make them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Buelldozer ( 713671 )

        Oh I don't know, the quality of the Google Voice app on my WinMo phone seems to be far better than the one available for the iPhone.

  • grabbed the closest Windows Mobile phone, threw it on the floor and smashed it with his foot!
  • blotted out before the last word.

    But I still agree. ;)

  • I still can't believe the board of directors hasn't fired this fat-ass clown. He sucks and his management team sucks too.

  • by mewsenews ( 251487 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:28PM (#29542177) Homepage

    The iPhone is doing gangbuster sales with a chopped version of OS X. Windows Mobile has been around much, much longer yet it was blown out of the water.

    The latest Zune doesn't run Windows Mobile since Windows Mobile is crap. The latest Zune doesn't have an app store because Windows Mobile is making an app store and they don't know how it's going to turn out!

    Seriously, Apple caught them asleep at the wheel.

    • Windows Mobile and "Desktop" Windows are completely different products/code bases. The only thing they share is a name and some user space libraries.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:29PM (#29542187)

    Apple came along and raised the bar very high. Fan of apple or not. In terms of Mobile OS they raised the bar very high for mobile app developers of competing products and sadly Windows Mobile was just trying to be good enough for blackberry users.

  • by Old97 ( 1341297 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:30PM (#29542195)
    but does he understand what the problem is? I can think of two big problems with Windows Mobile

    1) Microsoft wants to sell it when their competitor O/Ss are free.

    2) Window's Mobile has earned itself a bad reputation both in terms of ease of use and reliability. There were 7 WM users in my work unit a 18 months ago. Today there are zero. Five went to iPhone, 1 to Pre and one to RIM. The Pre guy has iPhone envy because using the keyboard is not what he hoped and because the Pre software being 18 months younger than iPhone's is also noticeably slower despite similar hardware. (He'll probably get over it when the upgrades arrive.) Of these 7, 5 of them were Microsoft fanboi's but even they were fed up with the bugs and the clumsy interface.

    (None of these guys develop for these devices so they don't' care about any of those issues.)

    So what makes him think Microsoft has time to recover from this especially if they expect to continue to charge for the O/S? What is the value proposition for the device manufacturers especially 9 months to a year from now when the free O/Ss and their tools will have had even more time to evolve and mature?

  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:34PM (#29542247) Journal

    It's really easy to write apps for. You use all the same tools, APIs, and libraries you use for regular Windows development. Many times porting from desktop to mobile is a matter of redoing the UI and recompiling. All the backend stuff stays the same.

    It was easier to write software fro WM 5 years ago than it is to write for iPhone today. There should be thousands of apps out there. But there aren't. Because WM after version 3 began to suck more and more.

    • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @03:25PM (#29542793)

      It was easier to write software fro WM 5 years ago than it is to write for iPhone today. There should be thousands of apps out there. But there aren't. Because WM after version 3 began to suck more and more.

      I think there aren't so many apps for WinMo because there's no infrastructure for distribution, payment and updating your application. Sure, it's easy to create some application, but how do you get it to your users and (more important) how do you get them to pay for it?

      You could stick it on your website and pray people will find it, but the reality of course is that most people won't find it. And if you want people to pay for it, you will have to figure out a way of doing so.

      It requires a lot of effort from the developer to get things started. And even when he figures out how to get his infrastructure set up, it remains hard to get your application onto a user's phone. And then you release an update and it's even harder to get people to get the update on their phone.

      All in all, it's a mess and no sane developer will get into it, no matter how easy it may be to create the application itself.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        It requires a lot of effort from the developer to get things started.

        It does?

        1. Buy Visual Studio 2008 Professional.
        2. Start it.
        3. Go to File -> New Project -> (C++ |C# | Visual Basic) -> Smart Device -> Smart Device Project
        4. Write code.
        5. Press F5 to build it and run with attached debugger. It will ask you if you want to run in emulator, or on a real device that's attached to your PC, and take care of the rest.

        Gee, that was hard!

    • At a technical level, you're probably right, but be careful not to trivialize the effort involved in "redoing the UI". For any software of even moderate complexity, it's not just as simple as resizing buttons and moving things around a little bit. The way a user might want to interact with a program or a particular set of data on a small portable device is often quite different from how they'd approach it on a desktop computer.

      Although we're talking about windows development, I'm going to steer us a little

  • by wastedbrains ( 588579 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:42PM (#29542345) Homepage Journal
    I got in early on the PocketPC and PocketPC Phones before it was called windows mobile. They were off to a great start with, wireless, web browsers, open development tools (the embedded visual studio was free for years), open development anyone could publish an app, GPS, etc. They worked hard enough to kill Palm, and then just got buggier and worse every year. It was the same as Netscape and IE they built IE until Netscape was dead and then just quit. Windows Mobile became so bad that after years of using and developing on the platform I bought a standard phone and got rid of my Windows Mobile at the time because it had become so unstable it was unusable. Losing calendar entries, failing syncs, crashing often, dropping voice calls... Then I saw everyone with the iPhone and at first said yeah been there and done that everything on the iPhone I had on windows mobile and more for a long time... The iPhone just worked though, no fighting it, yeah it wasn't open to develop on, but I had less reason to develop my own solutions anyways because it did what I wanted out of the box. Windows Mobile, had streaming video, flash players, GPS navigation, and many things before the iPhone ever got around to it, but MS let it fall apart to crap and die once they killed the only competitor in the market Palm/Handspring.
  • Blame Game? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:42PM (#29542347) Homepage

    Mea culpas like this are a way to soothe customers and not do anything about it.

    'New talent' claims are especially suspicious because the problem, typically, is a more global work environment issue brought on by the executive staff who, coincidentally, never change.

    Two years from now it will be the same speech. 5 years from now, same speech. Why? culture won't have changed.

  • Is that true? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:44PM (#29542365) Journal

    Is the Windows Mobile situation caused by an inferior platform? I always had the idea that WM was/is failing because mobile manufacturers don't want to go the way of the PC manufacturers and end up like commodity makers with razor-thin margins, leaving all fat profits, control of the complete experience and user-locking to Microsoft. They somehow, for estrange reasons, seem to mistrust Microsoft and won't put its software on its handsets. It's not a technology reason. Am I wrong? Does WM suck when compared to other mobile development platforms?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Yes, it basically is in an inferior platform. It's got great underlyings relative to the competition, such as multitasking and an easy development environment, but the interface is unstable, sluggish and outdated, which makes the whole thing painfully unhip. Consumers don't want anything to do with it, so modern developers aren't bothering to target it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        Multitasking is a strength relative to the competition? What competition are you comparing it to?
        The iphone, android, the pre and the n900 are all unix based, a system which was multitasking many years before any version of windows could.
        I would say windows mobile' underpinnings are actually very weak compared to other systems, it has a proprietary kernel thats not compatible with anything else and seems to suffer from major stability problems compared to the competition. Also, is it even a proper multiuser

  • Personally, I think Microsoft should seriously consider buying a company like SPB Software or another Third Party company to continue the development of Windows Mobile. It's clear that Microsoft dropped the ball years ago and didn't realize the potential of Mobile devices and I am not sure Windows Mobile 7 will leap frog or even compete with the iPhone and/or Blackberry.

  • by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Friday September 25, 2009 @03:17PM (#29542711)

    Microsoft bashing Microsoft? This smells like step one in their plan to take over Slashdot.

  • I think the Summary Title would have been better with some of Blamer quote...
    Ballmer Admits "Didn't get the full release desired."
  • And not just in the Windows Mobile arena.

    Microsoft did one really smart thing in the Windows Mobile / Pocket PC arena, back in 2000. They invited a bunch of Palm loyalists to Redmond, gave them Pocket PCs, and spent two years doing followups. AND they actually paid attention to the results. I was one of the "Palm Enthusiasts" they picked and I was absolutely amazed how much of our input went into Pocket PC 2002.

    Palm responded by inviting us to join the "Palm Influencers" mailing list. Boy was that list mis-named If Palm had actually been listening to their customers for those two years, instead of flushing the company and product line down the drain in an attempt to come up with a Palm OS on steroids that was similar to Windows CE (and failing, twice) they would STILL own the handheld market.

    On the other hand, we have Windows Vista and Windows 7 and more and more restrictions on what users can do on their own computers. Does ANYONE go to Microsoft and say "hey, I want you to lock me out of my computer"? No, it's just like Palm's vision of Garnet or Mudstone or whatever they were calling their new OS.

    Ballmer: you need to go back and find Beth Goza and Derek Brown, the people who ran that event, and pay them WHATEVER IT TAKES to get them to take over from whoever you have dealing with your Windows customers now. Seriously.

  • *Looks at his old Moto Q*
    *Looks at his Palm Pro*

    Yeah, Steve. I really fucking needed you to point that out to me.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan