The recent proliferation of Windows versions attests to Microsoft’s love of multiple product SKUs. Until now the company’s mobile products have escaped this sort of segmentation, but no more. Microsoft has confirmed that there will be at least two versions of mobile operating systems sold and supported in the Windows Phone family.
Windows Phone Starter Edition will basically be Windows Mobile 6.5, but slightly more limited. Speculation is that this will mostly be a play for emerging markets like Vista Starter and Win7 Home Basic. According to Microsoft all version of their mobile OS will get access to the new mobile version of Office when it is complete. All OEMs will have access to the new Starter SKU as well.
The odd thing here is that in explaining features, Microsoft claims that Starter will support only 2G GSM networks, but will have support for EV-DO Rev A for CDMA. This seems at least in part to be a ploy to force nations with 3G GSM networks to move to Phone 7. CDMA is less common in other nations, so perhaps Microsoft feels its inclusion won’t hurt. Do you think the multi-SKU strategy can work for Microsoft in the mobile space?