Microsoft is no stranger to lawsuits, but the most recent case to cross the legal desk in Redmond has me wondering if they even bother to check their mail anymore. A new patent infringement case has been filed in a Wisconsin U.S. District Court which alleges that the Zune's "Buy from FM" service violates IP owned by Dr Edward Yavitz. The good doctor claims that even though he contacted Microsoft several times regarding the infringement, his plea's for a peaceful resolution landed of def ears. "I got no reply whatsoever" Yavitz told InternetNews.com.
Patent trolling is considered somewhat of a nuisance in the tech industry, but you have to feel for the guy when you consider that he filed the patent in question years before there was even an iPod. "They are definitely taking notice of it now" Yavitz said. It's likely that Microsoft's change in heart has something to do with Windows Phone 7 Series, which is more Zune than Windows Mobile. Assuming that Dr Yavitz has a case here, this lawsuit could get mighty expensive if Microsoft's new mobile platform actually takes off.
Microsoft officials declined to comment on the suit, or its merits, but when is that ever not the case?
With applications becoming increasingly vital to a mobile platform's success, it makes perfect sense to lure developers to your platform early in its development cycle. It is something Microsoft is trying to accomplish using the Windows Phone 7 Series emulator, which was released earlier this week at its Mix10 event.
The emulator presents a fantastic opportunity to developers looking to learn more about developing apps for the upcoming platform. There is one caveat, though: The emulator only provides limited access to the mobile operating system's features. With hackers not shy to take apart expensive gadgets to get past any exasperating limits, it was always going to be a matter of time before an ingenious developer unfettered this free emulator.
A developer named Don Ardelean announced today that he has successfully “unlocked the ROM image in the emulator CTP.” The task only snatched 6 hours from his life. Ardelean was quick to publish an unlocked version of the emulator, which he later pulled down in as much haste. “I have decided to take down the link because Microsoft could get upset and I don't really want that (if someone at Microsoft will tell me that it doesn't bother them I will put it back),” he wrote on his blog. Besides unlocking all features demoed by Microsoft, Ardelean's hard work also yielded the first glimpse of the Office Apps for Windows Phone 7 Series.
Microsoft's Istvan Cseri made an interesting admission at MIX10 today. The Windows Phone 7 Series App Market will have the ability to revoke licenses remotely. As we’ve previously heard, the App Marketplace will be the only way to get apps for 7 Series devices. So any app on a 7 series device could be deactivated at Microsoft’s behest.
This is not entirely dissimilar to the iPhone App Store, which apparently has a kill switch as well. It has never been used in the case of the iPhone, and most would consider it to be the most tightly controlled app ecosystem so far. Cseri seemed to imply that the feature would be used if a Marketplace app were to malfunction in some way, but that doesn’t rule out other possible uses.
If you were feeling pumped to get your hands on a 7 Series phone, does this dissuade you?
Microsoft's TechEd conference doesn't typically get a lot of news coverage around here given it's IT focus, but keynote presenter Eric Rudder was showing off some pretty interesting new Windows phone features which are worthy of note. During his presentation he was able to show off not just a cross platform game that worked across the Xbox 360, PC, and mobile phone, but also how he was able to keep all of his gaming sessions in perfect sync.
Its hard to imagine it will ever be much more than a gimmick when it comes to gaming, but it might have some interesting applications for everyday productivity tools as well. After all, finding a mechanic that works with a gamepad, mouse and keyboard, and even a touch screen is a bit of an unrealistic proposition. And before you ask, no, it won't play Crysis. One thing is clear; Microsoft is taking it's new phone platform very seriously, and is obviously hoping to use it as a hook in the future to help keep you in the MS ecosystem.
Hit the jump to check out the You Tube demonstration, and take careful note of how hard he had to try to say "Windows Phone Series". Yep, he forgot the 7! Guess even Microsoft can't remember its own broken English product names.
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?
It's another sad day in No BS Podcast history, as we bid adieu to Norman Chan, our intrepid Online Editor. The show must go on, though, so the gang discusses the news of the week, including Windows Phone 7 Series, and answers some questions. Gordon starts to get his rage on about those lousy Star Destroyers (again!) before he's cut short by a technical failure here at Maximum PC HQ. Don't worry, a squad of repair droids is reinforcing our hull right now, and we'll be back in full force next week!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
It's astounding that until this moment, three years after the iPhone, the biggest software company in the world basically didn't compete in mobile. Windows Phone 7 Series is more than the Microsoft smartphone we've been waiting for. Everything's different now.
Yesterday, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft is publicly previewing Windows Phone 7 for the first time. The brand new, totally fresh operating system will appear in phones this year, but not until the holidays. All of the major wireless carriers and every likely hardware maker are backing it, and they'd be stupid not to. It's awesome. We've got a serious hands on for you to check out, but here is everything that you need to know:
The name—Windows Phone 7 Series—is a mouthful, and unfortunately, the epitome of Microsoft's worst naming instincts, belying the simple fact that it's the most groundbreaking phone since the iPhone. It's the phone Microsoft should've made three years ago. In the same way that the Windows 7 desktop OS was nearly everything people hoped it would be, Windows Phone 7 is almost everything anyone could've dreamed of in a phone, let alone a Microsoft phone. It changes everything. Why? Now that Microsoft has filled in its gaping chasm of suck with a meaningful phone effort, the three most significant companies in desktop computing—Apple, Google and Microsoft—now stand to occupy the same positions in mobile. Phones are officially computers that happen to fit in your pocket.
Windows Phone 7 is also something completely new for Microsoft: A total break from the past. Windows Mobile isn't just dead, the body's been dumped, buried and paved over by a rainbow brick road.