Microsoft: Of course we threw Windows Phone 7 buyers under the bus

Summary:Microsoft supporters felt the company did not desert existing Windows Phone buyers by leaving them in the lurch without the ability to upgrade to Windows Phone 8. According to Microsoft they are wrong.

JK Windows Phone 8
The allegation that Microsoft threw its loyal customers under the bus got a lot of supporters up in arms, claiming that the folks in Redmond would never do that. A great debate even addressed the claim and found that absolutely Microsoft did not do that on purpose. Even in the face of such staunch support, an interview with an official conducted by CNET proves that Microsoft absolutely left Windows Phone 7 owners in the cold, and by design.

The bus throwing incident in question involved Microsoft's recent announcement that the next big version of Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8, would be the greatest thing in the platform's short history. The bus pulled into view when Microsoft added that no phone sold to date would be capable of running Windows Phone 8. Even phones that continued to be sold to this day (and after) will never get to run Windows Phone 8.

According to the CNET interview of Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's senior product manager for Windows Phone, this clean break for Windows Phone 8 was by design and in fact part of the plan for the platform from the very beginning. Back when buyers were grabbing the very first Windows Phones, Microsoft was already working on Windows Phone 8 for future buyers only.

Why would Microsoft's plan involve leaving early supporters in the cold? Apps, according to Sullivan, or more correctly developers building Windows Phone apps. They needed an installed base to get developers interested in creating apps, so they pushed Windows Phone knowing it would be forked in very short order.

Microsoft has stated clearly that Windows Phone 8 requires phone hardware that no existing handset possesses, and thus the need for leaving older phones behind. That may be so, but unsuspecting buyers of Windows Phone between now and the rollout of new Windows Phone 8 hardware will never get to experience what Sullivan admits is cooler than anything to come yet.

"There are a whole series of... new capabilities and features that will come that we haven't talked about and there's integration with Windows 8 that we'll demo closer to the date," he says.

Sounds pretty nice but new buyers of a Windows Phone, even those who buy after this is written, will never get to run Windows Phone 8. The bus has left the station and Microsoft is firmly behind early Windows Phone buyers.

Topics: Microsoft, Windows


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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