If the Wall Street Journal's sources are correct, Microsoft and Verizon are in talks over "Pink," Microsoft's code name for a new mobile device that's being called an "iPhone rival."
Why does every new smartphone have to be an iPhone rival? The label alone raises the bar on how the device will be judged and anything short of being an iPhone equal will make it look like a dud.
What makes this news report interesting, though, is that it follows reports that Verizon and Apple are in talks to bring the iPhone to that network as the exclusive AT&T deal is set to expire next year. The WSJ story makes note of how the Apple-Verizon talks have not advanced, citing unnamed sources. But that doesn't mean the two can't still work something out or that Verizon jumped off Apple train and hopped on board Microsoft's.
And there's nothing that says that Verizon can't play nice with both Apple and Microsoft and provide service to devices made by both companies. After all, Verizon already services RIM's Blackberry and Microsoft's Windows Mobile. And those two companies work with multiple carriers. Mary Jo Foley, on the All About Microsoft blog, writes about the news:
Pink is shaping up to be a phone (which the Journal says will likely be branded as a Microsoft phone, even though manufactured by a third party) plus Zune services, Windows Mobile Marketplace access, My Phone services and various consumer-focused services from the Danger team now residing inside Microsoft’s Mobile unit. It’s highly likely to be Windows-Mobile-7-based, but different from other Microsoft-partner-backed Windows Mobile 7 phones.
I'm glad to see Microsoft stepping up its mobile game. But I hate that it's already being compared to the iPhone. I'm always down for a good Microsoft vs. Apple debate - but lets not put Verizon in the middle of this one. Just because the carrier may or may not be talking to one company doesn't mean that it shouldn't also be talking to the rivals.
Verizon sells service - good service, in my opinion - which is why I stayed with my Blackberry and returned my iPhone earlier this year. I like that I have options without having to change service providers. If Verizon can keep expanding those offerings with a greater variety of products and services, they're more likely to hang on to me as a customer.