Microsoft's Pink: What's the latest?

Microsoft's Pink: What's the latest?

Summary: Microsoft's mysterious "Project Pink" is back in the news, with word from Ad Week that the Redmondians are obtaining bids from various ad agencies for a Pink campaign. So we're back to square one: What, exactly, is Pink?


Microsoft's mysterious "Project Pink" is back in the news, with word from Ad Week that the Redmondians are obtaining bids from various ad agencies for a Pink campaign.

Exactly what Pink is and isn't has been tough to pin down -- especially given that Microsoft officials haven't even been willing to acknowledge the codename.

When I first heard about Pink (and the equally mysterious Purple), tipsters said Pink was codename for a Zune Phone.

Over the next several months, more Pink tipsters suggested that Pink wasn't actually a device, but instead was more of a set of consumer-focused, premium mobile services. The Danger folks Microsoft acquired a year ago were said by various sources to be working on these Pink services. And the Zune entertainment services (music and video purchase, playback, sharing, etc.) also seemed to fall under the Pink umbrella, from what my sources were telling me.

But over the past few months, I began hearing again that Pink was not just services, but also hardware. Remember all that confusion over whether or not Microsoft was going to make its own phone -- and most likely some kind of Zune phone? My tipsters said that Microsoft was going to make the phone chassis but not the whole phone; instead, the company was seeking a consumer-electronics partner to actually build one or more phones, with Microsoft involved every step of the way.

Here we are, in mid-April 2009. Word is Microsoft is planning to close bidding on the planned Pink ad campaign this summer. But what, exactly, will the advertiser(s) be advertising?

Based on the latest from my sources, here are my guesses:

  • Pink is both a phone and the set of mobile services that will be connected with that phone. Microsoft will provide the chassis but it won't build the entire phone itself. (Will Microsoft sell the resulting phone under the Microsoft brand, the way it sells the Xbox? I'm not sure.)
  • The Pink services will include premium services from the Danger crew working at Microsoft, as well as services from the Zune team. I'd bet Pink users might also get access to some of the "Sky" services Microsoft is readying, like SkyMarket (Windows Marketplace for Mobile) and Skybox (My Phone).
  • Pink is built on top of the Windows Mobile 7 core engine. But it won't look like other Windows Mobile 7 phones coming from various third-party phone makers.
  • Purple is the "user experience" for Pink (and what will make it look and feel different from other Windows Mobile 7 devices).

I still haven't heard a launch target for Pink -- though I have heard that Windows Mobile 7 devices could start appearing in the market in Q2 2010.

Anyone else hearing other Pink details/rumors?  If Pink is, as originally rumored, a "Zune phone," what features/specs would make you interested in buying one?

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Telcos


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Pink??? are the Rodians attempting

    to compete with Victoria Secret?
    • "Pink", aka codename "copy everyone else, poorly"

      What's new about that from Redmond?
  • Chassis?

    Is this different to the Reference Chassis which you (excuse pun) referred to before? That was a set of specifications which manufacturers could refer to when building a phone. I suppose what you're saying now is similar to what happened with the 1st gen zune, which was essentially a toshiba media player with zune branding and interface.
  • RE: Microsoft's Pink: What's the latest?

    Zune Phone... hmm.. Windows Mobile with a 2GHZ processor, 4GB RAM and 160GB storage...with touchscreen and full qwerty...20 hours of battery life while running on Sprint EVDO RevA.

    oh and $299 with contract.
    • ditto...but

      Put it on AT&T too. ha!
  • More layoffs?

    as in "[b]Pink[/b] Slip"?
  • Zune HD perhaps ?

    I think that it is more likely that the Pink hardware will be the device called Zune HD.
    A device rumored to:
    *Have an O.S built on Windows Mobile 7 core
    *Have a capacitive multitouch oled screen
    *Have a browser with multitouch support
    *be based Nvidia Tegra
    *be able to handle high definition multimedia content
    *have TV out
    *be able to run Xbox games(though which Xbox ?),etc...
    If correctly built,correctly marketedcorrectly priced, and available worlwide, this device could a terrific and quite successful !
    Though this rumored is not said to be a phone or to have any phone related feature.
  • RE: Microsoft's Pink: What's the latest?

    Hey mary-jo, Pink is the new codename for SCO's new software that will steamroll all the linux users into paying licenses...

    Talk about futile rumor mongering, does anyone (besides mary-jo) really think that anyone outside Redmond cares about a MS phone/music device? After abandoning "PlaysForSure" & now the Zune? Seriously?
  • Am I gonna get my money back from that Urge disaster?!

    Until I get my money back for the library I bought but lost after Microsoft Sold "Urge" to Rhapsody I'm not trusting anything those guys put out.
    • be careful,

      someone might accuse you of spreading anti-microsoft fud.
  • I like the idea of WinMo done right

    With MS heading up the build of the phone the prospect of a WinMo device with everything right sounds awful good to me. I like WinMo just too many variations in user experience from one device to the next due to a lack of control from MS.
  • Try AT&T times two faster DSL

    ZDNET could be faster.
  • Faster DSL

    With a faster connection your download and upload rate or bytes per second transfer increase.Download is from a site to you,(I download a software program from ZDNET to my computer.) and upload is from you to the site. (I upload the video that I made to YouTube.) I see it as if your ISP was at the fastest connection rate everybody would be faster.The ISP would have to be at the fastest rate for me to increase my speed.(Or---)The ISP's rate has nothing to do with my rate.If all sites increased their rates it would still not affect my rate.The site's upload rate to me could be fast but my rate is slow means that the site is not seeing an upload (Site>me) rate increase.
  • RE: Microsoft's Pink: What's the latest?

    It's sounding more black and blue than Pink to me.
  • RE: Microsoft's Pink: What's the latest?

    I predicted a "Zune phone" several months ago, as I mention in this blog post:-

    I would be very impressed if such a product is released this year. That would be an exciting prospect. It's only a rumour, but I want one already!

    Combining insight with speculation, the Pink project could refer to a mobile phone with Xbox integration.
    Tim Acheson
  • RE: Microsoft's Pink: What's the latest?

    xclrhy,good post!