Microsoft slams iPhone as irrelevant

Microsoft slams iPhone as irrelevant

Summary: Microsoft slams iPhone as 'irrelevant'


Apple's soon-to-be-launched iPhone will be irrelevant to business users because it is a "closed device" and does not support Microsoft Office, a senior executive with the software giant said this week.

"It's a great music phone, and I'm sure it will be fantastic and have an interesting user interface," Microsoft's Asia-Pacific head of smartphone strategy Chris Sorenson told press during a recent visit to Australia.

"However, it's a closed device that you cannot install applications on, and there's no support for Office documents. If you're an enterprise and want to roll out line of business applications, it's just not an option. Even using it as a heavy messaging device will be a challenge," the executive added.

One hundred and forty phone models already run Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, while Apple's new device is not expected to hit the US market until June, and Australia in 2008. The Windows mobile devices have picked up a significant portion of the converged device market, although they are up against the dominance of Nokia and its Symbian OS, Research in Motion and its BlackBerry OS, and decreasingly, Palm.

While the entry of the iPhone (with its cut-down version of Mac OS X) into this market offers new options for consumers, Sorenson believes user familiarity with the Windows Mobile interface -- and the ease with which companies can buy and develop applications for the platform -- will sustain its increasing popularity and help keep the iPhone out of the lucrative corporate market.

Windows Mobile was released in May 2005, but it wasn't until early 2006 that devices based on the operating system had become widely available to Australian buyers. By contrast, devices running the latest version 6 of Windows Mobile (WM6) will be on the Australian market before the end of the month -- beating Microsoft's own projections that the platform would ship in the third calendar quarter.

While the iPhone will focus on integrating phone, Internet browsing and iPod features, WM6 adds enterprise-targeted features such as better synchronisation of data between mobile devices and office servers.

"The market in Australia is demanding the newest and greatest mobile technology."

"With 3G we see Australians wanting more bandwidth on devices than ever before. There's a growing trend towards smarter devices, and with WM6 we've tried to bring more of what you can do on a PC, onto the devices. Manufacturers can innovate heavily in their designs, but keep that consistent [Windows] look and feel," Sorenson said.

When contacted, an Apple Australia spokesperson said: "I am not interested in commenting".

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Windows


Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

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  • Oxymoronic Statements

    Consistent Windows user interface? You've gotta be kidding. It's taken them six versions to achieve the pinnacle of bloatware on a mobile device.

    Microsoft is scared of the innovation that will occur on the iPhone as a new platform - one that won't have the baggage of trying to fit desktop applications in a handheld GUI.

    These comments parallel John Howard's pre-emptive verbiage about the oncoming Rudd train.
  • Just like the Blackberry is irrelevant

    Just like the Blackberry is irrelevant I guess also. FUD at a high level. MS also claimed the iPod irrelevant, now they are going all out trying to compete with it and guess waht their efforts have been TOTALLY irrelevant!
  • Microsoft slams iPhone as 'irrelevant'

    Unimaginable, Microsoft slamming Apple! Of course Apple does the same to them, so I guess payback is fair-play, but with the number of Microsofties slamming the iPhone (from the sublime: Gates, to the ridiculous: Balmer), they must really be feeling the overwhelming success that Apple is experiencing with their mobile products. And why is MS always late to the party? Because, until the party is in full swing, they don't know what party to crash. In other words, since they rarely innovate and frequently imitate, what they imitate needs to be out there first. Very disturbed company!
  • Complete FUD...

    This is just more of the usual Microsoft nonsense that they always trot out every time anyone else comes up with something innovative.

    The pattern is:
    1) have a senior manager ridicule anyone else's new ideas to the press.
    2) claim no one will want it
    3) come out with a belated substandard offering, claiming the MS implementation is better (in this case, steps 1 through 3 were in response to the Newton, and Palm devices).
    4) attempt to dominate using Microsoft's patented arsenal of anti-competitive methods to stamp out any competition, up to and including trying to buy out everyone else, while continuing to flog their own substandard product, while spreading FUD as widely as possible about every one else's offerings (vis a vis, this article)
    5) try to take credit, claiming it was their idea all along, and that the actual inventors are merely 'imitating' Microsoft's implementation (they'll try this after Palm and Symbian are sufficiently subjugated)...

    Mobile windows always has been, and always will be, a bloated pile of crap, adopted only by the various zombie armies that seem to be lead by people whose most advanced technical knowledge appears to be gleaned from airline magazines.
  • iPhone closed to Microsoft...... POT...KETTLE...BLACK!

    iPhone closed to Microsoft...... POT...KETTLE...BLACK!

    I think Microsoft might be feeling a little anguish that Apple has decided not to make the iPhone compliant with the CLOSED Office suite format.

    Actually Microsoft the iPhone is open to everyone, by simply using open standards. It's Microsoft that should change the way Office works to be compliant with open standards.

    I think the tide is beginning to turn, and Microsoft is beginning to realise it cannot bank on the fact that it's systems and software will be forever ubiquituos and controlling the direction of document creation and software development.

    I like open standards - Hopefully Microsoft will get a clue and use them.

    If they dont, I dont believe too many people will be concerned if their iPhone cannot connect to the office suite / address book / contacts....

    They will just use an open standards software app to do it instead and forget MS Office.
  • Google Writely, Presently, and Docs

    You can upload to these browserbased tools and view easily. Plus .ppt, .xls, and .doc are compatible with Open Office. I think with Jobs being cozy with Schmidt, people will be able to find an easy way to open their Office documents with the iPhone. I personally can't wait to zoom in and out of a spreadsheet using this phone - something that can't be done or a treo or any other smart phone: only three columns :(
  • Complete FUD...

    The pattern of the Apple Zealot is pretty obvious:

    1) Adopt a device, claim Apple has found the only right way of doing it.

    2) Claim that any critical analysis of that device is wrong, or irrelevant, regardless of the context. These (other) people, after all, don't innovate!

    3) Tell everyone how "innovative" Apple is, even though they aren't actually innovating anything - have a look at cell phones in japan, they make the iPhone look like a toy.

    4) Make some off-color comment about Microsoft, so they can seem socially acceptable to their friends who are also foaming at the mouth.

    5) Claim that you shouldn't need anything else in your device, because Apple has made all the choices for you. And you damn well should like it.
  • Great Idea!

    yes, let's upload ALL our sensitive company data to a google database! FANTASTIC IDEA.

    I'm sure your boss will love it!
  • The neighing and Braying of barnyard animals

    Are you stupid? What innovation? You can't write software for it because Apple won't let you!
  • Are Office-using mobile users who Apple is after

    I'm not all that familiar with the specifics of the iPhone, but I'm not certain Apple is out to get this particular segment of mobile users.

    The iPhone seems to be targeted to a broader swath, not the road warriors who actually expect to get work done on their phone. Of course, as I said, I'm not totally familiar with all the features so, perhaps I'm mistaken.
  • Huh?

    But the Blackberry isn't irrelevent as it can be used with exchange as well as other email servers and hence does play with other people's software.

    Apple, as always, like to monopolise their whole platform and is building irrelevancy into their new iPhone. Typical overpriced, under spec'd over designed Apple product.
  • How about Flash folks?

    If Apple is smart they'll make it so the only way to get apps on the thing is to allow Flash or Apollo. It's funny to hear Microsoft claiming the importance of apps on their phones. How many people actually install software on their crapping MobilePC phones? Seriously. How many?
  • Apple han't marketed it as a killer business app!

    This executive's comments are irrelevant. The iPhone imay not start out in the business world but I think that if it's as popular as some are predicting it will find a way into the business world by its sheer numbers (not to mention the other functions). It is only a matter of time.
  • Reading actually is fundamental

    Obviously you managed to overlook the part about Openoffice. Considering its architecture it should be a simple matter to get Openoffice on the iPhone and have all the hoity toity features the MS drones are buzzing about.
  • Skewed View

    he pattern of the Apple Zealot is pretty obvious:

    1) Hardly, but if it makes you feel better.

    2) The analysis is incorrect in all regards because as most people seem to have missed. We haven't seen the shipping product nor do we know what it's full capabilities are.

    3) That is actually amusing since most phones in Japan seem to center around being toys.

    4) Off color? Seems pretty straightforward, or do you need a list of MS business practices.

    5) I don't see anyone saying that except those who seem ot hate Apple and the iPhone. Again we haven't seen it or heard Apple's final word on accesibility to developers. Let's wait for WWDC before we "foam at the mouth"
  • Exactly

    That's exactly what I was thinking. They call it "irrelevant" because it's not targeting the same market as they are. When will the M$ jokers realize they aren't the only game in town.
  • LOL Look @sales of Windoze VISTA - TALK ABOUT IRRELEVANT

    How many companies ran right out to upgrade from XP to Vista soo far????
  • upset $mS

    The only reason they are upset is $MS is still to make something that appeals. Windows Mobile is just woeful to use, unreliable, most phone/pda devices have short battery life, all the things we dont want in something we have to rely on to 'just work' every day.
    $MS are scared and should be, the rest of the world are waiting for mobile computing to become reliable. Bring on the iphone I say, at least a company with a quality focus will set a benchmark and we can start to progress!
  • Just like the iPod was - yup MS is loosing it a little!

    Something that MS seems to forget is whatever people want becomes reality. You cant slam it when its done cause it just fits peoples expectations from the next generation device.
    MS, please pay a little more attention to your great Zune product, perhaps Apple could learn something from your mp3 player market dominance!

    What about web services coming to the forefront. Is this not the first great step. Having your apps on the net makes the iPhone Internet browser so much more powerful.
  • Just like IBM

    It's so refreshing to hear a monolithic corporation, and one which dominates the current market, poo poo the little guy's product as irrelevant.

    In the 1970s, IBM, the "Microsoft" of its day, poo pooed the onslaught of consumer-oriented computers from Apple, Altair, Tandy and Commdore. However, in hindsight, we know that IBM was dead wrong.

    How refreshing to reflect upon that.