Microsoft's smartphone partners: history lessons

Microsoft's smartphone partners: history lessons

Summary: Does the history of Microsoft's partnerships with mobile device manufacturers hold any clues as to how its tie-up with Nokia will go? We trawl the ZDNet archives for some instructive examples.

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TOPICS: Smartphones, Reviews
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  • Nokia's recent strategic partnership with Microsoft has set the tech community abuzz: over the past week, legions of commentators have pondered the future shape of the smartphone market following the announcement that Windows Phone 7 is to step into Symbian's shoes as the Finnish company's primary OS platform.

    Of course, Microsoft has partnered with many mobile hardware manufacturers over the years (although none as dominant in the mobile space as Nokia), and we've covered the results regularly here on ZDNet UK.

    So sit back and enjoy (unless, perhaps, you're a Nokia person) a Microsoft-smartphone-themed trip through the archives...

  • Sendo
    Sendo was a British company, formed in 1999 by ex-Philips and Motorola employees and based in Birmingham. In the run-up to launching its Windows CE-based Smartphone 2002 platform, codenamed Stinger, Microsoft invested in the company, took a seat on the board, and lined up the Sendo Z100 as its inaugural smartphone showcase.

    We got hold of a prototype and published a preview of the Z100, but the product was canned in late 2002 without ever being properly launched. Microsoft-Sendo relations soured to the point of lawyers following the unexpected appearance of the HTC-manufactured Orange SPV (reviewed here by the late, great Guy Kewney). Following the Z100 debacle, the British company moved onto Symbian but eventually went out of business in 2005.

    Our leader article on Sendo's demise had some sage advice:
    "The lesson is clear. If you have to deal with a company much bigger and richer than you, and with interests not directly aligned with your own, you have to be very careful indeed. It may be that no matter how good the deal looks, you won't have the resources to defend yourself if it goes sour. In which case, it's better to step back and find another way."

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Topics: Smartphones, Reviews

About

Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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