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Mozilla drops Windows Mobile because it no longer matters

If Microsoft tossed its Windows Mobile code over to CodePlex, if it at least made it open core, it might make a comeback. It might become part of a winning team.

Remember when Halle Berry married David Justice? (Picture from Threebrothersandasister.blogspot.com.)

She was an up-and-coming starlet, but he was the star right-fielder of the Atlanta Braves, heir to Dale Murphy, a big deal. By the time they divorced, in 1997, she was on her way to becoming an Oscar legend while he was heading for Cleveland and obscurity.

That's the way I feel about news that Mozilla is dropping work on a version of the Firefox browser for Windows Mobile.

Windows Mobile fanboys are furious. (The Berry-Justice relationship did not end well either.) But, really, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Windows Mobile can't hit the curveball.

Seriously. Steve Ballmer tried to be the same thing with Windows Mobile that Steve Jobs was with his iPhone. The difference is that while Ballmer promised, Jobs delivered, and while Ballmer tried to keep everyone happy, Jobs focused on a single carrier and a customer set.

Now that the iPhone is out there, a target other developers must shoot at and pass in order to succeed, Windows Mobile is lost. It's got a little speed, a little pop, it can hit .280, it can catch a flyball. But it's not an All-Star at anything, and the combination pales in comparison to the competition.

If Microsoft tossed its Windows Mobile code over to CodePlex, if it at least made it open core, it might make a comeback. It might become part of a winning team. Justice was a Championship Series MVP and got a World Series ring with the New York Yankees in 2000.

Instead Ballmer seems insistent on being Jobs, which is a little like Rosie O'Donnell coming out for a casting call against Berry. It's not a contest, unless the role in question is that of a doughy, wise-cracking sidekick. (And even then I'm picking Halle.)

Now if all this makes it seem like I'm just having fun at Windows' expense, I am. But there is a serious question at the end of this.

Can Windows be a player in mobile, or is it on its way to becoming the answer to a trivia question?