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Microsoft Blames Smartphone Push Delay on Cyber Crime

By - Source: Spiegel | B 12 comments

A focus on Windows security distracted Microsoft's mobile efforts during the time Apple launched the iPhone.

Microsoft development director Craig Mundie recently talked with Spiegel about the launch of Windows 8, the company's new Surface tablets, and the measures it's taking to get a foothold in the smartphone sector. He blamed "executional missteps" as the reason why Apple has dominated the smartphone sector since the 2007 launch of the iPhone.

"We had a touch device before the iPad," he said, pointing to the Windows slates that really never caught the consumer's eye. "And we were leading in the mobile phone space. So, it wasn't for a lack of vision or technological foresight that we lost our leadership position. The problem was that we just didn't give enough reinforcement to those products at the time that we were leading. Unfortunately, the company had some executional missteps, which occurred right at the time when Apple launched the iPhone. With that, we appeared to drop a generation behind."

Microsoft has been criticized for its lackluster push in the mobile sector, especially after the iPad arrived and took consumers by storm. Windows Mobile 6 was on the market when the iPhone arrived in 2007, and the company has yet to catch up even after launching an entirely new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7, which was primarily focused on the consumer market. Windows Phone 8 looks to change that, connecting Windows 8-based tablets, PCs and even the Xbox in Microsoft's 4-screen vision.

Mundie said at the time when Apple launched the iPhone, Microsoft was going through a difficult period. Cyber crime started to escalate ten years ago, and Windows became the prime target due to its sheer number of users worldwide. That pushed Microsoft to shift a huge amount of focus to security engineering and thus delayed the release of Windows Vista and ultimately Windows Phone.

"I believe that Microsoft never lost its relevance. I always tell people we're almost 40 years old now, fighting against every venture-funded good idea on the planet in the world's most competitive industry, and we're still here, OK? So I ask, "Do you think that's just an accident?" I don't think so." he said.

The interview goes on to talk about what role Microsoft will play in the next decade. What will the computer do ten years from now, and will we even recognize it? He said Microsoft's goal is to make the computer act more like its users, and act as helpful as an expert. To do that, the computer needs to learn to be more human – to see, listen, speak and even feel using tactile sensors. That's where Kinect comes in.

"We believe that our 3-D motion sensor Kinect will be a big part of that. The computers and the back-end cloud services are powerful enough now that we will see more of this type of technology very soon," he said.

To read the full interview, head here.

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  • -1 Hide
    Kami3k , October 26, 2012 6:25 AM
    Lol que?
  • -2 Hide
    thillntn , October 26, 2012 6:40 AM
    By Cyber Crime, are they referring to when M$ bought out DangerOs, and proceeded to crash the server on the change over? Considering the service was blasted for a month, All my "cloud" data lost(including contacts, which they later recovered and swapped names and numbers around!) and my device useless, Yea I would say that was criminal!!! I'm all for giving them a chance with Win 8, but will TREAD SLOWLY. I swapped the sidekick for a dash 3g, which was horrendous in its own right. Went to Android and have been happy since, hope that the new platform is better! Sorry to get off topic, but hey if their answer is from M$, why not?
  • 6 Hide
    agnickolov , October 26, 2012 7:17 AM
    He's referring to the big security push within Microsoft to overhaul the Windows code base on more sound secure footing.
  • 5 Hide
    fudoka711 , October 26, 2012 7:37 AM
    agnickolovHe's referring to the big security push within Microsoft to overhaul the Windows code base on more sound secure footing.


    Seems like a good thing to do.
  • 1 Hide
    hiltont , October 26, 2012 8:38 AM
    I posted http://hiltont.blogspot.com.au/2008/06/windows-mobile-redheaded-stepchild.html back in 2008 and Microsoft is still trying to find their way back to the ballpark. The only cyber crime involved here is leaving Steve Ballmer in charge of Microsoft.
  • 0 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , October 26, 2012 9:11 AM
    20-20 hindsight
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 26, 2012 9:22 AM
    "Microsoft was going through a difficult period."

    bhahahahaha
  • -2 Hide
    christarp , October 26, 2012 10:23 AM
    Microsoft has been late to the game for pretty much everything. They are late to the smartphone market, they're late to the tablet market, and they'll be late for anything new on the horizon. It's just how they are, they don't innovate.
  • -3 Hide
    cats_Paw , October 26, 2012 10:27 AM
    "I believe that Microsoft never lost its relevance. I always tell people we're almost 40 years old now, fighting against every venture-funded good idea on the planet in the world's most competitive industry, and we're still here, OK? So I ask, "Do you think that's just an accident?" I don't think so." he said.

    ??? - No words can express my feelings now...
  • -1 Hide
    rebel1280 , October 26, 2012 2:09 PM
    From the article: "fighting against every venture-funded good idea on the planet"

    ... just.. what...eh...why?!
  • 1 Hide
    bigdragon , October 26, 2012 3:30 PM
    Huh? Microsoft was so distracted by pirates that it failed to come up with an i-device before Apple did? That's what I took away from this story. I seem to recall that in reality Windows Mobile was targeted at business users, priced high at the time, and lacked the fun user experience that the latest iOS and Android devices embrace. Microsoft let that thing stagnate and was content to try and replicate the PC feeling on the phone. It was too clunky and stale to keep up with the innovations happening at Apple. Blaming pirates is a bogus excuse.
  • 0 Hide
    DRosencraft , October 26, 2012 3:33 PM
    rebel1280From the article: "fighting against every venture-funded good idea on the planet"... just.. what...eh...why?!


    Because ignoring them would be at best foolish. Lesson number one in business school is to keep an eye out for up and comers in your industry, see what they're doing, and be prepared to compete with them. Nothing really all that shocking about that statement really.

    At any rate, MSFT made a classic mistake. They had a problem, rather than maintaining their focus and biting a bullet on cost to add more people to handle the security problems, they completely redirected all focus on security and all but abandoned work on anything else. I'm not faulting them for wanting to focus on security - that's obviously a good thing - but they way the divided their resources was bad, and they're paying for it.