Two of the most important players in the mobile industry, Verizon and Motorola, have essentially called Windows Phone 7 a failure, with a Verizon exec going so far as saying that the Nokia deal won't help the struggling smartphone platform. This is clearly not what Microsoft hoped for when it launched Windows Phone 7 to great fanfare late last year.
The statements from both executives were surprisingly blunt. Verizon Communications Chief Technology Officer Tony Melone told CNet during an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that in addition to Android and the iPhone:
"I do want a strong third OS out there. It gives the carriers more flexibility and balances the interests of all the parties. But I still have doubts whether Microsoft will get the traction they are hoping for with Windows Phone 7."
Melone was equally unimpressed with the Nokia-Microsoft deal, explaining:
"If you look at our device pipeline for 2011, we have very strong relationships with LG, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and now Apple. So I think it would take a really compelling device from Nokia or any new vendor to break in. It doesn't mean that it can't happen, but it would have to be really good."
Then, giving one last twist of the knife, he added:
"I don't think Verizon needs the Nokia and Microsoft relationship. Right now the three OS players we see for our network are Android, Apple, and RIM."
Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services product management for Motorola, also weighed in about Windows Phone 7 at the Mobile World Congress, and had only bad things to say. Wyatt said that Motorola initially was considering Windows Phone 7 as a platform for its phones, in addition to Android. But Motorola chose not to do that. Here's what she said, according to the IDG News Service:
"There were a bunch of things that we believed about Microsoft that ended up not being true, mostly about what functionality it would have in what period of time."
In addition, Windows Phone 7 was delayed for so long that Motorola decided to only use Android, and bypass Windows Phone 7. Wyatt also said that Motorola favored Android over Windows Phone 7 because Android is open source, while manufacturers can't customize Windows Phone 7:
"We would like an opportunity to create unique value and we don't feel we could with a closed platform."
Clearly, Microsoft still has an uphill struggle with Windows Phone 7. And Verizon being underwhelmed by the Nokia arrangement doesn't help either. Still, the deal with Nokia is the best attempt by Microsoft to help its struggling smartphone platform. If Verizon is to be believed, it won't be enough, but only time will tell.