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December 07, 2010

Joe Belfiore - MS Windows Phone (Walt)

Joe Belfiore - MS Windows Phone (Walt)

WP is much later than iPhone and Android. Joe: we have been doing phones for a long time, Apple made big changes to the industry. We have tried to take advantage of what apple and android has done. We have been doing this for a long time but we think now we have a product that is right up there with those guys.

Walt: you don't have multitasking, cut and paste. Joe: across these devices there are lots of different consumers. We have tried to build experiences that people are doing at high volume - testing, web, games, media. Easy to learn, reliable, happen in an elegant and niec way. We have functionality shortcomings like copy paste that we are working on. Early 2011. Multitasking - we load browser pages in the background, we load email in the background, we play music in the background.

Walt: this is where Apple started in 2007. You are coming along in 2010 without that. Joe: we believe that we have other benefits. Photos experience is great. Camera works above the lock. Hardware has a camera button. We have focused on valuable scenarios and some users will choose us.

Walt how is it doing? Europe in late October, US second week in November and so far so good. Now 10 launch devices in place. Ad campaign has tamped up. Now working on retail. We are not talking about numbers.

Walt: other people do. When somebody doesn't announce it makes people think you maybe aren't selling a lot. Joe: too soon to talk about numbers.

Walt: your campaign is about quickly glancing and go. What that's about. Joe: we talked to a lot of users and we felt streamlining the experience for the average user. Tke advantage of visual design to make it look exciting and attractive but also to reduce steps. Can people get things done faster. Camera button. Live tiles. Relatively large squares that evoke information about the app you would launch. The start screen is also your speed dial, the number of texts people send exceeds their phone calls. So why not speed texting. People are front and center. Whenever they post to a social network, the tile updates. We have integration with FB and WL. There are 8 tiles without scrolling. It's a flexible interface and you get to choose.

Walt: when I was reviewing I found that 3rd party apps that I downloaded, you and very few apps (today marketplace has up to 4k) and I found that many apps didn't give me any information on the tiles. Joe: we'll see people do more as time goes by.

Walt: last night Andy said you have really old code in your system. MSFT narrative has been that you rebuilt and it is all new, but Andy says the kernel is old. Joe: it is mostly new. We do have some old code in the kernel that are old, but as long as it doesn't impede our ability to deploy scenarios it doesn't matter and in fact the code is tested, scribed stable. The graphics capability is great. Based on DirectX. We used Silverlight and XNA for 3rd party apps. These are new. Andy implied that we were encumbered by legacy and I don't agree.

Walt: why didn't you just build a phone? Joe: the decision came down to the fact that the phone market is huge and diverse. Do we think that we can build all the hardware to meet all the niches? We felt we should focus on the software. There is an implied tradeoff that the user experience won't be as good. What we have tried to do based on our experience with windows where there is the right amount of specified variation and specified sameness. Apple and others picks they are very explicit. Android wide open. We have focused on elements of user experienec that we tthnk matter. We are tyrying to get the benefits of constraint whilst enabling the right variation for end users - cost, size, keyboard.

Walt: how long will it take you to get back up? Joe: we have chose two focus on higher end hardware. We are not in every country yet. More price points. Don't know how long it will take us to develop that kind of volume. Not a couple of months, maybe a couple of years.

Walt: who will be the dominant platforms? Joe: 4-6 vendors who have significant share in smartphone space. A bridge to cross for vendors to deliver high quality experiences. Blackberry has been very good at productivity but hasn't yet crossed over to be really good at lifestyle scenarios.

Walt: do you assume you will be in that group? Joe: I do assume. Star at with a great product and an experience that is valuable to people.

Walt: I am confused about the tablet strategy at MSFT. Ironically the slate has been a Microsoft idea for a long time. Joe: it is certainly the case that we have tried to make PCs cover the broadest ground possible. I the past our focus in desktop windows has been on keyboard, mouse, stylus. Phone has been small devices and touch. Over time we are going to take the lessons learn in both and cross pollinate.

Walt: Why isn't your phone OS your tablet OS? Joe: we have just released our phone. Windows today is our big operating system that operates today on a broad range of devices.

Joe: when we work with our partners we like the idea of elegant coexistence. Three buttons. 4 point capicitative multitouch is a requirement. But not so restrictive that manufactures can't add new capabilities. For baseline capabilities we want a level of predictability and usability for users.

Endgagdget: challenge on tablets. Apple very successful, Android. You guys have this clunky, ugly Windows 7. You cannot be blind to the idea that Windows 7 isn't designed for touch. Joe: stay tuned. We acknowledge the fact that you have to do a thoughtful and good job in designing for the firm factor. We are going to look across the board at all these things. We are where we are at today.

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