Behind the scenes with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 team: 'I think about this really as a first release'

CNET had a chance recently to get embedded deep within Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 engineering group, listening in on meetings with OEMs, arguments, celebrations, and all the other drama that comes with trying to ship a huge product that's new from the ground up in just a couple years' time. There aren't any blockbuster revelations in here -- no launch devices, ship dates, or prices -- but it's an interesting look at the project from Windows Phone engineering VP Terry Myerson's perspective, who acknowledges that it'll take a long time and several releases to catch up to the competition but still thinks they'll "actually have a lot of happy customers" with version one.

On a related note, some existing Windows Marketplace devs have started getting notifications that Microsoft wants to send them loaner Windows Phone 7 devices -- yes, loaners, meaning they'll need to be returned to the mother ship at some point down the road. They're apparently set up for delivery in July, which should give publishers plenty of time to stock up the Marketplace in time for that planned holiday launch.