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Microsoft's Joe Belfiore live from D: Dive Into Mobile

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore live from D: Dive Into Mobile
Joshua Topolsky
Joshua Topolsky|December 7, 2010 2:48 PM
We're about to hear from Microsoft's Joe Belfiore at the D: Dive Into Mobile event -- stay tuned, there's no telling what could happen! (copy paste copy paste copy paste copy paste...)

12:25PM No copy paste demo!? What! Okay, we're out for now. Kind of a letdown.

12:24PM Walt: One last thing -- I want to talk about craplets. Why are you letting carriers do it? Why can't you stop it?

Joe: We're going to put the user first, but enables some balance. There are differences in our OS from Android -- OEMs or carriers can install apps, but unlike Android, you can uninstall those applications. You can always reinstall. We think AT&T and Samsung have value to add.

12:22PM We just asked why Microsoft is going forward with the idea of using a desktop OS for a tablet environment, when it's clearly not well tuned for the experience, when all the competition (Apple, Google) are using mobile, touch-based OSs for their tablets. We pointed out that they "missed a cycle" on smartphones, and it seemed like they were missing a cycle on tablets.

Joe wouldn't rule out refocusing their strategy from Windows 7 for tablets to something else, but certainly wouldn't commit to it.

C'mon Microsoft, make the right decision.

12:15PM Walt: But why not just scale up WP7? You have a modern touch based interface. Why isn't that your tablet platform?

Joe: We're 4 weeks out of introducing this new thing. We've tried to help out partners do a great job. Forward looking, we're going to focus on what our customers want most.

12:14PM Walt: Last question -- tablets. I'm confused by your strategy at Microsoft. It's weird because you have championed tablets. These new tablets are all about touch. But the strategy seems to be some variation of desktop Windows, not your platform.

Joe: Well it's certainly the case we've focused on that. If you look at releases of Windows over the years, it's gotten better for these things. What you said is also right -- in the past the focus has been on keyboard, mouse, writing. That will evolve. Both our groups talk, and hopefully we can use what we've learned in tablets.

12:12PM Walt: In the upcoming years, who are the dominant players going to be?

Joe: Well, there are a lot of good products in the market. I don't know how different it will be. The bridge to cross is can you deliver good experiences, lifestyle experiences, and I think we got there. Look at RIM -- they're still not there.

Walt: But who is in that group in 3 years... are you going to be in it?

Joe: I think well be in it. I think we have what it takes. Google has shown they're doing it. Apple has shown it.

12:10PM Walt: So how soon until you get back into the market, before you're back to profitability, back to a good marketshare, up there with Android and Apple?

Joe: I don't know how long...

Walt: Couple months?

Joe: Longer than that.

Walt: Couple of years?

Joe: Maybe.

12:09PM Joe: We think we get the benefits of having requirements, but the flexibility of variations.

12:08PM Walt: But you talk about the benefits of variation, but you only support a few configurations.

12:07PM Walt: What about hardware? Why didn't you just build a phone? You make the Xbox, the Zune -- one has been successful, one has not. Why not just make a phone?

Joe: Well when you look at the market, it's growing. If you look at that situation and say, we think we can do a better job at some thoughtful diversity... our view was that our core capability and our ability to affect people would be greater if we focused on the software experience.

12:06PM Joe: We've worked on lots of new components here. DirectX, for instance. He implied that we were handicapped by legacy code -- I disagree with that premise. If you look at either the hardware devices or the platform, it's completely new.

Walt: You don't even run old Windows Mobile apps.

Joe: That's right.

12:04PM Walt: Last night Andy Rubin said you had a lot of old code. Stuff that's been around 20 years... is that true or is it new code?

Joe: Well a lot of it is new. We do have a codebase that is older, but much of what we have is new. Look at Linux, core parts of it are based on Unix, which has been around a long time.

Walt: Does that mean there are old parts of Android?

Joe: I couldn't say that.

12:04PM Walt: How many apps do you have now?

Joe: About 3000...

Walt: Well I downloaded a weather app, and the tile never updated, just like the iPhone, you have to go in and check it.

Joe: Well we'll see people implement that.

Walt: But this is the whole reson d'être of your platform.

12:00PM Walt: Now you have how many speed dials...

Joe: We have 16... no 8... 8 speed dial tiles.

Walt: If I wanted to have 15 speed dial contacts, I couldn't do that.

12:00PM Joe: Another good example would be live tiles. You can see updates quickly, it enables people to be front and center. I have my wife or my friends, and whenever they update their Facebook profile, I see what they're doing right there.

Walt: Does the entire Tweet appear?

Joe: In our case, for People tiles, we have integration with Facebook and Windows Live... you can see a pretty good amount of info there.

11:58AM Walt: So how is this device different?

Joe: We have a dedicated camera button...

Walt: Other people have camera buttons...

11:58AM Sorry folks -- having network troubles here.

11:57AM Walt: But when people don't mention numbers, it makes you think that maybe it's not selling well.

Joe: Well I don't think that's the case here. It's too soon.

11:55AM Walt: But how many have you sold?

Joe: We're not talking about numbers.

Walt: But other people do.

Big oohs here from the crowd.

11:54AM Joe: We've focused on valuable areas that are significant, and we think some users will choose the devices based on those experiences.

Walt: So how is the product doing?

Joe: So far so good... we've try to make the launch go well. We wanted to get all the devices in the market, we didn't make that happen, but now we have 10 products around the world. We've ramped our ads up.

11:51AM Walt: You say you're right up there, but you're not. You don't have multitasking, copy paste...

Joe: Well I think our phone does the kinds of things that users want to do with their phones, gaming, multimedia. It's easy to get things done, they happen in an elegant way...

Walt: So you're not going to have copy and paste?

Joe: No, there are gaps that we have, and copy and paste is a good example. We're going to get it to users in early 2011.

11:50AM Walt: You're putting a new phone out almost 4 years after the iPhone. Are you a little late?

Joe: Well we've tried to come out with a product that responds to what they've done and what users want. We think we have a product that's right up there with those guys.

11:48AM Joe Belfiore is out!

11:46AM Any moment now!