Microsoft on Sendo and Smartphone 2002
By Joachim Bamrud, Thu Nov 14 13:30:00 GMT 2002

Microsoft Corporation comments on Sendo's decision to cancel its Windows Powered smartphone.

British phone producer Sendo recently announced that it was canceling its plans to launch the Z100 smartphone using the MS Smartphone 2002 platform and instead go with Nokia's Series 60 solution. TheFeature asked Ed Suwanjindar, product manager for Microsoft's Mobile Devices Division, to comment on how the Sendo decision will affect the Seattle company's mobile strategy.

TheFeature: How much of a market impact did the Sendo decision have on your platform?

Suwanjindar: We don't see this news having an impact on Microsoft's ability to be successful in this market. Sendo was only one of several hardware partners. Microsoft remains confident in our hardware partners Samsung, HTC and Compal and our strong relationships and commitments from mobile operators around the world (Orange, Vodafone, AT&T Wireless, Verizon, and many more). And we absolutely are very confident in our Smartphone software.

TheFeature: How does your platform specifically help operators increase average revenue per user (ARPU)?

Suwanjindar: This platform helps operators increase in several ways - by providing a programmable platform to let them realize additional incremental post-purchase revenue from users who download and install applications on to the device. This is a fertile platform. With over 50 ISV's launching applications at Orange's recent launch, operators see the vast opportunity to capitalize on the community of 6 million plus windows developers.

TheFeature: How does your platform aid operators in building their brands?

Suwanjindar: By allowing them to deliver fully branded devices as well as customizing the software experience to expose their brand, applications and services. Nokia's one-size-fits-all approach is tiring with operators. Their economies of scale do not allow them to address niche markets.

TheFeature: Sendo Chief Executive Hugh Brogan told Reuters that one reason for their switch to Series 60 was that Sendo could get access to the source code, and therefore customize their products better. How would you respond to this statement?

Suwanjindar: We have a shared source model that provides partners with the API's they need in order to customize and develop applications for our platform. In addition, our 'Shared Source' philosophy allows partners, customers, governments, and academicians to work directly with Microsoft code in a variety of ways. This philosophy allows commercial software companies and customers to access Microsoft source code while maintaining intellectual property rights and ensuring product quality and support. We've recently expanded Shared Source offerings including the new CE.NET Shared Source license, available to the general public with more than 1.5 million lines of code.

TheFeature: What role do you see industry standards such as MMS, Java and SyncML playing in the success of your platform and who should drive their development?

Suwanjindar: On MMS: We see rich messaging for the mobility industry as the next area of growth for wireless data revenues. Because of the investments we've made in our platforms and technologies, Windows Powered smart devices, including Pocket PC and Smartphone 2002, will be able to provide a superior user experience for multimedia messaging services.

On Java: There are several java virtual machines available for Smartphone and any operator or OEM is free to incorporate them into their products. That said, "Write once, run anywhere" seems to be something of a myth when it comes to mobile devices. Even on Sun's website, there are 56 types of devices running J2ME, but 24 screen resolutions to take into account. This requires a developer to write 24 different versions of the same application to ensure the same program will run on all J2ME compliant devices. We believe there are better platforms (i.e. .NET Compact Framework) to offer lightweight runtimes on devices with quicker and more cost-effective porting capabilities to stimulate the developer - and thereby the mobile applications and services - markets.

On SyncML: SyncML is something third parties are free to extend to the Smartphone OS. It is worth noting that SyncML is a key element of OMA [Open Mobile Alliance], of which Microsoft is a founding member.

Joachim Bamrud is an award-winning journalist with 18 years experience as a writer and editor in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Bamrud has worked for various print, broadcast and online media, including Latin Trade, Reuters and UPI.