Can DoCoMo Say No To Microsoft?
By Mike Masnick, Fri Nov 19 20:30:00 GMT 2004

NTT DoCoMo made a splash by announcing a new common platform for its 3G FOMA offering that only works on Symbian and Linux phones. The lack of Microsoft isn't just a timing issue -- DoCoMo purposely shunned the software giant. Will they be able to keep it up?

Ever since Microsoft signaled its desire to enter the mobile operating space in a big way, it's faced resistance. Mobile operators and handset makers alike obviously have seen just how much Microsoft dominates in the computer and Internet worlds, and many hoped to avoid seeing a repeat. However, Microsoft has a ton of money, and a ton of money can convince companies to see things in a different light -- even if some later regret the decision.

Often, it appears that the decision to resist Microsoft has nothing to do with what the market says, but the company's own dislike of Microsoft. What's sometimes odd is how public this distaste is often made. A few months ago, Opera discovered how embarrassing that could be. After promising to "never" make a version of its software for a Microsoft platform, it released a version of Opera on Microsoft. Sometimes, the market speaks more loudly than personal hatred.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see whether NTT DoCoMo can manage to resist Microsoft as well. The company announced a single platform for its 3G FOMA phones that would allow developers to create applications that run on either Symbian or Linux-based phones. The player that's obviously missing is Microsoft. While DoCoMo could have played it off as not being available yet, or that it didn't see enough demand for Microsoft in Japan, instead it went on the offensive against Microsoft. Specifically, DoCoMo explained that it was a conscious choice, driven by how much it disliked Windows: "To tell you the truth, we don't like... and we don't have a plan to invest in Windows. Windows is not for the mobile space, the files are big."

It's certainly possible that there really isn't that much demand from end-users, especially in Japan, for applications that run on Microsoft-based phones. Perhaps DoCoMo will be able to get by without supporting Microsoft. However, there have been very few companies who have successfully poked Microsoft in the eye and gotten away with it.