Apple's iPhone prompted Windows Phone redesign

In speaking to the New York Times recently, the man running the show for the Windows Phone software team, Joe Belifore noted how Apple's iPhone prompted Windows Phone redesign and shaped the future of Microsoft's mobile operating system.

"Apple created a sea change in the industry in terms of the kinds of things they did that were unique and highly appealing to consumers," Joe Belfiore told The New York Times. "We wanted to respond with something that would be competitive, but not the same."

It really isn't any secret that Apple's launch of the iPhone disrupted the mobile industry in many ways, but even today -- 5 years after the official unveiling -- we're still finding out just how much of an impact it had. Microsoft at the time was considering their options for what to do with exhausted Windows Mobile platform. With their mobile future now at risk, it was decided in December of 2008 to go ahead and scrap Windows Mobile and start fresh.

That meant assembling a new team of engineers, developers and more importantly -- someone to lead them all into the next generation of mobile OS' for Microsoft. That led Terry Myerson, mobile engineering chief to hire Joe Belfiore who had recently been working on the Microsoft Zune projects. Borrowing ideas from the Zune projects, the Metro UI as we now know it was born and early Windows Phone devices were rolled out, providing something many would say was ideas never saw from Microsoft before.

Whether you like Apple and the iPhone or not, their influence on every other modern smartphone really is undeniable.

Source: NYTimes

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Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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Apple's iPhone prompted Windows Phone redesign


It is best to leave the fiction to professionals. Apple just used the best technology available at the time and made best use of it. There are a lot of things Apple borrowed even from the original "Windows Mobile." Apple just created a mind set that everything they do is 'magical' in fact it is a good marketing strategy. But don't confuse reality from fiction. In other words it can be 'Microsoft pushed Apple to push the envelope.'

I think you're the one inventing the fiction here. The head of Win Phone (who happens to e one of the professionals of the professionals i assume you're referring to) straight up just said that apple "created a sea of change" and implied that it influenced Microsoft to abandon the old winmo platform and pushed them to design something new and different. When designing software, or anything for that matter, there is always give and take. But you have to give apple credit, as does the win phone guy here, for using the best technology at the time in a way that revolutionizes the industry-- which is precisely what every great invention has done in the history of the world.

You assumed wrong. I meant "professionals as in those who writes fiction novels." I don't blame you because you don't have modicum of common sense. I don't have a problem with giving Apple credit and it doesn't matter if I give them credit or not. They are highly successful. I meant most of their success is not because of innovations; it is because of their marketing strategy.

That is your argument. I don't see you coming up with something smart. You can always try to out smart me. I don't hate Apple in fact I have all their products and I use them. My simple argument was their success has a lot to do with "good marketing rather than innovations. Innovation is often described as something new and You can look that up in a dictionary. I think there is an app for that.

Okay, compare the original iPhone to Windows Mobile, actually, all mobile phones, at the time. You really still think Apple just marketed well? Because if you do, then fine, I get it, you're trolling. Troll away.

I didn't say Apple don't make good products. I said they don't innovate as much as people like us to believe. They are using the best technology and just make it work. But let's compare the "Windows Mobile with the original iPhone." You could buy apps from different sites if you knew where to look for. You can use different browsers for browsing. You had e-mail and contacts. You could watch videos there were apps for that like (core player.) I don't see what Apple invented that wasn't already there. They have in ways improve the experience. HTC is one of the companies that started with Windows Mobile and they had their initial success because of windows mobile. I am only saying Apple has borrowed stuff from other companies as much as they accuse of others coping them.

Apple did two things really well with iphone:

  1. they repackaged existing ideas (smart mobile OS with various application features, though it's worth noting that iPhone 1 didn't have an app store until iPhone 3G came along, meaning that although what services it did have were great, it was far more limited than existing Windows Mobile phones, which had tons of apps already) in an easy to use and comprehend design, and:
  2. They worked to rapidly iterate and improve on the successes of the product.

Microsoft's failure in Windows Mobile prior to 7 is that they basically built up their idea and then let it languish. There's very little change or innovation moving from WinMo 3 to 6, for example. In some ways, Apple is now making the same mistake, as iOS changes very little from version to version. Most of its value isn't in the OS, it's in the apps created by 3rd party developers.
With Windows Phone 7 and 7.5, Microsoft finally learned their lesson and made dramatic changes for the better. And unlike Google, who at least in terms of user experience was content to mostly copy iOS (though Widgets were and are a great idea that Apple would do well to copy), Microsoft was smart to study the competition, learn from it, and see where they could improve it. And they did a great job, they really, really did. I loved my iPhones for 2+ years, and was set to buy an iPhone 4, but the salesman's slow pace at digging around in the back to find the damn thing gave me about 10-15 minutes to play with the demo of newly released WP7 phones, and it was compelling enough that I figured hell, I might as well try it and see. What with the 30 day return policy, I figured if it turned out to suck I could just return it and get my iPhone 4. As it turned out, within maybe 3 days of really exploring the WP7 phone (I got and still have Samsung Focus) I knew: I wouldn't be able to go back again. It's just that substantial a change.
I do think MS dropped the ball on a few items. Not having copy and paste and MMS at launch was ridiculous, though at least they patched that quickly. But if their reasoning was that they wanted to focus resources on making the software fast and responsive while making the user experience exceptional, I can't complain too hard. Windows Phone 7, and especially now with 7.5, is truly a great user experience.

Actually you would be wrong on this. Apple has always been know to build out new factories and fund the development of new technologies from design to function and lock onto those technologies for a few years prior to anyone else being able to get their hands on it. Look at all the other Android phones out there now. Not a lot of edge to edge screens. When the iPhone came out there were a lot of design locks that others weren't allowed to have yet... the screen being one of them. Even the 4 has some design aspects in it that others cannot currently use due to licensing terms in place. Face it, everyone wants to be like the iPhone.
Over the weekend and last week we saw everyone run stories on how Android sold more apps than iOS over the holidays which everyone understood to be that Android handsets sold more than iPhone or other iOS devices did. Well, then they released news that the iPhone4S was still the best selling phone this holiday. Guess what... no one bought a ton of apps over the holidays because everyone ALREADY had them. That's right, they upgraded their previous iPhones to the newer models, so no new purchases would be necessary. But I guess the Android boys out there don't have the brains to see it as that.
Bottom line is this. While Apple's iPhone may not be the most feature capable handset out of the box for the geeks out there, it IS the most feature capable handset available for the masses. The app developer support for it is vastly superior to Android and I'm not talking about sheer number of apps, but number of apps that actually matter in business and technology. By default the #1 platform someone codes for in the mobile industry is iOS, Android second, and then everyone else. And for those of you who want geek freedom, jailbreak your iPhones and hack em to your heart's content. There's your freedom to do whatever you wanted.
In terms of physical design, the iPhone platform is still the best looking one if you ask people. Everything from Android still looks and feels like plastic. The screens have a border around them, seams of the screen to the housing always looks and feels glued on, etc. The form and fix of the devices just aren't where Apple's is. Everyone in the tech industry (be it computers or phones) seems to be copying Apple. Look at the new Lenovo laptops... straight up copy of the Macbook Air... and guess what... about 2 years late. That's my point... everyone will always follow in the trend. Just one I'd like to see another company make something that gets copied, just once.

About the app thing over the holidays: WTH? That's the biggest load of crap I've ever heard. You would think that Apple would want MORE users using their devices and downloading apps instead of just existing users just upgrading. In fact, if there's no increase in app downloads then developers have no incentive to keep developing for the platform. Give android its props where due.

Thanks this post is very useful. Keep this good work going. I must appreciate your work, you have created awesome post. I like this very much. I am great fan of iphones. I proud to be an iphoner.!!
Thanks & Regards

Judging by the FR's comment it still seems some people still have a hard time conceding just how well Apple dragging lazy tech companies forward. Microsoft has done very little innovation for over a decade FACT. Even their recent successes with products like Kinect was not theirs just bought in after it was already developed!
In 2005/6 one of the best handsets on the market was the Nokia N95 and that was still a pretty dismal advert for advancements in mobile technology back then.
I guess we just have to get used to the fact that some people will arrogantly refuse to acknowledge Apple's contributions out of blind loyalty to others despite the fact that they are now the largest tech company in the world (market cap $392B), worth more than Intel, Microsoft and HP put together FACT! with a broad range of products that has made all other tech manufacturers now just Clone companies!

Apple has a huge impact on the market and there is no denying that. But most of their success is not entirely based on best products. They created a mindset that only they can do it better. Apple is not that innovative as people try to make it out to be. Apple's iPhone is basically App's centric and "out of box" experience is kind of sluggish.
They all borrowed things from one and another just like Apple has done in the past.
Apple should accuse companies of coping only when they didn't do it themselves.

You sir, have the dumbest opinions I've read today... Why do the apple haters always end up talking smack on an apple blog site, do us all a favor and go back to blackberries.

i can see your guys point of view in terms of forcing companies to innovate in order to stay in the game but FR is also correct in saying that apple did basically steal alot of the stuff they implemented it would be blind loyalty to say that they didnt he isnt trolling he is just making a point i love apple products they work and are beautiful and as much as i dont like it is the bar when it comes to comparing new products because they work so well but in all seriousness lets be real apple just redesigns stuff they do not invent it.

Well, two of the most successful things Apple came up with in the past were bought, Siri and iTunes.
Its easy today to say that the iPhone did this and that to the industry, but let us remember that the original iPhone did not sell well at all, and barely made a splash. The iPhone only started to take off after version 3 and the App Store. One could go so far as to say that the iPhone by itself did nothing, it was just another phone, and the App Store was the real game changer.

Multitouch iu and full glass front was the game changer. No more stylus input. And iPhone gen 2 "ie 3G" was the version that brought the app store with it... And lastly do u have a clue how many 600$ iPhone 1s were sold? It sold very well with people waiting in line for days to get one, weeks online.

Where did you get that idea Apple invented 'Multitouch.' the technology was already there it was only matter of time before some company would have picked it up. Apple just implemented it and it worked well with their UI. I didn't think people will be getting so offended just by suggesting; Apple has created a mindset that only they can do it better. It is good business strategy and I never said they don't innovate I said they get too much credit like if they invented the thing. My argument was Apple is successful and a part of that success comes from other companies innovations. I don't think Apple makes crappy products because then I wouldn't buy them. I have no loyalty with any of the companies I just use the best products available. I am just suggest people's impression of Apple is that they somehow invented these technologies and that is inaccurate.

Microsoft had become complacent with windows mobile; they weren't trying to take advantage of hardware/network advances. Apple realized, borrowed many of PPCs strengths and built in many improvements. Sadly Apple seems to be taking the same course as Microsoft. Google and now Microsoft have borrowed from Apple and made some improvements of their own. Apple's closed ecosystem which certainly produces better quality apps (largely because they can be tailored to known hardware) won't be enough to save them if Apple neglects to match it's competitors on functionality.

FR keeps saying Apple did not innovate. Well it is true they did not invent the first versions of most of the technology used in the in the iphone. They also didn't invent the phone or even mobile phones, but to say they did not innovate is just stupid. Here, let me define it for you...
• (verb) make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products
• [ trans. ] introduce (something new, esp. a product) : innovating new products, developing existing ones.

Thank you!
I really think many people confuse "invent" with "innovate". It's the only reason I can think of why so many people say "Apple does not innovate" when it is so very clear that they do.

Oh finally, somebody defined innovate. It was getting really amusing because FR's arguments contradicted themselves

I dun really want to know whether apple 's idea is novel or not but it does start the fast forward of the mobile technology... Microsoft or google have years with little innovation. But in today s market , no company can survive without innovation in every six month.( read : RIP ooppss.. RIM i mean)

Interesting argument and while I will say that mindset plays an important role in a company's success, solid innovative products, good user experience and a consistent track record is even more important. FACT: Palm was ahead of it's time and had greater mindshare than Windows Mobile. Palm's failure to innovate caused its own destruction. Mindshare did not and could not save them even after them creating the innovative WebOS platform. Apple like any consumer hardware company takes what's available and uses it but in Apple's case they push the envelop with certain technologies and scrap others long before it's popular. Example Firewire, high density IPS phone displays "Retina display" , all aluminum single piece laptop construction, phone design (iPhone 4/4S), custom ARM CPUs, even the basic navigation of iOS. All these things are innovative due to either implementation in the respective products, design or manufacturing. Microsoft, Palm, Google and RIM would do none of these things. In fact all of them except Google laughed at Apple after the introduction of the first iPhone. So when you say Apple is not innovative you better know your definitions because it is defined as new methods; advanced and original. Being innovative doesn't meant the end-user always sees it or benefits from it.

C'mon, let's all say it together with his signature smirk. You know you want to...
“$500?! Fully subsidized with a plan?! I said that is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine. I like our strategy. I like it a lot. Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year, Apple is selling zero phones a year. In six months, they’ll have the most expensive phone by far, ever, in the marketplace and let’s see. Let’s see how the competition goes.”

Invent and innovate are two different things. Apple does spoke but anyone who says that they don't innovate Is just crazy.

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