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Longtime Windows pundit Paul Thurrott has always had an interesting relationship with Apple. He has a MacBook, uses iPods, and link baits Apple fanboys every chance he gets.

But the times, they may be a changing! Look no further than the Windows Weekly Podcast, where Thurrott had this to say about Microsoft's own Windows Mobile platform efforts when compared to the iPhone (transcribed):

"I have one very callous thing to say myself about the Windows Mobile guys, which is s**w them because, no offense, but seriously, you guys have had - I was there for the first version of WindowsCE, Pegasus I think it was called, and I have watched as they've mismanaged this smartphone market from day one. It has... it has always lagged behind, it's not always been Microsoft's fault - I understand part of it is just the nature of the business - but you know, Apple revolutionized the smartphone business not just with the hardware and the software but also with the way that they're now presenting this stuff to users and updating the system over time, providing new functionality. This is something that doesn't happen with other smartphones and it's the type of thing where I can go to a Microsoft event and they can announce a new version of Windows Mobile, and that thing, I won't see it in a store for another, you know, at the time, 18 months. That's ridiculous. That's ridiculous. Yeah, s**w 'em. If a Windows Mobile device was better than an iPhone I would use it, but you would have to show me that device."

Wow. Guess even Balmer hath no fury as a Windows pundit scorn...

While his original iPhone 1.0 review was mixed (or honest, as he claims, in the face of too many softball reviews from others), it slowly improved with firmware 1.3, and now with the beta of 2.0... Well, we'll let iThurrott speak for himself:

Think of it this way. If you look at how the technology industry is changing, some core segments emerge: Traditional desktop and server software (Windows, Office), so-called software + services solutions that bridge the gap between the desktop and the Internet cloud (Office Live, certain Windows Live services), cloud computing (Gmail, Google Calendar, much of Windows Live), and mobile computing (Windows Mobile, Tablet PCs). Here's the wake-up call: the iPhone touches on all four of these segments. And because most iPhone users are, by definition, Windows users, this is too important of a product to ignore. The iPhone is demonstrably more important than certain Microsoft products, including the Zune or Xbox 360, if only because it will affect a much wider audience. You can choose to ignore the iPhone at your own peril. I will not be making that mistake.

Is this the beginning of a tipping point towards iPhone? Pent up frustration against the long series of Microsoft announcements that never seem to materialize? Or just the momentary flirtations of anyone, even a diehard Vista-lover, when coming face to face with Pappa Job's gift to the mobile world?

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