File this under: unconfirmed rumor but very plausible

We just got word of some limitations for the Windows Phone 7 platform for so-called non-EFIGS countries, an abbreviation for non-English, French, Italian, German and Spanish language markets, which are also the initial launch languages for WP7.

Reportedly, these limitations are the following:

  • Marketplace functionality will be limited
  • No Xbox Live service
  • No Zune support
  • Only web and e-mail content could be displayed on native language without localized phone menus
  • Just default keyboards for starters, no local characters
  • No copy/paste -- global limitation

Some of this isn't too surprising as this comes down to infrastructure support and roll-out i.e. currently there is no Zune support outside of the U.S. due to Microsoft not investing in localized servers/structure. We know of course that there will be Zune and Xbox LIVE services for non-U.S. countries at the Windows Phone 7 launch, namely those EFIGS countries--this is something Microsoft has been doing behind the scenes for months in preparation for WP7.

But, due to the sheer size, cost and logistics, it makes sense that Microsoft won't have that same level of functionality for non-EFIGS countries, at least not initially. There is no reason to believe that Microsoft won't eventually offer the same level of service offerings as EFIGS counties, as it is in their financial interest to do so, but unfortunately, those countries may have to wait a bit longer.

[Thanks, msav, for the tip]