On the eve of the biggest concerted launch we've seen from Microsoft's mobile side since, well, ever, comes a bit of less than optimistic rumor about the fabled "Pink" project. Mobile Crunch cites an anonymous source that spells out major trouble in the Pink camp.
- A good chunk of the original Sidekick team picked up in the Danger acquisition has been fired or left.
- Third-party support is next to nil.
- There's much dissent in the ranks, including rampant iPhone use.
- The project is two years behind schedule.
- The Turtle is a piece of junk. (our words, their sentiment)
- Microsoft didn't develop the UI, and the team is struggling to replicate it.
- Mobile Crunch's source says the project “is near death and probably will be canceled.”
So basically what this source is saying is that things were in shambles (now there's something new for Windows Mobile) and that the Sidekick was bought out and is going the way of the dinosaur. We discussed Project Pink at length on the WMExperts Podcast a couple of weeks ago and kept coming to the same conclusion: If Windows Mobile 7 is going to be as Zuneriffic (my word ... Don't worry, it'll catch on) and consumer-friendly as we hope, does Microsoft really need to split its lines again with whatever the Turtle and Pure were/are going to be? This could well be Microsoft converging ideas, and sour grapes over somebody being left out.
And another thing: We're discussing a pair of unannounced, leaked devices that are part of an unannounced, highly rumored project. This isn't like Palm killing the Foleo.
The death of the Sidekick line would be a bummer to a lot of people (save for Perez Hilton). But if Windows Mobile 7 turns out anything like we've been dreaming about (and we mean that more literally for, erm, some of us), we have a feeling that in due time, nobody will remember a couple of unannounced devices that might not see the light of day anyway.
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I don't believe we have seen the fruition of the Danger acquistion just yet. More important than recouping $500 million however is getting WM back on track and being relevant in the consumer space otherwise $500 million is going to look like peanuts.
While this series would've allowed them to dip their toe in the hardware space without directly competing with their smartphone OEM partners (this device is definitely in the 'feature phone' class . . . although the lines continue to blur) I was kind of disappointed when I saw the original leaks. It was basically just a next gen Sidekick. IF Microsoft wants to really get into the hardware space in a BIG way while still retaining their OEM partners (those that aren't sleeping with Android anyway) it needs to be more than just another Sidekick. The Sidekick's a solid brand, but not a game-changer. It needs to be more than the Zune. The Zune's a weak brand, albeit an under-appreciated platform in a saturated market (and portable device can do audio/video reasonably well now.) The strongest non-Windows/Office brand Microsoft has in their arsenal is just BEGGING to be tapped on the portable/phone space: the Xbox. The Xbox and Xbox Live have shown Microsoft can succeed in the consumer electronics space. And the pre-existing userbase of tens of millions virtually guarantees some level of instant traction. Just make the damn device already. Even as a business user I'd be tempted (assuming it can handle the basics like email just fine.)
Pink has always seemed like a bad idea to me. Why split your market? They should have concentrated on WinMo 6.5/7 instead and they would be a lot further down the road to Snapdragon/Tegra WM7 devices hitting the streets.
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