Windows Phone 7 Launches Next Week: Success or Failure?

Microsoft is debuting its new Windows Phone 7 operating system next week and it might be the last chance Microsoft has to get back into the mobile game. AT&T is its ‘preferred partner’ or whatever that means. So T-Mobile will be going ahead with its own Windows Phone 7 (WP7) launch and a phone from HTC running the new OS.

Confusion already over who gets WP7 first isn’t a good omen. Neither is the fact that previous versions of Microsoft’s mobile platform are incompatible with the new one. Apps written for either won’t work on the other. Microsoft is charging ahead without an exclusive carrier, with no apps and a hacked together Zune marketplace. That is not exactly a recipe for success.

Microsoft has already fallen to silly gimmicks to promote WP7, including a mock funeral for the iPhone and the BlackBerry that it held by its employees. Initial reactions to WP7 seem positive, but is there a chance that Microsoft just doesn’t have the mojo to get this thing to sell? After all, Windows isn’t exactly cool now. Android, the iPhone and even BlackBerrys have move a cool factor going for them at the moment. That’s just the side effect of Microsoft helping create the PDA and ultimately, the smartphone market. It’s an old player with a now small user base.

The Zune store inclusion might help some music sales, but don’t most people already choose an iPod over a Zune already? Microsoft needs to build a very solid app and media content store as quickly as possible. Then it has to advertise the heck out of it so people try it. Possibly then will it have a chance. Of course, if no one buys WP7 smartphones, there won’t be many apps. And if there aren’t many apps, who will buy a WP7 smartphone? A conundrum, but one Microsoft solved on its Xbox gaming system by throwing around billions of dollars.

Will Microsoft’s WP7 launch be a success? Confused by AT&T and T-Mobile both launching next week? Have a WP7 smartphone in mind that you would like yet or still looking? Going to still be buying your music on iTunes? Let me know.

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