Microsoft kicked off Mobile World Congress 2011 by giving people a glimpse of what the rest of the year will bring for Windows Phone 7. Among the updates are several new features and the integration of even more Microsoft products with the phone.
A concrete example of the company’s vision is the new strategic partnership with Nokia. “This partnership will combine the strengths of our two companies, and fuel our growth as we build the global Windows Phone ecosystem. This is a great win for us, for Nokia, and for our existing and new customers around the world,” said Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business.
“...A year ago, we introduced Windows Phone 7 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We described how we are putting the entire muscle of our company behind our mobile strategy including Windows, Windows Live, Bing, Zune, Xbox LIVE, Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and our developer tools,” Lees said. “Our alliance with Nokia creates opportunities for both companies far beyond what we could achieve separately, and offers a compelling alternative to the existing choices for consumers, mobile operators and developers.”
The first goal with Windows Phone 7, Lees said, was to deliver a uniquely delightful customer experience. And the results, as provided by Windows Phone 7 users, show that the overall experience is great. “So far we’ve had a fantastic reaction from customers, with a 93 percent customer satisfaction rate and nine out of 10 customers saying they are likely to recommend [the phone] to someone else,” Lees said. “All of this contributed to Nokia choosing us. And with this partnership, we are taking another big step toward driving global scale, reach and impact.”
Microsoft announced several new Windows Phone 7 features coming in 2011:
• Copy and paste functionality via first major update, coming in the next month
• Twitter integration directly into the People Hub in 2011
• Support for Office documents in the cloud in 2011
• Dramatically enhanced Web browser experience based on IE9 in 2011
• A new wave of multitasking applications in 2011
• Targeting significant volume of Nokia Windows Phones in 2012
Microsoft sold 2 million phone licenses in Windows Phone 7’s first two months, and the phone is now available from 60 mobile operators in 30 countries around the world, Lees said. As phone availability and sales grow, so too does the app marketplace – there are now more than 8,000 apps in the marketplace and 28,000 registered developers.
Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) will be available for Windows Phone 7 in the second half of 2011, offering "a dramatically enhanced mobile Web browser experience." The desktop version of IE9 beta has been downloaded an estimated 25 million times and has now reached the Release Candidate stage.
In addition, the phone will be available soon on U.S. CDMA networks such as Verizon and Sprint.
“We’re in the race – it’s not a sprint but we are certainly gaining momentum and we’re in it for the long run,” said Achim Berg, a corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business and Marketing Group. “We know we have tough competition, and this is a completely new product. Our design is different, our platform is different, our customer experience is different, and our long-term strategy for earning widespread adoption is different.”
Over the next year, the company will continue to work with third parties on phone innovation and will add new features and apps that customers want and that make using Windows Phone 7 a “delightful experience.” Microsoft also will work to engage more of the nearly 80 percent of worldwide phone users who are not using a smart phone, said JP Wollersheim, a Windows Phone 7 product manager.