March 6, 2010

Windows Phone 7 Starts Clean Slate

Microsoft Corp. announced Thursday that its new Windows Phone 7 software for smartphones will not run any applications written for older versions of the software.

Microsoft executive Charlie Kindel wrote in a blog post that stopping the support for older applications was necessary to make the new operating system as powerful and user-friendly as possible.

The news leaves software developers with two options.  They can either write applications for Windows Mobile 6.5, which will become obsolete, or they can write for Windows Phone 7, which will not be out until later this year.

Apple, which has over 100,000 applications in its App Store, has brought competition to phone providers to compete in part by providing support for as many applications as they can. 

With this move, Microsoft will be leaving behind tens of thousands of applications written for older versions of its smartphone software that date back for over a decade.

The Windows Phone 7 software is designed for touch screens that will work well with fingers, but not fine styluses like the previous software has been designed for.

Last year, Palm Inc. made a similar move by abandoning an operating system that was over a decade old in favor of a completely new one.  However, the new software is capable of running applications written for the old versions.

Kindel, who handles contact with outside software developers, said Microsoft will support Windows Mobile 6.5 "for years to come," and expects new devices with that software to still come out.


On the Net:

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