Verizon Says No Windows Phone 7 until 2011

Dennis Faas's picture

Verizon has revealed it won't be stocking any handsets running Windows Phone 7 until next year. It means a big dent in Microsoft's plans to firmly establish the new mobile phone operating system this fall.

Uncertainty over Windows 7 Phone Launch Date

Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless, said that not only will the network not carry any handsets when Windows Phone 7 launches, but that it won't have any devices until next year.

Although Raney described the two companies' relationship as being solid, Bloomberg reports Verizon plans to support the system and will "probably" release a phone next year.

It's important to stress that there have been no reports or rumors that Verizon might take a pass on Windows Phone 7 altogether. And it's worth remembering that financial disclosure laws may mean the network can't confirm any handsets. But with the new operating system this close to release, Microsoft would have preferred a firmer commitment from the number two network.

Verizon a "Key Partner" for Microsoft

Microsoft had previously said all the major US carriers will sell some Windows Phone 7 devices, but hasn't yet confirmed a timetable. It responded to this week's news by saying that "Verizon continues to be a key Windows Phone partner going forward." (Source:

In the event that Verizon either takes a long time to carry the handsets, or even if it never does so, Windows Phone 7 is by no means sunk: the success of the iPhone shows that it's possible to make a lot of money without all the major networks being on board.

This would likely be a major psychological blow to Microsoft, which already faces an uphill battle to establish the new system. The Windows Phone 7 has already suffered repeated delays, during which the iPhone has marched on, and Google's Android has become established. (Source:

Diversity Under Threat

Getting Verizon to stock handsets sooner rather than later is important to Microsoft because of its marketing strategy. It falls somewhere in between that of Apple (which makes its own hardware and only has one main model at a time) and Android (which is available in different forms on a wide variety of independently manufactured handsets).

Microsoft is aiming to get Windows Phone 7 on handsets from many different manufacturers, but to keep the system itself looking and feeling relatively consistent across the range.

Because manufacturers need to strike deals with networks to carry and subsidize smartphones, the delay with Verizon will likely reduce the number of different handsets running the system, making it even more difficult to build momentum.

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