back to article Microsoft predicts Linux will fail mobile 'quality' test

Linux is shaping up as Microsoft's target in a potential war of attrition to gain lost market share for Windows Mobile in handsets. Microsoft's executive in charge of leading Microsoft's Windows Mobile group has predicted the number of operating systems for mobile handsets will be whittled down in the next three to five years …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Sour Grapes?

    Typical MS policy - get caught on the back foot and then say everything else is crap. The iphone was crap according to monkey boy wasn't it?

    So nothing to see... move along....

  2. moylan

    one question

    at what point has windows mobile passed quality tests?

    the os is flaky, unstable and power hungry. the development tools are awful.

    i've yet to see a winmobile device that is useable as a day to day mobile phone.

    they've been peddling this crap for how many years and they have not yet produced a viable system.

    so roll on android.

  3. Shadowfirebird
    Thumb Down


    Because Microsoft are Linux experts. And Windows Mobile works perfectly.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    FUD - and Moot point to boot

    Linux is *perfect* for the mobile space and the FUD spread by microsoft is ... well, FUD.

    They conveniently ignore the fact that all the flavours of 'Linux' share a common base - the kernel.

    It's also open source and as such, has none of the licensing fees and strong-arm copyright tactics employed by Microsoft.

    The reality is, Microsoft will probably muscle further into the mobile market through brute force - massive amounts of cash to invest in marketing, FUD, bringing onboard partners with the lure of ... cash.

    Same old story, different platform...

  5. gerryg

    In a parallel universe...

    ...Microsoft concede that Stallman and Torvalds were right, adopt Linux kernel forthwith and GPL their entire code base

    This is hardly a "man bites dog" story, or am I missing something?

  6. Chad H.

    Well I suppose MS are the experts on where the mobile quality bar is

    Since they keep tripping over it.

  7. Falafel

    Forgot one thing..

    Windows mobile is the biggest pile of shite phone code out there, doesn't matter what some douche at MS is saying about QC. I'd rather use a land line than try accomplishing a phone call through Windows horse shite software. As soon as I hear a phone device has anything to do with Windows that device is and will continue arriving at /dev/null in the brain.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Oh crap...

      ... I posted almost the same comment as yours before yours was accepted. Now it will look like there was an angry mob of rabid Linux fanboys out there.

      Or like we were both right.

    2. Doug Glass

      I Think It's More Like ...

      ... banging their head since the bar is so much higher than their capabilities.

    3. Rex Alfie Lee
      Jobs Halo

      Tripping over it...???

      Perhaps they keep running into it bcos there system is hardly over the bar... more beneath it. Too sluggish, too many errors, too expensive, Nokia & SonyEricsson both have far better reputations than WinMobble (Mobile is truly the wrong name).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will they learn

    Microsoft really should learn not to make predicitons about new technology.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    echo(Windows == Quality ? "Hardee, har, har" : "I knew that")

    I knew that

  10. Marcel van Beurden

    Operators are pipes

    From the article: "I don't think there's an operator in the world that wouldn't tell you that it's a pain to support all the different operating systems they have, in particular the 17 versions of Linux they have on feature phones, all of which are a little quirky and a little different, require separate network certifications, network product support, and the like that goes along with that."

    I don't want my operator to support a particular OS or device, I want them to support the GSM/UMTS standards. I only need to know the frequency. Just as my internet provider is not concerned with my OS on my computer. We have the TCP/IP standards for that.

    Thanks Microsoft for another piece of FUD. Afraid of Linux maybe?

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I really don't know a lot about developing for phones, but this speech sounds like total hogwash. I mean, is he suggesting phone manufacturers have been using 17 different Linux distros all at once, or what? Nutcase.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Is this the same company that said 640kB RAM will be enough for everybody, but now builds systems that need more than 1GB to work properly? Is this the same company that said the internet won't ever be a success? To Google? Now they're still trying to tell Google Android will fail? Somehow I feel that their credibility isn't at its highest point right now...

  13. Anonymous Coward

    So, what?

    Not like they are going to say "we can never compete and give up now".

    This is just the normal FUD. How cares?

  14. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down

    Ah bollocks.

    Windows mobile runs like a dog on chloroform, even on good hardware. Add to that the 57 varieties of "shells" that handset manufacturers have to lipstick onto that particular pig to even get it out the door and 17 "quirky" linux distos begins to look like a good deal.

  15. Il Midga di Macaroni

    Linux not scaleable???

    So Micro$oft, tell me what OS runs most of the major servers of the web? There are a HUGE number of stories where M$ went in and replaced 4 Linux servers with 1200 Windows servers and then the client went back to Linux because the Windows cluster didn't scale.

    Although I agree we're going to see some consolidation in the Linux based mobile OSes. Right now everyone's riding the iPhone-led "smartphone wave", smartphones are selling like hotcakes and there's plenty of R&D money floating around to write kernels with. That won't last. And like everything, writing is one thing, maintaining is another - several Linuxes on the fringe are going to either be cut off and left to die or will be merged with another. For a guess I'd say we'll eventually see two or three Linux based mobile OSes at the most. I give it three years.

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Well, They would say that wouldn't they

    Not so long ago, there was little choice on what mobile OS you used. Symbian or WindowsCE.(plus some minority stuff)

    Then along came Apple and suddenly the rules changed.

    Then along came Android and the rules changed yet again.

    Now you have a real choice (if you are a mobile maker) OS from Nokia, OS from Microsoft or and Open Source with no vendor lock in.

    Ok, I'm being pretty general here but this statement clearly means that Microsoft fear the use of Linux in Mobiles as undermining their cosy & probably profitable mobils OS business.

    All it needs not to really put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons is for Apple to license their version os OSX they use in the iphone (less all the fancy stuff). However that is as likely as a squadron of Gloucester Old spots flying in formation over Battersea Power Station.

  17. Robert E A Harvey
    Paris Hilton


    That's the funniest thing I've seen for months. Microsoft taking the high ground of windows phone quality?

    I've had 3 windows [mobile][phone] phones in 5 years. Every one of them needed at least one warm start a day and generally two cold starts a week. The HP ipaqw one cold started to factory conditions, and I had to retrieve the apps and addres book from the ipaq backup on the SD card. Twice a week.

    /Linux/ will fail the quality test? Bwhhhaaa ha ha ha ha eh he ha ha ha. <dires eyes>. Oh deary me.

    Paris. because she believes what she is told.

  18. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    Well, I agree for sure that there'll probably be some trimming -- having almost a seperate Linux distro for each phone is a bit excessive. But I don't see Windows Mobile as a driver in this -- what can I say, it was reasonable 8-10 years ago but is simply outclassed by (the new) PalmOS, IPhone, Android, etc. now. And I don't see a phone being WinMo instead helping with the carrier testing etc. -- as far as I know, no carrier tests "Windows mobile 6.5" then just releases a bunch of different phones based on it -- they do full testing for each model they sell, just as they would for any phone.

    I don't think Android or anyone is going to *destroy* the WinMo market, them and Blackberry both have a huge inertia in some lines of business where they could do nothing to improve the platforms and still sell phones for the next 10 years. But unless WinMo 7 or whatever is a DRASTIC change I don't think it's going to exactly take over the market either.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      "I want them to support the GSM/UMTS standards."

      <mode= MS_exec> Support the what now? What is this strange "standard" thing you're talking about? </mode>

    2. Brian 6

      Urban Legend

      The 640k thing is an Urban Legend. Just like most of the other things u take as gospel...

    3. David Barrett Silver badge

      Not that simple...

      It's not quite that simple, your ISP doesn't supply/support your pc.

      But in most cases phone providers do provide and support phones.

      From a cost point of view it's cheaper to train 100 help desk staff to support 1 os than to train them to use 20.. Makes some sense from that pov. However that os being winmo with it's current Market standing.. Unlikley.

      1. foo_bar_baz

        Depends on the country you live in

        In the US and the UK contract phones may be the norm, but it's not necessarily the case elsewhere.

    4. foo_bar_baz
      Thumb Up

      My thoughts exactly

      This argument applies mainly to the USA and other countries where contract phones are the norm. There the operators heavily customize the phones to have their own logos and software, and often restrict their use in various ways.

      To turn this argument on its head, maybe the demand for a larger variety of handsets by a diversifying client base will eventually push the operators to start selling competitive SIM-only plans when they realize they can't support the whole range themselves.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    varieties of linux

    I'm addicted to changing distributions of linux on one of my desktops - Puppy, DSL, Ubuntu/kubuntu/xubuntu/lubuntu, debian, LFS, slackware, SuSE, Arch, Mint, PCLinuxOS, Mandarke/Mandriva, Zenwalk, Vector, gentoo - once you've used one it's trivial to use another, use tamp, apt-get, gslapt whatever to install/remove apps. Look in slightly different places to find a lib or conf file, and that's about it.

    So what is this pillock on about when he talks says "it's a pain to support all the different operating systems they have, in particular the 17 versions of Linux they have on feature phones" - significantly less of a pain than moving between MS products (XP/Vista/7 or Word 2003/2007) which doesn't suggest that Wince 7 will be exactly the same as WINCe 6 in it's operation.

  20. Wanda Lust

    Oh yeah, Microsoft's predictions

    Like.. why would a PC need more than 640KBytes of memory, like.... the internet's a fad...

    They're good at predictions, NOT

    You've gotta lead to be successful at predictions these days. Fail, fail, fail!

  21. bbneo

    Means alot coming from Microsoft...

    After all, Microsoft is an expert at failing quality tests, so they probably know something about that.

    FUD pure and simple...

    The desperate cries of a dinosaur stuck in its own tarpit.

    Good riddance!

  22. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    Well, the guy's right!

    In Bizarro Land where everything is its own contrary of course.

    I swear, they don't even try to sound plausible anymore.

    But Linux will probably struggle to get any significant market share, on that he's right. Because him and his ilk will strong-arm the handset makers and telcos into selling only Windows-capable (and Windows-running) handsets. Given the pile of tripe that is MS' current offering -and the lack of proof of the upcoming one being any better-, the telcos and makers might well rebel this time. Especially as Google's arm is as strong as Redmond's, if not stronger. And Google pushes... Linux.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      "like.... the internet's a fad..."

      Well, the Internet _is_ a fad. Minitel is the future.


    2. Anonymous Coward


      Your name wouldn't be Dexter, would it?

  23. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The need for enemies...

    The US regime is poisoning itself by avoiding to think about the problems its worldwide imperial arrogance and gunboat diplomacy has created. It imagines a Fata Morgana of "Al Qaeda" types at the root of its problems and tries to bomb them to oblivion, playing whack-a-mole and failing on all fronts.

    Microsoft is poisoning itself by avoiding to think about the problems its worldwide market arrogance and closed shit sandwich products have created. It imagines a Fata Morgana of "Linux" types as the root of its problems and tries to bomb them to oblivion, playing whack-a-mole and failing on all fronts.

  24. Chika

    You might have thought...

    ...that Microsoft would be a little more careful at calling out Linux after all this time. Whether or not you are a supporter of the Beast or of the Penguin, Microsoft have made much of what they think Linux is and what it can do (or can't as the case may be) which usually backfires on them or, at the very least, gives Linux the publicity to give Microsoft a headache further down the road.

    As it stands, Linux isn't the platform that Microsoft needs to worry about right now. Unless they can cut into the dominance of Apple and stand up to the likes of Google's outpourings, not to mention some of the legacy kit out there which refuses to go away, they may find this a fruitless venture. Given their last decade of various humiliation in their core markets, perhaps they need to concentrate on those first and give the old "world domination" thing a miss.

  25. Dave Bell
    Gates Horns

    Half Right?

    I keep thinking that Windows Mobile is a version of that thing which includes Vista, and I wouldn't want that on a mobile phone.

    But it isn't.


    I'm still not sure that I'd want it on a mobile phone.

    On the other hand, the mobile phone tech, and the companies which supply it to the world, isn't something that needs Microsoft. Not in the way the PC industry does. I wonder if Microsoft have the same confusion over Linux on mobile phones as I have about Windows.

    I don't expect to get anywhere near anything I'd recognise from fifteen years of occasional Linux use, not on a mobile phone. Mostly, I wouldn't care about the hidden details.But Microsoft?

    No thanks.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Even if what they say would be true...

    ... then what the hell has the "quality" of an OS have to do with the level of support (which is by far better than Microsoft IMO anyway) or the number of its flavors?

  27. spegru

    there's only one thing worse than being talked about!

    and that's not being talked about

    So MSFT are scared of Linux - and so they should be, esp the Win Mo guys

    But did anyone else notice with all the coverage the (linux - yeah that's what android is)) Google phone got, there was of course lot's of iphone comparisons - but MSFT were not mentioned at all!

  28. mego
    Paris Hilton

    YEAH! Tell it the way it is!

    haha.. hahaha.. hahahaha... hahahahahaha... heheh.. sigh.. hee hee.. haha.. hahaha.. hahahaha....


    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      "Google outpouring"

      I think you'll find that Google outpouring in the mobile market is very much Linux indeed. So in a way, he got the target right. He just did not do it on purpose.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      On the other hand...

      Google goes into great lenght of obscuration and omission efforts to hide the fact that Android is a Linux distro... dirty weasels!

    3. Chika


      Actually, the argument I'd have there is whether the PC market needs Microsoft. The fact that Linux even exists would tend to suggest that it doesn't. It's the users that insist on keeping Windows alive, for whatever reason.

      The same applies to the mobile market, the only difference being that Microsoft are a minority platform there. It remains to be seen whether they can change that.

  29. Neil Cooper

    Typical Microsoft FUD

    Sorry but just in terms of absolute quality of Linux and any Microsoft product at all, I don't think Microsoft has a chance.

    The thing that repeatedly sells Microsoft products is a very powerful marketing machine that has successfully managed to keep hype over substance in the public eye for years. Product quality has become irrelevant at Microsoft.

    Unfortunately John Q Public still thinks Microsoft products must be the best, just because Windows and XBoxes are so ubiquitous. Anybody with any real experience of equivalent tech made by anyone else (e.g. Apple, Linux, Sony, Nintendo ) knows that Microsoft's products always suck in comparison when it comes to actual use.

  30. raving angry loony

    fair point

    He's got a point - fragmentation is a problem in the Linux world. Even if every single fragment is still oodles better quality than anything Microsoft can come out with, it's obvious that many people (esp. executives) care more about sameness than quality.

  31. Slappy


    he would say that wouldn't he?

  32. Wortel


    "Bach, talking to Wall Street analysts, also painted the forthcoming Windows Mobile 7.0 as something that will "move the bar forward" not in an evolutionary way "but it's something that feels, looks, acts and performs completely different.""

    You mean the bastard son of Windows CE will actually -work- this time, and be an open platform based on open standards? oh, right. thought not.


  33. criscros
    Thumb Down

    Lame propaganda

    I have a WinMo phone and an Android phone.

    Guess which one fails the quality test!! :P

  34. Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    Clueless Microsoft executive refers to long-absent horse as still residing in the stable.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Windows Mobile 7 and FAIL

    With Windows Mobile 7 not being available until late 2010 this sounds like an attempt to have manufacturers wait instead of developing solutions based on Linux now.

    Bach is ignoring that all of these mobile Linux operating systems are not Linux. They are Linux based customized operating systems the vendor has designed to work with the hardware they run on. My work in mobile devices goes back to 1986 and I almost always built the operating system and hardware drivers myself so I could be in complete control of the development. This is a bit of a pain (especially doing all of the coding in assembler) and Linux is a very nice open source base to jump off from. It saves you oodles of basic work.

    I have worked with Windows CE back in 2001 and it was a pain to make it function as needed. What should have worked would not and there was no way to easily determine the problem. There is a big advantage to open source.

    If I had to go with an off the shelf, general OS for a mobile device I would go with the one with the longest history and best track record - QNX.

    1. John Sturdy
      Gates Horns

      Not just the executives, the crackers as well

      People looking to break into a large number of phones will welcome a monoculture, too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And how many different versions of Windows are there? Is this not fragmentation too?


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