back to article Windows Phone 7 leaves operators on the hook

Microsoft is keen to talk about how operators can add value to its latest platform with pre-installed applications and tiles, but it's far from clear why they would bother, or wish any success on Redmond at all. All the UK operators will be selling handsets with Windows Phone 7, and Microsoft has waxed lyrical about how they' …


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  1. Robin Bradshaw
    Thumb Up


    Operators "customisations" and apps are all shit, I hope this marks the beginning of the end of them, they can put their rubbish on the various platforms markets where they can sink or swim on their own merits.

    1. whiteafrican
      Thumb Up

      @Robin Bradshaw

      Couldn't agree more. The less bloatware we get from mobile operators, the better.

      1. Arctic fox

        Absobloodylutely! I am flaming tired of the......

        .......cosy understanding between the manufacturers and the telcos whereby the producers piss around with the vanilla version for ages, will not release to fullprice customers until they have handed over to the telcos who in turn piss around with the version concerned before they at last condescend to release something to contract customers. If you are one of the "simless" like me (I have a Wildfire) who has paid full price you are at the back of the queue and have to count yourself lucky if the manufacturer, finally, actually releases an upgrade to you. Support is in general a bad joke. I definitely do not want to go the iPhone route and I am therefore left with no other option other than to see if WP7 is any good (MS themselves will be controlling the pace and timing of updates) or what Nokia may offer us with meego.

      2. Wibble

        Apple's legacy

        The one great benefit of the iPhone is that Jobs simply won't let the carriers add their crapware to the iPhone or iPad.

        Lets face it, the carriers need to get used to the fact that they're simple suppliers of airtime. The world has moved on. Get used to it. And please will you just compete on a better network and carrier features (visual voicemail Vodaphone)?

    2. Steve Evans

      Re: Good


      I have never seen an addition installed by a mobile carrier that was worth the memory space it took.

      Plus of course that "custom" firmware then delays (and often prevents) firmware updates from mobile manufacturers which invariably fix bugs and add new useful features.

      The sooner the mobile operators settle for being a dumb pipe, the better!

  2. Libcon

    Microsoft are right to do this.

    Thank goodness consumers will be protected from operator crippleware (especially from Orange or Vodafone) - who really wants or needs something like Vodafone's crappy 360 suite when Windows Live/Marketplace/MyPhone cloud services are available?

  3. Daf L

    Two thoughts on this

    First, I would prefer my operator to just provide me with what I pay them a lot of money for - calls, texts and data. Anything else they give me as an optional extra will build up my loyalty with them and first and foremost I want great coverage and great customer service. Any one of their apps, services or customisations which I am forced to take and cannot remove (also forcing me to wait months for their version of the manufacturers software update) I don't want. That is the main reason I always but stock handsets rather than straight from the manufacturer.

    Second, with regards to the article, the operator doesn't have much of a choice really so I think the author is wrong on this. Having operator customisations, doesn't help Microsoft out it only helps the operator. So if MS has decided they can only put their stock in separate hubs then that is what they will do. They will all want to sell the WM7, at least initially. They will want their apps and services, such as 360, that they have unwisely spent their millions on. Whether the phone and platform is and overall success will determine how much prominence it gets in the showroom and that will depend on marketing spend and user acceptance.

  4. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Gates Halo

    Someone needs a new business model

    Well done Microsoft. We just need something similar when you buy a new PC - none of the supplier's rubbish pre-installed,

    I use a Blackberry on O2. They leave me alone, they keep my contract.

    1. Michael C

      included apps

      If they want apps pre-installed, they should be able to, but those apps should not be sourced direct or be a "part" of the OS or custom image, instead, they should simply be apps as otherwise distributed on the storefront. Each app independent of the others and the OS, just pre-installed. A search of Microsoft's store should reveal all of AT&T, Verizon, etc custom apps (at least the ones compatible with your hardware). Since the phones themselves are still carrier locked (or only sold by one anyway) then a app install by hardware ID should prevent others from using said apps. The rest, the app should have an authentication of some sort, meaning the app won't work an AT&T user installs a Verizon app.

      As far as home screen customizations, fine, from a pre-install perspective, but I should be able to flash the phone to factory defaults removing those, or reload from a backup image to restore them.

      They can include what they want, but none of it should be mandatory. Everything is an app or a custom tile. end of line.

      If they want to be able to make money off services, they can still sell music by reference through apps, make ad revenue, or actually SELL some apps as optional add-ons.

  5. h4rm0ny
    Thumb Up

    No Microsoft, stay, er... evil

    Did I read this right? MS are stopping the networks from loading down my phone with shit? Nice one. If I can just get them to release a version of Windows where Norton and Mccaffee can't pre-install their crap on new laptops, then MS has completed it's transition to "good guy". Apple might be grabbing all the headlines, but this has been a really quite audacious couple of years for MS as regards being nice to their customers.

  6. Campbeltonian

    It's not up to them

    This is all very well, but don't the networks have to compete with each other? If one network relegates the latest smartphone to the back of the shop because it can't customise it, and another network gives it pride of place in its window displays, then where are the customers who actually want to buy the phone going to go?

    And I realise that some of these handsets are being released under exclusivity agreements, but these aren't going to be cheap. Networks pay for exclusivity if they think a handset has selling potential. I can't see them paying for exclusivity and then deliberately trying to make it fail because they're not getting their way.

    1. Ceiling Cat


      >> where Norton and Mccaffee can't pre-install their crap on new laptops <<

      I think you mean where Acer/Dell/HP Can't install Norton or McCrappy on new laptops.

      Either way, it only took a few minutes for me to remove the McNorton bloat from my new laptop. I'm far more concerned with the amount of bloat that makes up the "system tools" that Acer and HP supply with a new laptop/desktop, and the fact that OEMs no longer supply bloat-free Re-Install media, opting instead to use "recovery media". Way to make sure that we can't actually re-install "clean" without having to purchase a brand new Windows 7 disc.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge


        at least with w7 you can remove the apps from the system restore disk, it isnt a "snapshot in time" like the old sysprepped XP with bloatware already installed.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: McNorton

        Okay, to be precise it's where Norton and Mccaffee can't *pay someone* to put their crap on laptops. But it's a small difference to the end user. As regards a few minutes to remove it all, last time I had to remove McCaffee from someone's new laptop, I had to track down some obscure part of their website (which I couldn't find using their own navigation, I had to find a link on a forum) where I could download a program to remove their installation. You couldn't do it just through the normal Windows menus.

        I'm 100% with as regards all the bloat that HP et al. see fit to bung into new computers. I've already got Windows Media Player installed. Why do I want HP's virtually identical Media Player competing with it?

  7. Peter 39

    another take on Verizon

    I guess that Verizon now is looking at an Apple deal through different-coloured glasses.

    No point throwing all the toys out of the pram a *second* time.

  8. hahnchen

    Operators are fucking useless

    The only way they can get you to use their substandard apps is to force them upon you with a hope of uninstalling them.

    Its disgusting. The only way they make money is the same way that spambots make money, pissing off millions to serve a few.

    A public outcry managed to stop Vodafone once, on the HTC Desire -

    But it has not stopped them from bloating up every other device -

    Our carriers suck.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      not only that

      TMobile were planning on shipping phones with 2 firmwares so you cant even flash your way out of their bloated crap. Even worse, at least I can flash with a singapore rom to remove the shit put on my UK phone.

  9. Terry H
    Gates Horns

    I agree and kudos

    First kudos on pointing out publicly your miscue on the iPhone. That is brave and I respect that, its easy to say I told you I was right, harder to say I told you and I was wrong.

    It was really quite an easy mistake to make. You understandably, but naively, thought the discussion was about value, when it never was; the iXXX is all about form over function in the material world. (Please note the XXX is intended to mean all apple everything and in no way means to imply that stevie condones, or indeed ever even has had, SEX).

    Anyway, as the relentless TV spots point out M$ is about as uncool as tech gets. Therefore, I'll join you out on that branch and say the same factors that lead to iApple will in no way translate to success for Windows Phoney 7. I was stunned when Palm shipped their "new" OS that was 100% incompatible with over a decade of pre-existing software. WP7 will be the same deal. There is no hope for adoption, it offers nothing of consequence - just some eye candy, but those attracted to shiny objects already have their iPhones and won't ever look to see it.

    Meaningful (to me) Analogy:

    The main problem IMO with Vista was in microsoft's fanatical attempt to take over digital media they intentionally broke the device driver model. Windows 7 is "better" because without any other option the rest of the industry has now coded to this less robust model. I would LOVE to see Windows 8 not support the windows API. A whole new, and of course better API. Perhaps require ALL applications to be written in Silverlight. Sort of a zombie abomination of Chrome OS.

    "People love to buy all new everything that doesn't work quite as well as what they had before."

    If that statement is true, GO FOR IT microsoft. I'm sure people will be beating down your door with sacks-o-cash.

    1. Bugs R Us
      Gates Halo

      MP3, DVD, Blu-Ray

      New things with zero backward compatibility can succeed; it just takes the consumer a little time to adopt, but once content starts to appear there is usually a slow migration. MIcrosoft simply need to put money into good apps and content hubs, preferably with exclusivity deals.

      (WinAPI will be around for a VERY long time.)

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Not really true

      Actually the iPhone was entirely about function; a web browser that works well, on the move, with then groundbreaking data prices. Mobile Safari was, in 2007, a quantum leap beyond what anybody else had managed in terms of mobile web browsing. The risk was that Apple had misunderstood its customers in the sense that the customers for a mobile phone manufacturer aren't the people that use the phone but the mobile operators that carry it.

      There's also the phone salesperson problem, in that they tend to be atypically free of insight into what customers actually want beyond reeling off tick sheets of features and trying to push more expensive tariffs. I suspect Microsoft are about to face this problem also.

      You can download software directly from the WebOS store that will run all previous Palm OS apps.

      I think Microsoft's main problem will be that normal people are apathetic or, at worst, antipathetic towards the Windows brand and mobile phones are something they're constantly told they should feel emotional towards. I doubt that many people, when offered Google or Microsoft, will opt for Microsoft.

  10. aThingOrTwo
    Thumb Up

    Dumb pipes

    Carriers being reduced to dumb pipes. Brilliant.

    We'll all be better off when the carriers start competing on the strength of their networks and customer service. That's worked for ISPs.

  11. phuzz Silver badge


    I've spotted that vodafone 360 thing on several phones they've given me over the years, what is it, and has anyone ever used it?

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. MaXimaN

    A good thing, but...

    I welcome this move by Microsoft but this isn't a new thing. Both Apple and Google pushed operator portals to the back of the revenue queue on their operating systems, restricting them to installing bloatware in the form of app suites that hark back to a pre-smartphone era.

    But operators don't sell phones, they sell airtime, along with any other services they can that will generate revenue for them. Operators also want to make sure that customers identify with their brand and that the phone is "theirs" (e.g. T-Mobile's pointless renaming of HTC Android phones). Restricting operators to just being "dumb pipes" will likely just push line rental prices up and the monthly quota of minutes, texts, and data down. Arguably this is already happening with data with the new limits imposed by O2 et al.

  14. Atonnis


    This is one of the best things about Windows Phone 7. Finally the operators won't be able to cripple devices with their crap modified firmware, force services on us that we don't want or fill the devices with excessive bloatware that is hard to remove.

    The first thing I usually do with any device is try to change the operator code and install manufacturer firmware. Vodafone devices are the worst, but they're all pretty bad.

    Hopefully other phone software developers will follow the same direction - the only unfortunate bit is that the others will probably go the other way in a way to currie favour with the operators.

    Of course, the phone stores may start offering their own services, imagine the horror of the Phones4U hub....brrr....

  15. Thomas 18

    With cloud computing,..

    the sky's the limit!

  16. D. M
    Thumb Up

    It's good

    I don't want any of the "operators" crap. However, I don't trust MS either. Plus I don't see MS can attract many developers with its restriction. WM7 is doomed. However, the less operator craps, the better. It is hard to believe MS can do something good (even it was not intended).

    It's a shame Google killed their Nexus One. It lifted the bar of smartphone. I was lucky to get one before they were "gone".

    On N1, there is no operator crap, no network lock, no retarded firmware. Google will need to "make" another one.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem with operator created content... that generally they are not content businesses and are pretty bad at their own implementations, but, like any business they have to "add value" (and sorry, a "dumb pipe" business is a commodity and doesn't make shareholders happy). In the world of smartphones and apps, they're going to have to come up with content that competes on merit, rather than hijacking, if they want to stay in the game; lets see if any of them can do a Spotify or a decent games service. The other alternative is for them to come up with their own app stores, because they do have one big advantage of their rivals, which is a pre-existing billing relationship.

  18. Rex Alfie Lee

    Microsoft Windows Phone 7...

    Who cares? Who wants? Get an Android!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I agree that bloatware & the like is not wanted on any electronic device. However, if done right, and in the right circumstances, it could be a welcomed addition.

    Take for example the u-verse app from AT&T on WP7. It provides carrier differentiation for AT&T (if you don't have the service, you can get it for your phone only) and if you have it at home and love it, for some people if could be their 'killer app', being a welcome addition.

    I don't live in the states, and I have not seen u-verse in action, but the theory that it adds to the user experience and may provide a reason for somebody to buy the phone is one that I like. Of course if I can't delete it if I don't want it, we have a problem.

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