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Windows Phone 8: Challenger Keeps Fighting

Dec 05, 2012 (05:12 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=240143825


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Windows Phone 8 has been shipping for almost a month. Its bigger sibling, Windows 8, has probably received more ink and polarized Windows users more. No matter. Microsoft forges ahead, and it is clear that, for the first time in quite a while, Microsoft has made a series of risky moves with its operating systems, the most important piece of which is how they've begun to build a sort of co-dependency between the tablet, the desktop and mobile -- one that users can either reject, or buy into whole cloth. And not just users, but developers, too.

Now that Windows Phone 8 is getting battle-tested, we invited Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's senior product manager for Windows Phone, to talk with us on InformationWeek's Valley View, a live, monthly Web TV program. The video is embedded above.

We discussed (and saw) some of the latest hardware, from Nokia, HTC and Samsung (not yet available in the U.S.), and we quizzed Sullivan about the low price point carriers are offering Windows phones customers, as well as the fine line Microsoft has to walk with each of its hardware partners, especially given its cozy relationship with Nokia. We asked about Microsoft's somewhat frostier relationship with Sprint, which carried previous iterations of Windows Phone, but seems to be content to sit out Windows Phone 8 for now.

We talked about the relationship between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, about some of the new features in the smartphone platform, including customizable live tiles, Rooms (which he demonstrated) and various enterprise features, like better security, including full device encryption, secure boot and private application distribution, which can be delivered using the Company Hub.

There's plenty to get excited about, but we also challenged Microsoft's lack of a social platform, some of the missing major phone apps (Microsoft just announced the addition of Pandora, and others are on the way), and some of the early criticism of Windows 8. Sullivan was humble: "We're in a position of challenger in this space," he said about Windows Phone 8. About Windows 8, he added: "Change is often hard ... but the benefits are really profound."

It's clear Microsoft sees a computing world with Windows still at its heart. Will customers prove them right again with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8?