So, now that Microsoft has acquired Danger at the 3GSM Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona… What does the future of the Hiptop hold?
Well, Honestly… No one knows yet. There aren’t yet enough details out from either party.
It’s too early to tell yet if our future is Microsoft killing off Danger entirely, and releasing “Windows Mobile: Hiptop Editon”.. Or if Microsoft is keeping the Danger name around as well as the HiptopOS around and just giving Danger a well needed swift kick in the ass to get the devices into the realm of current devices (WiFi, Video Playback/Record, GPS, etc.) now that Danger will have the financial resources for the Research and Development along with the Quality Assurance needed for such changes.
But, Why did Microsoft buy Danger? As we saw in the recent SEC IPO filing, Danger was losing money… lots of it. Last fiscal year (That ended September 30th) Danger had an accumulated deficit of $188.1 Million. Did Microsoft come in to be the saving grace of Danger? Or is there an alternative plan? Danger holds the patents to the Backend service, Something that could benefit Windows Mobile users greatly. Is there a chance that Microsoft bought out Danger just to get their hand on those patents? (If the assets of the company were part of the buyout agreement.)
Also, don’t forget that T-Mobile has exclusive rights. What happens to that now? If Microsoft kills off Danger and absorbs it’s assets into Microsoft, does that contract still stand or will we see “Hiptops” on other GSM and even CDMA carriers? Was Danger in a $188.1 Million dollar deficit because they signed a contract to be exclusive to T-Mobile? It’s sure not because they aren’t selling devices. Every time you see someone in the Generation X/Y age range, they usually have some form of a Hiptop/Sidekick. Was the global outreach of the Hiptop not hitting? In other countries, 3G is the standard. Is the deficit because the device isn’t selling overseas due to the lack of 3G?
In this editor’s opinion, Hopefully Microsoft keeps Danger and the HiptopOS around, but just pours it’s financial resources into it to bring us into the current generation of phones in our category and there’s no Zunephone in the works.
There are still very many empty holes, and questions left to be answered. But, this will be a very interesting year for Hiptop fans and users, as well as Danger employees.
As of right now, it’s way too early to push any panic buttons and start to freak out about this… We need to see details of the agreement and future strategies before pushing that panic button.
Edit: Spelling corrections, thanks Aaron.