There’s an extensive (and well written) article over on RoughlyDrafted about Microsoft, Danger, Windows Mobile, Apple, et all. If you have the time, I highly recommend you read it to get a much fuller picture on the state of things. It’s one of the most comprehensive and up to date “State of the Union” when it comes to Danger/Microsoft/Project Pink/etc. That said, I know not everyone has the time to dive into such an article, so here are some highlighted snippets from a RoughlyDrafted’s Microsoft/Danger source that I thought would be most interesting to Hiptop3.com readers:
# The source says that the details about the Project Pink phones are true and that they wouldn’t be surprised if the photos were an intentional leak, however the rumors about Microsoft working with Verizon and the unhappy employees are definitely from an unhappy (ex) employee.
# What about handset makers?
“Let’s start with the handset makers. Motorola has announced their intention to abandon WinMo for Android, and Palm has already abandoned WinMo in favor of their own WebOS. A few others, such as HTC, have been hedging their bets, announcing their support for Android, but not yet willing to publicly disown WinMo. Now the story has been leaked that Microsoft has been secretly working with Sharp on this (doomed) [Pink] project for over a year, cutting everyone else out of the picture completely.
”You figured out the likely consequences of this over a month ago so I won’t belabor the point other than to say that Sharp, who has been a terrific partner to Danger throughout the Hiptop/Sidekick era, was no doubt hoping that Pink would allow them to expand their phone offerings in the Americas, a dream which has now been dashed due to typical Microsoft blundering. I doubt that either Sharp or any of the other handset OEM’s will ever take Microsoft at their word again.
# Trying to build 4 versions of the Pink phones?
“the Pink planners decided to try to build both UMTS and CDMA phones in both form factors, for a grand total of four different SKUs. None of the other smartphone platform builders were foolish enough to try to build more than one phone at a time, and whoever made this decision didn’t take into account the added complexity involved in coding to support two different radio modules (from two different vendors, no less!) for two completely different radio technologies, not to mention validating and testing the RF performance of four different antennas (since each form factor and radio technology requires its own antenna design). At some point the UMTS project was placed on the back burner, and for all I know it may have already been cancelled, but the damage to the project has been done.”
# Pitting Verizon against T-Mobile
”The final operator who is going to be pissed is T-Mobile, who has been just as loyal of a partner to Danger as Sharp has been. I don’t know exactly what Microsoft has been telling them, but they have no doubt realized that they’ve been cut out of this deal in favor of their largest competitor. What’s worse is that apparently Microsoft has been lying to them this whole time about the amount of resources that they’ve been putting behind Sidekick development and support (in reality, it was cut down to a handful of people in Palo Alto managing some contractors in Romania, Ukraine, etc.).
“The reason for the deceit wasn’t purely to cover up the development of Pink but also because Microsoft could get more money from T-Mobile for their support contract if T-Mobile thought that there were still hundreds of engineers working on the Sidekick platform. As we saw from their recent embarrassment with Sidekick data outages, that has clearly not been the case for some time.
# So what happens now?
“The most likely possibility is that anything worth salvaging from Pink will get folded into the larger WiMo 7 project, where it should have been located in the first place. Another possibility would be another massive layoff and shutting down the Danger offices, but with the economic crunch, I doubt that Microsoft would choose to take the hit of handing out severance packages to all the affected engineers, and breaking the lease on the buildings.”
# And finally, what all of us wish would happen, and the reasons why it probably won’t:
”The smartest course of action (and therefore the one that Microsoft is least likely to take!) would be for them to recognize the value of the original Danger platform that they acquired, and to rebuild the Hiptop/Sidekick into a force to compete with Android (which is, after all, “Sidekick 2.0” in many respects). This won’t happen for three reasons: 1) Microsoft’s irrational hatred of Java, 2) Microsoft’s irrational love of Windows in all of its horrible flavors, and 3) all the Danger folks who loved the Sidekick platform have left or likely will leave soon, and Microsoft has no in-house expertise in Java or the Danger platform.