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Microsoft Skipping Verizon for Round 1 of Windows Phone 7

Reports that Windows Phone 7 initially won't be available at launch on the Verizon Wireless network are hardly a surprise, given that all test units were assigned to AT&T. But now comes word that it might be awhile before Verizon Wireless users will be able to get their hands on Windows 7 Phones.

That's because, according to News.com's Ina Fried, Microsoft will need to create an upgrade to Windows Phone 7 to support CDMA networks. Both Verizon Wireless and Sprint's networks are CDMA-based while AT&T's and T-Mobile's networks are GSM-based.

How extensive that upgrade will be and when it will arrive is unclear, reports All About Microsoft's Mary Jo Foley but it appears Microsoft is targeting the first half of 2011.

If anything, Microsoft should have aimed to release WP7 on CDMA networks first, and then worry about GSM support.  By not offering support for CDMA from the outset, it only gives Google's Android further opportunity to become entrenched on Verizon's network.

That might not be so terrible if Verizon didn't have the largest percentage of subscribers in the U.S. with a share of over 31 percent, according to comScore. Perhaps Verizon wanted no part of Microsoft after the Kin debacle? Or maybe Microsoft feels it's getting even with Verizon for heavily pushing Android phones.

Whatever the case, Microsoft should have endeavored with more priority to deliver Windows Phone 7 on Verizon's network at launch. If Microsoft wants to have any chance of slowing the momentum of Android, its phones need to be on Verizon's network and prominent among the carrier's dealers.  It wouldn't hurt to have them available with Sprint as well.

What's your take? Drop me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/17/2010 at 1:14 PM


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