Microsoft knew Windows Phone 7 would have short life cycle

When Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 two weeks ago, it did so with a notable caveat: the new mobile operating system wouldn't be coming to current Windows Phone devices. According to a new interview, the company knew early in the development of Windows Phone 7 that current Windows Phone devices would have short lifespans.

This was known as development for Windows Phone 8 was done in parallel with Windows Phone 7, since the company wanted to merge its mobile kernel with the Windows NT kernel but didn't have the necessary time. While Windows Phone 7 will be getting an overhauled start screen, it won't be compatible with applications developed for Windows Phone 8. Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Windows Phone, told CNET UK that Microsoft knew from the beginning that Windows Phone 7 would eventually be abandoned and chose not to tell its customers.

Development for Windows Phone 8 even began before Windows Phone 7 was released in some ways, Sullivan said.

"The team that developed the 7.5 release actually was working in parallel with the core team that was already beginning [Windows Phone 8]," Sullivan told the technology site. "In fact some of that work was already initiated before Windows Phone 7 was even available – so this goes back a little bit."

Sullivan told CNET UK that unifying Microsoft's Windows kernel with its Windows Phone kernel was "always the plan" and called the lack of compatibility between Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 a "generational shift." He then went on to add that Microsoft doesn't expect a similar "generational shift" in the foreseeable future because of the design of the new architecture. Windows Phone 7 devices will continue to receive support and work with Microsoft's online services, such as SkyDrive and Xbox Live, even though they won't be as tightly integrated with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system as Windows Phone 8 devices will be.

According to Sullivan, Microsoft chose to launch Windows Phone 7 knowing its limited timeframe because it had to compete against Android and iOS immediately. "It was important for us to establish this new approach in user experience and begin to build the developer ecosystem," Sullivan said. "Those are necessary but not sufficient steps to establish a new platform and we didn't want to wait until [we were able to launch Windows Phone 8] to begin that because we're maintaining those core characteristics of the platform."

Source: CNET UK

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