Microsoft's new mobile chief, Terry Myerson, accused Apple of purposely making older iPhones unusable at last week's Mobile World Congress, according to Business Insider. The comments came in response to an audience member's question regarding software updates to Windows Phones, particularly whether or not they would be handling it in the same way as Apple handles updates to older iPhones.
Although he didn't answer the question, he did have some harsh words for both Apple and Google.
I think Apple - you're right, you can download iOS 5 for iPhone 3G[S], and it won't be usable, but it's possible to install .... It's a great hardware sales tool as far as I can tell. Install this OS which makes your hardware unusably slow, so then you feel compelled to go back to the store and buy a new piece of hardware.
...Statistically speaking, no Android phones get upgraded, none, ever. They have big bugs, they don't even get patched. That's what we're seeing statistically out there.
The audience member who initially posed the question kept pressing, though, but Myerson is keeping tight lipped for now, saying only that the next version of Windows Phone (codenamed Apollo) will be compatible with most current Windows Phone apps.
Windows Phone 8 will be based around the same technical innards as Windows 8, with some drastic changes from the current Windows Phone software. This has left some people wondering whether or not they'll be left out of the next update, and Myerson's silence doesn't do much to put those worries to rest.
No doubt plenty of people will disagree with Myerson's comments regarding both Apple and Google's update policies. While it's definitely true that older iPhones run into some hiccups when trying to run the latest software, it's probably a bit of a stretch to accuse Apple of doing it on purpose. Computers get old, new hardware comes along that's twice as fast, and the software moves along with it – it's just a combination of Moore's Law and Gates' Law.
Some Android devices have definitely had issues with updates, but a lot of the blame for that falls on the hardware makers. Of course, Google's hands aren't clean, either, since they control the terms under which the updates are released, and even with such a varied hardware base, other companies have done a pretty good job of supporting the different devices (*cough* Microsoft *cough*).
It looks like Myerson's got some personality, and that can't be a bad thing, even if it is a little incendiary. It gets Microsoft some attention, giving them a chance to make their keynotes a little more fun, and it gives us something to write about. Let's hope this isn't just a one-off performance.