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Incredibly, Pink, if it ever ships, won't include basic applications such as calendar and alarm clock, nor will it have its own mobile applications marketplace, an element that has been crucial to the iPhone's success. And since Pink is now code complete, PMX won't be able to fill these gaps later on, said the source.
Microsoft couldn't be reached for comment on what features Pink will include if and when it does ship. A spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, the carrier for which Microsoft has been rumored to be developing Pink, said the company doesn't comment on phones that it doesn't currently sell.
According to the source, Pink's shortcomings illustrate Microsoft's unwillingness to utilize the talent it gained from the Danger acquisition, and its steadfast insistence on shaping the Sidekick into a mobile experience that was uniquely Microsoft. Immediately after the deal, PMX made it clear that it wasn't interested in following Danger's creative direction and relegated Danger talent to lowly positions within PMX, the source said.
This point was underscored further when Microsoft laid off a large number of Danger employees in May as part of the first companywide job cuts in its history. Many Danger staffers left Microsoft of their own accord, and the Danger employees that remain are said to be no great fans of Pink, according to a recent Techcrunch report.
Microsoft, to its credit, has begun to acknowledge the serious nature of its Windows Mobile problems. Last month, CEO Steve Ballmer told attendees at a venture capital summit that Microsoft has completely revamped the Windows Mobile team and "pumped in some new talent."
Microsoft says Windows Mobile 7 will bring it up to speed in the mobile space, but the oft-delayed OS probably won't arrive until mid-to-late 2010, during which time Microsoft's competitors will continue advancing their platforms.
Windows Mobile still has a solid footing in the business world, but Microsoft desperately wants to make it more attractive to consumers, and Pink's failure would deliver another gut-punch to these hopes.
Andrew Brust, chief of new technology for twentysix New York, a Microsoft partner in New York, is hopeful that Windows Mobile 7 will succeed, but says he's always skeptical when a company puts so much emphasis on a single product release. Microsoft has been slow to adjust to the smartphone market because it represents a different sort of challenge for the company, he said.
"The mobile space today is enterprise-relevant but consumer-driven, and that's a really unique combination that Microsoft has never had to face before," Brust said.
This article updated on Mon., Oct 12 at 4:10 Pacific time to add comment on Pink's lack of marketplace and games