ADOTAS – I’m sure this dude is on the fast track now: apparently at a recent company meeting, a wiseass employee tried to take a picture of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — with an iPhone. Uh-oh! The Wall Street Journal reported that Ballmer grabbed the device, threw it to the ground and pretended to stomp on it.
I can hear the echoes of nervous laughter — “Um… Good one, boss!”
WSJ reports that 10,000 iPhone users accessed Microsoft’s employee email system last year — that’s 10% of the Microsoft global workforce. The higher-ups are not pleased, especially since Microsoft released its reconfigured Windows Mobile 7, a.k.a Windows Phone, to its staff; reportedly the company has changed its mobile phone reimbursement policy to exclude devices running anything else.
Ballmer’s jackboot incident is unfortunately overshadowing Monday’s unveiling of new features of Windows Phone to a meeting of developers, but it epitomizes the frustration Microsoft must be feeling in playing catch-up. Lagging the iPhone by a country mile, Windows Mobile has been getting its ass kicked by Android lately in terms of mobile web access.
The new operating system, first introduced at the Mobile Web Conference in Barcelona last month; has been designed from scratch and features a fresh Zune-like interface. HTC and LG are planning to introduce new devices with the OS just before the holiday season and a yuletide marketing blitz — though something tell me Microsoft is going to skip teaming up with “Family Guy” this time.
While some Microsoft employees continue their forbidden iPhone love, developers at the meeting came away nodding their heads.
“As a technologist, I’m pretty impressed by the complete story from design to development,” said Matt Joe, VP of technology for digital agency POP and Adotas’ inside man. “My teams will be able to make our customers’ dreams come true very quickly using the tools that they are already used to and that are only getting better with the next releases.”
Here are some more notes from Joe:
- Big focus on developing apps using both Silverlight and XNA — amazing hardware acceleration in the phone results in very responsive and immersive applications
- The developer tools not only target “developers” but also designers. Designers can build Windows Phone applications in the Expression Suite tools — it was very intuitive.
- The emulator is amazing — you can use your touch-enabled laptop or monitor to interact with the virtual phone on your screen. This is the first I’ve seen of that.
- Silverlight applications will make heavy use of web media — video from Netflix was stunning, integration with social networks is great. The “hubs” for pictures/videos and the other ones make application integration very easy. Apps are very integrated with the platform itself.
- Rapid development is the key here. You can go to market with these applications using different technologies and skills — all of this is typical Microsoft.
Joe did lament there was no news on the Xbox front, just a one-minute demonstration of a game during the keynote.