To rebut a wall street journal article that declared Verizon Wireless and Microsoft were on an iPhone rival, Microsoft spokesman John Starkweather said “Microsoft is not building a Zune-specific phone. We’re deepening our relationships with our hardware partners”, as reported by PC Mag.
The last sentence of that money quote does make sense. After all, if you’ve spent years licensing—and earning—off manufacturers who want to use your mobile platform, you don’t kill that kind of Golden Goose. This remains true even if your mobile platform has steadily lost market share and presence to Apple’s offerings, and even a yet-to-be-released smartphone from Palm.
What makes more sense are rumors of Zune functionality integrated with Windows Mobile 7, due for release in 2010. Which of course, is another way of saying “we’ll improve Windows Mobile’s media player.” If ever Microsoft was just pulling our leg, and a Microsoft-phone is actually under development, I don’t think it will be this bad: