Microsoft COO Kevin Turner attempted to apply a dose of salt to Apple's wounds yesterday in regard to the iPhone 4's antenna issues. Hopefully he saved some of that salt -- he might need it for a forthcoming serving of crow.
If you missed it, Turner assured attendees at the Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, "[Y]ou're going to be able to use the Windows Phone 7 and not have to worry about how you're holding it to make a phone call. It looks like iPhone 4 might be [Apple's] Vista."
[ Also on InfoWorld.com: iPhone 4: Apple does the right thing unconvincingly | Find out how to say yes to (almost) any smartphone in InfoWorld's special report. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]
Oh, where to begin with this poorly chosen analogy? Let's get the obvious out of the way: The iPhone 4's problem is a pretty minor hardware flaw, one that hasn't hindered demand or usage in any significant way. It will almost certainly be fixed in the very near future, perhaps by newly hired antenna engineers. Further, there's an easy repair right now, albeit not an ideal one, in the form of a free case (or, if you prefer, duct tape). Death-grip issues aside, the iPhone 4 platform has received plenty of high marks and orders for the device keep flowing.
By contrast, Vista was a disaster (though not without its share of fans) that was years in the making. Users were simply uninspired by its features, its UI, and so forth. There's no patch for that depth of poor design. Microsoft shelved it and rolled out a whole new operating system.
More important, though, it may be a bit premature for Microsoft to get cocky when the topic is mobile computing. The company has already failed -- or to use Steve Ballmer's words, "screwed up" -- on the smartphone front with Windows Mobile. Perhaps Turner could have said, "It looks like the iPhone 4 might be Apple's Windows Mobile."
According to InfoWorld mobile guru Galen Gruman, the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 isn't a new so much as a disastrous collection of outdated technologies. Perhaps in the near future, we'll see Steve Jobs calling Windows Phone 7 Microsoft's Vista. Or Microsoft's Windows Mobile. Or maybe even Microsoft's Window Me.
This article, "Windows Phone 7: Microsoft's mobile Vista?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.