There were some surprising quotes from Verizon CTO Tony Melone regarding Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 ecosystem. Melone remains skeptical about Microsoft’s ability to become the new number three alongside iOS and Android. Microsoft plans to introduce new Windows Phone 7 devices on both Verizon and Sprint this spring, so this makes for odd timing of the quotes below.
“I do want a strong third OS out there,” Melone said. “It gives the carriers more flexibility and balances the interests of all the parties. But I still have doubts whether Microsoft will get the traction they are hoping for with Windows Phone 7.”
Nokia, Microsoft’s new partner, is not a Verizon handset partner. That might be the reason for Melone’s lukewarm reception of the Microsoft/Nokia partnership.
“If you look at our device pipeline for 2011, we have very strong relationships with LG, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and now Apple,” he said. “So I think it would take a really compelling device from Nokia or any new vendor to break in. It doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, but it would have to be really good.”
Melone called RIM a “strong third player“. While we wait for a retraction, we’ll bookmark this page for later consideration when Windows Phone launches on Verizon and for later this year. RIM has built that position over years, but they are a company that lacks a modern OS and continue to lose market share. Their position as number 3 would seem to be in jeopardy. Why not Windows Phone 7 as the new number 3?