Interview

Windows Phone will be the mobile platform for OEMs thanks to Microsoft's longterm commitment says Casey McGee

Windows Phone will be the mobile platform for OEMs thanks to Microsoft's longterm commitment says Casey McGee
When it comes to the cut and thrust of the technology business, reticence and lack of ambition aren't what we've come to expect. 

Coming late to the smartphone market, however, Microsoft, has always maintained it's looking for Windows Phone to operate alongside iOS and Android - acting as a third major force in the smartphone ecosystem.

It's a stance mirrored by senior PR manager for Windows Phone Casey McGee, and one startlingly similar to the approach taken by HP in the run up to TouchPad's launch.

Yet, HP's decision to pull the plug on TouchPad helped highlight how quickly a situation can change if strategy isn't fit for purpose.

Hence, we decided to probe McGee on Microsoft's reaction to the withdrawal of a potential rival, as well as the impact Google's move for Motorola has had on the sector.

Pocket Gamer: Microsoft was quick to offer a hand to webOS developers following HP's withdrawal from the tablet market. What was the thinking behind this, and is Windows Phone a good fit for webOS-focused studios?

Casey McGee: Windows Phone is a great platform for developers.

With Windows Phone Mango, developers get even more great opportunities and capabilities, such as twice as many markets to sell apps and series, and the ability to write apps that multitask, take advantage of enhancements to live tiles and access to the hardware accelerated IE9 Web browser.

Microsoft supports developers in a variety of ways, from training and guidance to labs and developer devices.

As webOS developers plot their next move, we want to be sure they evaluate Windows Phone. We made a concerted effort to ensure that webOS developers know what Windows Phone has to offer.

What's the reaction to HP's move at Microsoft?

We're focused on creating a compelling third ecosystem that challenges that status quo. Our partnership with Nokia gives us the scale and expertise to bring great software, services and hardware to more markets.

It has long been predicted that the smartphone market would begin to consolidate around a few core ecosystems over time.

We're making the strategic investments to ensure that Windows Phone provides a strong ecosystem over the long haul. This approach is one reason that firms like IDC suggest that Windows Phone will be number 2 in market share by 2015.

Microsoft was quick to release a statement proclaiming Windows Phone as the only 'equal opportunities' platform following Google's move for Motorola. What advantages does Microsoft's impartiality hand Windows Phone?

Microsoft committed to develop an OS and ecosystem that delivered amazing customer experiences as well as choice.

Where others ask consumers to choose one or the other, we deliver both; great software and choice of with or without keyboard; a wide selection of apps and the peace of mind that comes from a certification process.

We believe that OEMs will increasingly value Windows Phone as the platform that positions them to compete in the global market.

Let's talk about games. Microsoft made a lot of noise about the appearance of a number of huge games on Windows Phone this summer, such as Angry Birds and Sonic The Hedgehog 4. How are these titles performing so far?

We've been very pleased with the games we've brought to Xbox Live. 

Games like Angry Birds and Sonic The Hedgehog 4 are great titles, and make strong additions to our growing portfolio.

A lot of these games have previously appeared on rival smartphone platforms. Is there much of an effort to secure exclusive content outside of Microsoft's stable?

We work closely with our partners to build great value into the games we add to the Xbox Live portfolio, beginning with Live-enabling them for Windows Phone, giving them achievements, gamerscore, and the connection to the Xbox Live community.

We've heard from indie studios who feel 'out of the loop' on Windows Phone, owing to the inevitable focus on Xbox Live releases. Is there any way you can placate these concerns?

We're exploring ways to provide increased visibility for indie games on Windows Phone, as well as continually monitoring the development community for great titles that might also have interest in becoming a part of the growing Xbox Live portfolio.
Thanks to Casey for his time.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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