By pushing Windows Phone 7 to 2011 for CDMA networks, Microsoft risks launching in the midst of a Verizon iPhone's debut.
Windows Phone 7 will first be available for GSM networks -- AT&T, and possibly T-Mobile -- in time for the holiday season. CDMA networks Sprint and Verizon Wireless won't get a chance to carry Windows Phone 7 until the first half of next year.
Microsoft senior product manager Greg Sullivan said the company chose GSM first because it's "placing high-quality customer service above all else," according to The Wall Street Journal.
But if the latest rumors of a CDMA iPhone prove accurate, Microsoft will play second fiddle to Apple's highly-anticipated migration to other carriers. Last month, a few reports from different publications all came to a similar conclusion: that the iPhone will launch on Verizon or Sprint in January. Of course, multiple rumors don't add up to a fact, but this is the strongest evidence we've seen yet for a CDMA iPhone.
A recent survey by Morpace Omnibus shows that Verizon customers would love to have the iPhone. Half the respondents who are current Verizon customers said they intend to buy an iPhone, assuming it comes to their network. Nearly a quarter of AT&T customers surveyed said they would defect to Verizon for Apple's phone. An earlier survey by ChangeWave also found that half of Verizon customers would grab an iPhone if it became available.
Granted, Windows Phone 7 will also be competing with the iPhone on AT&T, but on that network, Apple is the incumbent, with a huge user base. Microsoft has nowhere to go but up, luring people who are waiting for an iPhone alternative. On CDMA networks, the iPhone could steal Microsoft's thunder by launching first.
At least Microsoft isn't worried. The company already held the iPhone's funeral.