Sony Ericsson is currently passing on Windows Phone 7 because it doesn't give enough control, the company's French CEO Pierre Perron said today. In a talk with Les Echos, he acknowledged that his company was talking with Microsoft about Windows Phone 7 but that it liked the customization of Android more. Google's OS allowed for "more product differentiation" in software where Microsoft's insistence on a consistent interface for WP7 would force Sony Ericsson to compete mostly on phone quality and price.
"With Windows [Phone] 7 we run the risk of standardizing our smartphones [on common software]," Perron said.
Microsoft made the policy change to address frequent problems with consistency in Windows Mobile, where the ability to customize the OS sometimes helped users but could create compatibility problems with apps and often prevented straightforward upgrades. The same issue has been a mounting problem for Android, as custom interfaces from HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others have sometimes been blamed for slowing down phones, preventing some apps from running and stalling upgrades.
Sony Ericsson only just began updating the Xperia X10 to Android 2.1 in most areas, nearly a year after its arrival, several months after Android 2.2 and just before the unveiling of Android 2.3.
The decision to skip Windows Phone 7 may carry some steep risks for Sony Ericsson, as Microsoft has taken to suing over the use of Android. It claims to own patents covering the use of Android and has sued companies that don't agree to make Windows Phone 7 devices, reaching a deal with HTC but targeting Motorola and others.
A Telecom Paper report bringing up the executive's comments also detailed an IDC estimate that Android would soon overtake the iPhone in the French market. Although France has been one of Apple's best countries for sales, the popularity of phones like the Samsung Galaxy S could see Android jump to 29 percent in 2011, overtaking the iPhone's 26 percent. The installed user base would eventually be larger in 2012.
Long term predictions had Android growing from 18 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2013. iPhones would drop from 29 percent today to 24 percent at the same time. Symbian, led almost exclusively by Nokia, is expected to crash and would fall from 32 percent now to just 20 percent three years in the future. BlackBerry devices would remain almost flat, falling one point to 12 percent.