Microsoft: New Windows 7 phones won’t run older programs


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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduces the new Windows phone at a February conference in Barcelona. Credit: Alberto Estevez / EPA.

Emphasizing its departure from its previous generation of mobile devices, Microsoft Corp. on Thursday said its new Windows Phone 7 Series devices won’t run programs from older versions of Windows-based phones. ‘For us, the cost of going from good to great is a clean break from the past,’ Charlie Kindel, a Microsoft executive who works on the mobile platform, wrote in a blog post.


That break means thousands of applications designed for older Microsoft phones will not work on the new ones, and Microsoft will have to start from the beginning in the increasingly intense race for dominance in mobile applications.

Apple Inc.’s iPhone, iPod Touch and, soon, the iPad tablet computer all run applications from the company’s online App Store, which is home to nearly 150,000 programs designed by developers around the world. Google Inc.’s phones run apps from the Android Market, which holds closer to 20,000 of the small programs.

For its new series of phones – to be released in the fall – Microsoft has highlighted its distinct approach to design, perhaps to set it apart from its popular competitors.

“Different often means change,” Kindel wrote.

He pointed out that Microsoft would still work with developers whose software worked with the older mobile operating systems, such as Windows Mobile 6.5.

-- David Sarno