Vodafone Knock Microsoft Phone OS

The Financial Times (FT) is reporting that Vodafone do not feel Microsoft’s phone OS is ready for mainstream use. Arun Sarin, Vodafone chief executive was quoted as saying “In our view, it’s not quite ready for prime time.” sighting Vodafones need for assurances about reliability before taking it up.

Given Vodafone is the largest mobile phone operator, offering services in 28 countries around the globe; this is a serious setback for Microsoft.

When Digital-Lifestyles.info contacted Microsoft to get their response one of their spokespeople said “Microsoft is working with Vodafone on a number of areas including a mobile web services standards initiative and we look forward to working with Vodafone to offer Windows Mobile-based Smartphones to their customers in the future. To date, neither Vodafone nor Microsoft has announced plans to offer Windows Mobile-based Smartphones on Vodafone’s network.” We took this as the need to say something rather than nothing.

Elsewhere in the paper, in a full-length interview, Sarin also says that Vodafone want to have their own branded handsets, so they don’t loose their customer relationship to companies like Nokia, who currently provide one in every two mobile phones sold in Europe.

“Brand is a very big issue for us,” he says. “When you think about fast food, you think of McDonald’s. When you think about a soft drink, you think of Coke. What we would like is when people think mobile products and services, they go to Vodafone.”

Vodafone want a standard feel to handsets, starting when it is switched on by displaying a Vodafone graphic and each handset having a single-touch button that takes the owner to Vodafone Live, their content offering. They are already pursing these with a growing number of Asian manufacturers willing to compromise on product branding.

All of these contentious comments come from Mr Sarin first formal media interview. With an opening with controversial comments like this, it should be interesting to hear what he has to say in the future.

The full Sarin interview on FT.com (subscription req.)