Microsoft Attempting to Lead by Following: Windows Phone Abandoning True Multitasking, Emulates iPhone OS 1,2,3

Frank provided an overview of the initial Windows Phone 7 news coming from the MIX event last night:

Windows Phone 7 Series News Adds To The Mobile Mix

One of the bombshells dropped that Frank picked up on was this news (via Engadget):

Confirmed: Marketplace will be the only way to get apps on Windows Phone 7 Series

This means that Windows Phone 7 users must get all their apps from Microsoft’s online market just like iPhone users have to use the iTunes App Store. There’s a whole host of questions that need clarification following this news: What does it mean for custom vertical apps developed for a single customer? How will beta test and evaluation copies be distributed? Do freeware authors have to pay Microsoft to distribute a free app (vs. simply placing a download link on the author’s site)?

A news item that emerged after Frank’s post is another copy-cat development (from Wired.com):

Like iPhone, Windows Phone 7 Won’t Fully Multitask

So, after more than a decade of providing a true (though flaky) multi-tasking system, Microsoft has given up on the idea and thrown in the towel. They simply can’t manage apps well enough to let them loose even in Windows CE 6.x’s larger memory space.

The greater irony may be yet to come though. If Apple announces true multitasking for iPhone OS 4.0 this summer, Microsoft will be behind the curve yet again.

Note to Microsoft: You can’t lead by following.