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Microsoft has been telling all and sundry its views on Apple's much-maligned iPhone 4, not long after Apple announced that it would be hosting a press conference on the smartphone tomorrow.
The iPhone 4, which has gained more renown for its faulty antennae and terrible signal than for anything Apple would normally class as “innovative”, was the focus of a keynote speech at the Worldwide Partner Conference by Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner, where he compared it to Windows Vista, the unsuccessful and much-disliked sixth addition to the Windows operating system family.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that," he said, which we imagine he really is, given he's working for Apple's long-term bitter rival. If the iPhone 4 was as unsuccessful as Vista it could spell doom for Apple, considering Google is already poised to steal its smartphone crown.
Microsoft is also hoping to steal some of Apple's market share. “One of the things I want to make sure you know today is that you're going to be able to use a Windows Phone 7 and not have to worry about how you're holding it to make a phone call,” Turner said, referring to the fact that iPhone 4 users were losing their signal, even to the point of ending a call, when holding it in a variety of ways.
Microsoft is obviously keen to benefit from Apple's misfortune in this regard by promising a phone that can be held in multiple ways without affecting signal, similar to Nokia's clever parody which showed the many methods of holding a Nokia phone.
In typical Jobsian dismissal, the Apple CEO classified the problem as a “non-issue”, urging users to hold the phone in a different way or buy a case for it, which amounted to having to pay more to have the working phone you already paid for. Then Apple issued a letter to customers saying it was a software problem that mistakenly displayed more bars than there really were.
Consumer Reports, however, did not buy that. This week it slammed the iPhone 4 over its poor reception and said it could not recommend it to consumers, in stark contrast to the recommendations it gave for the previous iPhone models. It urged Apple to address the problem by providing a free fix to customers, and this wave of bad press has clearly forced Apple in its latest move to organise a press conference tomorrow.
Perhaps Apple actually secretly agress with Microsoft and is scared that the iPhone 4 may turn out to be its equivelant of Vista. If it does not address the issue in some way that actually includes admitting there's a problem and then fixing it for free, the iPhone legacy may see its worst damage done by Apple itself and not its competitors.