Verizon Wireless Won't Offer Windows Phone 7 This Year

Microsoft is planning to debut its new Windows Phone 7 platform later this year. If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, however, you'll have to wait even longer to check out Microsoft's latest phone OS. Brenda Raney, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman, told BusinessWeek the carrier won't offer a Windows Phone 7 device at the planned fall introduction or at any point this year. Not all hope is lost, however: Raney also confirmed that Verizon Wireless has plans to support the new OS and is likely to release a phone in 2011.

Microsoft has put great effort into overhauling its mobile phone OS in an effort to compete with Apple's iPhone and smartphones running Android. Although carrier support is definitely helpful when launching a new platform, it's not the only determining factor for success. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with technology research firm Altimeter Group, explains: “The more carriers and the more devices they can bring early on, the more chance they have for mainstream success, but not having Verizon will not make or break it,” he said. “Look at the iPhone -- you don’t need Verizon to be successful in the U.S. in mobile. On the other hand, it would be good for Microsoft to count Verizon in as a named partner early on.”

Don't put too much weight on the fact that Verizon won't be the first out of the gate with a new Windows Phone 7: Raney confirmed the carrier's relationship with Microsoft is "solid." Greg Sullivan, a senior product manager at Microsoft, echoed Raney's comments that a Windows Phone 7 device for Verizon Wireless is likely to come at some point: “Together with our hardware and mobile operator partners, we look forward to bringing Window Phone 7 to market this holiday,” he said in a statement. “Verizon continues to be a key Windows Phone partner going forward.”

In February, Microsoft said carriers such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and Sprint would all offer Windows Phone 7 devices, though a date has not been given. Spokespeople for AT&T and Sprint said the carriers plan to offer Windows Phone 7 devices, though they declined to say when.