Microsoft joins Google and Apple with fragmentation.
Microsoft has long been known as a company who continues to support older equipment with their OS software. They have done that for many years with their backward compatible phrase which meant that the latest version of the OS would work with your computer. Even now as they start to have hardware requirements which require you to make sure that your computer is compatible, they did not leave people hanging. That is until it came to announcing the latest version of the Windows Phone OS. And with that, they are announcing that there is no upgrade path for Windows Phone 7 owners.
What this all means is that only new hardware will be able to support Windows Phone 8. Any phone which is sold with Windows Phone 7 is stuck with that version and has no hope of upgrading to the latest OS from Microsoft which is coming this year. That is horrible news for those who have purchased their phone in the last 6 months. Even Google with their Android OS has provided an upgrade path to Ice Cream Sandwich for most of the phones recently purchased. Apple, who does things much better than Google, supports back to the iPhone 3GS with the latest version of iOS.
While we do expect to see some fragmentation over time where some owners are able to upgrade their smart phone to the latest OS and others purchase a new phone which contains the latest OS, we have not seen this kind of a situation quite like this. It is unlike Microsoft to deliver horrible news to those who have recently purchased a Windows Phone OS mobile device.
That is unless you look at Nokia who has abandoned their Symbian OS to partner with Microsoft and their Windows Phone 7. Even those who have purchased the recent Nokia handsets are out of luck for Windows Phone 8 and do not have an upgrade path. What they will get is a Windows Phone 7.8 version which is supposed to have a closer look and feel to Windows Phone 8. Not much consolation for them.
It is very unlike Microsoft to draw a line in the sand like this and create this kind of fragmentation which Google has been taking heat over for a long time. If this is the “New” Microsoft, they are going to be doing similar things in the future which may leave some people hanging when Microsoft comes out with new versions of their software.