Microsoft ‘flattered’ by Android 4.0 similarities to Windows Phone

By Tom Warren, on 20th Oct 11 7:39 am with 79 Comments

Andy Lees at All Things Digital D Asia

Microsoft’s Windows Phone chief Andy Lees has compared Google’s recently announced Android “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system with Windows Phone and is flattered by the similarities.

Speaking during an interview with CNET’s Asia, Lees compared Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) People App to Windows Phone’s People Hub. “It’s always flattering when someone starts copying you,” he claimed. “Fundamentally, their point of view is different. They provide you with a grid of icons and a sea of applications and the more functionality you add, the more complicated and difficult to use the phone becomes,” said Lees. Microsoft’s Derek Snyder, Executive speechwriter for Microsoft’s Windows Phone group, also backed up Lees comments on Twitter. In a Twitter message, Snyder claimed that Microsoft has noticed “some familiar things” with the People App, Me card and multi-tasking UI in Android 4.0.

Lees pointed out that both operating systems are very different despite some Android features being inspired by Microsoft’s Metro style. “The problem with the Android model is that (when) somebody decides to do something, they hack up the operating system and they make it work. But that puts it (at) a dead end for that device, and that’s why phones don’t get updated, it’s why sometimes they run applications and sometimes they don’t,” he said.

Lees also addressed some comments from Google’s Andy Rubin, who spoke at the Asia D conference this week. Rubin compared Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices to PC beige boxes, claiming that manufacturers are unable to “add any value,” to the overall experience. “Irrespective of what Andy Rubin says, that’s a universal truth. All of our phones have hardware acceleration, so all of the games run. What we do is we create a set of minimums and a structure, and the structure means that the user experience is coherent,” said Lees.

Microsoft’s claims come months after the company was also flattered by Apple’s iOS 5 Windows Phone features. A number of the features are very similar to ones used in Android and Windows Phone 7. Apple’s iOS 5 added a dedicated hardware button for the camera, built-in Twitter and Wi-Fi sync, all available in Windows Phone. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore, Director of the Windows Phone program, tweeted his feelings at the time. “Feeling flattered today,” said Belfiore after referencing a number of iOS 5 features.

Image Credit: Asa Mathat | All Things Digital

  • Anonymous

    It’s funny how Apple innovates, then Google copies. Microsoft innovates and then Google copies. Do they think they can just get away with copying stuff constantly?

    • da00-00

      Well Android is Linux.. Thats just what linux does. Copies from everyone else.

    • da00-00

      And I dont mean linux as its one organization, but the developers behind a distro copies from everywhere else.

    • Penta2100

      Except Ubuntu. I think the iphone copied the store from ubuntu. I know it had it before mac os x did though.

    • Natanael L

      Well of course the developers in open source shares their code with each other. That’s kind of the point.
      But they hardly ever write pure clones of other software, most of it is written from scratch by OSS developers at one point and then built upon by others who add more innovations and new features.

      It’s not like even 0,1% of all development in Linux are like ReactOS (WinXP clone down to being able to run the same drivers and having the same binary APIs).

      Also, take a look at KDE’s development the last few years as well as Gnome and Unity in Ubuntu.

    • J A

      These are all valid reasons why opensource does not really go anywhere mainstream. Android is the only “open” source OS that has reached such user base but then once people find out what Andy Lees is saying they tend not to return to android after their first experience because it feels as though different teams worked on different parts of it, it is choppy as opposed to smooth like WP and so many things go wrong, talk less of not reeiving updates and apps not working uniformaly across the board. All this points to the fact that Android is only a temporary thing and will fall over time due to these ane many other issues with it. A major issue being that they do not hold fiscal value; today oyu hear of a new android device, a couple of weeks down it is already cheap or free. OEMs are not profitting form it despite the licensing and patent suits and fees that comes with it. For these reasons alone, they are all looking to WP for handsets and Windows 8 for tablets. Android will die a slow death and there is nothing Google can do about it.

    • Zikalify

      Yes gnome shell looks exactly the same as windows 7 doesn’t it.. /s

    • Marc Brooks

      And OSX is linux too.  It all goes back to K&R baby!

    • Anonymous

      No, OS X is the front end UI to Darwin which is based on BSD and is 100% POSIX compliant.  Linux is not 100% POSIX compliant.

    • Anonymous

      Apple never innovates.
      Google does innovate.
      Microsoft is the most capable and most concerned about innovation.

    • Pedro Roque

      Except for search, where did Google innovate anything?

    • Hey

      Browser, Web app creation

    • Rafael

      @fde487a183353e6d597f2614a8a03a92:disqus are you kidding? Browser and web app creation?
      First, the browser is made on Webkit and has no unique features that you can call innovation. Second, Web apps simply are Web pages with HTML5 and other technologies, apps that run on any browser, they weren’t invented by Google, this is W3C thing: Web standards! But if you want to say that creating a store with apps that should be working on any browser but are in such a masked way closing the Web to only work on Chrome is an innovation, then you’re right!

    • lhan16

      Google Wave??? duh.

    • Marc Brooks

      That crashed on shore…

    • Anonymous

      Explain all the innovation out of MSFT, I haven’t seen it. Whereas with Apple, you get it like every year something mind blowing!

      Unibody Macs, mag-safe connectors, their newer power adapters, iPhone 4, Retina Display, Siri, iPad, A5 processor, Apple Cinema Display, etc…

    • Jason Boyd

      Remember though that MSFT has been stalled for the past decade or so from innovating anything new due to the antitrust hearings back in the 90′s. That ban was only recently lifted, which is when they started innovating in WP7. You definitely need to take a look at WP7.5 Mango, it really is a thing of beauty and is leagues better then the original WP7 release last year

    • Marc Brooks

      Unibody: You mean like cars, for decades?

      Mag-Safe: You mean like my electric skillet, for decades?

      Power adapters: (need more info on that innovation)

      iPhone 4: (too sweeping to address)

      Retina Display: You mean like my Samsung AMOLED, for 2 years before?

      Siri: You mean like VLingo (released for the iPhone in  Dec of 2008!) or Dragon Go (released in July, 2011)?

      iPad: You mean like my Dauphin DTR-5000 (made in the mid 1990s) or the perhaps my HP TX-2500, nearly 6 years old now.

      A5 processor: You mean like every other ARM-9 + PowerVR  based processor… with some major tweaks by the people that MAKE IT, Samsung? (p.s. the A4 and A5 were designed by P.A. Semi, which Apple bought to bring design inhouse)

      Apple Cinema Display: So, a monitor? Meh.

    • Anonymous
    • Guest

      the retina display wasn’t created by apple, voice recognition technologies like Siri have been around since windows vista and XP, tablets like the iPad have existed since 2001, the A5 processor is much less powerful than an intel processor… Apple doesn’t innovate they just make stuff the way it was supposed to be done.

    • randy williams

      -iPhone 4: Mostly all the parts are made by Samsung
      -Retina Display: In-Plane Switching was developed by Hitachi Ltd. in 1996
      -Siri: brought a company then put it into their phone as if they invented it
      -iPad: just a humongous iTouch on steroids (definitely nothing innovsative about that)
      -A5 Processor: Yep once again made by Samsung

      So where did they innovate other than re-branding other companies technologies??

    • Justfortherecord

      Jonathan Ive’s likes to rip off all the hot German design and tech companies. Some are more shameless then others. I believe Ive’s watches the movie 2001 “A Space Odyssey” for inspiration if not straight up copying.  We could say this. Apple would be nowhere without Jobs, but without Ives Apple would be an irrelevant computer company with less than 3% of the PC market and yest Apple Mac’s are PC’s. And potentially on its death throws.

    • Anonymous

      Apple rips off visual artists and every other company rips off Apple. Which is better?

    • Copolii

      It’s funny how your head is so far up your ass that you consider years old technology “innovation” a white shiny box isn’t innovation when what goes in it is all old technology.

    • Jason Boyd

      No, the innovation is creating something that runs fast, smoother. and better on that ‘years old’ technology as opposed to the stuff that is running on the bleeding edge. That dear troll is innovation

    • Jubbin Grewal

      Didn’t Apple just copy Android in iOS?

    • ahmed

      I totally Disagree Bcoz The Real Comparison is hear MUST View Guyz  Microsoft WP7 Mango Vs Android IceCream 4.0 Vs Apple iOS 5 [Pics & Video Comparison]

    • a-mark

      WOOO this is the real Post Now Android Is Flattered with WP& Mango 

  • HTD

    Then why don’t they copy the market share of wp7 too! Wait wha?

  • Aymen

    So sad to see this, Microsoft Windows Phone Team did a big work to add new original things to the SmartPhones OSs including People Menu with all that social networking integration and metro style

    • Jantje

      Google nor anyone else can ever make something exactly the same as MS. That’s why it’s flattering if they try but not really a threat to MS.
      A famous dutch saying goes: “Better stolen properly than invented badly” hmm on second thought this is a bit crappy translation but I hope you get the point.

    • Copolii

      Your logic is as bad as your translation. Microsoft innovated nothing with WP7. If it was such a great product, it would have sold, yet in terms of sales it’s nowhere near Android. 

    • AlienSix

      Hard to sell something when you dont advertise 

    • George Bakos

      right now if i go to a store in order to buy a handset I am gonna see some iphones, a couple of nokia handsets and a ton of android phones….. android has flooded the market…consumers right now don’t have much of a choice…this has to change!

    • Jantje

      Excuse me? please do try to make a better translation as you presumably are capable of….?
      I never said WP7 was a great product, although I do think it is. Like it or don’t I don’t care that much but you simply cannot deny that they have made something really different with WP7. So basicly: yes they have innovated a lot. Also: if it was crap like you’re suggesting, why would android or apple try to copy some features/lay-out?

      I don’t mind if you disagree or argue, but please do try to post with actual arguments that make sense.

    • Natanael L

      @facebook-1332140310:disqus More MeeGo! :)

    • Joshua Godwin

      Go troll Somewhere else Fandroid….Just because Justin Bieber sold a million records you can’t compare him to Beethoven Bach and Mozart.

    • Anonymous

      Dude STFU… do you even remember how much Android sold on it’s first year? it took android around a year and half to take some significant sales and WP7 is not even a year old. So please don’t be trolling around. MS is right on track to their goal once people see their options and some of the sales people are corrected on doing sales for Android without giving customers the option of WP7 or guiding them away from WP7. And I say this because this has been happening for quite a while.

    • Anonymous

      Somebody just spam this fool:

    • Kim Huldén

      George Bakos puts it pretty good, Right now, like he sais, if I go to a store to get a phone, what you have to pick from is some Nokia Devices with Symbian, the iPhones, and then basically just a bunch of Android phones, There is not much to pick from. AT the stores that I’ve visited before I got my WP7 Phone, many of them either had none, or very few (maybe 2-3) models of phones running Windows Phone 7. So ofcourse that Android gets lots of sales, but that is mostly due to there is simply alot of them to pick from, that is being advertised. And with all of them mostly looking different with their custom UI’s slapped on by the manufacturer, the average customer does not know that they are getting the same system, even though it looks different.

      Where I got my Samsung Omnia 7, they did not even have that one on display! The one they did have on display was the LG Optimus 7, Which was the one I wanted, but they were out of stock, so they first tried to push the Samsung Galaxy 2 running Android, but I said no and specified I wanted an Windows Phone 7 phone, the cashier, nice as she was, checked the stock and then came out with an HTC..cant remember the model name, RUnning Windows Phone 7, but I was not so sure, so she went in and pulled out the Omnia 7, I liked the looks, and even though it costs me ~£9 more a month (atleast I can browse the internet how much I want on it, no limit, just goes slower after 2 GB of usage, and call  for £20(also set a limit that I cant call anyone or text after I hit that limit, so simply have to wait till month is over)) I loved the design of it, and the phone is very smooth. So it was a bit of a hassle, but I got a Windows 7 Phone, And I could not be happier.

      Just wish they would show them off a bit more, they are awesome devices.

    • Jason Boyd

      In terms of Android NOW maybe not, but in terms of Android in one year of launch, WP7 is doing better than Android did. Even WP7′s marketplace has grown quicker than Android’s did. 

      I love how all you fandroids love to use skewed stats. Like the marketshare for Android is so over inflated due to Google counting each rooted device as a new activation.. that’s called double counting in the real world. I bet if Google released the actual numbers of how many active handsets their are currently, and also removed all the malware, cloned apps, and retarded soundboards they have in the marketplace, that you fandroids would have nothing to be so smug about and would finally shut your filthy traps

    • Guest

      Great != successful. If you’re too stupid to know that, maybe you shouldn’t be lecturing others about “logic”,

    • Anonymous

      @google-dee5df1e23521e3ac492bc9315a21367:disqus I’m gonna use that analogy from now on. Credit will be given where due, unlike these giant companies though! 

  • Brand1960

    Google thinks that they can shamelessly copy anyone

  • Brand1960

    Google is born to copy!

  • Whatever

    Its funny how all 3 of them gain inspiration from ea other, resulting in the consumer getting the best technology, but its even funnier that only 2 of them have to sue and make it sound as if they have never copied anyone and have the rights to throw stones from the house made of glass while sitting on high horses. Its also funny that one of them had made leaps and bounds in 3 yrs, imagine the next 3. Smells like fear- also sounds like it. Me thinks you doth protest too much brutus. But what do I know? I’m just an average guy who uses a cell phone.

    • Anonymous

      Microsoft doesnt sue, they have patents deal which is very different and keep good partnership. While Apple just sue the hell out of everybody to keep growing their e-penis.

    • Anonymous

      what planet do you live on, do I really have to rhyme of some cases Microsoft are currently involved in. 

      apple and Microsoft are both sueing because they are not doing as well as expected. It always happens just as manufacturers of resorted to the courts when their business began to disappear.

  • J. Davies

    I like the behaviour of the Windows phone guys. If these guys, and the PowerShell group, are omens of the future, I think Microsoft could be a company I’d grow to love.

    • Siddarth Malhotra

      Yeah, they behave well and use the right words. The points Google makes ‘maybe’ correct but the way their head-honchos say it…ughh

  • President Baltar

    i do hope MS kicks their teeth in soon

    the copycat thing is a problem but even bigger one is that they suck at it
    just look at that mess of stolen design elements Google calls a ‘user interface’ on Android…

    • Natanael L

      Stolen? Did the contacts app just disappear on all WP7 phones? :O

  • Salma Albabtain

    Are you suggesting that “copying” is not OK white “stealing” is OK?
    Shame on you Microsoft..

    • Jantje

      What do you mean? what has MS stolen? I’m not reading anything about copying not being OK. Just some sings of a grown ego because they were copied.

    • Anonymous

      MSFT openly stole the Mac GUI in the 80s for Windows. In fact Apple sued back then about it.

    • Guest

      And lost on all counts except slightly modifying the garbage can icon. Funny how you left that part out, eh shill?

    • Jason Boyd

      All you Apple fanboys like to leave out the real facts. Like guest already said, they lost that lawsuit, and do any of you remember that your beloved (late) Steve Jobs almost ran Apple into the ground with his arrogance? and that it was MSFT that bailed them out in the 90′s with $150 million that Bill said didn’t need to be repaid. As far as I’m concerned, you people need to thank MSFT for your precious iPhones,iPods, and iPads

    • Anonymous

      Jason Boyd – remember it’s Apple that is making 66% of mobile industry profits and MSFT 0%.

    • Guest

      Dude, in case you missed it MS isn’t here. And your comment before that makes absolutely no sense.

  • Copolii

    Wow … didn’t know Windows phone has fanboys too. As long as Microsoft makes twice as much money from Android sales than their own pathetic Winblows phone 7, they should just shut the F up. Nobody copies a failure and that’s what the WP7 has been.
    Don’t flatter yourself Micro$oft. You’ve got nothing worth ‘copying’.

    • AlienSix

      Oh look a troll, how quaint 

    • Anonymous

      In my country we call people like you, “a weak man, who is also a fool” you have absolutely zero integrity. You think you came here to bash on something and try to convince others that you are valid, right? Instead you just showed a weakness in your belief and enormous jealousy, because deep inside you care about that other product that is in some ways better than yours! You are a weak man, who yells it out loud!

    • Anonymous

      Whatever you just replied to Copolii also applies to you.

      That makes you a “a weak man, who is also a fool”

    • George Bakos

      hope you enjoy the new ”pathetic” people ”hub” on your android phone because guess what….that was an idea stolen from microsoft…I hope you alse enjoy the new multitasking stolen from webOS….grow up already and get your facts right!

    • Anonymous

      Dude you need to chill with all this negativity and abuse…
      A bit more maturity when making comments naturally aligns people with your school of thought, but when you start bashing and insulting people cos they think differently only makes you look weak.


      ps.. Windows phone is great (er)

    • Lewis McCrary

      Hey Tom, I think comments that contain “winblows” or “microsux” should be highlighted and stickied to the very top so we can throw all of our recycled electrons at the trolls. :)

    • Anonymous

      don’t forget microfails! .D

  • Jackniel Delgado

    Google is recognising that MS isn’t joking no more. I hope with Nokia and some low-end WP7s around The World can catch Android at some point. Plus ads MS is failing with no Open TV ads, I don’t get it MS has a lot of Money I hope they show ads soon. Other than that I would love to see WP7s with at least qHD resolutions screens and An Improved Camera and Camcorder w/ Xtra features!

  • Ef Jay

    They should be outraged, google will use the stolen features to grow their market share even further while WP continues to struggle, which ultimately, just like the ipad could turn out to affect their core PC business.

    Microsoft really needs to be more aggressive with Windows Phone, this nice guy approach won’t get them very far.

    • Natanael L

      Stolen? Since when did it disappear from all WP7 phones?
      (Because that’s the very definition of stealing, it has to disappear from somewhere.)

      Also – seriously? I don’t see you complaining about Windows using computer screens for output, they were CLEARLY not the first ones to do that. And also, they were not the first with either squares, lines or grids of icons or lists of apps.

      Also, MS have copied pretty much the entire business model of Apple with the exception that they’re selling WP7 licenses to phone OEMs.

    • Jason Boyd

      What I hate is that all the fandroids will do exactly what all the apple fanboys do. They will get ICS and immediately think Google innovated it and that MSFT has copied Android.

  • Someone

    Microsoft copied copy/paste feature from Android…

    • Joshua Godwin

      Copy paste was present in Windows Mobile 5 long before Android.. Go Troll somewhere else.

    • tdmiller productions


  • wp7 sucks

    Shame all this doesn’t seem to be converting into sales for WP7!

    • Anonymous

      There has been no major advertising campaign for WP7 until now. Remember Apple marketed the frak out the iPhone until it got going. So did the Android makers.

  • WixosTrix

    Their who Roboto design language is a copy of Metro.  Even the way they describe it.  That promo video is very Windows Phonesq as well, smh…

  • Guest

    Lees may be flattered, but it’s a serious competitive concern. Effectively both Apple and Google are doing what MS used to do: embrace the innovations of others and then claim them as your own. As long as you keep doing that, it makes it very hard for the new platform to gain any traction.

  • Guitargooo

    I really don’t understand why so many people immediately jump to sides on an issue like this. Let’s look at the facts: WP7 had features that Android and iOS did not, now iOS and Android do. The point is, Microsoft’s WP7 is just beginning. iOS and Android, which have been around for a few years now, didn’t have the features that WP7 had until now.