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.
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