When Will Windows Phone 7 Arrive?

The office pools must be overflowing, as several pundits claim to have found out what day Microsoft will launch its make-or-break Windows Phone 7mobile operating system.

The problem is that the pundits all seem to have an inside line with different sources connected to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), because the rumored dates are proliferating.

For instance, several mobile device enthusiast sites have held for the past three weeks that the launch will be in New York on Oct. 11.

However, with that date looming in just two weeks, it would seem that Microsoft had better tell the media when to show up -- and where -- in order to participate in the rollout.

In fact, gadget site Engadgetsaid Monday it has received an invitation to an important press briefing in London on Oct. 11 at what would be 9 a.m. in New York. That, Engadget argues, is just the right time for the launch to be held simultaneously in New York and London.

However, Paul Thurrott, an industry insider and author of a forthcoming book about Windows Phone 7 wrote Sunday that the New York event is not related to the phones. Instead, he said that Microsoft has a later date in mind for the launch gala in a post to his Windows Phone Secretsblog.

"While I don't know anything about a European launch, I've been told by a very reliable source that the U.S. launch date for Windows Phone is November 8," Thurrott said.

However, if Thurrott is correct, several other closely-watched sites that are claiming the actual shipment of Windows Phone 7 devices is set for Oct. 21, must be wrong.

If that weren't enough, other rumors are making the rounds as well. Last week, the word on tech street was that Windows Phone 7 devices will support "tethering" -- using the phone to provide connectivity to the network for laptops.

Microsoft was unequivocal, however.

"Windows Phone 7 will not support tethering," a company spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

The spokesperson also played down the launch rumors.

"We do not comment on rumors and speculation. As we have said, we are on track to deliver Windows Phone 7 this holiday," the spokesperson added.

Neither did Microsoft have any comment regarding the rampant rumors that have been circulating ever since Stephen Elop, formerly president of the company's Business division, took the job of CEO at Nokiaearlier in the month that the handset giant would release a Windows Phone 7 device.

Nokia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, at least one long-time mobile analyst thinks the plethora of rumors reflects the steep ramp that Microsoft has in front of it.

"It's indicative of the challenge ahead of them, and that's how do you get above the crowd," Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, told InternetNews.com.

Gold didn't have any opinion as to when Microsoft will actually hold the launch gala, but he did address the idea that Nokia would come out with a Windows Phone 7 device.

"Anything is possible, but I'd be shocked ... it would be folly," Gold said. "Nokia already has deep commitments to Symbian and MeeGo, and don't have room for a third mobile operating system," he added.



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