Is Microsoft Screwing Over WinMo Devs?

It seems that Microsoft has decided that they are so far behind Apple and Google on their mobile platform that the only way they can catch up is to build a radically new system and totally break backwards compatibility with legacy Win CE Native APIs and also, it seems, .NET CF WinForms.

According to Windows Phone Team member Charlie Kindel,  the programming environment for Windows 7 "phone series" is .NET with Silverlight GUI and their XNA .NET-based game development platform.

That means all existing Windows CE GUIs will be broken. All apps that rely on C/C++ code will be broken. Holy crap. Am I reading this correctly?

For us, the cost of going from good to great is a clean break from the past. To enable the fantastic user experiences you’ve seen in the Windows Phone 7 Series demos so far we’ve had to break from the past. To deliver what developers expect in the developer platform we’ve had to change how phone apps were written. One result of this is previous Windows mobile applications will not run on Windows Phone 7 Series.

The expertise and familiarity with our tools is not lost. If you are a .NET developer today your skills and much of your code will move forward. If you are Silverlight or XNA developer today you’re gonna be really happy. New developers to the platform will find a cohesive, well designed API set with super productive tools.

I don’t understand what they could be thinking. I mean, it seems like consumers have moved on to iPhone and Android and Enterprises are the remaining big customers for Windows Mobile. How can it be a good idea to break backwards compatibility with custom apps built by your best customers?

I refer you to the great essay from Joel Spolsky, How Microsoft Lost the API War.

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