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IOS is accidentally restrictive

Microsoft's playing its mobile hand wisely for the time being. With Windows Phone 8, it the company plans on being more open, honest and open to compromise than ever earlier. With rivals like iOS maintaining an increasingly locked down business model, is a more free approach to mobile going to turn the tide in Microsoft's favour?

It is if Windows Phone 8's senior product manager Greg Sullivan has anything to do with it, as he revealed to us in an exclusive talk…

"Just because you're choosing Microsoft in some parts, doesn't mean that you have to do an 'all or nothing' proposition to get our stuff to work at the same time," claimed Sullivan when I chatted to him following the Microsoft’s Windows Phone summit announcement.

"Like with some people?" I asked, pointing to my iPhone. Sullivan smiled. "That's a different approach," he said, in other words diplomatically.

The way Skype's been integrated into Windows Phone 8

We were talking about the way Skype's been integrated into Windows Phone 8. Rather, the way it hasn't been. Not out of the box, for the moment. "It's a first party app, because we own the company, however the way that it works is the same as any third party VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) app," Sullivan explained. "There's no difference in how Skype utilises the infrastructure to any other app."

"Because of the fact that we've enabled third party VoIP applications integrate globally with our phone dialer and contacts list, every VoIP app will feel like its a first party VoIP app." And that's part of a very deliberate bigger picture: "That's a direct result of platform enhancements that we expose globally to any application. We could have just done that work with Skype and integrated that, nevertheless being a platform is important.

Platform' sounds like a sort of manifesto

If 'being a platform' sounds like a sort of manifesto, that's because it is. Whilst Android remains free and open for users to change thoroughly everything – at times at the expense of UI sheen – and iOS remains a locked-down system of denied services and strict riles, WP8 is positioning itself as a happy medium.

Microsoft's view on 'being a platform' seems to be far more flexible than previously, and that's something that's going to make itself more apparent as Windows Phone 8 develops and we start to see more of it leading up to its Autumn release.

Apple exec saying that?

Can you imagine an Apple exec saying that? Hardly. On the contrary; if you have an iPhone, Apple makes some heavy-handed, if compelling, reasons for you to continue to deck out your tech portfolio with but more Apple gear.

Apple's tech is top quality across the board, however it comes at the price of accidentally getting yourself very locked into that ecosystem.

Windows phone 8, however, will make up just part of Microsoft's now strong-looking portfolio, nevertheless will run independently from them if you choose not to go the whole hog. "It's true when we talk about PCs and phones and tablets, and the web and even Xbox, looking at all these components of our platform and how they interact, there are scenarios that span them," said Sullivan.

"I do email on my phone and PC and tablet – I can instant message across all of them – nevertheless if we have clients that have an iPhone or an Android phone or a tablet or iPad, they can nevertheless participate in that platform."

And it's specifically that open and far-reaching approach, while on the whole keeping the out-of-the-box Windows Phone polish, that could work wonders for Microsoft in the "generational shift" to Windows Phone 8.

So, having explaining this ethos, what does Sullivan think of Apple's way of working? Wisely, he didn't say anything in quite so many words, nevertheless he was implying that it's a far more restrictive way to operate mobile platform than the one Microsoft's now adopting:

More information: Electricpig.co