They were the first smartphone for many of us. The HTC blueAngel, the ATT 8525, etc.. They showed us what the portable internet could look like. But you needed a stylus and they never really innovated the OS. We were stuck on clone OS's called pocket PC, Pocket PC 2000, Pocket PC 2002..2003, Windows Mobile 2003, 2003 SE, WM5, WM6, WM6.1, WM6.1.5, WM6.5 WM6.5.5 and hacked WM7. Up to 2010, they still insisted on using that damn start button. We waited for a new versions but were continually let us down with versions still based off Windows CE which is at heart still windows desktop lite. Upgrades were rarely ever available, instead you had to buy a new phone or find the cracked leaks.
More importantly, Microsoft appeared to simply not care about aesthetics and simply wanted to force us to believe they were putting a good effort. They released almost no apps for it, they encouraged few to join them, didn't care about video hardware games or user complaints.
When Apple became king of the hill in 2007, Microsoft reacted to us that were loyal to them as if we were on crack and were in love with a false God. Balmer said that iphone was a joke and never would make it. We all saw the writing on the wall except Microsoft.
Now Microsoft comes up with a new OS, again tied to its desktop and we're supposed to trust them? Who is to say that Microsoft won't simply throw in the towel on smartphones and leave users hanging. AT least Google has proven that they are in this for the long haul. Palm, Microsoft, and Blackberry have a long way to catch up in sales and really haven't don't enough to cause most of us to abandon our new platforms.
Iphone gave us the cool multitouch phone with no stylus, Android gave us cool Widgets. Both gave us robust app stores and support their developers.
To win me back, Microsoft would have to prove they are in this for the long run. Keep revising the O.S., publicly announce the upgrades and the improvements the EXISTING phones will be getting and be innovative with something. Lately all we hear about when it comes to innovation is Google and Apple. Google has the NFC Near field communications, killer video chips, face unlock. Apple has the cool looking phones, Siri, and integration with googleTV or apple TV.
Microsoft, you're up next...