Windows Phone 7 is now in the technical preview stage, and that means reviewers are getting their chance to just what it is, and what it’s not. And I must confess I’m more than a little stunned by what Microsoft and the reviewers are saying. Windows Phone 7 is a complete rewrite of the OS that Microsoft developed for the last decade and some as Pocket PC and then Windows Mobile. And in completely rewriting the OS they have left out critical, previously available features such as copy/paste and multitasking and they provide no compatibility with the thousands and thousands of apps developers already produced for their previous mobile OS. They are admitting their previous OS was a complete failure, and they undo the efforts of all those developers who wrote all the great apps that made the iPhone look elegantly stupid for its first three or more years of existence. Microsoft’s mobile platform was seriously flawed, no doubt about it. The paradigm they were using centered around the use of a stylus and this colored every aspect of OS and software design for the platform. There was no elegance in Windows Mobile, it was all the ugliness of PC applications shoved into the discomfort of a small screen; but it was powerful and flexible and unfettered by rules. Perhaps the underpinnings of the OS were so badly written and so inappropriate to a mobile device that they had to be replaced, but even if that’s the case it’s ridiculous to try and out-Apple Apple while simultaneously removing the only good things that Windows Mobile had long represented. With all their billions, surely Microsoft could have at least delivered a technical preview that assured the real thing was going to be at least as good as their old OS while making all the vital finger-focused improvements they desperately needed, and supporting the phenomenal feature-rich apps that developers had already invested all their energies and monies in creating (letting the user make the choice of whether to run these uglier UI apps while the developers have an opportunity to rewrite them). No doubt Microsoft will find success with their copy-catting, I didn’t think the X-Box would stand the test of time when they first decided to get into that game, and they’ve managed it. And while Zune is not succeeding, they’re at least rebranding things to make Zune not about a device but instead about accessing content (on a mobile device, on an X-Box, etc.). Must be nice to have money enough to make people like you.