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Don't ask me, I only work here

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A refreshing wind of honesty seems to be blowing out of Microsoft's phone division these days.

Yesterday Roberto Cazzaro gave an interview with IDG in which he admitted he had "no idea" if Microsoft new Smartphone software was good enough to be accepted by the carriers.

Cazzaro is director of International Strategy at Microsoft's Mobilie Devices Division, the umbrella for the PDA and phone operations.

This is quite a change to the "World Domination tomorrow...the Universe next week" theme that accompanies so many tech launches, and Microsoft's in particular. But after so many delays and reshuffles to the much-vaunted Stinker platform, it's probably hitting the right theme. Even if the message itself - "heck, even I don't know if this works!" will be frostily received by Microsoft's flagship Smartphone vendor Sendo. Sendo's MS-based phone was been delayed for the fourth time this week.

Last month Cazzaro was obliged to make a rare retraction on behalf of The Beast.

Within 24 hours of informing the press that Microsoft had inked deals with every major US and European wireless carrier, Cazzaro was prodded onto the stage to explain that this wasn't actually the case at all. Promising business deals which don't exist could have exposed Redmond to a class action suit.

Significantly, Cazzaro disclosed that the next version of the phone OS due next spring will be based on a new kernel. Stinker and the troubled Pocket PC 2002 are based on the CE 3.0 kernel.

Actually, pleading ignorance is a strategy which has served two recent British Prime Ministers (Thatcher/Westland; Major/Arms-to-Iraq) and three recent US presidents very well indeed. You can hardly blame IT executives for following this example. Perhaps the next constitutional amendment should be: "Don't ask me - I only work here." ®

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