Angry Birds tweet fury at Redmond
Microsoft lifted our IP to flog new handset, say developers
Microsoft has upset Rovio, developer of Angry Birds, by throwing the game's icon into a list of upcoming software for Windows Phone 7 - a platform with which few brands want to be associated.
Redmond showed the scowling icon for the game in screen shots of upcoming software titles, where it was spotted by WMPowerUser. This prompted angry tweeting from Rovio, who pointed out that it has nothing against Windows Phone 7, but equally has no existing plans to port its best-selling time-filler to that platform, and furthermore, it objects to having its IP lifted.
"Only thing we said that we have not committed to do WP7 yet, we don't like others using our IP without asking," the (not angry) company tweeted.
Which is odd, given the way in which the game icon is used by all and sundry to sell themes, clocks, live wallpapers and other assorted junk apps for Android - which is still awaiting a version of the game itself (promised later this week).
One Angry Bird, though Rovio claims to be keeping its cool
But Microsoft is rather more high profile, and with Windows Phone 7 launching this afternoon, a lot of people are going to be looking at what the platform promises. If Windows Phone 7 achieves any level of success, a degree of which can be assumed given the money Microsoft is piling into it, then Rovio will no-doubt produce a port of Angry Birds, but that work is not underway and Rovio doesn't like the implicit endorsement gained by using its icon.
Quite how that hurts Rovio isn't clear - Windows Phone 7 is being sold as a consumer proposition, so will need a decent stable of games, the Microsoft PR chaps probably thought it was a reasonable assumption that Angry Birds will end up being one of them. But that fails to take into account how supportive Rovio has been of Nokia's efforts: appearing on-stage at Nokia World to wholeheartedly endorse Ovi and, by extension, Symbian.
Enthusiasm like that is hard to come by, and Ovi's ability to support additional features - evidenced by the Eagle option - is a key differentiator in an increasingly commoditised market. Rovio's support of Nokia was very public, and it would confuse matters (and, perhaps more importantly, upset Nokia) to provide similar endorsement to Windows Phone 7.
We're not yet at the stage where a customer will pick a phone based on the software it runs, but we're not that far from it either, so having a back of Angry Birds on your side could be important - even if you're worried about more than porcine larceny. ®
Don't understand the confusion
Are people really finding it that hard to see Rovio's angle? I don't want to be associated with Windows Phone 7. I don't want large corporates insinuating that I'm going to develop for it. Regardless of these issues, I object to large corporates taking my intellectual property and using it in a deceitful manner to sell their products without my permission.
No? Microsoft the good guys here, and Rovio's tweet on the subject a massive overreaction? Don't get that. Not in the slightest.
This is why they're pissed off...
I think this could explain why Rovio are pissed off that MS used their IP (even if the game itself isn't original, the graphics are their own and MS pinched the icon not just the name of the game).
Imagine you're (stupid enough to be) considering buying a Windows-based Smart Phone - if that's not an oxymoron then I don't know what is - and you're looking at the apps that are available / coming soon to help you decide whether to buy it or not. Contrary to the article's author, I know plenty of people that bought an iPhone specifically because of the apps.
So, you see that Angry Birds... that game that all the iPhone owners rave about, and that El Reg covered when it was announced for Android... is available for Windows Mobile. That sounds promising... software vendors are taking this phone OS seriously after all, and it won't be a wasted purchase that ends up in the kitchen drawer along with the N-Gage. So you buy the phone and tie yourself in to a 24-month contract.
However, then you find out that Angry Birds isn't available on the WIndows equivalent of the App Store / Market Place. It's not just delayed, the game isn't even being made for your new phone... in fact that's not the only game or app that's not gonna work on it.
So, who do you blame for this? Are you more likely to think that it's Microsoft who used the logo without asking first, or are you gonna think that Rovio are being bastards and backing out of a (non-existant) deal that you'd banked on happening? My money is on people blaming Rovio for this happening, not Microsoft... so when they next buy another phone, Android or iPhone most likely, and can get games from Rovio they're gonna remember that they got their fingers burnt with that Windows phone that had no apps or games - all because Rovio backed out of releasing Angry Birds for Windows. There's no way that Rovio will get that person's money now.
So Rovio will lose out on potential sales because Microsoft - not Rovio - fooled punters into buying a phone running their dodgy OS.
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Microsoft: "You will port your game to our system"
Rovio: "We're not planning to"
Microsoft: "OK, we'll tell everyone that you are porting it and then you'll have to"