Before anything, the you might want to have some ideas about what the following names mean:
Renren: popular SNS in China, equivalent of Facebook
Kaixin: popular SNS in China, smaller in size, equivalent of Facebook AND Renren
Sina Weibo: popular SNS in China, equivalent of Twitter
Tencent Weibo: popular SNS in China, equivalent of Twitter AND Sina Weibo
Douban: popular SNS in China, focuses on movie and book review smaller user base than the others, but extremely powerful on user-generated content.
In short: whatever is blocked in the People Hub, China has at least two very popular clones for it. It’s pretty clear what everyone has been expecting to see in the Chinese version of Windows Phone.
But as we know, none of them is there. Not in the early leaked HTC Triumph, not in the demo units on Microsoft’s launch event earlier this week. No, nada.
So what exactly is happening?
According to WPDang’s sources, ALL of aforementioned Chinese SNS services have been in negotiation with Microsoft, and for quite some time. Renren took interest in Windows Phone as early as summer 2011, and has planted people working closely with Microsoft ever since. Sina first assembled Windows Phone team in July 2011, finished whatever they wanted to build by the end of the same year. Kaixin, Douban, and Tencent all started talking with Microsoft in about the same time frame.
However, Redmond doesn’t think it’s a good time to unleash what they have built just yet, because People Hub is some critical part of the OS, and one small screw-up in any of them partners might end up having the whole phone crashing. And we know Chinese developers aren’t best known for producing safe codes.
According to WPDang, the integration of Renren and Sina Weibo has already been finished. It’s not shipping with initial Chinese phones because there are more tests required by Microsoft. When the first OS update for Chinese phones hits OTA, the frustration might get solved instantly. Other SNS services mentioned above are also being integrated, but the exact progress is unclear.
Except for Tencent, whose progress is pretty clear: it’s frozen at the negotiation stage. The talk between Microsoft and Tencent hit a dead end because Microsoft can’t accept some apparently ridiculous items raised by the latter. Well I guess it’s about money. This being serious business after all. Luckily they are still trying to convince each other. That means Tencent might hop into the People Hub too in the end.
God bless Windows Phone and China. Let’s see what the next OS update is like.