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Why Netflix <3 Windows Phone 7 (and Why You Should Care)

When people talk about smart-phone platforms, the two that stand out to people (for better or worse) are iPhone and Android. There are a lot of reasons for this; usability, ecosystem (apps, services), and just sheer popularity are all factors. It makes you wonder why a brand-spanking-new platform like Windows Phone 7 would get a popular app like NetFlix before one of the two 300 lb gorillas in the room (Android); and if you really think about it, the Windows Phone 7 app was demoed at the Mix conference (March 15-17) before it was available for the iPhone (August 26). So what is it about Windows Phone 7 that makes a company like NetFlix choose a fledgling OS as their starting point for mobile over the more established platforms?

It turns out that the answer comes down to security (ironic, considering this is Microsoft). According to Wired (via @joebelfiore), Android doesn’t offer a secure enough DRM system to make Hollywood happy. With all of the concerns about piracy digital rights, Microsoft has been able to get a leg up on the competition by building Windows Phone as a secure platform.

Now before I start getting hate mail from the Android faithful, I recognize that NetFlix is coming to Android; but the current plans are for limited device support (can you say fragmentation?); not a full-fledged roll out.

So what does this mean to Joe Consumer? Microsoft is making every effort to make app developers happy and successful with Windows Phone 7 as a platform. This will serve to help the Windows Phone ecosystem (apps and services) grow and mature; which is great news for you and me.

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Reader comments

Why Netflix <3 Windows Phone 7 (and Why You Should Care)

5 Comments

I would imagine that it also has something to do with the fact that netflix switched to silverlight (owned by microsoft). That gives microsoft a lot of control over where netflix goes. For example the roku is basically a customixed linux box but it was given the appropriate software to play silverlight content even though linux in general hasn't. Personally it sounds to me like it's just microsoft making sure they are first to get netflix by keeping silverlight away from everyone else until it's convenient for them.

Yes and no. SilverLight is just the client side tool that is used to render the stream. Again, this is probably due to the DRM capabilities that are built in. Roku and iPhone are perfect examples of NetFlix using something other than SilverLight to render the video stream.

I never said it was a good thing on Windows Mobile. It's a problem (not necessarily a big one) on both platforms. The difference is that Microsoft has resolved it going forward.