According to a report last week in The Wall Street Journal, Verizon was so discouraged by Microsoft's middleware, specifically the memory footprint of applications and the vendor's delays in rolling them out, that the service provider scrapped some of the software and had its own programmers fill in the needed code. Microsoft has been getting a bit of a bad wrap as a dilatory TV enabler. The first delayed TV rollout powered (or unpowered, I should say) by the vendor was Swisscom's IPTV rollout last year, which failed to launch in mid-2005 as planned--it took a full year to get up and running after that. So Verizon deployed its engineers from Texas and India to work on the software, and they got most of it done on time.
Microsoft made a big hullabaloo about the Verizon FiOS TV contract early last year, and the deal called for licensing Microsoft's Foundation Platform and some consumer-facing applications. While Foundation has remained as part of the deal, Verizon's developers will now build the applications. Apparently, the electronic service guide Microsoft had built required more memory than was available in the Motorola set-top box. The vendor also lagged on developing the app that would enable users to listen to music and look at photos on their TV. Despite all that, Verizon says it's still going to use Microsoft's IPTV middleware when the service provider makes the switch from traditional RF delivery to all-IP, no word yet on a specific timetable for that changeover.
For more on Verizon's cleaning up after Microsoft:
- see this article from Arstechnica