Microsoft kills Purple, but keeps going on Pink phone platform

Microsoft is apparently moving forward on a much speculated-about mobile phone platform called “Pink,” which many believe is an effort to create a competitor to Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone.

We know Microsoft is moving ahead because of a new deadline for the completion of the advertising campaign competition Microsoft has just opened for Pink. The competition will be completed by May.

While no one knows exactly what the service will be, all the leaked tealeaves suggest it will be some sort of mobile software platform that aims to compete with the iPhone in some way, likely borrowing technology from Danger, the company Microsoft acquired last year. Danger’s Sidekick phone was very popular among younger people and did have an early software system that worked well via the cloud (that is, all your data is stored on servers, so you can get it back again if you lose your actual device). Pink might be merging that with the existing Microsoft Zune player platform.

Some of Microsoft’s other mobile technologies might also be included. Some people, after originally ruling out that Pink included hardware, are now saying a phone is included after all. However, it may not refer to the “phone” as a physical device, but more the entire platform around it. And we’ve heard from a source close to the company that it includes the ability to sync with other devices, such as PCs. There are unannounced other new devices that will be in this effort, which will be linked to the cloud, this source said.

Added together, the leaks certainly make it sound like some sort of mobile cloud service less focused on hardware than software. Some have speculated it will be like Apple’s MobileMe for Zune devices. MobileMe syncs information from disparate devices and lets you access it on your iPhone. Pink sounds more ambitious than that. What we do know is that Microsoft wants to “pull an XBox” in the mobile world, in order to answer the raging success of the iPhone — and to a lesser extent, Google Android.

VentureBeat has learned that another Microsoft color-coded project, “Project Purple,” has been scrapped. My sources indicate that Project Purple referred to a planned joint Microsoft and LG project to build a customized phone called the Messenger, which would focus on texting.

So it’s back to pink.

From what I can tell from the information I’ve received, any release of Pink is over a year away at the earliest. That means the Zune HD likely has no connections to Pink, and it will be reserved for the next update cycle.

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