Once again, I think we see Microsoft trying to figure out why Apple is so successful, and coming up with a "cargo cult" response.
Restricting options has always been Apple's hallmark -- they exert tremendous pressure to keep things a certain way (or limited number of ways). But that's a means to an end -- the end is the user experience as defined in the Apple Interface Guidelines. The restrictions only exist to accomplish a much larger and loftier goal.
Microsoft goes to copy Apple again, and believes that if they make a lot of similar restrictions, they will be similarly successful. Unfortunately, they don't have anything like Apple's history of successfully defining the user interface. *sigh*
There is nothing wrong with Apple's strategy, as clearly a good segment of the market wants that sort of structure and consistency and is willing to sacrifice variety and choice to get it. Buying an iPhone is fairly safe, because even if you don't do a lot of research, you know it is going be a pretty good product. I do think this will limit Apple's market share, in the future, though.
If WinMob7 wanted to be a huge success it should have tried to out Android, Android, by giving manufacturers more freedom to produce phones they believe the public wants, only making a better OS than Android.
I do think it was important to initially get WinMob7 running on some very high end hardware, but it should not be required for all WM7 phones. I think they fell a bit short in this, as the first WM7 phone is basically a Samsung Galaxy S which is a very good phone, but is about 3 or 4 months old. Microsoft should have launched on hardware that was ahead of the market, rather than playing catch up.
I do agree Microsoft screws up when they think customers want a closed system (like iPOD). They screwed up with Zune by copying Apple’s closed system. The one thing people hate about apple is that it is closed. They should attack their weaknesses and copy their strengths.
However, in WP7 I do think they have a possible win on their hands. The phone is becoming the new computing platform. Viruses will be taking off and android will be vulnerable to these more so with it’s open platform. iPhone and WP7 will be more secure as there are standards in place. It doesn’t mean they will be fool proof and impossible to get a virus but it does lower the risk (if implemented properly).
Personally I’d like to see them have an option to stay on the closed network or go “free” and assume the risk all by yourself without needing to jailbreak the phone. That would be a winning solution. Just give the user all sorts of warnings and such but allow them to jump off the reservation. And then they can come back by wiping and loading the base OS. That would be sweet.