back to article Microsoft cuts out paste

Windows Phone 7 Series won't be able to cut and paste, as Microsoft continues to create something with all the limitations of the iPhone and little of the charm. Microsoft has confirmed comments made at MIX10 that Windows Phone 7 Series devices won't be able to cut and paste between applications - apparently users don't want …


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  1. TRT Silver badge

    It's not just for phone numbers

    What about when Micro$haft send you a 16 digit activation code for a piece of software/phone app via email?

    1. SuperTim

      They really are special....

      I agree.

      I am amazed that they assume that nobody will need it because of other functionality. Cut and paste is as old as the windowed environment but microsoft "know" better.


      1. Kevin 6


        I think cut/copy and paste is older than the windowed environment seeing I remember one of my old ass word processors that came out before windows had it. Can't remember its name for the life of me though. Hell I think it was on the C-64

    2. Aaron 10
      Gates Horns


      You're right. Copy and paste functionality existed on my TI-99/4a in 1982 in the TI-Writer word processing application. This was a text-only application that used the TI's function keys to copy and paste text.

    3. Anonymous Hero

      Sorry dude you fail...

      "Micro$haft" jeez your so hip and the bozo bit is now flipped on you.

  2. jonathan keith
    Gates Horns


    Such a shame, I was really looking forward to the 7 phones after the announcement, but all the news since the launch is bad, bad, bad. Can't do this, can't do that.

    When's Maemo 6 due?

    1. Greg J Preece


      First version's out later this year, I believe. And N900 users get a backported update to it! Woot!

      1. mccp


        That's put me off for a start.

    2. romega
      Paris Hilton

      @Maemo 6

      It isn't... Maemo and Moblin merged last week- Meego is their latest offing. El Reg has some articles on here somewhere...

      Paris cos I need her glasses *mumble grumble*

  3. Andy ORourke

    I wondered what the big deal was

    I mean, I've got a 1st gen 2g iPhone and I didn't really miss cut and paste and just thought all the people slagging off the iPhone for not having cut & paste would have slagged off the iPhone regardless of what feature it didn't have that they thought was essential.

    I now use the cut and paste facility quite extensivley and I wonder how the original phone could have been allowed to be released without this feature and why Apple were not slagged off more for not having cut & paste (OK, the slagging was quite severe!).

    Just goes to show, you don know what you are missing until a common computer feature turns up in your phone OS update!

    Not a raving fanboi, only own the iPhone, don't really rate the PC's because I was given a 1st gen iMac from work which I hated with a vengence but I do know this, I will never own a phone from any other manufacturer :-) (wife just got a Motorola Dext Blur thing and it looks nice but battery life sucks, screen sensitivity is awful and navigation is counter intuitive)

    1. Macka

      I agree

      Apple took their sweet time implementing cut and paste, but in the end they did it right. It works well and it's quick. I use it a lot now, just about every day: even if it's just to copy some text I want to paste into the browser search field.

      I was looking at Android phones recently to see if one could be a possible alternative to the iPhone when I'm ready to upgrade next (I'm waiting for this year's iPhone refresh) and got a friend who has a Hero to show me its cut and paste. What a long winded nasty mess!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    MS seem absolutely determined to screw this OS up...

    Seriously. It's turning into a bit of a catastrophe. It's like they're copying every single one of Apple's mistakes and lacking most of the advantages.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      To screw it up you'd have to make it worse than it already is - a logical impossibility.

  5. Monty Burns

    So business edition is seriously diferent then!

    Copy and paste HAS to be in the "business" edition, can you imagine working on Word and Excel documents without it???

    So avoid the basic consumer version then ......

    Man, i really, really appreciate 6.5.5 now!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't count the number of times I've used copy & paste

    On my Nexus One that is. Pretty useful, even when you're not using things like an ssh client, server monitors, etc.

    One thing I wish Android would mimic would be the method of showing a magnifying glass so you can finely select the cursor position with your finger rather than using the roller/d-pad. It's a great feature on the iPhone, probably been patented though.

    1. ThomH

      I miss that too

      But on the other points raised in this article, at least now Android makes it easy to write native code that calls out to OpenGL, games being the single most popular type of app on consumer mobile phones. It looks like Microsoft haven't learnt that lesson. Is it possible they nailed down the Windows 7 Mobile feature set somewhere before whenever iPhone OS 2.0 was?

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Cut & Fail

    More un-engineering failures

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Hopping on the ol' war wagon

    I quite like Windows Mobile (only because of the software I need on my work phone) and when I first saw Windows Phone 7, I wasn't too keen on the interface but chose to reserve judgment until I tried it out.

    Then came the announcement that my HD2 won't be getting the upgrade to the new OS. Pity... but OK. The hardware restrictions seem a bit much, but no matter.

    Now one of the most basic - and most used by me - functions is getting the chop? I am liking this new offering less and less.

    I fear I may eventually have to switch to something less restrictive... <cough>Android<cough>

  9. Fuzz

    This OS is just sounding worse and worse

    I like windows phones, I've had one for a number of years, and my current HTC diamond works really well.

    The iphone has loads of advantages over the current windows mobile, but Microsoft seem to be wanting to copy the disadvantages.

    Copy and paste has been in the OS all the time I've used it (since 2002). Anybody who's ever had a new windows mobile device will be familiar with the startup tuition wizard that teaches you how to copy and paste an event in your calendar.

  10. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    The Microsoft Time Machine.

    The Nokia 9000 onwards all had cut 'n' paste.

    DOS apps had cut 'n' paste.

    ICL mainframes from the 70's had cut 'n' paste.

    Unfortunately the microsoft time machine only goes backwards.

    1. Sooty

      *between applications* is quite important

      DOS certainly didn't let you cut and paste between applications, as you could only run one at a time, and i'd be surprised if an ICL mainframe did too.

      There's nothing that specifically says it wont allow copy/paste within an application.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: *between applications* is quite important

        "DOS certainly didn't let you cut and paste between applications, as you could only run one at a time, and i'd be surprised if an ICL mainframe did too."

        My experience is that you copy the piece of text you want (using the cursor keys and PF keys natch) and then stop the application and start the new application, ready for pasting.

        If it's possible on mainframes from the 70s, it should be possible on a phone - one of them is more advanced than the other, surely?

  11. The Other Steve

    OK, that really is stupid

    Is there one of those "in this release" caveats on that ?

    Hell, maybe MS just realised that Copy/Paste on the iPhone sucks like a vaccum and decided they couldn't do any better

    Or maybe, just maybe, MS are genuinely going to replay every single step out of Apples iPhone design and marketing strategies over the lifetime of the product. If nothing else that will certainly be amusing to watch.

    1. D@v3


      cut and paste on the iphone is completely reasonable.

      on the other hand, the only thing microsoft will ever release that doesn't suck will be a vacuum cleaner.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        microsoft vacuum cleaner

        surely that would be the first item to both suck and blow at the same time

        1. Oninoshiko
          Paris Hilton

          Tell them to get a patent on that one!

          They will make a killing after the next AEE...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Gates Horns

          RE: microsoft vacuum cleaner

          "surely that would be the first item to both suck and blow at the same time"

          Unless you count Vista etc etc

      2. The Other Steve


        It isn't, it's a complete pain in the arse, thanks.

        "on the other hand, the only thing microsoft will ever release that doesn't suck will be a vacuum cleaner."

        Oh I see, a blinkered fanboi, oh well.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          RE: actually

          The Other Steve wrote: "It isn't, it's a complete pain in the arse, thanks."

          It isn't, it's usable and FAR more usable than not having cut&paste at all...

          >"on the other hand, the only thing microsoft will ever release that doesn't suck will be a

          > vacuum cleaner."

          "Oh I see, a blinkered fanboi, oh well."

          Oh, I see, someone without any sense of humour, oh well :)

  12. Greg J Preece

    Oh the irony

    When the iPhone came out, the phrase I heard often was "Christ, even Windows Mobile can do cut and paste!"

    Oooh dear...

  13. The Original Steve

    Hmmm - on the fence

    I slagged the iPhone for not having something my staple Symbian based platform of choice has had for years and years - yet the more I think about it... I can't remember the last time I used C&P. Even for SSH, browsing the web etc... My Nokia's in recent years detect phone numbers, URL's and email addresses and provides context when selected such as to navigate / save to bookmark for URL's, add as a contact or call for number etc...

    Yet before that I never used C&P anyway...

    Was big on getting a WP7 handset at launch, but I'm more likely to hold off until the reviews are out I think. If MS promised the next release or two post RTM of the first one will be accessible and free then I'd jump straight onboard - but I'm not committing until I know I can get future enhancements I think...

  14. alistair millington


    I thought the stuff yesterday was great for the demise of the win 7 phone OS. It just gets better, what next?

    No USB support as blue tooth is the way forward?

    No MMS, because like Nokia with the N900, some tupid moron decides that EVERYONE wants to upload photos instead of sending them to a friend. Don't they?

    They can copy Apple all they want, it is an MS product, so it will need an anti virus to run all the time just to be reasonably safe. And it won't like open source, won't like plug and play to anything other than windows 7 etc etc.

    I love it, I couldn't write the lunacy of Ballmer any better that his current media gaffs over win 7 phones.

    We need a new icon, somewhow FAIL just doesn't do it.

    1. The Other Steve

      Only not

      "it is an MS product, so it will need an anti virus to run all the time just to be reasonably safe."

      Not if apps have to be signed in the same way as as the iPhone's. And if all code is managed rather than native, the likelihood of successful exploitation of existing apps is lowered significantly.

      Not gone altogether, but the iPhone, which does allow native code (and ObjC allows you to do all the stupid things you can do in C by virtue of being a strict superset) seems to have been (so far) remarkably resilient to that type of pwnage considering the number of units deployed and the likely demographic of the user base.

  15. DarrDarr

    Microsoft's not the only corporate FAIL

    When you build things by committee it's not unusual to end up with products that satisfy nobody.

    Yet with Orwellian rationalization, the idiom "nobody's perfect" leads to RTM.

    Over there where GSM is the accepted standard I can see why the iPhone is so popular, but over here in the states CDMA/EV-DO has over twice the coverage (e.g. an iPhone has 'no signal' within 5 miles of my home in any direction).

    Still, most of the offerings from Samsung (I think they're Java/J2ME) that are offered by the CDMA carriers (e.g. Sprint, Verizon, et al) don't have copy/paste either.

    Other universal features I'd like to see adopted by all manufacturers:

    When I'm in the browser, being able to dispatch a text to someone with the URL of the site I'm currently viewing, instead of having to open the texting app and manually type in the URL (since, of course, there is no copy/paste).

    Other keyboard layouts besides QWERTY on touch screens... if we have to type with our thumbs, at least put the most-used letters next to each other.

    If a stylus is included, ALWAYS provide a storage slot/hole for it on the device.

    Being able to edit the URLs of bookmarks, not just their titles.

    1. StooMonster

      Big old wide world

      "Over there where GSM is the accepted standard" where "over there" means the rest of the world excluding the USA?

      Darn that Global System for Mobiles, we didn't invent it so we'll do our best to ignore it until it goes away.

      1. Simon 85

        More like accepted mobile standard

        We even managed to get the whole of Europe to work on the same 3G frequencies too.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Some US carriers do support GSM

        Several US carriers implement GSM and UMTS, just they tend to use weird frequencies because other frequencies are already allocated. Hence the reason for quad band phones which can cope with the various frequencies used in the US and other parts of the world.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    WPA2 Passwords

    I use 64+ character scrambled eggs passwords for my WPA2 WiFi networks.

    Before copy and paste, adding an iPhone to one of these networks was a nightmare, to put it mildly.

    They can't implement it for some technical reason, and are trying a little Revlon Lip Gloss on the porker.

  17. Reg Varney

    Bullet in chamber? Check. Pointed at foot? Check...

    Who are these dumbass "users who don't want it"? WTF is wrong with these retards, and where on earth did MS manage to find such drooling cretins?

    Or maybe they don't exist, and MS are being stupid? Nah, couldn't be

    1. SuperTim

      they found their dumbass users.....

      in one of their board meetings!

  18. Andrew James

    Well that proves it

    Windows Phone 7 Series is as ridiculous as it's name.

  19. some-reg-reader

    "Everyone is desperate to ape Apple's success, but no one's learning from its mistakes"

    "Everyone is desperate to ape Apple's success, but no one's learning from its mistakes"

    Excuse me ... bit of a rant maybe? Lots of companies have learnt from Apple's mistakes, including Apple.

    Look at the Nokia N900 for example. Copy and Paste to your hearts content. ;-) And true FULL HTML/JS browsing in FireFox. And it runs on Linux. And you have root access - so you can do what you want and install what you want, without breaking the warranty. Perfecto.

  20. Jolyon

    I very rarely use copy & paste on my phone

    But when I do I really, really want it; would be incredibly frustrating not to have it.

    Clunky or fiddly I could understand on a touch phone but absent is just not good enough.

  21. Rob Moir

    It's a shame

    but Microsoft really do seem determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on this. All the stuff about this new phone OS sounded OK when they announced it and its only since they started to fill in the gaps that the bad stuff has come out.

    1. The Other Steve
      Gates Horns

      Thats's the MS Way

      Buy it now, because in the future we will fix these things that suck! What ? Oh yes we'll charge you for the upgrade.

      They generally take (at least) three releases of something to get anywhere near a decent level of functionality because they're usually rushing to market to keep up with some competitor or other. Their first release is often just a place-holder to let people know that they are in a particular market. Windows itself is a perfect example of this. Windows Phone 9 Series will probably be reasonably featureful but if they leave it until then, they won't have any presence in a market that they're already playing serious catch up in.

      One of the things that Apple have got bang on right with the iPhone is that you get OS updates for free. MS have never, ever, done this before with their OSes, but then until the iPhone, neither had Apple. If MS are just directly ripping off Apple's business model, it is to be hoped that they incorporate this part of it, because one of the most annoying things about WinMo was never being able to get upgrades without using a pirate ROM.

      1. Rob Moir


        That's problematic for Microsoft phones for a start - they aren't actually Microsoft's phones are they? They're HTC's or HP's or whoevers.

        HTC did actually produce free, legal upgrades for at least some of their phones mind you, but a lot of phone carriers didn't release the upgrades that HTC had produced to their customers.

        1. The Other Steve
          Jobs Horns

          True, True

          "That's problematic for Microsoft phones for a start - they aren't actually Microsoft's phones are they?"

          Well, no, quite. It's partly an OEM problem, and partly a carrier problem, and partly because the WInMo OEM licensing model is, well, interesting. Each OEM has to create their own special version of WinMo, complete with the requisite drivers for their specific hardware, chosen bluetooth stack and profile implementations, etc, and bundle it into into a ROM image. Then they have to license it some more every time they want to update it. Then they have to find some way to distribute it. And then you have all the carrier 'enhancements' to throw into the mix.

          The whole process is a complete pain in the arse, both technically and administratively. If MS have locked down their hardware spec though and only offer one version of the OS, this should stop being such a problem.

          It depends if Ballmer can get his head around the notion of giving an OS away for nothing as a loss leader for some other revenue stream. What other revenue stream I have no idea. Apple take a cut of everything from the handset to the apps to the accessories (every 'made for iPhone/iPod' logo product kicks back a chunk of sales revenue to Cupertino, plus you have to buy their auth chip now) and supposedly gets kickback from some carriers, although I don;t know the details of that.

          So it will be interesting to see what MS does in this regard. Obviously they're taking a cut of the App revenue, but will that be enough to subsidise new OS versions I wonder ?

  22. Anonymous Coward


    That's all.

  23. Ralph B
    Jobs Horns

    Let's just hope ...

    For Microsoft's sake, let's just hope that Apple haven't patented NOT having copy&paste.

    1. OrsonX



    2. Big-nosed Pengie


      Stop giving them ideas!

  24. Dennis 6

    It's a good job that Micro$oft...

    ...actually exists because no-one could make this stuff up. An OS launching in 2010 with no cut and paste! Wonderful!

  25. Andy Livingstone

    Not the first time it has been dropped.

    They probably thought that after removing it from Windows Live Messenger without complaint it would not matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Windows Live Messenger?!

      That's obviously because No Body (esq.) uses it anymore...

  26. Paul R
    Gates Horns

    Just to clear something up

    MS have stated that *at the moment* they haven't included Cut & Paste as a *system wide* function. There is nothing stopping app developers including such a function within their own apps (I.e. Word processors etc), and nothing stopping MS realising what a MONUMENTAL failure this decision is.

    That being said, I've been an MS phone user since my old SPV e200 7 years ago, and have enjoyed each device I've had. Until now I have not seen any reason to move away from WM. Now ... definitely an Android based phone for me next. Waiting until the 26th for T-Mobile to release the HTC Desire/Bravo. :)

    1. Charles Manning


      Sure any app developer can implement cut-n-paste **within** their app but that's incredibly limiting. 90% of your cut-n-pastes are between apps, esp from or to email.

  27. Tankut Erinc

    Oh dear..

    No side-load, no multi-task and now no cut/paste? What gives? I thought WM7 were to be a smartphone, not just an Xbox extension with Zune tidbits.

    Never thought I'd say this, but I think I'll stick with the clunky old dear, ye olde WinMob 6.5.

    .. and probably/eventually switch to Android when a decent Outlook desktop sync thing shows up (not just contacts, but todo's, notes, calendar, mail as well - the whole boring PIM shebang).

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Windows Mobile - lame duck

      It's amazing. I have a Compaq PocketPC which is about 8 years old. It multitasks and it has copy and paste. It's running the same Windows CE codebase that I presume Windows Mobile 7 is derived from but without the benefits of 8 years of improvements. So what the hell gives?

      IMO Microsoft have seen Apple's in-roads into phone land and redefining the user interface and have decided the only way they can compete is not by revamping Windows CE / PocketPC but by slapping a Silverlight layer over it and pretending the existing UI doesn't exist at all. i.e. they're keeping Windows CE for the basic services but building everything else that lives on top. In the long term maybe that would work but it means they've junked a lot of useful functionality in the short.

      I think the situation is worse for MS because they licence their OS to phone vendors and they're not competing with Apple but with Android. Android is an all singing, all dancing phone OS that does do multitasking and other good things and does them well. And its free. Unless Microsoft pull the rabbit out of the hat and integrate a deal breaker (e.g. a pocket XBox platform or something) they are seriously going to get screwed for the next year until they fix their code and their model.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    ...but Apply, Microsoft when you can but a FULLY functioning, open device from Nokia without stupid ideas such as turning off "paste" and being able to write anything, load anything without asking Jobs' or Gates' permissions first...

  29. Keyzer Suze


    I was lost at its windows,having been a window mobile user before, never again. Currently have a ipaq - don;t use, also have a iphone - main phone, only until a newer nexus phone comes out, sick of companies trying to lock me into there stuff.

  30. CWinne


    My Samsung Omnia had Cut&Paste running Windows Mobile 6... Used it constantly since the virtual keyboard left much to be desired. Switched to the Motorola Droid a few months ago. Sounds like I got out of the WinMo game just in time!

  31. Sinick


    I WAS pissed off that my HTC HD2 would not be able to run WinMo7.

    NOW I'm going to sit back and revel in my sense of schadenfreude (and my cut/copy/paste).

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Terrific engineering, boys

    Instead of developing a general copy & paste solution that would work for every use case, they spend probably an equal amount of effort on some one-off nonsense about phone numbers and addresses.

    This is the DEFINITION of "hacky."

    1. Solomon Grundy

      Use Case

      Haha. You said use case. Just getting into IT are you?

  33. Grumpytom


    Never used C&P on my iPhone, am I a muppet? (mind you I never used my twitter account and I found facebook a bore and that was in 2006!)

    Can't actually recall ever having the need, and that's in 18 months or more of having the device, I remember them adding it to the system, in the dim and distant.

    Hate to admit it but maybe M$ are more right than wrong.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    iPhone cut and paste

    Except, of course, that the iPhone has had cut and paste for quite a while now...

  35. Andy Bright



    "It's just a shame we'll have to carry a pencil and paper until then." No.. it's just a shame we'll not be using Microsoft's mobile products at all any more. Because the market has what I like to call alternatives. That also applies to the iShite, the piece-of-shite-berry or whatever.

    Anyway I digress. I won't be one of those retards that loyally backs a corporate manufacturer to the point that I will put up with unnecessary limitations. I use an android phone at the moment and there is absolutely no issue with implementing touchscreen cut and paste at all. But if I find that it becomes too annoying to carry 40 batteries in order to get enough power to last a business day on standby, then I will drop kick my HTC Eris into the nearest toilet and get a Crackberry or Treo or whatever.

    To me if you are so retarded and sycophantic that you think any of these wankers gives a shit about you, you deserve everything you get the next time they screw you over. Every corporate is the same. Apple are most definitely no better than Microsoft, who are most definitely no better or worse than Google. Or Palm. Or RIM. They're all cunts and so are the network providers these cunts use. Treat them the way they'll treat you. If they do ANYTHING you don't like, hand them back their device and tell them how shite their OS is for doing it. Make sure they understand that their arrogance has and will cost them customers. We give these pricks the privilege of being their customer. It's time all of us started remembering this and dropping them as soon as they show they don't agree.


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well HTC managed to do it...

    My HTC HD2 has probably the best implementation of copy/cut & paste I've ever seen on a mobile device.

    Another nail in the coffin for WinMo 7. Mine's an Android in 2012.

  37. nichomach


    Un-be-frickin'-lievable! They really are determined to fail awesomely.

  38. ChefDude
    Jobs Halo

    Is it so bad?

    The only time I come a cropper is typing in 63 character wifi keys - copy 'n paste is quite useful then ;-)

  39. Risky


    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

    Have they checked if Apple have a patent on "mobile computing devices partially crippled by the removal of the cut and paste feature"???

  40. Anonymous Coward

    One step back

    Hey, I happen to use cut and paste, particularly inter-application, a lot on my WinMo 6 phone!

    Congrats Ballmer, you've just driven your Mobile OS's (de)volution back to the 90s. What's next, removing Office mobile and multi-tasking?

    I remember paying $$$ for the ability to multi-task (albeit flakily), cut and paste between apps, and for a mobile office suite when I had a Sony Clie UX50 which ran Palm OS 5.2. Am I expected to do the same when I switch from WinMo 6 to 7?

    Penguin. Because Linux phones can do more than WinMo 7 could.

  41. VictoriaBCguy

    Can Apple sue?

    Will Apple sue microsoft for not doing the same things they don't do?

    I'm just wondering...

  42. Shonko Kid

    It's like they picked up the wrong list

    Ballmer and Co must've sat and drawn up two lists, one headed 'things iPhone does that we must copy' and the other 'things the iPhone doesn't do that we must laugh at in press releases' and they've gone and implemented the wrong list!

  43. Anonymous Coward


    Nobody wants to write apps that use sockets either apparently.

  44. Greg D
    Thumb Down

    dont bother

    Switch to Android, your life will be much better because of it.

  45. Rogerborg

    I worked as a multi-platform mobile apps developer for 7 years

    And in that time, not once did I see any developer use any Windows Mobile device for one second longer than strictly required to complete their work. We hates them, precious, we hates them forever.

    Microsoft have no idea about mobile handsets, never did, and never will. They used to think they were just mini desktops; now apparently they think they're making a DS. Except people actually like Nintendo.

  46. Martin Nicholls


    Been buying windows mobile phones for years. Looks like my current one is the last I'll be buying.

    HTC Desire is looking good about now.

    What's next, remove the exchange support?

  47. pctechxp
    Thumb Up

    @Andy Bright

    Here here but I'd watch your blood pressure as you sound like a very angry man.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't care less

    I wouldn't buy a Microsoft phone in a million years, and the news that the new ones are worse than the old ones simply confirms that I'm continuing to make the right decision.

  49. CS3000

    iPhone cut and paste

    There was no technical reason why cut and paste was not in the first iPhone OS.... They took there time trying to find the best user interface in implementing it.

    And as far as I can see its a verry nice interface too.

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