back to article Angry Birds tweet fury at Redmond

Microsoft has upset Rovio, developer of Angry Birds, by throwing the game's icon into a list of upcoming software for Windows Phone 7 - a platform with which few brands want to be associated. Redmond showed the scowling icon for the game in screen shots of upcoming software titles, where it was spotted by WMPowerUser. This …


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  1. nematoad

    In US only, I presume.

    This would not wash in the UK. I have a feeling that the Advertsisng Standards Authority would come down on it like a ton of bricks. I think that it would fall foul of the rules against deceptive content. If it does not work on Windows Phone 7 then it cannot be claimed that it does. Though given the influence MS seem to have with whatever party is in government the consequences would probably be slight.

  2. Philip Nicholls Silver badge

    Quite how that hurts Rovio isn't clear

    Ummm.... no, and I expect the average Reg reader will know that that is complete bollocks when it comes to IP infringement (Eyes passim ..... ooops El Reg passim).

    No doubt whatsoever that U-no-Hu tried to pull a fast one, butter wouldn't melt in the mouth etc, but a clear rip-off.

    1. Marky W
      Thumb Up

      "Look at me!"

      Shrieks Rovio, having spotted a simple way to garner some free exposure in the media.

      I quite like how they've turned some free advertising courtesy of MS to generate more free advertising courtesy of El Reg (and no doubt many others).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to pick a phone

    "We're not yet at the stage where a customer will pick a phone based on the software it runs".

    I'm not sure if that's entirely correct for at least some consumers. A couple of apps in particular lead me to my phone purchase.

    1. Joeykins

      Grindr anyone?

      I know a few people who settled on the iPhone because of Grindr. I'd probably have caved myself if work weren't paying my Blackberry bill...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Just looked up Grindr - the name rang a bell but wasn't quite sure what it was.

        Looks like a fine app, but not sure the missus would be impressed at finding it on my phone!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Halo


        I bought an iPhone (over other smartphones) purely for Grindr

        (Where's the sheepish face icon? SJ will have to do)

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Angry Birds was up as beta on Android marketplace for a while, not quite the same.

  5. OSC

    It doesn't seem too difficult to me

    My icon, my brand, my brand values (yeah, yeah with added whale song and incense).

    I might believe I can increase sales over here by not selling it over there or worse by selling it over there lose sales over here.

    Or, I might prefer the kudos of being this type or by not being that type (cf Apple)

    The point is, it's my decision not yours (or Microsoft's, Tesco's, Walmart's whomever)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    WinMo will contine to flop

    It doesn't matter how much money pour into it, nobody wants it. They can try all they like by leveraging people to want it by using Xbox associations, but still nobody wants it.

    It's rather telling that Microsoft need to deceive people like this using Angry Birds, clearly they also know that nobody wants WinMo. It's marketshare has halved over the last year, it's now 5% with at best WinMo managing to stop the hemorrhaging, but more likely just slowing the drop.

    "In the long term, industry analysts are not optimistic about Microsoft's chances. Despite troubles at Nokia, they expect the smartphone market to remain dominated by its Symbian OS, alongside Google's Android.

    Symbian is currently the market leader, with 41% of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, according to Gartner, followed by BlackBerry-maker RIM with 18%, Android with 17%, Apple with 14% and Microsoft with 5%.

    By 2014, Gartner expects smartphone sales to have more than trebled to about 875 million units, with Nokia and Android leading the market with about 30% each, Apple around 15%, RIM around 12% and Microsoft around 4%."

    1. Joe Blogs


      "It doesn't matter how much money pour into it, nobody wants it."

      And you know this because you've spoken to eveybody? Almost everybody? Most people?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Yes... but...

      Windows Mobile will continue to flop - that's because Microsoft has dropped the platform for consumers. Because of this, no new WM handsets are being made. Simple. It's still being supported for enterprise/commercial use (e.g. handheld stock checkers, and stuff) - but I've not seen any new WM handsets for consumers in months. This happened once Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7.

      Windows Phone 7, which is a completely different beast to Windows Mobile, hasn't even launched yet (20 mins to go). So market share for WP7 isn't likely to be accurate (whether too high, or too low).

    3. multipharious


      If you want to make such a prognostication be brave so it can be tracked.

      I know Gartner analysts, and they are just people too. Market projectíons/predictions can be missed miserably. For you to say that Nokia's Symbian is going to be relevant at all just defies my perhaps subjective version of reality. Will the Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 be a game changer? I bet enough devs are sick of their apps getting lost in the Apple store that you can bet it will not be the minor speed bump release you are predicting.

      PS I am a long time Nokia user that switched to an HD2 with 6.5. I got sick of Nokia acting like their phone didn't need to connect properly to my car, and HTC has really impressed me with fit and finish (but not old school battery life.) BMW or Nokia? Sorry, but get off it. HTC.

  7. Shak


    ... seeing as Angry Birds itself is a rip off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Of Microsoft's "GORILLA.BAS".

    2. Neil Dawson

      59p a rip off?

      ...or even £2 or whatever it will be on the Android marketplace. How cheap do your games have to be before you deem them value for money?

      I played the game for a bit and both my children love it. What other way of spending 59p would deliver hours and hours of gameplay?

      In my book 59p gets you

      -20% of a pint in London (if you're lucky)

      -a chocolate bar from Tesco

      -Scrabble with half the tiles missing from a jumble sale

      -not a lot else

      1. vegister

        rip off = not the original

        the original post does not mean the price, it means that Crush the castle (and possibly others) existed as a flash game before Angry birds.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @How cheap do your games have to be before you deem them value for money?

        They're all a waste of money designed to divert your mind from the clock on the wall ticking by the seconds of your wasted life.

    3. ThomH

      Rip off as in idea theft?

      If so then I disagree. The physical aspect of the game (ie, things collapsing as proper rigid bodies, things shattering) and the smart move of positioning it as a puzzle game in which half of it is figuring out how to do the level make it more than just a copy of another game. It stands on the shoulders of many other titles, but that's not exactly 'rip off' territory.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Android - which is still awaiting a version of the game itself

    Seems to have been available for a while! or at least it has been on my android handset for a while. (maybe only a beta)

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      Android version

      The Android version is lite (i.e. just a few levels) and still in beta. The full version is due Real Soon Now, I believe.

      I'll probably buy a copy, if it's only a few quid, but I have to say I don't rave over it like others seem to. It's OK for a few minutes at a time, though.


  9. technome
    Gates Horns

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Microsoft: "You will port your game to our system"

    Rovio: "We're not planning to"

    Microsoft: "OK, we'll tell everyone that you are porting it and then you'll have to"

    1. Gareth.
      Gates Horns

      This is why they're pissed off...

      I think this could explain why Rovio are pissed off that MS used their IP (even if the game itself isn't original, the graphics are their own and MS pinched the icon not just the name of the game).

      Imagine you're (stupid enough to be) considering buying a Windows-based Smart Phone - if that's not an oxymoron then I don't know what is - and you're looking at the apps that are available / coming soon to help you decide whether to buy it or not. Contrary to the article's author, I know plenty of people that bought an iPhone specifically because of the apps.

      So, you see that Angry Birds... that game that all the iPhone owners rave about, and that El Reg covered when it was announced for Android... is available for Windows Mobile. That sounds promising... software vendors are taking this phone OS seriously after all, and it won't be a wasted purchase that ends up in the kitchen drawer along with the N-Gage. So you buy the phone and tie yourself in to a 24-month contract.

      However, then you find out that Angry Birds isn't available on the WIndows equivalent of the App Store / Market Place. It's not just delayed, the game isn't even being made for your new phone... in fact that's not the only game or app that's not gonna work on it.

      So, who do you blame for this? Are you more likely to think that it's Microsoft who used the logo without asking first, or are you gonna think that Rovio are being bastards and backing out of a (non-existant) deal that you'd banked on happening? My money is on people blaming Rovio for this happening, not Microsoft... so when they next buy another phone, Android or iPhone most likely, and can get games from Rovio they're gonna remember that they got their fingers burnt with that Windows phone that had no apps or games - all because Rovio backed out of releasing Angry Birds for Windows. There's no way that Rovio will get that person's money now.

      So Rovio will lose out on potential sales because Microsoft - not Rovio - fooled punters into buying a phone running their dodgy OS.

  10. Maksim Rukov

    Why not just...

    ...make a rather generic-looking cartoon annoyed avian that just happens to look "similar" to the aforementioned berated bird? I'd imagine it's only a little bit less effective but a whole lot safer.

    They get away with that all the time in the movies, at least. How many McDonalds altered with veneer of fiction have you seen over the years?

  11. Bruno Girin

    Title, title, wherefore art thou?

    "We're not yet at the stage where a customer will pick a phone based on the software it runs..."

    Oh yes, we are! I know of at least one friend for whom having or not having Angry Birds available on the device would be a deal breaker and another one whose first question with any gadget or computer is: "yes but does it run Spider Solitaire?"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Roxio are Finnish

    ... hence the bind to Nokia is suddenly obvious.

    As for "Quite how that hurts Rovio isn't clear" .. please can El Reg reporters go on a course or something to learn about how the world of IT and Business work before claiming such an ignorant statement.

    Hmmm how doe someone using my IP without my consent hurt me? Is that a different hurt when it is a big company like MS or a little company like

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Roxio are Finnish

      "Hmmm how doe someone using my IP without my consent hurt me?"

      Which "IP"? Be specific now: it can mean more than one thing, thus allowing people to wave the term around and be really vague but still threaten everyone anyway.

      Hint: I've seen informed discussions about similar stuff happening to other parties, but unless they've trademarked their icon, their best shot has nothing to do with "IP" and a lot more to do with deceptive advertising.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        IP... specifically, just for you.

        Well, the icon along with all the graphics in the game are their IP and therefore trademarked.

        If you don't think that's the case, then try writing a platform game about a pair of brothers who are plumbers, Italian plumbers at that, who have dodgy porn star moustaches and wear red and green dungarees respectively.

        I'm sure there are some Japanese lawyers who would love to speak to you about IP once you've released it.

        1. Oninoshiko

          You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          Do they have a trademark? Nintendo has actually applied for and received trademark. Trademarks do not happen automatically, they MUST be applied for.

          Now, if you want to argue that they violated COPYRIGHTs that is a whole different matter, those DO happen automagicly. Considering that what this guy makes is a game, and microsoft's ad is hardly a replacement for the game (or even one level of said game) arguing a copyright violation might be a bit harder of a sell then you think.

          I suppose they could have a patent on "cartoons pictures of birds" or some such, but that would be rather silly (even by USPTO standards).

          This is exactly why many of us don't like the term "IP." It's normally used to confuse people with different sections of law that in reality are completely unrelated.

          All that said, using the icon was scummy, and MS shouldn't have done it, but MS is hardly a bastion of morality by most people's standards.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IP... specifically, just for you.

          "Well, the icon along with all the graphics in the game are their IP and therefore trademarked."

          All the graphics are trademarked are they? I doubt that somehow. Again, your use of the term "IP" is a fraying patch over your ignorance of the differences between copyright, trademarks and (perish the thought) patents.

          "If you don't think that's the case, then try writing a platform game about a pair of brothers who are plumbers, Italian plumbers at that, who have dodgy porn star moustaches and wear red and green dungarees respectively."

          There'd be an argument that at some point that you will have significantly infringed someone's copyright: it's a bit like writing a book about a young magician that goes to a private school, but J. K. Rowling can merely threaten you without a hope of winning in court unless you've lifted significant bits of her stuff.

          "I'm sure there are some Japanese lawyers who would love to speak to you about IP once you've released it."

          Maybe their time would be better spent having a word with you first, if only to explain what the vague term in question is actually supposed to cover, and why shouting "my IP!" is in itself meaningless and unimpressive stuff.

  13. TC1

    Simple explaination for everything...

    They obviously haven't seen M$'s blank cheque thru the post yet?

    Mine the one going 'weah heh.. uhhehh.. oink..' : @ )

  14. Pahhh
    Thumb Up


    yes, indeed. Still it was certainly wrong to use their icon without permission to promote their goods. Its a clear case of trademark infridgement.

    If Microsoft want to sell lots of handsets it just needs a few apps with the word Halo in it and that will get the teenage boys market. Come up with an app that syncs with Outlook properly,dynamically and easily that will probably capture the business user's interest. An app to easily transport data would be something that iPhone users would appreciate. Just a bit of imagination really... oh its M$...forgot.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Perhaps an extended vibration function for the girls eh?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Impending FAIL...

    It does rather suggest the true level of FAIL that Microsoft is looking set to achieve for forthcoming Windows Phone 7.

    It's so uncool, free advertising linking you to it pisses you off! lol

  16. Stefing

    "assorted junk apps for Android - which is still awaiting a version of the game itself "

    Funny - I, like over 250,000 other people, have been using the free beta for over a month.

    1. D@v3

      yeah, but....

      a "free" "beta" may technically be "a version on the game" but its just that, a version, not the game itself.

      If its anything like the "lite" version on the iphone, its 10 levels and about 1bus journeys worth of play.

      yes you get what you pay for, but we have the option of buying the full game (should we [iphone owners] wish to pay for it) which Android owners, currently do not.

  17. Ben 5

    Microsoft not worried

    Face it, what are Rovio going to do? They can sue Microsoft, possibly win a large payout. Microsoft aren't going to care compared to the importance of making Windows 7 Mobile a success. I'm surprised Microsoft haven't plastered their entire publicity with the logos of all sorts of software.

  18. Barney Carroll

    Don't understand the confusion

    Are people really finding it that hard to see Rovio's angle? I don't want to be associated with Windows Phone 7. I don't want large corporates insinuating that I'm going to develop for it. Regardless of these issues, I object to large corporates taking my intellectual property and using it in a deceitful manner to sell their products without my permission.

    No? Microsoft the good guys here, and Rovio's tweet on the subject a massive overreaction? Don't get that. Not in the slightest.

  19. robert 15

    RE: How to pick a phone

    I agree.

    I based my phone purchase on which would run slingplayer (back when it was only availbale for a handful of phones)

  20. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns

    Shocked. Shocked, I tell you

    Microsoft in Blatant Stealing of Others' IP Shocker. News at 11.

    Bill Gates built an empire on this behaviour. Why all the surprised faces?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Choosing phone on basis of apps

    Surely thats EXACTLY what many many Android buyers have done? They frequently tell us about what apps they can't run on the iPhone due to Apples rules and regs and that they can run on their "open" droid phones.

    In fact an iPhone or Android phone without the apps wouldn't be much of a seller would it? We buy them as they have Google Maps, Safari, Angry Birds etc etc. So on that basis pretty much EVERYONE who buys a smartphone is choosing it over a basic phone for exactly that reason.

  22. JaitcH

    Try stealing the Windows logo and see what happens!

    All the larger enterprises seem to indulge in IP theft. Try 'borrowing' the Windows logo and see how MS reacts!

  23. Zippy the Pinhead
    Gates Horns

    not at all surprised

    MS has been doing this for years and years.. memmaker anyone?

  24. VinceH

    Letters, Digits.

    So, am I the only person on the entire planet who hasn't played Angry Birds, then? Or at least the only Reg reader who hasn't?

    1. John G Imrie

      Not the only one

      Actually the BBC have just phoned, the want to feature me on an updated version of "Last chance to see"

  25. ttuk
    Gates Horns

    take him over boys..

    this remindsa little me of the simpsons episodes where homer has his "Internet King" business that somehow does really well..

    Bill Gates comes round to evergreen terrace with his lawyers and tells homer he wants to take over his business

    "This is it marge!" says homer all excited

    "Ok, take him over boys!" says bill and the lawyers smash homers PC to pieces with baseball bats.


  26. marschw

    Buying phones based on app availability

    For those of you pointing out that your friend's friend's former roomate bought a phone because of app availability... The comment in the article about how customers don't generally buy phones based on app availability was probably a reference to this article:

    Maybe the text should've been a link to it.

  27. Chad H.

    "Quite how that hurts Rovio isn't clear"

    Can we take this as permission to use the reg vulture on anything we like?

  28. Lord Lien

    Angry Birds....

    .. yeap I'm addicted. Such a simple idea (think Scotched Tanks/Worms on the Amiga) but very playable.

  29. raving angry loony

    title is required.

    Maybe the Android crowd hasn't been busy suing folks on dubious "intellectual property" grounds? Maybe the company doing the complaining is calling them on their outright hypocrisy as Microsoft regularly exploit other peoples "intellectual property" for their own gains? Maybe.

    @VinceH - never played it. Heard about it. Not interested. Happy now?

  30. Steve Taylor 3

    Applications are everything

    > We're not yet at the stage where a customer will pick a phone based on the software it runs

    You're kidding, right?

  31. NightFox

    In the Good Olde Days

    IIRC, in the early 80s, one of the big home computer manufacturer's (may have been Commodore or Texas Instruments) adverts featured a picture of the computer against a background of all the things it could do, including a game of chess. One of their customers was somewhat miffed when he bought one only to discover that there was no chess game available for it, so the manufacturers had to hastily commission one to stay out of trouble.

  32. Jon 52

    perhaps rovio could make a buck

    in the console world microsoft paid developers to transfer to xbox platform. Perhaps roxio think they can be paid to develope for win mobile. Or perahps Nokia even gave them some funding to appear with them at the ovi bash.

  33. Anonymous Coward


    I don't see a 4 octest IP address anywhere!

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