"The mash-up, having your Facebook, your Twitter, all of your things in one place is not new," said Jackson of CCS Insight. "That's foundational at this point."
Microsoft drew inspiration for the interface from its Zune portable music player, which has not been a hit. Although introduced in 2006, the Zune line has captured only about 5% of the market, which is dominated by Apple's iPods.
Caughey said Microsoft could finally find some mobile success with Windows Phone 7, if for no other reason than it plays to the company's expertise in operating systems.
"That's their staple, that's their cash cow," she said. "That's what they do, and that's what they're known for and what Microsoft has built their business on. And Windows Phone 7 is an operating system."
So far, that expertise has not helped the company much in the mobile market. But Microsoft has the resources to keep on trying.
"Will they have a hit with Windows Phone 7? I don't know," Caughey said. "But I believe they will succeed eventually. They have the people and the money to pull it off.
"They can still write more checks than just about anybody else."