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Windows Phone aims to bury its past (and iPhone)

At a ship party in Redmond on Friday, the Windows Phone team had a parade that included a mock funeral for the iPhone and BlackBerry.

Microsoft's Windows Phone team staged a mock funeral for the iPhone and BlackBerry on Friday, a sign of both Redmond's ambition and the immensity of the challenge facing the new phone operating system, which is slated to hit the market next month.

Microsoft jokingly buried the competition with a mock funeral on Friday, but the question is whether Windows Phone 7 will really be able to take on Android, the iPhone and others when it hits the market next month. Bonnie Cha/CNET

Two hearses were among a dozen floats that were part of a parade that took place on campus on Friday to celebrate the completion of a total overhaul of Microsoft's cell phone strategy.

Photos of the event turned up on Flickr, but Microsoft was less than eager to talk about the goings-on.

"The Microsoft event on campus was an internal event to celebrate the finalization of Windows Phone 7 software," a company representative said in a statement.

The software maker finished work on the code for the phone software at the beginning of the month and is slated to introduce the first crop of phones at an October 11 event in New York.

Staged antics aside, Microsoft doesn't really expect to kill its competition with this initial release. It is, however, hoping to bury its mobile past, which has been marked by years of stagnation while rivals including Apple and Android have flourished. It would also like to forget another of its efforts--the ill-fated Kin--which is indeed dead and buried.

Handset makers including LG, Samsung, and HTC are among those that will initially offer Windows Phone 7-based devices, but others, including HP, have scaled back or canceled Windows Phone 7 plans. Microsoft is expected to use a huge ad blitz to help tout the arrival of the new operating system, which includes features such as a the mobile version of Office, Xbox Live gaming, and the ability to play subscription music using the Zune service.

Updated 3:50 p.m. to add photos courtesy of Carl Jamilkowski.