Are These Conversations Helping Microsoft?

With all of the election news swirling around, I'm reminded of an idea that gets talked about sometimes in political circles. The best way I can describe it is by using an example.

There's a belief that engaging rogue nations on a high-level diplomatic basis actually gives credibility to this nation. One example is Iran. The belief is that to engage Iran in first party negotiations would actually give them a heightened credibility in the eyes of some parts of the globe. Limiting Iran to 3rd party talks is a way of keeping them relegated to their perceived status in the world.

How does this relate to The Verge?

Well, I'm wondering if Microsoft's recent ability to stay in the same conversations as Android and Apple is allowing them to gain a higher status than they would if they were some no-named brand with the same product offering. Does constant comparisons of Windows Phone to Android and Apple actually help WP7's credibility? At first blush, these comparisons seem to hurt WP7 due to a smaller app marketplace and lesser hardware specs, but it seems like on a deeper level, Microsoft is considered on of the big 3, even though there are other brands with more marketshare.

In the tech world, it seems like Blackberry, WebOS, and Symbian are all 3rd world countries that don't really matter any more. Instead, the conversation is mostly about Android, Apple, and WP7. It's an interesting thought to me, and I hope I didn't bore you with my current curiosities.

Thanks for indulging me.