Windows Phone 7 will be released this holiday season, and Microsoft is trying to stir up excitement about it by maxing out its budget. TechCrunch coverage estimates that the Redmond-based company could "spend a half-billion dolla

rs or more in marketing costs and payments to developers and handset manufacturers to subsidize the expense of building phones and apps, so that the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem is well-seeded at launch."

Deutsche Bank telecommunications analyst Jonathan Goldberg estimates $400 million on marketing for the launch. Quoted in TechCrunch, he explains that the OS could succeed by capturing market share from feature phone users instead of stealing from current iPhone or Android handset users. Another source in the same article says that the company will spend $1 billion at the launch on marketing and development costs.

A spending comparison from PC World puts the Microsoft plan into perspective. While $400 or $500 million sounds like a lot, just as much was spent on marketing for Windows XP, the first Xbox, and Vista.

After some initial confusion, Engadget reports that Dell is not a launch partner for Windows Phone 7, but will be collaborating on the system as partner. While Dell has released Android devices recently, it will continue its longtime relationship with Microsoft. Device or release information was not currently available in their coverage.

The future mobile operating system has received mixed reviews on new features. As PC World reports, with a direct link to Xbox Live accounts, gamers can access scores, avatar and friend lists. The phone will have its own game titles with free demos and ports of Xbox 360 franchises such as Halo Waypoint and Crackdown 2L Project Sunburst.