Microsoft’s mobile software platform received a shot in the arm when T-Mobile announced its intention to launch Smartphone-based handsets across its major markets in the summer of 2003.
The T-Mobile Smartphone will be manufactured by Taiwan based HTC (High Tech Computer). In the services arena, T-Mobile announced plans to be the first European mobile operator to bring to market Pocket MSN, a new client-based subscription service for Smartphones and Pocket PCs that provides access to the popular MSN services including Hotmail, Messenger and MSN Alerts. T-Mobile plans to make Pocket MSN available to customers by the end of the calendar year.
HTC is also the manufacturer of the only other Microsoft powered phone, the Orange SPV. The company is rapidly making a name for itself as the manufacturer of rebranded mobile devices such as the O2 xda.
The announcement ought to be welcome news at Microsoft. The company was having difficultly pitching its software platform to manufacturers. In November, Sendo, one of the few manufacturers who had signed up to the Microsoft Smartphone platform, abandoned development on the eve of the launch of its first Smartphone handset.
Instead it opted for Nokia’s Series 60 platform. Samsung is the other big name manufacturer on board, but it is following a dual software strategy having already licensed the Nokia Series 60 platform.
Microsoft now seems to have switched its attention to the networks and is attempting to have its software sold on rebranded devices. Indeed, it was this issue which emerged as the main reason behind its parting with Sendo. The British company has since accused the software giant of passing on confidential information to low-cost Taiwanese rivals.
By Dick O’Brien