Microsoft Aims to Get Back in the Game in Mobile

After losing ground to Apple and others, the software giant may need an acquisition to avoid losing out in the smartphone marketJust a few years ago, Microsoft looked like a real contender in the mobile-phone market. Its Windows Mobile operating system ran about a quarter of all smartphones as recently as 2004, and it was gaining ground on leaders like Nokia. Then Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion left the software giant in the dust. On Feb. 15, at a wireless industry conference in Barcelona, Microsoft will unveil its latest effort to get back into the game. The renamed Windows Phone operating system will “move the bar forward, not in an evolutionary way,” Robert J. Bach, president of the company’s entertainment and devices division, promised analysts on Jan. 7.Microsoft needs to be a player in the smartphone market. The computing people used to do on personal computers, where Microsoft has a lock, is migrating to mobile devices. Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry, and other phones are becoming the preferred way to read e-mail, check out Facebook, or catch up on the news. Researcher IDC predicts the total shipments of smartphones will more than double between 2009 and 2013, to 391.3 million units. Microsoft’s new mobile software “has to be different and convince their customers and partners that they are going to fundamentally change direction,” says IDC analyst William Stofega.To read this BusinessWeek report in full, see:

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