Microsoft highlights mobile credentials

20 Jun 2006
00:00

Microsoft yesterday highlighted its growing impact in telecommunications with a preview of its Windows Live service for mobile devices and a growing range of phones using its Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system.

Among the new devices was Samsung's i320 phone for business customers, which was being shown in Asia for the first time. Microsoft and Samsung will officially launch the phone here in the 'next couple of weeks,' according to Jason Lim, regional director, Asia Pacific and Japan for Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices division, adding that it would be in retail outlets by September.

Other new phones that it was showing using Windows Mobile 5.0 include the Motorola Q and Dopod's S 300.

Meanwhile, the demonstration of Windows Live, a set of Internet services for both the PC and mobile platform, was the first time that it had been shown publicly in Asia. Microsoft highlighted its messenger service for mobiles, but Windows Live will eventually be ramped up to offer a range of services including mobile gaming, mobile search, push email and location-based services.

Michiel Verhoeven, general manager of Microsoft's Asia Pacific Communications Sector business, pointed out that the company's strategy was to partner with operators to jointly roll-out hosted services. 'It's new but that's where the revenue will be in the next couple of years,' he predicted.

According to Verhoeven, the hosted services sector has been growing rapidly in Asia this year, particularly in areas where broadband penetration is rising. He said for Microsoft, this part of the business has grown by close to 100% over the last year. The main services being offered in conjunction with telcos are email, messaging and collaboration, while the main driver is the SME sector, he said.

It's part of an upbeat message from Microsoft's communication sector, which has been experiencing 'double-digit growth' over the last 12 months, although the company doesn't provide specific numbers for this sector. Other business areas are in telco middleware and its IP-TV software.

For the mobile devices business, Lim said that China and Japan were its fastest growing countries, while 3G was also providing new opportunities. 'As 3G comes into play, that's where our strengths are, with the converged devices and applications,' he said. Lim noted that three years ago, Microsoft only had one operator offering Window Mobile devices, while today there are 115 operators as well as 47 device makers using its software.

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