Windows Mobile In Line For 50% Growth, Microsoft Says - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Devices

Windows Mobile In Line For 50% Growth, Microsoft Says

Microsoft cites "increased market demand for phone-enabled devices and Windows Embedded operating systems" for the expected spike.

A Microsoft official on Tuesday said that the company expects sales of its Windows Mobile operating system to grow by at least 50% annually through fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

"Fifty percent growth is the minimum," said Eddie Wu, Microsoft's managing director for embedded devices in Asia, in an interview with Reuters.

Wu's remarks are consistent with previous Microsoft statements about the state of its Windows Mobile business. The company in its most recent quarterly report said that Windows Mobile sales are growing as a result of "increased market demand for phone-enabled devices and Windows Embedded operating systems."

Wu told Reuters that Microsoft expects to sell 20 million Windows Mobile licenses in its current fiscal year, which ends in June. It sold 11 million units in the previous fiscal year.

Microsoft has taken numerous steps of late to boost Windows Mobile's appeal in the face of stiff competition in the mobile software market from Apple, Symbian, and Research In Motion.

The company earlier this year unveiled the latest version of Internet Explorer Mobile and pledged that the software would bring "desktop grade" Web browsing to mobile devices.

With added support for industry standards like Adobe Flash, the updated version of Explorer Mobile lets users view full-screen Web pages and multimedia on their smartphones just as they would on a PC, Microsoft claims.

It also supports Microsoft's nascent Silverlight Web display technology. Microsoft said the new version of Internet Explorer Mobile will be available to mobile phone makers in the third quarter and to consumers in the fourth quarter.

Microsoft also recently said it would support Adobe Flash Lite on Windows Mobile in a nod to the fact that many mobile application developers are still lukewarm over Silverlight.

The current edition of Windows Mobile, version 6.1, offers enhancements that let users view messages and appointments and play music from their home screen. A new "Getting Started" center makes it easier to configure devices for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity.

There's also an improved zoom feature that makes document and Web navigation easier, according to Microsoft.

A number of handset providers have pledged to support Windows Mobile 6.1, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Motorola, and Toshiba.

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