Unveiling a new TV service for mobile phones and a new unified communications solution for mobile devices, Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer today introduced several innovative solutions and strategies that will generate more revenue opportunities for mobile operators and provide compelling benefits for subscribers.
As part of his keynote speech at 3GSM World Congress 2006, Ballmer announced the upcoming availability of Microsoft ® Office Communicator Mobile, which provides workers with the advantages of enterprise-grade, real-time collaboration capabilities for their mobile solutions. He also showed off a new live TV service introduced by Virgin Mobile and BT Movio powered by Microsoft for Windows Mobile ® -based Smartphones, and the new sync center for mobile devices in Windows Vista™, the new Windows ® operating system debuting later this year.
Ballmer also shared the first public demonstration of how Windows Live™, the recently introduced set of personal Internet services and software, will extend from the PC and Internet to mobile devices, and highlighted how leading mobile operators are using other innovative mobile services to attract new customers and build subscriber loyalty.
As part of the address, Ballmer highlighted the growth of Microsoft in the wireless industry over the past three years. The company has progressed from working with only one mobile operator in one country with one device-maker to 102 mobile operators in 55 countries with 47 device-makers overall today.
In addition, Microsoft shipped more than 6 million Windows Mobile-based connected devices in 2005, and expects the market to grow significantly.
Office Communicator is Microsoft’s instant messaging (and more) client for businesses and it merited a separate press release – Microsoft Office Communicator Goes Mobile. The mobile version will be available for download by users of Microsoft’s Live Communication Server within 60 days.
As for the TV service, we discussed the rumor yesterday and it seems to be as expected:
In the message Sir Richard announced that Virgin Mobile will be the first mobile operator to sign up for the new BT Movio broadcast digital TV and radio service, which is built with Windows Media technology and works with Windows Mobile-based Smartphones. This will make Virgin Mobile customers the first in Europe to have live digital TV on their mobile phones.
For Windows Live, there are now some new mobile members of the burgeoning brood and their kissing cousins at MSN:
Building on the investment in mobile search evidenced by the company’s recent acquisition of MotionBridge, Microsoft demonstrated Windows Live Mobile Search, including local search, which enables customers to quickly find what they need in the location they are searching. Windows Live Mail for Mobile was also demonstrated, which shares a common address book with Windows Live services for PCs and helps customers access and maintain the list of people they communicate with from the PC and mobile device.
With Windows Live services, Microsoft will help mobile operators realize new differentiation and monetization options through best-in-class mobile consumer services. The new Windows Live for Mobile model also provides developers and mobile operators with the ability to differentiate, innovate and bring solutions to market faster based on its open application programming interfaces (APIs).
Customers in several markets around the world can try the betas of mobile versions of Windows Live Mail, Messenger, Search and MSN ® Spaces by signing up at ideas.live.com or by going to http://mobile.live.com on their mobile browser. Windows Live Mail and Search betas for mobile are now available in key markets such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. Also, Windows Live Local Search beta is now available in the United States and will go live in the in the U.K. on Feb. 15, 2006.
Finally, for Vista:
Ballmer also discussed new mobility enhancements for Windows Vista, the next version of the Windows client operating system launching in 2006. Demonstrating for the first time the Windows Mobile Device Center, Ballmer showed how Windows Vista will make it easier to connect Windows Mobile-powered devices to PCs, and enable synchronization of data, contacts, pictures, music and more.
The Windows Mobile Device Center works with the new Windows Vista Sync Center, which unifies the management of synchronization activities across Windows Mobile-based devices and the synchronization between other PCs and network file shares.