Those who were under the impression that Microsoft’s mobile phone involvement was only slightly more important than that with SPOT watches likely got a shock from all the 3GSM announcements this week. Andy Reinhardt puts it in perspective at BusinessWeek online in Microsoft’s Mobile Maneuver: The software giant may finally have figured out how to crack the wireless business:
Say this much for Microsoft: It never gives up. A decade after it started flogging a shrunken-down version of Windows for electronic devices other than PCs, the Redmond (Wash.)-based software titan is finally making a meaningful mark on the vibrant market for mobile phones.
A curious evolution has happened along the way, though. Sure, Microsoft (MSFT) is still urging handset makers to adopt mini-Windows — known today, after innumerable rebrandings, as Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 — as the core operating system for their phones. But now it’s chasing an even juicier prize: central position in a whole spectrum of mobile applications, from portable music, to wireless e-mail and messaging, to mobile TV.
In effect, Microsoft is trying to become the standard-setter and middleman for all the sexy new things people can do with their phones. “Microsoft has realized that, at the end of the day, it can’t make much money from selling operating systems for handsets,” says Ben Wood, senior mobile analyst for researcher Gartner, near London. “Instead, it’s now looking at an even bigger opportunity.”
They’d still like you to buy Windows Mobile 5.0, of course, to enable them to do all the “sexy new things.” Much more by following the link.