BT & MICROSOFT
SMART PHONE LINK
Copyright 2001 www.telegraph.co.uk
[ October 5th 2001 ]
to become the dominant player in mobile smart
phones took another twist last night as MmO2 ,
the soon-to-be demerged mobile arm of BT, said
it will release a phone in conjunction with Microsoft,
the US software giant.
phone, which will allow mobile users to perform
a variety of tasks from word processing to playing
the popular computer game Tomb Raider, will use
a cut-down version of Microsoft Windows. It will
compete directly with products using similar software
from rivals Palm and Symbian, the joint venture
between Psion, Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson and Matsushita.
for smart phones, which are effectively combined
mobile phones and electronic organisers, has begun
to hot up, as mobile operators look to shift revenues
towards data services and away from voice calls
as faster networks such as GPRS (general packet
radio service) and eventually 3G (third generation)
become available. So far, however, very few consumers
have bought the limited range of smart phones
to hit Britain's high streets.
McGlade, managing director of BT Cellnet and executive
director of MmO2 , said: "Previous products have
failed as there were no compelling things to do
on the devices." He added that the company had
no plans to launch similar products with Microsoft's
rivals in the near future.
Christensen, vice president of Microsoft's mobility
group who sensationally defected from arch-rival
Symbian last year, said: "This is a clear indication
that Microsoft is a solid business partner in
the mobile area."
Microsoft's decision to deal with mobile phone
operators, such as MmO2 , rather than handset
manufacturers, such as Nokia, owes more to Symbian
freezing out its US rival in that market. Microsoft,
however, has had more success in partnership with
electronic organiser manufacturers, where Compaq's
Ipaq is the sector's current success story.
MmO2 device, which will launch in the group's
five markets in the first half of next year, will
cost up to £500 plus the cost of signing up to
MmO2 's GPRS tariff. It is slightly larger than
a standard mobile phone and weighs 186 grams.