Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Microsoft Wins Phone-Software Deal, Rivals BlackBerry

Bloomberg.com reports that Microsoft has scored "its biggest-ever contract for mobile-phone software, an order from the U.S. Census Bureau that covers 500,000 handsets." The company "expects to increase its mobile unit's sales to $1 billion in one to three years, from $337 million last year, and break the dominance of Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry."

According to the article, the Census Bureau phones will be built by Taiwan's High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) and "census takers will use them in collecting information door-to-door during the 2010 U.S. census."

IDC predicts shipments of Windows-based phones will "double in each of the next two years. Even then, the software will account for only 13 percent of the total market, which includes business and consumer users." Kevin Burden at IDC said, "They're nowhere right now,. RIM is still the mobile enterprise solution that all others should be measured against."

The article discusses some of the inroads Microsoft has been making with Palm and its Treo 700w as well as the always just around-the-corner Motorola Q.

Forrester Research analyst Ellen Daley noted that "delivering e-mail to Windows phones will cost less and the devices offer a wider array of features." She estimated that "Windows runs 5 percent of high-end devices, which cost $300 or more, at large businesses in North America. By 2010, Microsoft may have 60 percent, taking customers from BlackBerry, which now has 80 percent."