Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US), the world's largest software maker, announced an accord to put its new mobile operating system onto phones from wireless-service providers such as Orange SA and T-Mobile USA Inc.
The software, Windows Mobile 6, will be available to Microsoft's partners Feb. 12 and should be in phones within the next few months, said Suzan DelBene, vice president for the company's mobile-device marketing. Microsoft plans to introduce the software this week at the 3GSM World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Sales of phones and handheld computers running Microsoft software more than doubled in 2006, DelBene said, citing a study by market-research firm IDC. The Redmond, Washington-based company is adding features to its software in a bid to lure more business customers away from Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) and Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device.
Shares of Microsoft fell 28 cents to $28.98 on Feb. 9 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading (MSFT:US). The shares have gained 8.7 percent in the past year.
AT&T's Cingular Wireless unit, Motorola Inc., Palm Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) also will make or sell phones with the new software.
Windows Mobile 6 lets customers search for e-mail stored on the company's Microsoft Exchange mail server, even if the message isn't on the phone itself. The software also includes a new Windows Live search engine and improvements to mobile versions of Microsoft's Office programs, such as its Outlook e- mail, contacts and calendar product.
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