Vodafone, Microsoft in Handset Deal; To Cut Mobile OS Support From Twenty To Three

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Vodafone has chosen Windows Mobile as the third operating system it will use in its handsets, the other two being Symbian Series 60 and Linux. “By supporting just a few software platforms, Vodafone can cut application development costs and also offer more services to end users, it said.” I guess these are the big OS’s — the action is mainly aimed at the proprietary OS’s that handset manufacturers use to run their handsets. This is good for content developers, as it should make porting applications and content easier (although it will still be necessary). This is a focus for the group over the next five years, and Vodafone doesn’t rule out using other operating systems, with “other software might appear on the low-end phones that Vodafone offers” according to Mark Street, a Vodafone spokesman. If other large, international mobile companies begin to follow suit we will probably see a consolidation in the industry. Microsoft has indicated that other telcos are looking to do the same thing: “Vodafone is the first to go into this direction, but there are others doing similar things and we will be talking about them in due course,” Pieter Knook, senior VPt for the Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft said.” It’s talking about deals with MS, but those deals are unlikely to be exclusive so it’s really MS talking on the intentions of operators — Knook probably spends a lot of time talking to them but take it with a grain of salt.
Vodafone and Microsoft plan to issue their first device using the software through Samsung in the first half of 2007. Interesting this: Nokia’s Series 40 software, which it uses in its less-expensive models, of which it sells hundreds of millions every year, wasn’t on Vodafone’s list. Vodafone will standardize on the open source Linux for these cheaper models.
(Press release)

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