Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) will unveil its latest version of its mobile operating system on Tuesday while the U.S. wireless industry gathers in San Diego for the annual fall CTIA conference. Microsoft executives will be spread across the globe with SVP Andy Lees in San Diego, Steve Ballmer in Paris and Robbie Bach in New York to unveil the operating system and its new application storefront for the phone. Everyone will be looking for signs that the software giant can remain relevant during these ubber competitive times.
The case will be difficult to make. Players like Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Palm (NSDQ: PALM), RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) and Android have gained a lot of momentum. Not to mention, the 6.5 release is being overshadowed by what comes next — Windows Mobile 7, the company’s extremely hush-hush project that won’t be out for another year. Still, you can’t rule Microsoft out entirely. Or, at least, that is the conclusion of a report released yesterday by iSuppi that says Microsoft’s death in mobile is highly exaggerated and the company will be able to regain its second-place position in the smartphone market by 2012 after falling to third this year.
Tina Teng, iSuppli’s senior analyst lists three things to make the case: Microsoft has a more compelling solution; it has a ton of licensees and Windows Mobile 7 will provide a more compelling consumer platform. “Windows Mobile is facing a host of challenges, including rising competition from free alternatives like Symbian and Android, the loss of some key licensees and some shortcomings in its user interface. However, Windows Mobile holds some major cards that will allow it to remain a competitive player in the market.