Microsoft, Motorola stay mum on phone deal

Reports this week that Motorola is planning to roll out a mobile phone with software from Microsoft were dubbed speculation by both companies Friday.

The industry giants remained tight-lipped about the possibility, despite a report in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Friday, saying that a Motorola phone powered by Microsoft software was due out by the end of the year.

"We work with a variety of partners to serve our customers' needs and we can't comment on speculation," said a Microsoft representative in the U.K. Likewise, a Motorola spokeswoman in the U.K. dubbed the reports "speculation and rumor."

The prospect of a Motorola phone running Microsoft software stirred excitement among industry watchers, however, since it would represent a leg up for Microsoft in the emerging smart phone market.

HTC and Mitac International, both in Taiwan, already produce smart phones running Microsoft software, which are shipping through channels in Asia and Europe. Samsung Electronics has also announced that it will deliver a Microsoft-powered smart phone later this year.

Inclusion in a Motorola phone could give Microsoft a greater footprint in the lucrative U.S. market, however. According to the Journal report, which cites an unnamed source "familiar with the situation," Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group PLC are likely to sell the Motorola-Microsoft phone later this year.

What's more, the phone is due to use a dual-mode chipset developed Qualcomm Inc., according to the WSJ, which would allow it to be used both on U.S. networks using CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology and on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks used elsewhere in the world.

This would boost the Redmond, Washington, software maker in its battle against Symbian Ltd., whose software is used in phones from Fujitsu, Nokia and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. A London representative for Symbian declined to comment on the Motorola-Microsoft tie-up, but asserted that Symbian is ahead of the game in terms of market share.

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Scarlet Pruitt

IDG News Service
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