New mobile phones

New mobile phones announcements

Microsoft plans to present new Mobile Windows in February

Microsoft Corp. plans to unveil its new mobile-phone operating system next month, a bid to reverse market share losses to Google Inc. and Apple Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter, the Bloomberg reports.

The company may use the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to demonstrate the new software, called Windows Mobile 7, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the plans are confidential. The decision isn’t final, the person said.

Microsoft is counting on the software to reignite enthusiasm for Windows Mobile among consumers and phone makers. The last update — Windows Mobile 6.5, which came out in October — didn’t do enough to advance the software, said Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Kirkland, Washington-based Directions on Microsoft.

“The sooner they show Windows Mobile 7, the better,” he said. “The longer Microsoft delays and the longer they are perceived as having a mobile operating system that just doesn’t look modern, the less consumer interest there will be and handset manufacturers will look at other options.”

Debbie Anderson, a spokeswoman for Redmond, Washington- based Microsoft, declined to comment on the timing of an announcement. “We’re always working on future versions and have nothing new to announce,” she said.

‘Almost Nothing’

Microsoft has said “almost nothing” about Windows Mobile 7, Rosoff said. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said a year ago that the program would come out in 2010. Microsoft doesn’t produce its own phone, just an operating system for partners to use.

Windows Mobile has lost market share to Apple’s iPhone, Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and models that use Google’s Android software, according to Stamford, Connecticut- based Gartner Inc. Android is a freely available operating system used by Motorola Inc., HTC Corp. and other manufacturers. Google, based in Mountain View, California, introduced its own phone based on the software this month.

Android is “a particular threat” to win over handset makers looking to ditch the Windows software, Rosoff said.

Microsoft rose 61 cents to $30.96 yesterday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares climbed 57 percent last year.

Microsoft’s share of the smartphone operating-system market shrank to 7.9 percent in the third quarter, compared with 11 percent in the year-earlier period, according to Gartner.

Market Share

Research In Motion’s share rose to 21 percent from 16 percent, while Apple increased to 17 percent from 13 percent. Android had 3.5 percent of the market in the quarter, up from none a year earlier.

Microsoft’s next mobile operating system “really does move the bar forward, not in an evolutionary way from where we are today, but it’s something that feels, looks, acts and performs completely different,” Robbie Bach, a Microsoft president who oversees the mobile business, told analysts at the Consumer Electronics Show this month.

The company needs it, Rosoff said.

“Their lack of execution so far is very troubling,” he said. “It’s always possible to turn it around with a great product, particularly in the mobile space because people buy new handsets every two years. But nothing about their execution so far gives me any confidence that will happen.”

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