Menu
Microsoft games exec hints at iPhone rival

Microsoft games exec hints at iPhone rival

Microsoft's entertainment and games CFO hints at development of iPhone rival

An executive in Microsoft's entertainment and games division has hinted that Microsoft may be developing its own rival to Apple's iPhone, based on Windows Mobile OS.

Speaking at Citi's annual Global Technology Conference in New York, Mindy Mount, corporate vice president and CFO for Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, said it's not "unreasonable" to think that Microsoft will integrate photo, music and touchscreen features into a Windows Mobile product in the future, though she declined to comment on the specifics of when or what that might look like.

Microsoft's idea with Windows Mobile has been to move every-day business capabilities, such as accessing email, from the PC to the mobile device. However, most people "tend to have one phone for personal as well as work [use]," Mount said. "Being able to do pictures and music is something that consumers are going to want, so it's a natural thing for us to want in our product roadmap."

Microsoft is rumoured to be evolving its Zune multimedia player -- its rival to the iPod -- with new features out by the end of the year, though Mount declined to confirm this. But a hybrid product melding Zune, which so far has had lacklustre response from consumers, with Windows Mobile features is not completely unrealistic for the future.

Microsoft has already worked with hardware partners to develop Windows Mobile handsets with touchscreen capabilities that are similar to the iPhone's. For example, the HTC Touch from High Tech Computer is one of the latest Windows Mobile devices to offer users the ability to use a touchscreen to scroll through email and contacts and browse Web pages.

But the HTC Touch smartphone, which is available in the UK, Europe and Asia and should makes its North American debut later this year, doesn't have the type of multimedia capabilities that give the iPhone an edge over rival smartphones, at least in the short term. Market research firm iSuppli said that in July, its first full month of release, the iPhone outsold popular competitors such as the Research in Motion. Blackberry and Palm Treo devices.

Regarding RIM, comments Mount made also seemed to shoot down speculation last week that Microsoft is in talks to purchase the Canadian maker of mobile hardware and software. "We don't comment on rumours, but what I would ask people is, what that really gets you," she said.

Much of RIM's success has been with the device portion of its BlackBerry business, whereas Microsoft has been very successful with using third parties to build its Windows Mobile devices, Mount said. The company sold 11 million Windows Mobile licenses last year, and expects to do 20 million in the current fiscal year. "We're pretty happy with that roadmap right now," she said.

That roadmap so far does not include Microsoft offering hardware for its Windows Mobile OS, which also means if the company did release an iPhone rival based on Windows Mobile, it's unclear whether it would be through a third party or from the company itself. Still, if the Xbox 360, Zune and Milan table-top computer with touchscreen features the company previewed earlier this year are any indication, Microsoft seems to be warming up to the idea of offering consumer hardware devices alongside its traditional software, so an iPhone rival from the vendor is within the realm of possibility.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments