Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Microsoft and Verizon Plot an iPhone Rival



The Wall Street Journal - Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Wireless are in talks to launch a touch-screen multimedia cellphone on the carrier's network early next year, in an ambitious effort to challenge Apple Inc.'s iPhone, according to people familiar with the matter.

The discussions are a gambit by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to energize a mobile business that has lost buzz among consumers and software developers to Apple's iPhone and Google Inc.'s Android.

Microsoft is a major player in software for cellphones, but it is working hard to develop a new device that will rival Apple's.

Verizon, meanwhile, is pushing on several fronts to extend its smart-phone offerings and compete with AT&T Inc., which is the iPhone's exclusive U.S. carrier.

Verizon has also had discussions in recent months with Apple about partnering on devices other than the iPhone, people familiar with the matter say.

In a recent interview, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg declined to comment on whether Verizon and Microsoft were planning an iPhone-like device.

Microsoft's project, which is code-named "Pink," aims to produce a phone that will extend the tech giant's Windows Mobile operating system, adding new software capabilities. It would also likely include Microsoft's new Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a store for cellphone downloads along the lines of Apple's App Store, these people said.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124093915558664239.html#mod=testMod

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