Microsoft Set to Demonstrate Windows Mobile 7 Next Week

Bloomberg BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) report that Microsoft is set to demonstrate its next-generation smartphone software, to be known as Windows Mobile 7 or Windows Phone, at next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. According to BusinessWeek:

On Feb. 15, Microsoft will unveil its latest effort to get back into the game. The renamed Windows Phone operating system, set to be introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will "move the bar forward," said Robbie Bach, president of the company's entertainment and devices division.

With Windows Mobile 7, Microsoft is reportedly seeking to pursue tighter integration of its software with third-party hardware, looking to place stricter limits on the basic characteristics of devices running Windows Mobile 7 so as to ensure a more consistent quality of user experience and reduce the need for application developers to make sacrifices otherwise required for applications to run on the wide variety of hardware running Windows Mobile in its current form. From The Wall Street Journal:

New devices based on Windows Mobile 7, due out later this year, will be the first to reflect a much tighter focus at Microsoft on how its software works with hardware made by other companies. In the past, Microsoft has taken much the same approach in mobile software as it has in the PC market, licensing its operating system to nearly any hardware maker that wanted to install it on their systems.

Microsoft's new strategy addresses the level of integration possible in the iPhone, with Apple making both hardware and software, and Android, where Google has taken a more active role in handset design to improve the Android user experience. Microsoft has seen growth of its Windows Mobile user base stagnate, with Apple calculated to have passed Microsoft in U.S. sales as long as ago as late 2007 and moved beyond Microsoft in installed U.S. user base late last year.

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