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Week of March 8, 2009

Microsoft Unveils Its Developer Strategy for the Next Generation of Windows® Phones

Familiar tools, large worldwide customer base and transparent policies allow mobile developers to innovate and generate new revenue opportunities with Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

Microsoft Corp. today announced new details about how developers can build and sell applications for Windows® phones through Windows Marketplace for Mobile, the recently announced application marketplace available with the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. In its commitment to helping developers create new and exciting applications, Microsoft will provide developers with 70 percent of the sales revenue of their applications from Windows Marketplace for Mobile, transparency throughout the certification process, and guidance and support from the stage of development to the final sale to the consumer. Developers can get the tools to begin developing for Windows® phones at http://developer.windowsmobile.com.

“Microsoft’s decades-long relationship with developers has led to some of the most exciting innovations the industry has seen. We’ll continue our successful collaboration with developers through Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which will provide a broad reach to customers,” said Andy Lees, senior vice president of the Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft Corp. “With the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile and our great development tools, Windows® phones represent an incredible opportunity for developers everywhere.”

Developers who sell applications through Windows Marketplace for Mobile will receive 70 percent of the revenue from the sales of each application. In addition, they will be able to set the price for their applications in each market, maximizing their revenues based on targeted pricing strategies. Developers can also choose to distribute their applications at no cost. Up to five application submissions to Windows Marketplace for Mobile is included in the introductory annual registration fee of $99 (U.S.). Each additional submission within the annual period will cost $99 (U.S.). The registration fee is waived for student developers who want to reach Windows® phones customers, through enrollment in the Microsoft DreamSpark program.

With Windows Marketplace for Mobile available in 29 countries, developers will be able to tap into a broad international customer base. At the same time, Microsoft will continue working with developers to ensure that their applications run optimally on Windows® phones by running a rigorous certification and testing process before applications go to market. Developers will be able to see detailed feedback during and after the certification process of their application on the Windows Marketplace for Mobile developer portal. Ultimately this enables developers to devote more time to writing innovative applications, and less time trying to navigate the approval process. Developers will have access to all details once the registration doors open in the spring, and will be able to start submitting their applications later this summer.

Developers can utilize familiar tools and technologies to build unique experiences for the Windows Mobile platform through Windows Marketplace for Mobile, including the Windows Mobile 6 SDK and .NET Compact Framework 3.5.

With more than 20,000 applications already in market, Windows Mobile is among the most popular platforms for developers. Windows Mobile 6.5, the next generation of the Windows Mobile operating system, will allow developers to build innovative mobile applications without having to learn new skills or programming languages, by leveraging familiar desktop and server development tools such as Win32, Active Template Library and Microsoft Foundation Classes (Visual C++), Visual C#, Visual Basic .NET, ASP.NET and asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX).   (Source: Press Release)

Posted Wednesday, March 11 2009 by ChrisD
Rating: 1.87 Comments ()

Microsoft Offers New Services for Mobile Devices

Q&A: Microsoft My Phone, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, help people track and manage mobile information, says Mobile Services General Manager Bart Wojciehowski.

This week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft is showcasing the next generation of Windows® phones, introducing new mobile services for Windows® phones and highlighting strong momentum for its family of Windows Live mobile services. PressPass sat down with Bart Wojciehowski, general manager for Mobile Services within Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business, to learn more about how mobile services fits into Microsoft’s integrated PC, Web and mobile strategy.

PressPass: It sounds like services are becoming more important to Microsoft’s mobile strategy. Can you explain what you are doing in this space?

Bart Wojciehowski, Mobile Services General Manager.
Bart Wojciehowski, Mobile Services General Manager.
Click for hi-res image

Wojciehowski: You bet. First off, it’s really exciting to be part of Microsoft’s mobile services efforts right now. People all over the world are looking to mobile services to improve the way they find and share information, stay in touch with the people they care about, and have fun on their phones. The services they are looking for on the phone are frequently the same ones they use and are familiar with on the Web and PC, such as Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live Photo Gallery, MSN, Search and more. This gives Microsoft an incredible opportunity –– to deliver great mobile offerings for these services in ways that help people make the most of their mobile experience.

Microsoft is also making a huge bet on the next generation of Windows® phones, and mobile services are at the core of the experience. Mobile services like the ones I mentioned and new ones we’re announcing this week are tightly integrated into the entire Windows® phone experience. This allows people to connect their PC, Web and phone experience in new ways that will greatly enhance the way they use their phones every day.

PressPass: Can you tell us a bit more about the two new services CEO Steve Ballmer announced at Microsoft’s Mobile World Congress press conference: My Phone and Windows Marketplace for Mobile?

Wojciehowski: Sure. Our mobile services engineering, product management and marketing teams have been working very hard on these new services. We’re excited that we’ll be able to deliver them to customers this year.

Specifically, Steve previewed two new services that will be shipped on Windows® phones this year. The first is a service called Microsoft My Phone, which syncs text messages, photos, video and contacts to the Web. This is a free service that allows people to access, manage and back up their personal information on their device to the Web, making it easier to upgrade their phones without the worry of losing important information. Consumers will also be able to wirelessly update photos and video from their Windows® phone directly to the My Phone service, making it simple to share content that, in the past, would have lived and died on the phone. It’s important to note that the My Phone service is available in a limited invitation-only beta right now.

The second new service is Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a rich and integrated place for searching, browsing and purchasing mobile applications from Windows® phones or from a PC. The new marketplace will be available with all Windows® phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5, which will allow consumers to easily find, install and experience applications that fit their needs and make the phone truly personal.

PressPass: Can you tell us more about how the Windows Live mobile services are doing?

Wojciehowski: The Windows Live and MSN family of mobile services are doing really well right now. As you know, these services have been around for some time and they are picking up incredible momentum around the world. An increasing number of our 500 million Windows Live users on the PC are starting to engage in their favorite Windows Live services on their phone. There are a range of ways people can take advantage of Windows Live on their phone –– from feature-rich client suites to services optimized for use through the mobile internet browser and alerts delivered via text messages to the phone.

PressPass: Microsoft is highlighting Windows Live momentum, especially in the partner space with mobile operators and ISVs. It sounds like partners are an important part of the Windows Live mobile services business. Can you tell us more about those relationships and what it means for Windows Live mobile?

Wojciehowski: Partners are definitely a big part of our business. The only way we are able to effectively deliver our Windows Live experience to the vast majority of people around the world is in conjunction with our mobile operator and independent software vendor (ISV) partners. To give you and idea of how important our partners are, we have more than 100 mobile operators delivering Windows Live services in more than 45 countries. We also have over 100 different development partners working with us to build great Windows Live experiences on hundreds of mobile handsets around the world.

What we’ve announced at the Mobile World Congress are several very important mobile operator and ISV relationships that will significantly expand our ability to engage customers. This is particularly true in Latin America, where we’re extending our collaboration with mobile operators América Móvil, Telefonica, Personal S.A. and Movistar. Taken together, these alliances will help ensure that Windows Live mobile services, MSN Mobile, Live Search and others are offered and promoted to Windows Live users in more than 20 countries and on over 300 million mobile phones.

We’re also excited to extend our partnership with Gemalto, the world’s largest SIM card provider. It is currently offering a SIM-based client solution for Messenger in Latin America. This broader global relationship promises to make Windows Live Messenger available on millions of mass-market handsets in the next few years.

PressPass: Aside from partner momentum, are there any new product upgrades we should know about?

Wojciehowski: There are several things to highlight that pertain to recent service enhancements. The first is the new mobile.live.com home page. This is a new hub for a person’s entire Windows Live experience, bringing together feeds from Hotmail, Messenger buddies, personal and friends’ photos, MSN and other information sources. This one unified page will help people stay connected to the people and information they care about.

This week we’re also introducing an enhanced Windows Live Hotmail alert service. This will allow people to be notified with a text message when they receive an e-mail from a particular contact. For example, you could set up the system so you receive text message alerts when you get an e-mail from a specific family member — like your brother. From there, people can click on a link included in the text message to easily access Hotmail from the mobile Internet browser on their phone. Last, we’re introducing other Windows Live alerts that send people their Windows Live contact and calendar information and give them the ability to change their personal status on Instant Messenger through text messages.  (Source: Press Release)

Posted Wednesday, March 11 2009 by ChrisD
Rating: 5 Comments ()

LG Electronics Deepens Alliance With Microsoft by Selecting Windows as Primary Smartphone Platform

World’s third-largest mobile handset maker plans tenfold increase in volume of Windows® phones from 2008 to 2009 and brings more than 50 new Windows® phones to market in coming years.

LG Electronics (LG) and Microsoft Corp. today announced an expanded alliance to dramatically increase the number of LG phones running Windows. As part of the agreement, LG will make Windows its primary operating system for its smartphones and will increase both the number of Windows® phones in its portfolio and the total volume of Windows® phones it distributes. This will create a tenfold increase in the volume of Windows® phones available from LG in 2009 and bring up to 26 new Windows® phones to market in 2012 alone. Overall, the agreement can result in more than 50 new LG Windows® phones.

“New LG phones running Windows will take advantage of the excitement in this dynamically growing market,” said Yong Nam, vice chairman and chief executive officer, LG Electronics. “The Windows platform brings flexible and customer-friendly software that ties into the Web and the PC, giving our phones a wide range of new capabilities to address an increasing number of segments and markets.”

“Windows® phones enable people to tap into digital experiences that span their lives so they can connect to the people, information and services they care about most,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “Integrating Windows software with LG’s design leadership will bring new experiences to help enrich people’s lives.”

The agreement also includes a commitment by both companies to create joint teams for research and development, to focus on creating phones with powerful features built on tight integration between hardware and software. It also details joint marketing efforts to expand the reach of these phones at a range of prices in markets across the globe.

This agreement follows a memorandum of understanding signed by LG and Microsoft on Nov. 3, 2008, which put in place strategic collaboration on the converged mobile device business.

Complementing the expanded alliance, LG also announced the LG-GM730, which incorporates LG’s signature style with a slim (11.9 mm) and seamless profile and rounded edges. The Windows® phone is user-friendly with features like one-click e-mail setup and easy finger navigation while browsing with the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile. Available in the first half of 2009 on Windows Mobile 6.1, LG will add Windows Mobile 6.5 version to their portfolio in the second half of 2009.  (Source: Press Release)

Posted Wednesday, March 11 2009 by ChrisD
Rating: 4 Comments ()

Microsoft Reveals New Windows® Phones With Marketplace and My Phone Services

Microsoft mobile partners fly the Windows flag: HTC, LG and Orange preview first Windows® phones.

Today at Mobile World Congress 2009, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer along with key mobile partners, HTC, LG and Orange, unveiled new Windows® phones featuring new user-friendly software and services. The next generation of Windows® phones will be based on Windows Mobile 6.5 and feature a new user interface and a richer browsing experience. In addition, Windows® phones will feature two new services: My Phone, to sync text messages, photos, video, contacts and more to the Web; and Windows® Marketplace for Mobile, a new marketplace that will provide direct-to-phone mobile applications and can be accessed from both the phone and the Web.
Contacts are backed up with My Phone so users don’t have to worry about losing contacts.
Contacts are backed up with My Phone so users don’t have to worry about losing contacts.
Click for larger version.

“Windows® phones bring together the best of the Web, the PC and the phone so you can connect instantly to the experiences you care about, no matter where you are,” Ballmer said. “We’re working with partners across the industry to deliver a new generation of Windows® phones that break down the barriers between people, information and applications and provide great end-to-end experiences that span your entire life, at work and at home.”

Windows Mobile 6.5 Delivers New User Experience

The new Windows Mobile 6.5 home screen keeps people up-to-date on important information by providing a dashboard-like experience to items such as new e-mails, texts, missed calls and calendar appointments. It also includes an improved touch-screen interface, making it easy to take action with a finger, and an updated version of the latest Internet Explorer Mobile browser, which in a third-party research study sponsored by Microsoft supported execution of up to 48 percent more assigned tasks than the other browsers and phones studied.

My Phone allow users to view and manage photos on their phone on the Web.
My Phone allow users to view and manage photos on their phone on the Web.
Click for larger version.

My Phone Service Connects the Phone to the Web

The free My Phone service will enable people to access, manage and back up their personal information on their device to a password-protected Web-based service, making it easier to upgrade phones without the worry of losing important information. With automatic syncing and backup, users can count on their contacts, appointments, text messages and other information being kept up to date and easily restored should they lose or upgrade their phone. Consumers also will be able to automatically upload photos and video from their Windows® phone directly to the My Phone service, making it simple to preserve content that, in the past, would have lived and died on the phone. The My Phone service is currently available in a limited invitation-only beta.

Rich and Integrated Marketplace Service Will Offer Easy Access to Mobile Applications

The new operating system features Windows® Marketplace for Mobile, a rich and integrated marketplace for searching, browsing and purchasing mobile applications from Windows® phones or from a PC by simply using a Windows Live ID. The new marketplace will be included with all Windows phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5, which will help consumers to easily find, install and experience those applications that fit their needs and make the phone truly personal. Developers, who have already built over 20,000 applications for Windows® phones, will be able to offer applications to customers through the marketplace via a simple security and compatibility check from Microsoft.

Partners Showcase New Windows® Phones

Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer speaks at a press conference during the 2009 Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Feb. 16, 2009.
Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer speaks at a press conference during the 2009 Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Feb. 16, 2009.
Click for high-res version.

Leading mobile partners from around the world revealed some of the first Windows® phones showcasing the new operating system. In particular, mobile operator Orange will update its portfolio to offer new Windows phones with enhanced browsing, diverse personalization options and new user experiences. Similarly, two of the world’s top phone manufacturers displayed their Windows® phones.

The LG-GM7300 is a stylish, user-friendly phone with features such as one-click e-mail set up to help people stay connected to the information they care about most. Available first on Windows Mobile 6.1, LG will add a Windows Mobile 6.5 version to the family, complementing an expanded alliance to dramatically increase the number of LG phones running Windows.

HTC’s Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2, announced today, will be upgradeable to Windows Mobile 6.5. New enhanced contact integration combined with new Internet capabilities deliver a people-centric approach to mobile communication. HTC’s Touch Diamond 2 features TouchFLO 3D, a sleek and compact design with a large 3.2-inch high-resolution wide-screen display, while HTC Touch Pro 2 introduces one of the best-ever mobile productivity experiences on a phone highlighted by HTC’s new Straight Talk technology, an integrated e-mail, voice and speakerphone experience.

The new Windows® phones are expected to be available in the second half of 2009. Additional information on companies supporting Windows Mobile 6.5 can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/mobileworldcongress/docs/partnerlist.doc.

Additional Services and Partnerships

The company also announced Microsoft Recite, a voice search technology for Windows® phones version 6.0 or later, which provides users with a fast and simple way to capture, search and retrieve spoken notes and reminders using just their voice without the need to navigate menus or type text. Microsoft Recite efficiently organizes a user’s spoken thoughts based on same or similar terms and phrases, and is available as a free technology preview at http://recite.microsoft.com/.

Microsoft announced that several European mobile publishers and network operators have chosen Microsoft as their mobile advertising partner: Mobistar (Orange Group) and BASE, the second and the third largest mobile operators in Belgium respectively; fast-growing mobile travel site WAYN; eFinancialNews and Private Equity News, the financial and private equity news sites, part of Dow Jones; Le Parisien.fr, the mobile site of Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui en France, the first daily newspaper in France; La Vanguardia, one of the leading Spanish daily newspapers; Spanish sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo; and Le Post.fr, the first interactive French mobile site. Microsoft offers full mobile advertising services including media sales, ad delivery and optimization in 12 countries, delivering mobile ads on both Microsoft and partner properties.

Microsoft partners also announced support for mobile broadband enhancements in Windows 7, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system. Mobile broadband enhancements include simple and reliable means to connect to the Internet, as well as a common infrastructure for partners to build on to create new, high-value mobile services. Partners announcing integration with the Windows 7 native mobile broadband include Acer, Asus, Birdstep Technology, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Huawei Communications Technologies, Option, Qualcomm, Sierra Wireless, Smith Micro, T-Mobile International and ZTE.

Additional information about Microsoft at Mobile World Congress 2009 is available on the Microsoft MWC Web page at http://www.windowsmobile.com/mobileworldcongress.   (Source: Press Release)

Posted Wednesday, March 11 2009 by ChrisD
Rating: 5 Comments ()

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