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Microsoft Announces New Phone Software

October 7, 2009

Microsoft Corp announced new software for mobile phones on Tuesday that will help devices compete with Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry.

Microsoft said that over 30 new devices with the new Windows Mobile 6.5 software would hit the market in more than 20 countries by the end of the year.  The giant software company has partnerships with phone companies like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., AT&T Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc.

The new software will play music, open Word and Excel documents, and be synchronized over the Internet.  However, some analysts think that the new phones will not have enough features to keep up with rivals.

Investors welcomed the new announcement by sending Microsoft shares up 2.1 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer played down rumors of the company building its own smartphone.

“We are not here to announce today that we are making phones,” he said at an event in Paris.

Ballmer said the market for phones is going to triple or quadruple in the next few years, and Microsoft is ready to challenge other phone makers for the market share.

Ballmer also said that Windows Mobile’s share of the mobile phone market is equal to Apple’s.

“We and Apple are neck and neck and we’re chasing the two other players,” Ballmer said, referring to Nokia, the world’s No. 1 smartphone maker, and Research in Motion.

According to Ballmer, Microsoft has no plans to counter Google Inc.’s move into the smartphone market with its free Android software.

“Free is not a business model,” he said. “We are a commercial company, we will look to gain revenue and profit from our activities. You’ll have to ask our competitors if they’ll make money on free things.”

Microsoft also said that it would have a new online application store so users will be able to buy 246 applications for their phones.

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