Tech Check

Microsoft's Windows Mobile Becoming A Real Wireless Player

We've spent a lot of time at CTIA talking about Research in Motion, Apple, Nokia and other major players from the wireless world.


But it was the surprising comments from Microsoft's entertainment and devices division president Robbie Bach, during my interview with him, that began to drive Microsoft's shares.

First, a little background: Microsoft's Mobile 5 operating system was a key initiative for the company a few years back. But some have complained that follow-on versions, Mobile 6 and Mobile 6.1 simply don't measure up to 5. Kinda like people complain that Vista is a poor successor to XP.

But Bach dismissed those concerns, cites mobile as a key revenue pipeline for Microsoft, and went so far as to say that he's competing effectively against the Apple iPhone juggernaut.

Gaming on Your Cell Phone

"Right now, we're competing with Apple and others quite well," he tells me." "This year about 20 million devices will ship with our Windows Mobile operating system. That puts us ahead of RIM's BlackBerry."

He adds that Microsoft will see almost 100 percent volume growth that he expects will continue into 2009.

It's a big deal for a company trying to get its software in as many places as possible. I asked Bach about a Microsoft branded handset, now that the company is finally enjoying hardware success with Xbox 360. No go, he says. And with all the focus on handsets here, I asked Bach about the possibility of Xbox 360 Mobile, so Microsoft could maybe take on Sony and its PSP. No go again, he says. Microsoft focusing on the console and happy with the progress.

With Microsoft's ongoing mobile momentum, it should be fascinating what Google does with its Android mobile OS, and whether it has found a way to derail that big, bad competitor to the north.

Questions?  Comments?