The Microsoft-Qualcomm Wireless Knowledge smartphone venture is a shrewd move, but it will have to ensure compatibility with other industry initiatives to succeed, according to analysts at the Gartner Group.
Analyst Ken Delaney said the new company, which plans to launch smartphones based on Microsoft?s Windows CE operating system, ?assumes the end of the search for the Holy Grail to drive wireless data into the mainstream?.
He added that this was Microsoft?s big chance to take a major hold on the market. ?If alternatives do not emerge, by 2004, Microsoft will dominate the server architecture (and half the core network operations) for wireless data systems in north America.?
However, Delaney said two other groups working in the same field, Symbian and the Wireless Application Protocol(WAP) Forum, would provide stiff competition to Microsoft?s plans.
?Heavy Symbian investors Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson control more than 75 per cent of the wireless handset market. WAP and Symbian are designed from the bottom up, with the challenges of mobile devices and characteristics of wireless networks at the heart,? said Delaney. ?Windows CE is a top down design lacking many of the necessary modularity traits needed for this environment.?
He concluded that, if Microsoft wants to turn the carrier advanced digital services infrastructure into a big win for its servers, these servers will have to be adapted to projects like Symbian and support Java as a platform while pushing its own CE based alternatives to other handsets.
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