Ballmer pledges to accelerate WinMo development

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promised the software giant will accelerate efforts to rejuvenate its flagging Windows Mobile operating system in the face of growing competitive pressure from rivals like Apple and Research In Motion. "There are opportunities for us to accelerate our execution in this area," Ballmer said last week during Microsoft's Public Sector CIO Summit in Redmond, Wash. "We've done a lot of work to make sure we have a team that will be able to accelerate it."

Ballmer's comments followed a question-and-answer session grilling by Chris Kemp, chief information officer of NASA's Ames Research Center. "With platforms like the Google phone and iPhone coming out, it's really tough to continue to stand behind Windows Mobile when our employees are bringing these consumer devices into our environments," Kemp told Ballmer, according to TechFlash. "I'm wondering what your commitment is to continuing to get newer versions of the operating system in our hands so that we don't have to fight this battle on the ground."

Ballmer conceded the pending release of Windows Mobile 6.5 is largely a stopgap measure until Microsoft is ready to unveil its long-awaited WinMo 7. "We have a significant release coming this year. Not the full release we wanted to have this year but we have a significant release coming this year with Windows Mobile 6.5," Ballmer said. "We did sell more Windows Mobile devices last year than Apple did iPhones--just an important factoid to have. BlackBerry was a little bit ahead, and Google was nowhere to be seen, except in Silicon Valley, I'm sure. But we'll do our best to help you with that challenge."

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