Microsoft steps up efforts to win wireless market

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates yesterday launched the newest version of the company's mobile OS, Windows Mobile 5.0, at the Microsoft Mobile and Embedded Developer Convention in Las Vegas. The newest version of Windows Mobile eliminates the old differences between the Smartphone and Pocket PC versions of the platform, creating an almost identical system for all mobile devices. Windows Mobile 5.0 is also designed to make it easier for existing Windows developers to design applications for Windows-based devices. Many of the OS' new features, however, were detailed late last week on a number of wireless blogs.

In addition to launching Windows 5.0, Microsoft is using this convention as a way to re-energize its push into wireless market. The company began bolstering its efforts last fall when it inked a number of mobile licensing deals for its Exchange platform. According to rumors, Microsoft plans to spend roughly $100 million on its newest wireless marketing efforts. Microsoft made a hard push into the wireless market in 2002 and 2003, but retreated on its efforts in early 2004. Microsoft's earlier efforts in the wireless market focused on getting the company's OS on PDAs and enhanced handsets. While the company had great success in the PDA market, it failed to gain the traction it desired in the handset market. Microsoft is refocusing its wireless strategy, this time appealing to developers to create more applications and leveraging its installed user base to help spur adoption.

For more on Microsoft's newest push into the wireless market:
- read this report from BusinessWeek