Moto exec: Microsoft will not abandon Windows Mobile

Microsoft will not stop supporting Windows Mobile because of its deal with Nokia to put Office software on Nokia phones, a Motorola executive said, refuting speculation from analysts that the software giant would drift away from its proprietary mobile software.

Jerry McNerney, vice president of mobility computing product management at Motorola, said that he does not think Microsoft will abandon Windows Mobile--at least not for Motorola's rugged handsets. "That's not true," he said in an interview with Computerworld. "We're committed [to] Microsoft going forward." Motorola released a new rugged handset yesterday, the MC9500, which runs on Windows.

McNerney said he based this supposition on conversations he's had with Microsoft executives. While he said the Nokia partnership might push Microsoft to move away from Windows Mobile for smartphones, he said that would not be the case for rugged handheld computers. He also emphasized that Microsoft has a strong developer community, especially when it comes to applications for enterprise and industrial users.

After the Microsoft-Nokia alliance was announced in mid-August, analysts openly speculated that would mean the eventual death of Windows Mobile. The deal was clearly aimed at taking on Research In Motion in the enterprise space, but numerous analysts said it revealed less about any perceived weakness of the BlackBerry maker than it did about the strategies of Microsoft and Nokia. 

"Despite loud protestations that Microsoft is deeply committed to WinMo, they wouldn't have needed this alliance with Nokia if WinMo were the leading smartphone operating system," Gartner analyst Nick Jones wrote in a blog post on the agreement. "I've noted before in my blog that I am becoming more concerned about [Windows Mobile's] future and I worry that WM7 could even be the last throw of the dice. Imagine you're [Microsoft CEO] Steve Balmer, and in two years time WinMo was still 4th in smartphone market share. How much longer would you keep throwing money at it?"  

For more:
- see this Network World article

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