Report: Microsoft pushes 'Project Pink,' mulls RIM acquisition

Microsoft's mobile ambitions are still bright, even though its Windows Mobile platform has lost momentum to other players such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Google's Android OS.

The company is continuing development on its "Project Pink" multimedia touchscreen device. According to the blog AllThingsD, a team that includes some workers from Danger--the Sidekick creator that Microsoft purchased in 2008--is hard at work on the phone's hardware and software. A device will be released later this year--a timeframe that coincides with ZDNet's "Project Pink" report last month.

However, Microsoft may be looking outside the company to help it regain its footing in the mobile market. Citing multiple unnamed sources, the blog said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has repeatedly conveyed his interest in purchasing RIM. The possible marriage, which previously has been floated by various industry watchers, makes sense, considering both companies' strong position in the enterprise market. However, RIM would represent a large bite for Microsoft to swallow; the BlackBerry maker commands a $36 billion market cap.

Interestingly, Ballmer has dismissed the idea of buying Palm. Microsoft has been rumored to be a potential Palm suitor in the past.

A Microsoft spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In other Microsoft news, the Redmond computing giant teamed with Taiwanese chipset vendor MediaTek to help it position smartphones for China and other emerging markets. MediaTek, which also works with Android phones, has married its hardware with Windows Mobile software, a move the companies said will provide Chinese handset makers with a reference point for new Windows Mobile phones.

"There is a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets," Microsoft said in a statement, according to IDG News Service. "For many people, the phone rather than the PC is the main entry point to the Internet, resulting in a high demand for rich communication devices. In order to meet this demand, we have teamed up with MediaTek to facilitate the provision of affordable smartphones."

For more:
- see this AllThingsD post
- see this IDG News Service article

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