Microsoft to boost music on Windows Mobile

Andy Lees, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business has been doing a lot of talking lately. After dissing the iPhone in his last letter to his Windows Mobile partners, he has gone on to acknowledge on this he feels the iPhone has done right.

“One thing that Apple has leveraged on is the music scenario, and I think that that is something the operators and ourselves are partnering on, just to make sure that consumers can use live music in the best way,” said Andy Lees.

Andy declined to elaborate, but the most obvious route forward would be for Microsoft to integrate their Zune media playing software, which already runs on the same kernel as Windows Mobile, into the Windows Mobile platform. Lees made the point that music in cellphones was a huge business opportunity, since every year consumers bought 10 times as many music-enabled cellphones as iPods.

Of course the likelihood is that Andy Less is talking about improving the next iteration of Windows Mobile, rather than the current 6.1. That does rather raise the question whether this effort would be too little, too late.

Andy does go on to point out that Windows Mobile is doing very well indeed, aiming to sell 20 million devices over the 12 months past, and have shipped 4.3 million smartphone licenses in Q1 2008, against Apple’s paltry 1.7 million iPhones. If fact he goes on to brag that the increase in Windows Mobile shipments over the same period YoY at 1.9 million was significantly more than even the 1.7 Apple managed to ship.

It seems IDC shares his confidence, as they forecast sales of Windows Mobile smartphones to consumers will double that of the iPhone in the next four years.

Read more at Reuters.

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