Company plans to build unit volume in China in 2012
Microsoft will launch it newest OS for phones, Mango, on phones from Nokia, Samsung, HTC and other phones in a few weeks.
This week, two major OS updates were released. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) released its BBX for its smartphones and tablet devices, while Google launched the Ice Cream Sandwich (Android OS 4) on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus.
Microsoft has lagged behind in the smartphone race dominated by Apple and Google’s Android, which together, comprise nearly 50% of the market.
The company entered into a software partnership with Nokia in February this year, but Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila had said that Nokia Windows phones will be on the stores only in 2012.
The Mango-Nokia combination could help the company catch up with rivals. The new Microsoft platform is also expected to capitalise on fears among phonemakers after Google announced plans to acquire Motorola.
Microsoft’s Windows phone division president Andrew Lees told Reuters, "We’ve seen hardware manufacturers very nervous about what Google is doing. I think anyone who turns around and competes with you is a cause for concern."
The launch of Mango OS is coming at a time when Apple is in a transition phase after Steve Jobs demise, and when RIM is busy firefighting after its services suffered a major outage that angered customers across the world.
Though the new OS is targeted at the markets in the US and Eastern Europe, Microsoft intends to take the OS to emerging markets, including China next year.
"As the price comes down, emerging markets do become a huge opportunity, but also the existing markets in western Europe and the U.S., because as the price point comes down, more people will get into the smartphone market," Lees said.
"We’ll be going in for the first time in 2012 and we’ll be building unit volume from there [China]," Lees said.
Tokyo-based Fujitsu has already launched a Mango smartphone in Japan.