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Microsoft, Qualcomm to challenge mobile phone outfits

The unpopular pair are poised to launch their riposte to Symbian next week

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Microsoft and Qualcomm are to form a joint venture wireless data operation next week, according to US reports. The ostensible aim of the company, which will be independent of the two founders, will be to promote wireless and computing convergence, but it will inevitably be seen as a vehicle for the pair to recoup lost ground in the cellular market. Microsoft has fought hard to get CE adopted by mobile phone companies, but has been largely unsuccessful, and earlier this year saw the formation of Symbian, the Psion, Nokia Ericsson and Motorola joint venture that intends to define standards for communicators and smart phones. Qualcomm meanwhile is largely unloved by the mobile phone old guard, and could use some backing if it's to avoid terminal isolation. As practically everybody hates the principals, you could call it a marriage made in hell. But it may make some sense. Qualcomm has recruited a fair old gaggle of supporters internationally for CDMA, and the supporters expected to jump on board the venture next week can be expected to include these. CDMA is (and Qualcomm keeps telling us) and appropriate platform for third generation broadband wireless data, and while it's been difficult so far for Qualcomm and its friends to get it accepted, the appearance of a combination Microsoft-Qualcomm CE-CDMA platform or reference design could give it a hefty shove. ® Click for more stories Click for story index

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