Vodafone and MS strike mobile platform deal

Taking Windows outside

Vodafone and Microsoft are collaborating on developing software to help users take their office with them while they travel.

The agreement will see the companies co-operate so that applications available to Vodafone users, such as mobile e-mail, are able to work with Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system.

The deal follows Vodafone's and Microsoft's announcement of the European launch of Windows Mobile for Vodafone in February. Users will be able to access the mobile versions of applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Office through the new combined platform synchronised with the standard Windows system they have on their PCs. This will allow Vodafone customers to use their mobile phone to interact with PC functions.

Vodafone expects the agreement to lead to an increase in the number of applications available to mobile users and reduce the time it takes for these services to reach the market. "We believe that the collaboration between Microsoft Windows Mobile and Vodafone live will deliver a compelling and unique new alternative in the consumer mobile market," said Jens Schulte-Bockum, Vodafone's global director of Terminals.

"We are very pleased with Vodafone's decision to adopt Windows Mobile as a preferred software platform for its mobile business," said Suzan DelBene, corporate vice-president of Microsoft's Marketing, Mobile and Embedded Devices Division. "Together we will deliver services which we expect will help Vodafone achieve cost-efficiencies, while delivering new propositions to its customers, thus making Windows Mobile an even more compelling platform."

The first device that will use the software developed under the agreement is being produced with Samsung and is expected to be launched early next year.

The Microsoft project is one of three operating platforms Vodafone is focusing on supporting over the next five years. In addition to Windows Mobile, the mobile operator aims to be compatible with Symbian and Linux platforms.

"By focusing on these three core terminal platforms, Vodafone expects to be able to reap the benefits of a range of efficiencies such as reduced handset development costs, as well as the quicker and more cost effective roll out of new services," said Schulte-Bockum.

"This initiative aims to ensure that we do not have to create a different set of software to provide services on a wide range of platforms, so that our customers benefit from enhanced yet simple-to-use services and lower costs."

Vodafone holds a 48.1 percent share of the Irish mobile market with over 2.09 million customers and employs 1,900 people in Ireland.

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