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Microsoft in the Pink with Verizon on iPhone?

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Verizon, AT&T's number-one competitor on mobile, is being touted as the company Microsoft will partner with to deliver a touch-screen phone running Windows.

Microsoft is reportedly talking to Verizon about delivering a touch-screen device early next year. If true, then the phone is likely to be running Windows Mobile 6.5 that's due in the second-half of this year.

If the report is correct, then it looks like Microsoft's long-running Pink project is turning into a Microsoft-branded handset running Windows Mobile, accompanied by Windows services. Those services will be transposed and evolve from services for Microsoft's Zune player.

A Microsoft spokesperson would not comment on the Verizon deal, but told The Reg Microsoft’s strategy is to "work closely with many mobile operators and device makers around the world because customers want different experiences on a variety phones."

Microsoft and Verizon signed a deal on mobile search in January. It's understood to be a $1bn deal that would see Microsoft's Live Search become the default search service for the wireless carrier's cell phones. Google was understood to be in the running.

Microsoft's been kicking the Pink ball around for some time and many have conjectured that Microsoft must be building something to challenge Apple's iPhone on the AT&T network and Google's Android on the T-Mobile network.

An initial phone, though, is likely to be more like a toe hold in the touch-screen mobile market. Microsoft, itself, has already admitted Windows 6.5 will fall short of what the company should be delivering in order to face up to the capabilities of the iPhone and Android.

The successor to Windows Mobile 7.0 is not expected until the second-half of 2010. ®

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