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Microsoft wants someone to turn Xbox into Xphone

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Microsoft is advertising for a program manager to drive the Xbox Live experience onto Windows Mobile, hoping to raise one brand with the application of another.

The advert, which was posted just before Christmas and spotted by Engadget, states that Redmond is looking for someone who can "bring Xbox LIVE enabled games to Windows Mobile" in what looks suspiciously like Nokia's pitch for the N-Gage.

The N-Gage was promoted on the back of network gaming, using the cellular connection to interact with other players, which echoes the Microsoft pitch for someone to: "focus specifically on what makes gaming experiences 'LIVE enabled' through aspects such as avatar integration, social interactions, and multi-screen experiences".

The N-Gage was supposed to have those too, and there were supposed to be games that would exist on both the phone and the PC platform. Nokia even released one but the idea never caught on.

Things have changed since then - Apple has educated punters to buy applications, and games, for mobile phones. Hardware has come a long way since the N-Gage too, but it's still hardly Xbox-compatible.

Which makes it hard not to conclude that this is about attaching a successful brand to Windows Mobile handsets in the hope of regenerating their success. The Zune just hasn't got the following necessary, and the platform owes its existing deployments to the Windows connection, so Xbox is the last big brand in the Microsoft cannon - expect it to be applied to mobile phones just as soon as Microsoft can fill the position. ®

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