Microsoft lays down gauntlet

Microsoft is giving visitors to GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK the chance to get hands-on with the first crop of Windows Phone 7-enabled mobiles available in the market.

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Microsoft lays down gauntlet Microsoft has high hopes for its OS.
By  ITP.net Staff Writer Published  October 19, 2010

Microsoft is giving visitors to GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK the chance to get hands-on with the first crop of Windows Phone 7-enabled mobiles available in the market.

The company is confident that the devices can make a significant splash in the Middle East, which has one of the highest handset penetration rates globally, despite facing an uphill battle against smartphone incumbents Apple and BlackBerry.

According to Microsoft, it can leverage the power of its three-screen strategy — TV, PC and mobile phone — to bring about a level of functionality no other device can offer.

“Windows Phone 7 is a key part of our three-screen and cloud strategy,” explains Charbel Fakhoury, General Regional Manager of Microsoft Gulf. “The integration of Xbox Live is, in particular, one of the key selling points of the device,” he adds. “If you take a look at the Fable 3 app; it’s a sign of where we’re planning to go with the device. You’ll be able to play the game across mobile, TV and computer — the three screens in our main strategy.”

Microsoft points to its range of devices, adding that even rival Google failed to have such a wide choice of devices available for its Android OS on day one [of its launch].

“We were keen to ensure that we were happy with the OS and that it was superior in all aspects to the competition before we were ready to launch it,” says Fakhoury.

Although some commentators have raised questions over the length of time it has taken Microsoft to launch Windows Phone 7, Fakhoury insists the company has been focused on making sure the technology is at its optimum when it reaches the market.

“It has also meant that we’ve been able to work with our partners for longer to ensure that the launch devices are the best they can be,” he says.

Amongst the handsets on show at its stand at GITEX are two mobiles each from HTC and Samsung.

“Our partnership with HTC and Samsung will bring some of the top mobile hardware and the best mobile OS available together,” he adds. “I think it’s fair to say the result is something pretty special. The responses we’ve had from the press and those attending the show have been overwhelmingly positive with many of those seeing the phones eager to get their hands on them as soon as possible.”

Microsoft says the handsets will be available before year-end, though operator deals and tariff are still to be announced. It also expects to dramatically increase the number of handsets and vendors before the end of 2011.

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