Microsoft To Launch Windows Phone 7 Monday

Redmond's last chance to close the gap with rivals in the increasingly crucial mobile market starts next week.
Microsoft on Monday will give the public its first full view of products and services built around its new Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Revealed
(click image for larger view)
Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone Revealed

Along with execs from Microsoft's partners, company CEO Steve Ballmer will take the stage at a launch event in New York City to tout the platform, which many analysts believe is Microsoft's last chance to make a splash in the increasingly crucial mobile market.

At a business conference in Madrid on Friday, Ballmer said he's optimistic about the product's debut. "We are excited to launch Windows Phone 7," said Ballmer, according to a report by Agence France Presse. "We think we have pretty unique ideas and a unique perspective," said Ballmer.

Ballmer said he's not deterred by analyst reports that suggest Windows Phone 7 will do little to boost Microsoft's competitive position in the mobile market. "I think our products will stand out compared to any others. We would not be launching the product if we did not feel good about its chances to do well," said Ballmer.

Microsoft to date has not released any sales forecasts for Windows Phone 7, or the devices that will host it. Gartner predicts the release of Windows Phone 7 will help bump Microsoft's share of the worldwide mobile OS market from 4.7% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2011, but says the company's share will ultimately decline to just 3.9% by 2014.

Ballmer has admitted that Microsoft was late to the party in launching a smartphone OS that can support a wide range of applications while connecting users in real-time with social media and cloud services. As a result, the company badly trails Apple, with its iPhone, and Google, which is shaking up the mobile market with the astounding success of its Android OS.

Microsoft will reportedly spend $400 million to promote Windows Phone 7 and is also counting on numerous partners to help it close the gap with its rivals. Handset makers who plan to bring Windows Phone 7 devices to market include HTC, LG, and Samsung, while carriers include AT&T and T-Mobile.

Windows Phone 7 also leverages many existing Windows development tools with which developers are already familiar. The downside, according to some critics, is that Windows Phone 7 is not backwards compatible with any version of Windows Mobile, Microsoft's previous entry in the mobile space.

Microsoft has said it expects Windows Mobile 7-based phones will go on sale to the general public in time for the 2010 holiday season.

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