Business – Google’s phone plan difficult to implement: Microsoft
SEATTLE: Microsoft’s Robbie Bach, head of the division that makes mobile-phone programmes, said Google will have a hard time attracting partners to In Pics: Nexus One smartphone
its wireless software after introducing its own handset. Google started selling the Nexus One phone this week. The company also provides its Android operating system to other handset makers, rivalling Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.
Because Google now sells its own phone, handset makers may worry the company will prioritise its own product over theirs, Bach said. That could push some to stop using Google’s software, he said. “Doing both in the way they are trying to do both is actually very, very difficult,” he said in an interview on Thursday from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“Google’s announcement sends a signal where they’re going to place their commitment. That will create some opportunities for us and we’ll pursue them.” Google’s wireless efforts escalate the company’s competition with Microsoft, a rivalry that spans Web search, browsers and business applications such as word processing and spreadsheets.
The Android programme is adding users faster than Windows Mobile, according to research firm iSuppli.
The Nexus One is manufactured by Taiwan’s HTC, which designed the device with Google. Google opened an online store for the Nexus One and also plans to offer other Android devices through the site. The company’s aim is to efficiently connect Google’s online customers with Android devices, said Katie Watson, a spokeswoman for the company. “It’s not our objective to compete with our partners,” she said in an e-mail.
“Our expectation is that the Nexus One will push the entire mobile ecosystem forward, driving greater innovation and consumer choice. We look forward to working with other hardware manufacturers to bring more Google-branded devices to market.”
“No one has ever succeeded in selling their own device while trying to license to partners simultaneously,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Los Angeles-based research firm Interpret. “As much as Google can say it’s not a Google phone, the phone says Google on it. They’re going to have to convince their licensees they’re not in competition with them.”
Microsoft’s Windows Mobile hasn’t kept pace with the growth in sales of Apple’s iPhone, Android phones and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, according to El Segundo, California-based iSuppli. Windows Mobile 6.5 went on sale last year to critical reviews. In October, ISuppli forecast that Microsoft would lose its No. 2 spot in the smartphone market to RIM. Microsoft remains focused on working with phone makers and carriers, Bach said.
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