How will Microsoft compete with Google's Android and Apple's iPhone OS? By targeting a separate version of Windows Mobile at each of them, moles have claimed.
According to Taiwanese handset-manufacturer sources cited by DigiTimes, Microsoft won't withdraw Windows Mobile 6.5 - which is due to arrive in October - when version seven arrives in Q4 2010.
Instead, it will pitch WM 6.5 as an alternative to Android, they say, and WM 7.0 as an 'iPhone killer'.
We're not entirely convinced. Why wait more than a year to promote Windows Mobile against the surging iPhone? And why does Android require a lesser Windows Mobile rival than the Apple product does?
More likely, Microsoft won't make much of WM 6.5 but will play up the touchscreen-centric update it's expected to release in February 2010. That's still some way off, especially given the slump in the market share of Windows Mobile devices compared to both the iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry series.
Market watcher Canalys yesterday said Windows Mobile's market share fell from 14.3 per cent in Q2 2008 to nine per cent in Q2 2009. Android's arrival, which took place between those two quarters, will only widen the decline spurred by BlackBerry and iPhone.
Microsoft needs to address that sooner rather than later. By Q4 2010, move advanced versions of both Android and the iPhone OS will be in devices on sale. ®