WSJ.com - Microsoft Is Advancing Slowly In Smartphone Software Niche "Microsoft Corp. has found no easy success during its nine-month assault on the market for advanced cellphone software, according to research from a consulting firm.
The software company has used Europe as the target of an initial foray in the market for so-called smartphones, which look like conventional cellphones but are able to download and run sophisticated games and other computer-style software. Only 5.9% of the one million smartphones shipped in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the second quarter were controlled by Microsoft software, according to British research firm canalys.com Ltd. About 94% ran software supplied by Symbian Ltd., a London consortium owned by British computer company Psion PLC, Nokia Corp., Motorola Inc. and several other leading phone makers. The vast majority of the smartphones in the survey were shipped to Europe.
Revenue in Microsoft's mobile- and embedded-devices division, which supplies software for smartphones and personal organizers, is small but growing steadily. The division generated revenue of $156 million in the year ended June 30, compared with $112 million a year earlier.
Much of the growth is due to market-share gains in the personal-organizer market, where devices from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Computer Corp. use Microsoft software. Canalys's figures show 53% of the personal organizers shipped in the second quarter to Europe, the Middle East and Africa use Microsoft's software, while 42% use software developed by hand-held computer maker Palm Inc. of Milpitas, Calif. Symbian's software is barely used in this market.
But analysts say it is more important for Microsoft to make headway in the smartphone market, which is expected to become much bigger than the personal-organizer market."