Smart Phones, Smarter Partnership: "The licensing agreement could also boost Microsoft's mobile business. Some industry insiders argue that it help Microsoft gain market share from another rival, Research In Motion (RIMM ), maker of the popular BlackBerry devices. If corporate customers want to connect to their Exchange servers, and RIM doesn't offer that capability, those customers will now have more alternative devices -- based on Windows Mobile and Symbian -- to choose from.
As that market expands, so will Microsoft's share of it. Already, the Windows Mobile division ranks as Redmond's fastest-growing business -- albeit a small one, accounting for less than 1% of total revenue. After only two years on the market, Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS is used by 40 device manufacturers, who sell to 67 wireless service providers in 48 countries. While Microsoft still places third -- after Symbian and Palm OS -- in the mobile market, it's closing in on No. 2, says Strother.
Indeed, for Microsoft, this looks like a good deal all the way around. As it has in so many other markets, the software giant is starting to reel in its rivals. "