Vodafone Signs Major Agreement with Microsoft

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Vodafone, one of the largest wireless carriers in the world, has agreed to work with Microsoft to develop a package of applications to bring new services to the Windows Mobile devices it offers.

Microsoft will help the carrier develop applications that are tightly integrated into the Windows Mobile platform. The two companies did not say what types of new applications or services they will be working on.

The first device to use the software produced under this agreement is planned to be coming from Samsung and is expected to launch in the first half of 2007.

"Through this cooperation, we hope to provide customers with strong PC connectivity and rich multimedia features that are easy to use, and cost-competitive," said Chulhwan Lee, Senior Vice President of Samsung’s Mobile R&D Team.

Three and Only Three

Over the next five years, Vodafone will focus on supporting just three mobile operating system on all its phones: Microsoft Windows Mobile, Symbian/S60, and Linux.

"This initiative aims to ensure that we do not have to create a different set of software to provide services on a wide range of platforms, so that our customers benefit from enhanced yet simple-to-use services and lower costs," said Jens Schulte-Bockum, Vodafone’s Global Director of Terminals.

Although the company did not explicitly say this, it now seems unlikely that Vodafone will offer any current or future Palm OS-based smartphones, like the Treo 680.

However, this carrier will soon begin selling a smartphone that runs an operating system not included in the three it said it will standardize on. It recently revealed that it will soon begin offering the BlackBerry Pearl.

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