Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) expects the first batch of smartphones running on its Mango operating system--an upgraded software with improved Web browsing and email capabilities--to be in the market in the fourth quarter, Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Microsoft's OEM division, said Tuesday.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker unveiled the Mango mobile operating system last week, marking its latest attempt to revitalize its smartphone platform where Microsoft was once a dominant player. But with the emergence of Google Inc.'s Android platform and the popularity of Apple's iPhones, Microsoft is facing an uphill battle.
According to Gartner, Microsoft continued to see its share of the market drop in the first quarter, with its operating system capturing 3.6%, a little more than half of its share it had a year ago.
Apple's iOS platform and Android have squeezed other slower players to the sidelines. According to Gartner, Android was the top smartphone platform with more than a third of the market in the first quarter.
Handset manufacturers that have committed to work with Microsoft on Mango include HTC Corp. (2498.TW), Acer Inc. (2353.TW), ZTE Corp. (0763.HK), Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE), LG Electronics Inc. (066570.SE), Nokia Corp. (NOK) and Fujitsu Ltd. (6702.TO), Guggenheimer said on the sidelines of the Computex trade show.
According to Microsoft, the Mango system features several upgrades to its user interface, with a focus on improving the communications and Internet experience as well as applications. It has roughly 18,000 applications now available on its Windows Phone Marketplace, modeled after similar stores offered by Apple and Google.
The software also includes integration with Twitter, LinkedIn, and chat services from Facebook and Windows Live Messenger from the start.
The comments from Guggenheimer come after Chinese telecommunications equipment and mobile device maker ZTE, one of the supporters for the Mango platform, said last week it hopes to launch a Mango-based phone in Europe in the third quarter, followed by a launch in the U.S. early next year.
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