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Microsoft offers brand to mobile developers

Just a couple of weeks after rival Sun Microsystems unveiled a "Powered by Java" logo for wireless devices, Microsoft responded with a plan to place its brand on Windows-powered mobile devices. In addition, Microsoft signed agreements with a trio of mobile technology firms and began shipping a software development kit for the new Windows Mobile 2003 offering.

Microsoft today (June 23) outlined plans to pull its mobile products together with a branding strategy that calls for the term "Windows Mobile" to become the global brand for Windows-powered mobile device software, which officials said can include applications for Pocket PCs and Smartphones. Microsoft will continue to use "Pocket PC" and "Smartphone" to describe product categories, company officials said, but "Windows Mobile" will describe software that powers these categories of devices.

Officials also expressed hope that the phrase "with Windows Mobile software" will be added to the end of the product names of these devices.

"The idea is to have a single brand that extends the familiarity of the Windows operating system brand, while reflecting the uniqueness of software for mobile devices," said Microsoft's Rodrigues.

With this strategy, Microsoft quickly takes a page from the Sun Microsystems playbook. During this month's JavaOne conference, Sun announced plans to re-brand its Java technology, grouping Java 2 Standard, Enterprise and Micro editions under the single rubric "Java" and placing a newly designed logo on all products incorporating any piece of the technology.

Meanwhile, Microsoft said it has joined with industry partners T-Mobile USA, Boingo Wireless and Wayport to provide a free 30-day trial of their Wi-Fi services to U.S. customers who purchase a Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has also said that the Windows Mobile 2003 Software Development Kit (SDK) is now generally available. More than 8,000 developers have received versions of the SDKs at various Microsoft trade shows in the U.S., Europe and Japan, as well as through the Microsoft Mobile Solutions Partner Program.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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