Cingular Pushes MS Email

Cingular Wireless has become the latest U.S. carrier to offer Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s push email update for its Windows mobile operating system -- although the operator is currently only offering the code with two of its own-brand devices.

The push email update will be available starting next week on the 8125 and the 2125, which are made for Cingular by High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498). The 8125 is a PDA-like device that costs $300, while the 2125 phone costs $150. Analyst firm Lehman Brothers says in a research note that "the 8125 is selling better than expected at Cingular, though it is not a top seller."

Lehman says that the devices are likely aimed at the small-to-medium business market. (Cingular already has enterprise email offerings in place from Good Technology Inc. ) This is partly because the software may not yet be ready for primetime, at least according to Lehman:

"Our checks suggest that many enterprises do not consider Microsoft's solutions ready for large-scale deployments, citing security, management, and support challenges."

So rivals like Good and BlackBerry may not yet have too much to worry about in the enterprise market.

"We do not believe Microsoft is likely to post impressive subscriber growth in the near term," say the analysts. "We believe mobile email launches with new carriers generally require at least several quarters to gain momentum."

And carriers haven't really started to offer the software to subscribers yet. Orange SA (London/Paris: OGE) has the download in the U.K., and Verizon Wireless has it for the Treo 700w in the U.S., but it could hardly be descibed as a widely available upgrade yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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