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Microsoft Inks Deal With Qualcomm

LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is once again trying to get a larger slice of the smartphone market through a deal with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) that will put Redmond's operating system right on cellular silicon.

The two companies have begun porting the Windows Mobile OS to Qualcomm CDMA chipsets. The pair says the work will help to cut product development time for smartphone vendors as well as allowing them to make the devices smaller.

The deal could help to raise Microsoft's profile in the smartphone world. The firm already has its mobile code in a number of phones, such as the Palm Inc. 700w Treo and the upcoming Q from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

In general, however, the software giant just doesn't have the footprint of a vendor like Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which has a 76 percent market share in Europe and beyond, according to the latest report from Canalys.com Ltd. BlackBerry is the top ranked vendor in the U.S.

Shoreline Research analyst Tim Scannell says that the deal may well also fit in with both companies' ambitions in the mobile content field.

"Qualcomm, as you may recall, has plans to launch a dedicated mobile media broadcast network," he tells Unstrung in an email. "The thinking is that mobile broadcasting will quickly become an accepted medium... something that Hollywood has quickly latched onto as it re-purposes and re-channels TV content."

Qualcomm chipsets with the Microsoft OS onboard are due to start shipping in the second half of this year.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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