Microsoft Adds To Mobile Computing Arsenal

At CTIA Wireless 2008 in Las Vegas this week, Microsoft appears hell-bent on showing the industry that Windows Mobile-powered smartphones not only have as much Web functionality as Apple's vaunted iPhone, but also take advantage of backend enterprise features that Apple lacks.

Cellular networks are an increasingly important part of Microsoft's software+services strategy, and Microsoft's plan is to get its software onto devices that are applicable to both work and play, and to allow users to 'context-switch' between the two worlds.

The upcoming Internet Explorer Mobile update supports industry standards such as H.264, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, and will be released to partners in the third quarter, with the first Windows Mobile phones using the new version expected to be available by year's end.

At CTIA, Microsoft launched System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, software that works in conjunction with Windows Mobile 6.1 and includes enterprise features such as security management with full Active Directory integration, support for more than 130 security policy settings, and IPsec mobile VPN.

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Mobile Device Manager can speed the process of disabling lost devices and provisioning new ones while letting users access critical enterprise applications behind the firewall. It's also designed to leverage the security and management improvements in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 service pack 1.