Windows Mobile 7 On Tap For 2010

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Microsoft aims to get Windows Mobile 7, the next major release of Microsoft's mobile operating system, out the door to partners and customers sometime in 2010, CEO Steve Ballmer told analysts Tuesday.

Word of the timetable comes just a week after Ballmer debuted Windows Mobile 6.5 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Ballmer leaked word of the Windows Mobile 7 schedule while briefing financial analysts in New York on Microsoft's financial outlook for the rest of its fiscal year that ends June 30. He offered no details about the planned enhancements and capabilities for the next release of the Microsoft mobile operating system.

Ballmer acknowledged that "all of the consumer mojo" is with Apple's iPhone and, "to a lesser extent," RIM's BlackBerry. But he said "the real market momentum" is with smartphone manufacturers and phone service providers that use Windows Mobile, according to a transcript of Ballmer's presentation. He added that Google's Android also appeared to be gaining momentum.

Ballmer reiterated that Microsoft has no intention of building its own smartphone, preferring to sell its software to a broad range of device makers.

The CEO also speculated that Windows Mobile and the core Windows operating system would become "closer in many ways" as the distinction between desktop and mobile devices narrows. "There's still a real distinction between what's a phone and what's a PC. And yet the amount of technology that can be shared across that border continues to go up," he said.

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