Microsoft software takes aims at RIM customers

Microsoft Corp. introduced software on Monday to manage advanced mobile phones much like personal computers, taking aim at a business dominated by Research in Motion's BlackBerry. Mobile devices are acquiring the computing firepower to become crucial productivity tools for business people and management nightmares for technology administrators. "The IT (information technology) folks, the same as […]

Microsoft Corp. introduced software on Monday to manage advanced mobile phones much like personal computers, taking aim at a business dominated by Research in Motion's BlackBerry. Mobile devices are acquiring the computing firepower to become crucial productivity tools for business people and management nightmares for technology administrators.

"The IT (information technology) folks, the same as it was in the PC environment, don't want to roll out 10,000 devices. They want roll out one device 10,000 times," said Michael Gartenberg, analyst at Jupiter Research. "Microsoft is hoping to replicate the success and the model of the PC."

The world's largest software maker will unveil software dedicated to managing devices using its Windows Mobile platform during CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote speech on Tuesday at the CTIA wireless conference in San Francisco.

The Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 will allow technology administrators to send applications to phones, control security and generally simplify management of devices which are becoming more and more complex. This positions Windows Mobile devices, which have been sold mainly through retail shops, to appeal to organizations who buy phones in bulk to distribute to their workforce. It's a market dominated by Research in Motion's BlackBerry.

Rob Enderle, industry analyst at the Enderle Group, said the market for smart phones, advanced phones with many PC-like attributes, is still evolving and many companies like Microsoft and Apple Inc. are targeting RIM's lead.

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Microsoft, System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, Mobile Device, Windows Mobile, RIM