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Microsoft to launch new mobile service

MICROSOFT boss Steve Ballmer yesterday unveiled Windows Phone 7 as the latest weapon in his fight against Google and Apple.

The much-anticipated mobile operating system will start appearing on handsets in the second half of 2010, Ballmer said at Mobile World Congress, the industry’s annual trade fair. He added: “Windows Phone 7 marks a turning point toward phones that truly reflect the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people and all kinds of seamless experiences.”

In a bid to ape the success of Apple’s iPhone, Windows Phone 7 will be pre-loaded Microsoft’s Zune music software, as well as an Xbox application that will let consumers play simple games. Microsoft desperately needs to revive its flagging mobile phone business. Despite signing up the likes of HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG, its current operating system – Windows Mobile 6.5 – has just 6.5 per cent of the smartphone market.

Forrester analyst Charles Golvin said: “The main goal of Windows Mobile 7 is clearly to address Microsoft’s problems in the consumer mobile market. All plaudits for their persistence aside, in my view this is their final chance to get it right.”