Microsoft: Windows Mobile Update in Late 2009, Zune Phone Rumors Debunked

A few Windows IT Pro editors are visiting the Microsoft campus this week to get updates what Microsoft has in store for IT pros in 2009. In a morning briefing with Greg Sullivan, Senior Product Manager for Windows Mobile, we received the latest news concerning Windows Mobile.

According to Sullivan, a Microsoft developed "Zune phone" isn't in the works, despite persistent rumors and speculation to the contrary. Sullivan didn't give specifics, but suggested that some non-hardware elements of the Zune may be incorporated into future editions of Windows Mobile. This is supported by recent statements about the future of the Zune by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who recently dispelled rumors that a Zune phone was in the works.

Sullivan did say that the successor to Windows Mobile 6.1 was in active development, and should be released "by the end of 2009." Sullivan couldn't confirm if the next version of Windows Mobile would be dubbed Windows 7 (or go under some other moniker), but he did indicate that the update would offer significant improvements in the user interface and user experience over previous versions of Windows Mobile.

The impact of the iPhone on the smartphone market was also a topic of discussion. Sullivan argued that the success of the iPhone has been good for Microsoft by "helping draw attention to the smartphone space" as a whole, and suggested that the impact of the iPhone in the enterprise has been less significant than recent press coverage may suggest. "There are 20 million Windows Mobile phones in the market," Sullivan said. "Sometimes perception doesn't match reality...we've been very strong in the enterprise, and future Windows Mobile developments will help us expand that appeal into the consumer space."

Keep checking Windows IT Pro (as well as my Twitter feed) for ongoing updates of our Microsoft campus visit.

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