17 April 2002 Microsoft yesterday took the next step in its quest to dominate the online world by unveiling a wireless version of its .Net web services initiative.
The software giant said it has released a test version of its .Net Compact Framework, a set of programming tools for writing Windows-based web services software for wireless devices. The release can be downloaded for free from Microsoft’s web site.
Developers will use the new framework alongside conventional .Net tools. At present, they have to use special versions of Microsoft’s Visual Basic and Visual C++ development kits to write applications for mobile phones and handheld computers.
Analysts are positive about Microsoft’s push into wireless – and negative about the consequences for the present giants of the mobile industry.
“If Microsoft gets .Net right, it will end up owning the world that Nokia and other mobile companies think they will dominate,” wrote Japanese investment bank Nomura in a recent research note.
“In our view, the mobile industry, including Nokia, is more likely to end up looking like the personal computer industry. In such a world, Nokia may be the leading handset maker but Microsoft will end up taking most of the industry’s available profits.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected today to unveil two new handheld computers that use its wireless operating systems at its first developer conference for mobile devices in London. Toshiba will shortly begin shipping the Pocket PC 2002-compatible e310, and Hewlett-Packard will ship a new Handheld PC-compatible Jornada PDA in May 2002, Microsoft is expected to say.
Although Microsoft has failed to persuade the biggest mobile phone makers to license any of its operating systems, it has made significant progress in signing up suppliers of handheld computers as licensees.
Upwardly mobile (2 April 2002)