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Microsoft, Intel, TI in Mobile Tie-Ups
Posted: 19-Feb-2002 [Source: Reuters via Yahoo]

[Three companies to cooperate in developing "reference designs" or blueprints for handsets and handheld computer phones as opposed to custom-designed technology for each handset manufacturer.]

by Lucas van Grinsven and Duncan Martell, Cannes, France -- "U.S. technology companies Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp and Texas Instruments Inc. on Tuesday announced blueprints for new cellphones and handheld computer phones. "Breaking with the tradition of custom-designed technology for each cellphone manufacturer, the three companies will work to develop so-called reference designs, which, if adopted by enough vendors, could establish these blueprints as standards for much of the industry.

"The companies aim to repeat what they have done to the personal computer industry, where Microsoft and Intel have standardized key software and semiconductor hardware, with the Windows operating system software and Pentium processors. Each product has more than 80 percent share of their respective markets.

"The U.S. companies made their announcements at the 3GSM World Congress here, Europe's largest trade show for the wireless industry, which is still dominated by European companies such as Ericsson (news - web sites) and Nokia (news - web sites).

"But at the same time, analysts noted that Microsoft hadn't made a great deal of headway since last year's GSM conference, when it signaled its intent to go after the smartphone market. Microsoft has developed such designs before, for handheld computers and so-called tablet PCs.

"Microsoft still doesn't have any products to show for," said Gartner analyst Ben Wood.

"In separate deals with Microsoft, semiconductor makers Intel and Texas Instruments will work together to develop integrated chips and software that can turn a handheld computer into a mobile phone, ready to make calls and download corporate email.

"An Intel spokesman said that his company and Microsoft would have a design available later this year. Texas Instruments already has a product developed.

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