FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Microsoft aims to double the number of mobile phones running its Windows software this year from 6 million at the end of 2005 and to keep up this rate of growth in coming years, a Microsoft executive said.
“The number of devices operating on Windows Mobile doubled to 6 million last year,” Peter Knook, head of Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded Devices division, told Germany’s Euro am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday.
“We want to make 100 percent again this year and to grow further at this rate in coming years.”
Microsoft competes in the market for smartphones, which can run software applications such as email, mobile TV and games, with British software maker Symbian, owned by the world’s top handset producers including Nokia.
Nokia has about half the global market for smartphones.
Knook said Microsoft was also looking at ways to connect users of Windows Mobile smartphones to its Xbox Live online video games console.
Smartphones also face competition from Research In Motion’s Blackberry, the world’s leading mobile email device, which has recently launched a new model, the Pearl, with additional camera and music functions.
Blackberry users also number a little over 6 million, and RIM’s co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis said in a separate newspaper interview that the company aimed to keep doubling its number of users each year.
“It will certainly be difficult, but we have oriented our company toward this,” Lazaridis told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday.
Asked how big the market for mobile emails was, Lazaridis replied: “It’s huge, and we’re just at the beginning.”