Microsoft Attempts Comeback With "Mango" Software : New gizmos, Gadgets gazette Blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Microsoft Attempts Comeback With "Mango" Software

Microsoft announced its "Mango" Windows Phone 7 update will contain many new business features, as the software giant tries to catapult itself back into relevance in the smartphone market.

At its TechEd 2011 conference today, Microsoft said the Mango update will include cloud-connectivity via Windows Live SkyDrive, as well as integration with its Lync unified communications product.

Users will be able to save documents on Office 365 in addition to taking advantage of pinnable e-mail folders and improved data encryption. Mango will also allow business people to see e-mails in conversation view, plus search old messages on back-end servers.

This hefty dose of updates is Windows' attempt to catch up in the smartphone market, especially on the business end, where it once flourished before BlackBerry and others came along. Microsoft's Windows Mobile enjoyed brief popularity with its 2002 release, but according to analytics firm ComScore, the company now owns only 7.5 percent market share in the smartphone business.

The picture still looks bleak for Microsoft, with the Android platform now dominating the U.S. smartphone market, the once ubiquitous RIM steadily sliding second place, and Apple's iOS in a gaining third. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and its fledgling app store have not exactly rocked the market, as many see the design of both as a pale reflection of Apple's streamlined iPhones and App Store.

But there is good news, too. Even the thinnest BlackBerry yet has failed to produce an enthusiastic consumer response, not to mention the PlayBook's lukewarm reception. Microsoft's new Windows 7 Phone, though it received similarly uninterested reviews, could scoop RIM's dropping customers with its new business-oriented Mango updates and that me the target its gunning for.

Also, Microsoft is set to install its Windows OS on Nokia phones within a year. Nokia, still the world's largest handset maker by volume, has seen profits decline ever since failing -- like Microsoft -- to recognize the importance of app-centric, touch screen phones. But though individually neither is doing terribly well at the moment, a partnership between Nokia and the Redmond-based company may put a large dent in the smartphone market.

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