Microsoft, IBM, Motorola gear up for mobility

The companies are positioning themselves for leading roles in the mobile future.
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Motorola’s new ES400 is based on Windows Mobile 6.5. Photo courtesy Motorola.

In recent weeks, three major companies have announced new major mobile initiatives. Microsoft revealed details of Windows Embedded Handheld, its new mobile operating system for enterprise users, which is slated to roll out in 2011. This enterprise platform will be based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. In advance of this release, the first version of the enterprise-oriented platform will debut by the end of 2010, architected on the existing Windows Mobile 6.5 platform and coexisting with its consumer mobile operating system. Microsoft also just launched the Motorola ES400, based on Windows Mobile 6.5 and purported to be Motorola’s smallest and lightest enterprise digital assistant. Sprint-Nextel will brand and sell the ES400 to enterprises later this year.

IBM also launched into the mobile enterprise market with software and service releases. One such release, WebSphere CEA Mobile Widgets, is aimed to help consumers more easily navigate retail mobile websites. A new software development lab, the IBM Mass Lab, which has geared up with 3400 IBM employees, will focus on enterprise mobile computing. Its first product is Intelligent Site Operations, a combo of analytics software and services for real-time remote management of base stations and base station sites including monitoring of antennas, power, AC/heating and backup. The lab will also focus on enhanced network analytics for 4G networks.

Meanwhile, Motorola told the Wall Street Journal of plans to invest “billions of dollars” into its mobile business after spinning off the unit later in 2010. In the past three years, Motorola’s mobile unit has lost approximately $5 billion, but made a comeback by focusing on Google Android-based handsets. After buying back most of its debt, Motorola will put between $3 and $4 billion into Motorola Mobility. Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola, will become CEO of Motorola Mobility.