Not a huge surprise: Microsoft (MSFT), whose Windows Mobile operatring system has been lagging compared to offerings from Apple (AAPL), Research in Motion (RIMM), and now Google (GOOG) as well, is set to introduce its own “app store” for Windows Mobile phones.
And the kicker: Microsoft’s offering a new service called “My Phone,” which syncs phone data to the Web — for free.
We think Windows Mobile’s core group of users who want tight integration between their phone and PC will enthusiastically embrace the new features. But we don’t see anything that’s a game-changer just yet.
Expect to hear more from CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote speech at a mobile-industry event in Barcelona on Feb. 16.
WSJ: The offerings will include an online bazaar for distributing software to cellular phones that run Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, people familiar with the matter say. Such services have become an important complement to advanced mobile phones since Apple introduced its iPhone App Store last year…
One new service the company is already talking about, called My Phone, wirelessly synchronizes data stored on Windows Mobile smartphones, including contacts, calendar appointments, photos and text messages, to a Web site. The service is designed to make it easier for users to back up their information in case their phone is lost or stolen. My Phone will compete with a similar service from Apple called MobileMe, though it currently lacks a MobileMe feature that synchronizes data from users’ mobile phones to applications running on their computers.
Microsoft, though, will offer My Phone for free, while Apple charges $99 a year for MobileMe. “We think we’re providing a true mass-market consumer offering,” says Todd Brix, senior director of mobile services at Microsoft.