Microsoft Readies New Phone Launch With AT&T - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Microsoft Readies New Phone Launch With AT&T

NEW YORK — Microsoft Corp is set to unveil a new line of phones running its Windows software on Monday, as it attempts to pull back market share from Apple Inc's iPhone and Google Inc's Android system in the fast-growing market for multi-featured smart phones.

The world's largest software company is hoping that the new phones, from handset makers such as Samsung, LG and HTC, will propel it back into the mobile market, which many see as the key to the future of computing. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The new phones, initially available on AT&T Inc's network, have already been shown off in prototype form, and are much closer in look and feel to Apple's iPhone, with colorful touch-screens and 'tiles' for easy access to e-mail, the web, music and other applications.

Some analysts say they represent Microsoft's last chance to catch up with rivals, which overtook them in the past few years. Handsets are not expected to appear in stores for a month, so their success may not be judged until the new year.

Microsoft has just a 5 percent share of the global smart phone market, according to research firm Gartner, compared with 9 percent a year ago. Google's Android system has a 17 percent market share, jumping from only 2 percent a year ago.

The market for multi-feature phones that allow users to e-mail, surf the web and play games, as well as have access to music and video is set to expand massively.

Gartner expects almost 270 million smart phones to be sold around the world this year, up 56 percent from last year.

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