updated 12:00 pm EDT, Wed April 29, 2009
MS Denies Own Phone
Microsoft today tried to partly downplay talk of it helping to make an iPhone rival for Verizon by issuing a statement on the subject. The company's John Starkweather maintains that Microsoft is "not going into the phone hardware business" and that it isn't building a "Zune-specific" device. Instead, he reiterates that Microsoft is planning to work more closely with phone makers to get them making better Windows Mobile devices, particularly for Windows Mobile 6.5's release later this year.
"We’re deepening our relationships with our hardware partners in order to create even better performing phones that are competitively priced, have the features people want, that are easy-to-use and just downright lustworthy," Starkweather says.
While it dismisses the notions of a Microsoft-branded phone, the statement only appears to reinforce the Verizon rumors, which have Microsoft assisting an unnamed third-party hardware maker in building a phone. The story also didn't state that the phone would be Zune-focused but did allude to the "Pink" project meant to bring some Zune features and services to Windows Mobile.
The joint effort is believed underway both to give Verizon an additional "halo" phone beyond the BlackBerry Storm but also to shore up the appeal of Windows Mobile, which has very little influence among the top 5 handset companies and has struggled to draw customers away from iPhones and other media-focused, frequently touchscreen smartphones. [via jkOnTheRun]