Microsoft eyes 40 percent of smartphone market by 2012

Windows Mobile OS jumped from 11 million handsets in 2007, to 20 million in 2008

Microsoft is aiming to capture 40 percent of the smartphone market with Windows Mobile by the year 2012, an executive said this week.

The target is ambitious considering the company's relatively small share of the market for smartphone operating systems today and stiff competition from the likes of Symbian, Apple's iPhone, RIM's BlackBerry, and newcomers such as Google's Android platform.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS went into around 11 million handsets in the company's fiscal year 2007, and it says it will reach nearly 20 million devices in fiscal year 2008, which ends June 30, said Eddie Wu, managing director of Microsoft's OEM Embedded Devices in Asia, on the sidelines of a news conference in Taipei.

Handsets such as the new HTC Touch Diamond will help Microsoft achieve its goal, he added. High Tech Computer (HTC) is the world's largest maker of Microsoft-based mobile phones and has been for years due to an early partnership between the companies. The HTC Touch Diamond is a 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications) update to the company's popular Touch handset launched last year, an iPhone-rival that sports a large touchscreen.

Around 118 million smartphones were sold last year, according to market researcher Canalys. Symbian captured 67 percent of the OS market, while Microsoft came in second at 13 percent and RIM took 10 percent.

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