Google’s Android platform is stealing (or sharing) some thunder from the iPhone of late, but Microsoft’s Windows Mobile isn’t going away. In fact, Bsquare says it will be acting on Microsoft’s behalf, licensing Windows Mobile to OEMs worldwide that want to build connected devices.
The deal means Bsquare will be the first company to distribute Windows Mobile software and mobility applications internationally. The company expects to support about 30 select Windows Mobile partners with licensing, technical support and go-to-market activities.
Microsoft will continue working with its big handset maker licensees, but it doesn’t have the bandwidth to send executives all over the world to connect with all its potential new customers. That’s where Bsquare comes in, according to Larry Stapleton, global vice president for Bsquare. Besides new handset manufacturers, the company is helping OEMs license Windows Mobile to incorporate it into products like bar code scanners and sophisticated data terminals.
Whereas the iPhone centers a lot around entertainment, Win Mo offers enterprise features not found in other operating systems, Stapleton says. That’s the “sweet spot” for Windows Mobile.
In addition to reselling licenses, Bsquare is a “premiere systems integrator, so we can take a manufacturer in Korea or Japan who has never done Windows Mobile and apply our experience to help them get to market faster,” he says.
Apple offers a great device for downloading iTunes and watching YouTube, “but it really can’t compare with Microsoft to hook into a company’s IT and seamlessly talk to servers” and grab data for road warriors, he says. As for Google’s Android, it’s still early in its life cycle and is free for the taking, but “you get what you pay for, and Microsoft has been at this a long time.”
As for Windows Mobile 6.5, which was unveiled last month, and Win Mo 7.0, which is due for arrival next year, Stapleton says 6.5 is just fine for the types of devices that OEMs are considering. If you’re making a medical device, you don’t need the iPhone killer-designed 7.0, which promises to be a big step up in the user interface. “We see a lot of interest in 6.5,” says Stapleton, who has been meeting with OEMs in China. “I can’t schedule enough meetings in my day.”