Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in an interview with German media that Microsoft will not launch a product to directly compete with the Apple Iphone.

"No, we won’t do that. In the so-called smart phone business we will concentrate solely on software with our Windows Mobile program. We have partnerships with a lot of device manufacturers from Samsung to Motorola and this variety brings us significantly more than if we would make our own mobile phone."

Smart move. While the Apple Iphone has been a raging success, being in the hardware business is tough and Microsoft knows that. Instead, they can concentrate on improving the Windows Mobile experience to make it more user friendly. The operating system on the Iphone is superior to Windows Mobile, so updates to Windows would be welcomed.

The good news is that Microsoft is working on Windows Mobile 7. This new smart-phone OS is going to do something the Iphone can’t – interaction via gesture. It will have full touch-based navigation as well as motion gesture controls. This means you can control certain things on the phone by doing things like shaking it, twisting it, etc. According to a story on Mobile Business Magazine:

The new Windows Mobile 7 is designed to be used on devices with touchscreen only, several keys, full QWERTY keyboards, and devices without touch screens. The touch-only devices are specifically referenced as "iPhone compete" in the leaked document.

Interesting. So, Microsoft isn’t going to compete hardware-wise with the Iphone, but don’t count them out and declare Apple the winner here. Microsoft is working on their answer to the Iphone, and by partnering with other companies they can extend their reach into the phone market much more than Apple can.

Iphones. Windows Mobile phones. Android-powered phones. 2008 is shaping up to be interesting when it comes to mobile.

Source: ComputerWorld.