Microsoft’s Mobile Software Takes On Apple, Android

Microsoft, seeking desperately to gain traction in the smartphone race, is launching an ad campaign costing “several hundred million dollars” to promote its Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade and new app store.

Taking a necessary swing at competitors Apple and Google’s Android, Microsoft will use TV spots to push its mobile platform for the first time.

“People don’t know that Windows has a phone,” Kevin Keith, general manager of Windows Mobile Marketing, told The Guardian. Less than 10% of people who use Windows PCs understanding that there is a mobile phone variant they could also use.

Windows Mobile 6.5, also known as Windows Phone, came out in beta in February, and Microsoft claims it has undergone a major redesign since earlier Windows Mobile releases, which have been available since 2002. But early reviews of the new Windows Mobile 6.5 are far from glowing.

John Herman of Gizmodo says, “Windows Mobile 6.5 isn’t just a letdown — it barely seems done.” Matthew Miller of ZDNet flat-out calls Windows Mobile 6.5 a “disappointment.”