WM 6.5, Zune phone news expected at Mobile Congress

Although we at Microsoft Subnet will be taking a much needed day off on Monday in honor of President's Day, word is that Microsoft is planning some big announcements as part of the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, which begins Monday. It is safe to say we will hear more of the company's plans over a "Zune service for non-Zunes devices." (We expect that it is, or is related to, the myMobile Phone service that Microsoft mistakenly revealed earlier this week. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley keeps insisting that Microsoft has its fingers in a Zune phone, too -- though she is now reporting that it not an actual phone, but some reference implementations for a smartphone chassis, which implies having others build phones with the Zune name.

As we at Microsoft Subnet once mentioned, another smartphone, particularly by Microsoft and particularly named Zune, we don't need ... unless Microsoft smartly was able to combine said phone with Xbox to create something really unique. That's our imagination at work, here, and not something anyone expects Microsoft to announce in Barcelona.

Others say that Microsoft will use the show to release long-awaited updates to Windows Mobile and IE Mobile, which seems a more likely guess. TechFlash blogger Todd Bishop notes that executives have been playing musical chairs in Redmond's Mobile Communications Business. (Microsoft has said that on Monday it is meeting with financial analysts to debrief.) He also writes:

"Windows Mobile has struggled over the past year, falling short of its goal of shipping 20 million units in fiscal 2008. Many people in the industry are expecting something big from the company at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Reports have centered on a cloud-based mobile data service and a competitor to Apple's iPhone App Store."

Can Microsoft wow the crowds with its latest mobile wares? Will that translate into desire on the part of consumers? Is there anything in all of this for the enterprise that needs to support its mobile workers?

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