Microsoft sets 100 million target for Windows phones and PDAs

Microsoft has set a target to sell 100 million personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smart phones running Windows in the year 2007, according to a Microsoft official.

The goal was set by Microsoft chief executive officer, Steve Ballmer, for the company's Windows Mobile unit and showed that Microsoft was serious about this market, marketing manager for Windows Mobile at Microsoft, Douglas Dedo, said.

A large percentage of the Windows Mobile device shipments would be smart phones, not PDAs, Dedo said.

Smart phones are devices that look like a phone, but offer extended PDA-like capabilities such as email access and a calendar.

Microsoft launched its first smart phone about a year ago in Europe. AT&T Wireless Services last month began selling Motorola's MPx200, the first smart phone based on Windows Mobile software to be sold in the US.

Thinking in big numbers is nothing new for Microsoft, but the 100 million target for Windows Mobile devices in 2007 seems bullish when looking at the current market and forecasts.

The goal might "be a bit aggressive," a principal analyst at market researcher Gartner, Todd Kort, said.

Of the over 431 million mobile terminals sold last year only 3 million were smart phones, according to data from Gartner. These numbers include products that compete with Microsoft. Mobile terminals include mobile phones, smart phones and wireless-enabled PDAs.

By 2007, however, Gartner expects about 525 million mobile terminals to be sold, 84 million, or 16 per cent, of which will be smart phones, according to a Gartner research document published October 31.

Last year 12.1 million PDAs were sold. Gartner expects virtually no growth for the market overall until 2004. However, Microsoft has been closing in on rival PalmSource Windows-based PDAs in the first half of 2003 grew 32 per cent over the year-earlier period to 1.95 million, according to Gartner.

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