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Microsoft: Making Mobile Progress

Sony Ericsson unveils a line of phones boasting Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, a coup for both players

Every year since 1999, when Microsoft (MFST) first said it would produce a mobile-device version of its Windows operating system, the company has used Europe's annual industry gathering to take swipes at Symbian, maker of the leading software platform for smartphones. This year's Mobile World Congress is no different. On Feb. 10, as some 50,000 people gathered for the opening of the show in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft was crowing that Windows Mobile would be used in a new line of phones by Sony Ericsson, a Symbian shareholder and major producer of Symbian handsets.

In winning Sony Ericsson as a customer, Microsoft can now claim that Windows Mobile runs phones made by four out of five of the world's top handset makers. "There is a steady movement from Symbian to Microsoft," says Scott Horn, director of Microsoft's Mobile & Embedded Device Div.