Psion hits back at Microsoft-Ericsson alliance

Deal with Ericsson shows Microsoft has 'thrown in the towel' on Windows CE, Psion claims

Psion (quote: PON) hit back Friday at claims the Ericsson Microsoft alliance means trouble for the Symbian venture, claiming it was time to sound the death knell of Windows CE instead.

Ericsson, one of the founding members of Symbian, entered a partnership with Microsoft Wednesday to develop wireless Internet applications. The announcement left experts questioning Ericsson's commitment to EPOC, the operating system developed by Symbian and arch-rival to Microsoft's Windows CE. The City seemed to be on the side of the giants with shares in Psion falling sharply while Microsoft and Ericsson's rose.

Psion remains defiant. "The partnership with Ericsson shows that Microsoft has thrown in the towel for Windows CE. EPOC is driving the wireless revolution and the Symbian alliance is stronger than ever," a spokesman said.

He believes the fact that Microsoft has recently signed up to WAP and Bluetooth working parties shows that the software giant is wavering in its commitment to Windows CE. "Microsoft wanted Win CE on handhelds but every major handset manufacturer has turned them down," he said. He predicts Ericsson's decision to use Microsoft's microbrowser in phones will be as far as the alliance goes. "Ericsson has said it will use the microbrowser on low-end products but doesn't mention Windows CE," he said.

Microsoft hit back at the claims. "Microsoft's mobile explorer for smart phones using Windows CE is a longer term Microsoft project and Ericsson will evaluate the technology when the timing is right," said Valerie Baulieu, product manager for Microsoft. In a conference call Wednesday, president of Microsoft Steve Ballmer did not rule out the possibility of joining the Symbian alliance.

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