Palm unveils Microsoft stuffed cell phone

Microsoft Corp. and its longtime rival in the mobile software market, Palm Inc. are set to unveil on Monday a cell phone that will run Microsoft's software, sources said on Friday.

The new mobile device, the Treo 700, will be offered by wireless carrier Verizon Wireless and will be able to access the Internet, news and e-mail, just like previous Treos, sources familiar with the companies' plans said.

Microsoft, Palm and Verizon, a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, all declined to comment, but the three companies issued a press release saying they would hold a joint news conference on Monday. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was scheduled to attend the conference, to be held in San Francisco.

"Palm has long been expected to make a version of its Treo that works with Windows," said one industry analyst, who declined to be named.

Palm, which pioneered the handheld computing market, has been struggling for the last five years against stiff competition from deep-pocketed Microsoft and Research in Motion, Ltd., the maker of Blackberry wireless e-mail and communication devices, reports Reuters.

PalmSource develops the Palm OS operating system and was spun off from the device maker Palm One in 2003. PalmSource got acquired by Access of Japan earlier this month.

A Windows version of the device could increase the appeal of the Treo with enterprise customers who want their devices to offer close integration with their existing Windows systems.

For Microsoft the conversion of Palm, a long time supporter of the Palm OS would validate them as a maker of software for mobile devices, Michael Gartenberg, research director with Jupiter Research had said earlier.

"This event, if it actually happens, would mark a powerful turning point for Microsoft, more from a psychological perspective than a marketshare perspective, but that's the key to getting momentum going for the longer haul," official site.

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