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Warning of face-off in mobile arena

Analyst group Gartner has warned firms to avoid strategic mobile projects until the mobile software market situation is clearer, writes Daniel Thomas.

The warning follows Nokia's recent announcement that it is spearheading the development of an open mobile architecture platform designed to enable different types of handset to operate across different mobile services.

The initiative brings Nokia together with 17 other wireless communications companies, including Ericsson, NTT DoCoMo, Motorola, Sony, and Vodafone.

With this move, Nokia is attempting to counter the increasing role that Microsoft hopes to play in the mobile software market with its Stinger mobile phone operating system backed by the PocketPC and .net platforms.

Gartner said the absence of Microsoft from the Nokia initiative will be a barrier to an open mobile architecture because, as the software giant's PDA specification wins a larger share of the market, its operating systems cannot be ignored in any mobile interoperability scheme.

Gartner analyst Monica Basso said, "During this period of evolution, enterprises should avoid strategic mobile projects. Rather, they should focus on tactical projects and review tactics every six months," she advised.

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