CEBIT: Microsoft CEO lukewarm about shared standards

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer used his keynote address at the CEBIT show in Hanover to promote pervasive use of Windows...

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Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer used his keynote address at the CEBIT show in Hanover to promote pervasive use of Windows and Pocket PC to deliver wireless and Web services.

However, users can expect some interoperability problems if they want to use anything else.

Nokia announced at CEBIT that more than 30 major suppliers had signed up to its open mobile architecture initiative that aims to ensure that technologies such as enhanced SMS services, high-speed GPRS (general packet radio service), Java, and 3G work between any mobile device.

Microsoft was not among the otherwise impressive list of suppliers. When asked Ballmer whether this implied a lack of commitment to open standards, the Microsoft CEO said: "Sometimes it makes sense to join such groups, sometimes it doesn't, and some get invited at the start of such initiatives, yet some don't."

Whether Microsoft has been invited to join the alliance or not, Ballmer confirmed that none of the mobile devices the company has recently launched will automatically support Java-based applications. All members of Nokia's interoperability initiative see Java as key to delivering easily integrated mobile applications.

Ballmer referred to the ongoing court case with Sun Microsystems, which has accused Microsoft of damaging its business by not including Java within Windows XP.

Ballmer said that if any user wanted Java on Microsoft products they could go to third parties to provide them with a solution. However many users clearly prefer a one-stop shop when considering whether they should go down the wireless route.



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