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MS Smartphone with Vodafone? In Europe, perhaps...
Posted on 19-Feb-2003 11:50 | Tags Filed under: News

Microsoft "might" take a stake in more wireless operators, though it doesn't have specific plans at the moment, Juha Christensen, a vice-president at the company's mobility group told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday on the side of Cannes' 3GSM World Congress.

"We have a stake in a Korean operator. We don't have specific plans, but we might" buy more stakes in wireless operators, he said.

In December 2001, Microsoft bought 3.2% of KT Corp (Q.KT), then known as Korea Telecom, for $500 million. KT provides both fixed- and mobile-telecoms services.

Such an operation isn't part of the strategy of the mobility division, he added. "We would not buy our way into operators."

The comments come as Microsoft's campaign to get its software used in the new breed of upmarket mobile phones suffered an apparent blow Monday when Samsung Electronics Co. (Q.SSE) took a 5% stake in the Symbian consortium that is Microsoft's biggest rival for this market.

During the interview, he also said the company was in talks with every single operator in Europe. Asked if U.K. mobile carrier Vodafone (VOD) was included, he said: "Yes".

He added the talks with European carriers were at various levels of progress and were covered by confidentiality agreements.

"I would expect five major operators ... to ship (Microsoft's mobile platform) or cooperate with us", he said.

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