Microsoft is trying to get business users to ditch their BlackBerry smartphones by offering many consumer-friendly features in the latest version of Windows Mobile.
For the IT department, the latest software retains its tight integration with Microsoft enterprise software. This means Windows Mobile 6.5 devices will be compatible and manageable at the base level through Exchange servers for push e-mail, contacts, and calendaring. The handsets will come with preloaded software to view Word, PowerPoint, and PDF files on the go, and these devices will also have built-in encryption, policy provisioning, security, and remote-wiping capabilities.
Microsoft is trying to replicate the success of Apple's App Store, but it claims its store will have a more transparent approval process. IT departments will be able to provision devices to not allow users to download apps.
Windows Mobile 6.5 also offers the My Phone wireless backup service for contacts, SMS, photos, and other data. This free service syncs content to a password-protected online portal, and customers can use this site to post photos on various sharing sites like MySpace or Flickr.
Of course, Microsoft is facing a steep challenge in trying to dethrone Research In Motion because the BlackBerry maker has a dominant share in the enterprise mobility market. Additionally, Apple's iPhone is making inroads in many companies, and Palm is looking to regain ground in enterprises with its webOS platform.