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Skype, one of the first VoIP clients for Windows Mobile operating system, will not be available on Microsoft Corp.’s next-generation Windows Phone 7-based phones, the developer said. Instead, Skype will concentrate on improvements of clients for Android-, iPhone- and Symbian-based smartphones.

“[We] are not developing software for the new Windows [Phone 7] software due later this year,” said Dan Neary, vice president of Skype in Asia-Pacific region, at an event in Sydney, reports Smarthouse web-site.

Mr. Neary reportedly was hesitant to explain why no development was taking place for the new Windows Phone 7 operating system (OS). He also did not say whether the company might develop a version of Skype for Windows Phone 7 in 2011.

Skype scrapped versions of its voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) client for Windows Mobile platforms several months ago and said that it “felt that Skype Lite and Skype for Windows phones were not offering the best possible Skype experience”. The company stressed that it would continue to provide Skype for Apple iPhone and Symbian-based smartphones as before.

The actual motives behind Skype’s moves are not clear. Cell phones based on Windows Mobile operating system are available from many renowned smartphone manufacturers and market share of Windows Mobile operating system globally was nearly 9% in 2009, according to Gartner market tracking firm. Although in 2009 the share of Windows Mobile dropped, those devices still have large install base and the incoming Windows Phone 7 may reverse the trend for Microsoft.

The two best performers in 2009 in terms of smartphone OSs were Android and Apple. Android increased its market share by 3.5% points in 2009, while Apple's share grew by 6.2% points from 2008. Symbian continued its lead, but its share dropped 5.4% points in 2009. Competitive pressure from its competitors, such as RIM and Apple, and the continued weakness of Nokia's high-end device sales have negatively impacted Symbian's share.

At Mobile World Congress 2010, Symbian Foundation announced its first release since Symbian became fully open source. Symbian3 should be made available by the end of the first quarter of 2010 and may reach the first devices by the third quarter of 2010, while Symbian4 should be released by the end of 2010. With Android 2.2 and iPhone OS 4.0 incoming, Windows Phone 7 will definitely have a lot of competition.

Tags: Skype, Windows, Windows Phone, Microsoft, Symbian, Android, iPhone

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