Microsoft Corp. won its biggest-ever contract for mobile-phone software, an order from the U.S. Census Bureau that covers 500,000 handsets.
Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, plans to unveil the deal today, general manager Scott Horn said in an interview. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft expects to increase its mobile unit’s sales to $1 billion in one to three years, from $337 million last year, and break the dominance of Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry.
“Up until now, BlackBerry had the market for themselves,” Peter Knook, a Microsoft senior vice president, said in an interview. “That landscape has changed.”
The company declined to disclose the value of the Census Bureau contract for Windows Mobile phones, which can link to the Internet, run Office, read e-mail and play music. Census takers will use them in collecting information door-to-door during the 2010 U.S. census.
It’s still an uphill challenge for Microsoft. Researcher IDC expects shipments of Windows-based phones to double in each of the next two years. Even then, the software will account for only 13 percent of the total market, which includes business and consumer users, Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC said.
“They’re nowhere right now,” said analyst Kevin Burden at IDC. “RIM is still the mobile enterprise solution that all others should be measured against.”