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In Trends

Microsoft may launch Zune-like phone

If Apple and Google can launch their own smartphones, can Microsoft be left behind? Not likely, if one goes by the internet buzz that the software giant is partnering original device manufacturers and mobile service providers like Verizon to launch a handset by mid-2010.

Zune is Microsoft’s portable media player, which competes with Apple’s iPod players. And the Zune-like phones are expected to primarily target the younger generation hooked on social networking.

"It makes complete sense for Microsoft to launch mobile devices," says Diptarup Chakraborti, principal research analyst at Gartner, an IT research company. Microsoft earns nearly 90 percent of its revenue from PCs, which are rapidly losing their share to internet-ready mobile devices.