Fri, Sep 04, 2009 - Page 12 News List

HTC shares down on ebbing demand for Microsoft OS

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shares of HTC Corp (宏達電), the largest maker of mobile phones running on Microsoft Corp’s system, closed 0.57 percent lower yesterday as the announcement of a new phone powered by Microsoft’s latest operating system to hit the market early next month failed to lift investor sentiment.

HTC shares dropped NT$2 to NT$346.50, underperforming the benchmark TAIEX, which gained 0.92 percent. HTC’s latest smartphone running on Windows Mobile 6.5 will be available in Europe from Sunday and in the Asia-Pacific market during the fourth quarter, the Taoyuan-based company said on Wednesday.

“Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system is gradually losing its appeal among domestic customers, who are opting for smartphones that run on other operating systems from Google Inc, Nokia and Apple Inc,” John Cheng (鄭若望), a telecommunications and handset analyst at International Data Corp’s (IDC) Taipei branch, said by telephone yesterday.

Microsoft’s share of handset operating systems in the local market dropped to 16 percent in the second quarter of this year from about 25 percent in the final quarter of last year, Cheng said, citing IDC statistics.

“In contrast with the stagnant overall handset market in Taiwan, smartphone unit sales grew 140 percent, or 200,000 units, year-on-year in the previous quarter,” Cheng said.

“This is a spectacular performance amid a traditionally slow season in the second quarter and on top of the global economic downturn,” he said.

Cheng said domestic telecom operators played a substantial role in the performance of particular handsets, as they offer generous rebates on certain models.

The nation’s top three telecom carriers, Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), are keen on increasing revenues from data usage by offering Google’s Android, which offers good browsing capabilities, Cheng said.

HTC’s latest smartphone, called HTC Touch2, will allow users to access Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace shop for mobile content.

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