Microsoft Makes Windows Phone 7 Business Case

Microsoft has been flogging its Windows Phone 7 (WP7) as a consumer play since it first launched last November, but now the company is showing off new features for business coming in a major update.

Codenamed "Mango" -- Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been talking about the update for several months.

At its TechEd North America 2011 conference in Atlanta this week, though, the company is emphasizing why it thinks IT professionals and developers, and businesses, in general, would want to use WP7 with Mango.

"In Mango, we’re adding the ability to save and share Office documents through Office 365 and Windows Live SkyDrive, ensuring you have access to the latest documents when and where you need them," Paul Bryan, senior director of business experience for the Windows Phone team, said in a post to the Windows Phone Blog.

Office 365, which is currently in beta test, combines cloud delivery of the latest versions of Microsoft's enterprise services -- Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Lync 2010 -- with the Office 2010 Web Apps, and includes an option to upgrade users to Office 2010 Professional Plus as well. It will replace Microsoft's existing Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Among the new business-oriented features coming in Mango, Bryan said, are "pinnable" email folders that can be pinned to WP7's start screen. For example, a user could use the feature to keep emails regarding an important project ready at hand.

Additionally, Mango will also add a "conversation" view so that users can glance through the entire thread of an email in order to stay on top of a conversation.

A "search server" capability will let users search their Exchange servers for old emails that have already been deleted from their phones but may still contain relevant data.

Also, a free app for WP7, called Lync Mobile, will let users take advantage of Lync Online's instant messaging, presence, and other unified communications features, Bryan added.

According to the post, Mango will also add new features for IT professionals. For instance, it will provide support for complex alpha-numeric passwords, as well as Information Rights Management (IRM) that staff can use to restrict distribution of proprietary data in emails.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to say when Mango will reach general availability other than that it will be in users' hands "later this year."

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.


Microsoft, mobile, mobile devices, Windows 7 Phone, Mango