Microsoft will add support for the GSM digital mobile phone standard to its Windows for Smart Cards platform by early next year.
GSM is the world's most popular mobile phone standard, deployed widely throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but plays less of a role in the fragmented US wireless market.
Microsoft is readying Windows-based tools aimed at GSM operators and mobile equipment manufacturers, the company said in a statement.
The software giant will use the Telecom 99 show in Geneva to demonstrate live phone calls over GSM using its Windows smartcard operating system for services such as e-mail, calendaring, stock quotes and other Internet applications, Microsoft said. Telecom 99 is being held in Geneva until Oct. 17.
Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates is expected to use his keynote speech at the industry event to further highlight his company's moves in the wireless arena. On Friday, for example, Microsoft and British Telecommunications PLC announced the launch of a wireless Internet access trial in the U.K. and Norway.
The 8-bit, multi-application Windows operating system for smartcards was designed to be a low-cost, easy-to-program platform that runs Visual Basic-based applications, Microsoft said.
The Microsoft Windows Smart Card Toolkit is planned for release later this year, and support for GSM is expected to be included in an Option Pack to be made available early next year.
More information about Windows for Smart Cards can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/smartcard/.
Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com.