Microsoft Corp. is working toward a deal to provide software for Motorola Inc.’s cell phones for sale to customers of Orange, France Telecom’s wireless carrier said.
A deal with Motorola, which recently unloaded its 19 percent stake in Symbian, a Microsoft competitor in mobile phone software, would represent a significant step for the world’s largest software maker, which is trying to penetrate the market for mobile phone operating systems.
Orange initially flagged the possibility of a deal in a June statement. The Financial Times, without citing sources, reported on Thursday that a Microsoft-powered phone by Motorola would be launched this month.
Motorola, the world’s second-largest handset maker, was not immediately available for comment and a Microsoft spokeswoman did not confirm any deal with Motorola.
A France Telecom spokeswoman in the United States said that Orange was working toward a deal that included Microsoft-powered software on an Orange mobile phone.
Orange, in a statement, said that it would strike “deals with Microsoft to develop new Windows Mobile-based Smartphones” as well as a cell phone for business customers featuring an operating system from Palm Inc., a Microsoft rival.
Orange said it was trying to offer its customers a choice of operating systems for its service.
Motorola, which had previously used its own software or Symbian’s, earlier this year launched its first cell phone that includes both the Linux operating system and Java software technology, which are rivals to Microsoft products.