Microsoft completes Danger acquisition

Microsoft may keep the software and hosted architecture built by Danger to enhance its own mobile offerings

Microsoft hinted that it might keep the software and hosted architecture built by Danger, the mobile company that designed the software behind the Sidekick. The software giant announced the completion of its acquisition of the mobile developer on Tuesday.

When Microsoft announced its intention to buy Danger in February, it didn't say much about its plans for Danger's technology. At the time, some Sidekick fans worried that Microsoft might try to wrap some of the software into Windows Mobile but largely discontinue Danger's products.

But with its announcement of the completion of the acquisition, Microsoft praised Danger's technology. Danger's client software paired with hosted back-end services creates rich consumer experiences, Microsoft said in its statement. Combining Danger with Microsoft should help build innovative mobile experiences for consumers, Microsoft said.

Danger's operating system and applications work in tandem with back-end servers to deliver services like games, social networking, Internet access, Web e-mail, and instant messaging. T-Mobile's Sidekick, manufactured by Sharp, is perhaps the best-known Danger device.

Workers at Danger, including co-founders Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt, will join Microsoft in a new group, the Premium Mobile Experiences team, within the Mobile Communications Business. Danger employees will continue to work from their current offices, which are in Palo Alto, California; Duluth, Georgia; Billerica, Massachusetts; and Reading, U.K.

The Premium Mobile Experiences group focuses on consumer mobile projects, Microsoft said. The company has recently begun focusing more on consumer mobile services, after Windows Mobile established a reputation as software primarily for business users.

Using Danger's consumer software could help Microsoft better compete with other popular new consumer mobile offerings, such as the iPhone. It could also help Microsoft stave off competition from Google's forthcoming Android mobile-phone software. Andy Rubin, one of Danger's founders, later left the company to start Android, a company that Google bought and used to develop its own Android software.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.