Continuing its push into the mobile consumer market, Microsoft Corp. said it plans to acquire Danger Inc., the developer of software and services that run Sidekick.
Danger's operating system and applications work in tandem with back-end servers to offer services such as games, social networking, Internet access, Web e-mail and instant messaging. T-Mobile's Sidekick, manufactured by Sharp Electronics Corp., is perhaps the best known Danger device.
Microsoft did not disclose financial terms of the deal or say if it planned to continue to support the Danger mobile operating system, since Microsoft has its own mobile operating system in Windows Mobile.
However, Microsoft indicated that it has plans for Danger's technology beyond mobile phones. In a statement, Microsoft suggested it could combine Danger's services with MSN, Xbox, Zune, Windows Live and Windows Mobile. In addition, Microsoft said Danger would join its entertainment and devices division, not specifically the Windows Mobile group, which is in that division.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Danger was founded by Andy Rubin, who later went on to start a company called Android that Google Inc. bought. Google's Android is a Linux-based mobile phone operating system.
While Danger has a loyal following, the company hasn't turned a profit. In late 2007, it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to execute a public offering, which may have been an indication that it needed money.
Sidekick fans have a mixed reaction to the news of the Microsoft acquisition. In an online forum, some people wrote that they were excited that Danger would have better financial backing to further its research and development. Others said they feared that Microsoft was essentially buying out the competition and would soon discontinue Danger's products and services.
Microsoft has recently indicated that it is trying to attract more consumers to Windows Mobile, which the market views as primarily a business tool. It recently hired a new executive to focus on consumer marketing and the Danger buy could help it acquire consumer customers.