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Missing Pocket PC software to be released

Handheld owners receiving the upgrade to Pocket PC 2002 are surprised to discover some key software missing. Microsoft says it will be available soon and that this was the "plan all along."

Microsoft says it will release software for consumers who upgraded their handhelds to its new Pocket PC 2002 operating system only to find that certain key applications were missing.

The upgrade was made available on CD last week--but only for those who ordered it in September and who use Compaq Computer's iPaq handheld. Some applications, including MSN Messenger and Terminal Services Client, did not come with the CD, to the surprise of customers who bought the software.

As recently as Friday, Derek Brown, Microsoft's mobility "evangelist" for the mobile devices division, told customers that the company did not have a definite commitment to release Messenger and Terminal Services Client for the upgrade.

"No one should upgrade a Pocket PC with the assumption that Terminal Services Client or MSN Messenger will ever be available," he wrote on a Pocket PC forum.

But Microsoft on Monday said that not only would Messenger and Terminal Services Client be released by the end of the first quarter of 2002, but this has been the plan all along.

"This was always the date," said a Microsoft representative. "It is a very big priority for Microsoft and Compaq to release this software."

The two applications will be available as free downloads, which consumers can install into the device's RAM (random access memory), the representative said.

Microsoft would not comment on why Messenger and Terminal Services Client were not available right away.

Brown confirmed the release schedule, saying that the release "won't be (sudden) because there is work to be done--but they will be released."

Earlier, Brown wrote on the Internet forum that "there was some confusion whether we were going to do these applications or not, and if so, when. So I know there have been some conflicting messages."

Staff writer Matthew Broersma reported from London.