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Microsoft, Flextronics partner on cell platform

The two companies have jointly developed a new phone platform called Peabody, which runs on the software giant's Windows Mobile.

Microsoft announced a partnership Sunday with phone maker Flextronics to market a new cell phone platform running Windows Mobile to phone makers and service providers.

The two companies said they have jointly developed a new phone platform called Peabody--a blueprint that cell providers can customize and which is designed to cut production costs.

Peabody runs on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks, which is the world's most widespread wireless standard, and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), the data delivery arm of GSM networks.

"Microsoft is providing smarter, advanced mobile solutions and creating business models that help mobile operators generate new revenue streams," Pieter Knook, senior vice president of Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices Division and Communications Sector Business, said in a statement.

The Singapore-based mobile phone maker said the Peabody platform offers original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, access to more than 18,000 applications for product line customization.

"As mobile phones become increasingly customized consumer products, OEMs are under pressure to produce low-cost, feature-rich phones that address the demands of this growing market," Tom Deitrich, Flextronics' vice president of Original Design and Manufacturing, said in a statement. "Through ODM mobile phone platforms such as Peabody, Flextronics is providing OEMs with a cost-effective way to quickly expand their product lines and respond to market demands."

The announcement was made during the first day of the 16th annual 3GSM World Congress, a conference taking place this week in Cannes, France.