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Ready, aim...

Microsoft is taking aim at developing its next generation mobile operating system, code-named "Crossbow," according to press reports.

The software giant seeks to offer up such features as instant messaging, as well as integration with Microsoft's Office 2007, scheduled for widespread release next year, and its e-mail server software Exchange 12, according to an IDG News Service report.

Microsoft hopes to eventually replace its current Windows Mobile 5.0 with its next generation mobile OS, according to the report. But the software giant hasn't fared too bad with the 5.0 version.

Earlier this month, however, Microsoft received its largest Windows mobile OS deal, when the U.S. Census Bureau contracted with the software giant to equip 500,000 workers with smart phones running Windows Mobile 5.0. The handsets, manufactured by HTC, will be used for the 2010 census.