Microsoft will use next week’s GSMA Mobile World Congress to announce a shift in strategy surrounding the marketing of its Windows Mobile software platform for devices, according to BusinessWeek. The publication reports that the company is no longer content to simply be regarded as a supplier of an operating system to handset vendors such as Samsung and Sony Ericsson – who then brand and sell their own devices – but instead wants to convince PC owners that a Windows phone is the best option to go with their Windows-based computers. “We’re going to double-down on the Windows brand,” Todd Peters, head of marketing for Microsoft’s mobile communications business, told BusinessWeek. “When people go shopping in the future, we want them to ask specifically for a Windows phone.” Microsoft will reportedly back up this new strategy with a major advertising campaign.

The emergence of Apple’s iPhone and new BlackBerry products, as well as the high-profile Android operating system from Google, have taken the spotlight off Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform in recent months. According to Canalys research, in Q3 2008 Microsoft was overtaken by Apple in market share for smartphone operating systems. As well as speculation surrounding its marketing strategy, reports over the last few weeks suggest Microsoft will also next week launch Windows Mobile 6.5, an online application store, and a new service called MyPhone that lets mobile users automatically sync photos, contacts, videos and other files to a personalised website.