* Says problems with some handsets
* Sees larger-scale 'Mango' update this year
* No date yet for first Nokia Windows phone
* Microsoft shares little changed
(Adds mention of larger update, Nokia phones)
SEATTLE, April 13 Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O)
explained the delay in updating its new phone software on
Wednesday, partly blaming handset manufacturers for the
Windows Phone 7, launched last October as Microsoft's
attempt to catch up with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Google Inc
(GOOG.O) in the smartphone market, was well received, but
criticized for lack of some basic functions such as cut and
Microsoft initially said an update to the software would be
available early in 2011, but it has not yet been implemented
for many users.
"We had expected it to be earlier than now," Joe Belfiore,
head of Microsoft's Windows phone program, said at a software
developer conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Belfiore said the company had started the update, but ran
into problems on some newly manufactured phones that would not
function properly afterward.
He did not name any manufacturers involved. Samsung
Electronics (005930.KS), HTC Corp (2498.TW) and LG Electronics
(066570.KS) are the main handset makers of Windows phones.
Once the company found the problems, it overhauled its
update procedure, said Belfiore.
"We felt it would be better to be a little bit patient,
make sure that when we get updates out that they would happen
reliably, and unfortunately that caused a delay in getting
things out," he said.
Belfiore said he was now "optimistic" that there will not
be similar problems with future updates. A more comprehensive
update, code-named Mango, will be available later this year, he
Microsoft still has only a 4 percent share of the worldwide
smartphone software market, according to research firm Gartner,
but it is expected to be a major player once its deal to
provide the operating system for leading handset maker Nokia
NOK1V.HE takes effect.
A Nokia developer onstage at the Las Vegas conference said
there was still no date for when the new Microsoft-powered
phones will hit the market.
Shares of Microsoft were up 3 cents at $25.67 in afternoon
(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)