And now, the Mobile Browser Battles

The latest browser wars – Internet Explorer versus Firefox – that were so far limited to the desktop are going mobile. Today, Microsoft announced a new mobile browser called Deepfish as a technology preview. The news of this new Microsoft Mobile browser follows the release of Minimo 0.2, a mobile browser (that uses Mozilla technologies) for Windows Mobile devices.

For now Deepfish, Minimo and all comers are chasing Opera which is a mobile heavyweight. Microsoft’s Deepfish has some of the same features that are already available on Opera’s browser for Windows Mobile devices. (Opera is available for other platforms as well.)

The Deepfish announcement should be juxtaposed with Opera’s recent wins at some of the major Windows Mobile handset makers. Opera’s presence in their own backyard must be worrying the Barons of Redmond.

One of the other major contenders in the mobile browser arena is Nokia. The Finnish phone maker is working tirelessly on its Webkit-based browser which for now is exclusively on the Symbian platform. We hear that they will be making some announcements soon.

The interest in mobile web browsers shouldn’t come as a surprise: web-based service providers like Yahoo and Google are going increasingly mobile, cutting deals with handset makers, and trying to find relevance beyond the PC.

Mobile phones are primary edge devices in countries like India, Brazil, Russia and China, and if web-based companies have to grow, they need to find opportunities amongst these users. Stay tuned because the interest in these mobile browsers is only going to increase in coming months.

Memo to Microsoft and Channel 10: If you make a product announcement and the product is coming out of your own labs, you cannot call your video “exclusive.” It is part of your promotional material.