Microsoft Corporation is pushing full speed ahead into the smartphone arena. The latest: The company unveiled a strategic alliance with rival Palm to bring its Windows Mobile OS to the Treo smartphone. The announcement was made one day ahead of the opening of the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2005 Show in San Francisco.

Under the terms of the deal, Palm has licensed the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system to be featured its latest iteration of Treo smartphones.

Verizon Wireless will be the first U.S. carrier to offer a Treo featuring Windows Mobile. The CDMA handset will run on Verizon Wireless' 1X EV-DO network. "The new Treo smartphone running on Windows Mobile will highlight the speed and power of our BroadbandAccess service," said Verizon Wireless President and CEO Denny Strigl via a press release. 

"This is a landmark alliance that will help businesses remain on the cutting edge of competitiveness," Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates said in a prepared statement. "Demand for accessing information on mobile devices is soaring, and businesses want a low-cost, scalable solution. We're excited to team with Palm and Verizon Wireless to deliver a winning Windows Mobile solution that connects professionals to their critical information while on the go."

The new Treo smartphones, which will make their debut via Verizon Wireless early next year, are the second smartphones to feature Windows Mobile 5.0 in the United States. Sprint Nextel recently become the first U.S. carrier to offer a smartphone featuring 5.0.