REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 15, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. and Sprint today announced a strategic alliance through which the companies will develop and deliver a range of innovative new service offerings for Sprint’s business and consumer customers. The first consumer offering in this collaboration enables Sprint customers to use Windows Live™ Search for mobile on their wireless phones to conveniently search location-based content from the Internet, such as nearby stores and restaurants, as well as Sprint’s catalog of ring tones, games, screen savers and related services. The service also provides new opportunities for highly relevant and targeted local advertising, which will benefit businesses and consumers alike.
“Microsoft and Sprint share a vision that mobility is about helping customers access the information they need while on the go. The new alliance will deliver on that vision for consumers and businesses,” said Mark Schweitzer, chief marketing officer at Sprint. “By adding Windows Live Search for mobile to Sprint devices, customers now carry with them a depth of relevant local search information, in addition to quick and easy access to their favorite Sprint content. Microsoft’s innovation in search and advertising makes them a logical choice for us to work with to realize this vision.”
The new Sprint mobile search service powered by Windows Live aims to provide one-stop access to relevant online content associated with a given keyword or phrase. For example, consumers who search for “sports” on their wireless phone can search all of Sprint’s content relating to sports, such as ringtones, wallpapers and applications with “sports” in the title, as well as local information available online such as business listings for sports stores, maps, directions and relevant advertisements from local businesses. The service is immediately available at no additional cost to Sprint PCS VisionSM and Sprint Power VisionSM subscribers on all currently available data-capable phones, along with many popular older models.*
“In recent years the search box has fundamentally changed the way people interact with the Internet, but we have only just begun to scratch the surface for what search and live Internet services can do in the mobile space,” said Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of the Online Services Group at Microsoft. “Today’s announcement is a positive step forward in enhancing the mobile search experience for consumers and advertisers alike, by putting locally relevant information in the hands of consumers. And with Sprint’s strong history of enabling Internet services on phones and Microsoft’s expertise in delivering software plus services, we are excited about the opportunities this alliance can bring to further promote live services across devices that help people get the information they want, when they want it, where they are.”
Windows Live Search for mobile combines Microsoft® Windows Live Local Search features, such as maps and directions, with capabilities allowing the indexing and discovery of highly relevant mobile content. This approach brings simplicity for users by delivering search results grouped in useful categories and in a format appropriate for a user’s specific mobile device.
The location-based offering available today from Sprint and Microsoft requires users to input their location by entering their ZIP code, address, or city and state. Future versions of the service are planned to enable consumers to give permission to automatically locate them and show the nearest businesses that match their search.
Companies Target New Integrated Services in Strategic Alliance
Today’s mobile search release is evidence of the success Microsoft and Sprint expect to continue in developing integrated solutions that bring together products and services from both companies, and which target business and consumer subscribers.
“Sprint is excited about the successful collaboration with Microsoft thus far. Besides mobile search for the consumer, our business customers are benefiting significantly from the ease and enhanced functionality of Windows Mobile 5.0 as well as robust managed security solutions based on Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services,” said Susan Nelson, vice president of strategic alliances, Sprint. “This holistic relationship aligns our companies in joint development, marketing and sales efforts, which allows us to move quickly to combine our expertise and deliver innovative solutions to our customers.”
Future initiatives in the alliance will explore leveraging new Microsoft technologies in the development of a differentiated portfolio of rich and seamless information experiences for Sprint customers. The service aggregation enabled through Microsoft’s Connected Services Framework will help to reduce integration costs and accelerate time to market as the two companies introduce new revenue-generating services that marry traditional telecommunications offering with Web services, from Windows Live beyond.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks serving more than 51 million customers at the end of third quarter 2006; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN® attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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