NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 8, 1999 — Users of cell phones, pagers, handheld computers and other mobile devices will soon be able to use these devices to check email, update their meeting calendars and access on-line information over the Internet, thanks to an agreement announced by Microsoft and British Telecommunications (BT).
The two companies said they will work together to develop a new range of Internet, intranet and corporate data services for mobile customers worldwide. As a result, users of mobile devices in 40 countries for the first time will be able to securely access a wide range of Microsoft Internet and corporate applications including email, calendar information, personalized Web content and online information services. Customer trials will begin in the United Kingdom this spring, and customers in some countries should be able to start taking advantage of these services beginning early next year.
Microsoft and BT announced the agreement this week at WIRELESS ’99, a wireless telecommunications conference sponsored by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) in New Orleans.
“Our global partnership with Microsoft will dramatically increase the availability of Internet and data services for mobile users across the globe,” said Andy Green, BT’s director of strategy and mobility. “Our mutual goals are to meet the needs of those who need to communicate on the move, allowing them to be reachable and remain connected to their vital information at all times.”
Under the agreement, Microsoft and BT will work together to develop and market the services, and BT’s global solutions company Concert Communications Services will deliver them to customers. BT will accelerate the development and deployment of Internet standards-based wireless solutions by selecting Microsoft microbrowser technology for manufacturers’ handsets. The company will also work with Microsoft to promote the development of future Windows CE-based wireless products.
Customers will be able to use their mobile devices to access key Internet and corporate information from “data centers” built on the Microsoft platform using Windows NT Server, Exchange e-mail server and Internet Information Server. The two companies will work together to test user interfaces and manage customer trials. They will also offer training programs to developers interested in developing applications for the wireless space.
“Microsoft is committed to deploying Internet standards-based solutions, such as the Microsoft Exchange and micro-browser technology solutions demonstrated today at Wireless ’99, and by working with partners to provide a worldwide, end-to-end wireless solution,” said Paul Maritz, group vice president at Microsoft. “We are excited that by working with BT and Concert Communications Services, we can bring this vision closer to reality by extending services to more than 40 countries.”