REDMOND, Wash., May 10, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to deliver a wireless portal designed to work with handheld devices, cellular phones and interactive pagers via the MSN
network of Internet services. A component of the end-to-end wireless solution from Microsoft, the wireless portal is scheduled to be available later this year in conjunction with the next major upgrade of the MSN portal. Also announced today, Nextel Communications, a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications, will be the first such provider to work with Microsoft to deliver the benefits of these capabilities to its customer base.
Internet users will be able to easily access their online information wherever and whenever they want through the wireless MSN portal. The wireless offering will include the most popular MSN Internet services, such as e-mail and address books from the MSN Hotmail
Web-based e-mail service; news, sports and weather from MSNBC; stock updates from the MSN MoneyCentral
personal finance online service; forthcoming calendar features from recently acquired Jump Networks Inc.; and other Web-based content such as weather and door-to-door directions.
“This is a significant step toward simplifying people’s access to valuable online tools and information where and when it’s most convenient to them,” said Brad Chase, vice president of the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft. “We’re literally delivering MSN users’ most powerful tools right into their hands and extending their computing experience beyond the desktop PC.”
An example of the users receiving immediate benefits are the more than 40 million members of MSN Hotmail who will soon be able to access their e-mail, reply to it, use their online address books to dial their friends or business associates using their cell phone, and track local news and weather.
In the future, the wireless portal services will include e-commerce extensions. For example, wireless users of MSN might get a “playoff tickets now on sale” notification from their local box office. Through the wireless portal, users will be able to buy tickets with a single click and have them shipped to a group of friends immediately using the information in their online address book. All this can be accomplished via the user’s cell phone or handheld wireless PC.
Two-way MSN services will include notification – through which users can set thresholds for news, e-mail and financial data delivery – and interactive browsing – through which information modules delivered to the wireless device are enabled with links to more information so users can pursue additional details.
Users will be able to manage their wireless delivery settings through MSN from either their PC or wireless device. The personalized settings are consistent across devices and are optimized for the environment. For example, PC users see a rich graphical interface, while mobile device users will see an MSN portal optimized for their device’s smaller form-factor.
“The wireless and handheld customer bases are exploding, and the demographics of these users overlay the mainstream users and online enthusiasts of the core MSN audience perfectly,” said Sung Rhee, general manager of MSN Wireless Services at Microsoft. “Continuing growth of wireless networks and decline in prices of wireless devices will further fuel this segment.”
The wireless MSN portal is based on industry standards and will be widely accessible by devices employing microbrowser technology, such as Pocket Internet Explorer for the Windows® CE operating system, and wireless Internet access. Microsoft plans to build strong relationships with leading wireless carriers to promote technology enhancements that optimize customers’ online experience.
In a separate announcement, Microsoft announced an agreement with Nextel Communications to deliver a wireless co-branded portal for Nextel’s 3.15 million customers, who will also be able to access their e-mail, calendar, address books, news, financial information and other Web-based content from MSN via their Nextel phones. The Nextel portal will utilize the wireless MSN portal and provide additional valuable services for Nextel customers. As part of this agreement, Microsoft also committed to a $600 million equity investment in Nextel in support of Nextel’s leading position in the deployment and development of these wireless Internet services.
“As an ally to support Nextel Online sm , MSN offers a perfect fit for the types of services and content our customers would like added to their Nextel phones,” said Tom Kelly, vice president and chief marketing officer of Nextel Communications. “Providing wireless access to e-mail, calendar functionality, news and applications gives people instant access to the Internet any time, anywhere on the Nextel National Network.”
About MSN and Microsoft
MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at MSN.com ( http://MSN.com/ ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning
e-mail functionality; personal communications services; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft Unveils Strategy for MSN to Place Power of the Internet Into Hands of Wireless Users
Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail and MoneyCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.