REDMOND, Wash., May 11, 1999 — With the increasing pace of business and the rise of new wireless technology, today’s business professional is no longer chained to a desk. This allows for greater freedom and the ability to spend more time in the field with customers, but it also presents new challenges for staying on top of frequently changing schedules, important email, contact information or news. While many pagers and mobile phones provide news alerts, a new service from Nextel, enabled by the co-branded MSN portal, will provide a broad range of offerings to help mobile professionals stay in touch with all of their key information.
The recent Microsoft and Nextel joint announcement will enable access to Internet services through a co-branded version of the MSN portal and provide new ways for people on the go to stay in touch. “Microsoft’s $600 million investment in Nextel is the third largest investment in the history of the company,” said Thomas Koll, vice president of the Microsoft Network Solutions Group. “This signifies the importance of making access to services like the MSN portal available to people anywhere, anytime and from any device.”
When operational later this year, Nextel Onlinesm will provide a broad range of services to its customers with the new co-branded MSN portal. Services will include email, a calendar, address book contacts, and access to Web-based content such as MSNBC news, sports, weather and stock information.
“Until recently, the most urgent messages I received were usually voice messages,” said Jonathan Usher, telecommunications marketing manager at Microsoft. “Now the most important information is often sent to me in email, and I would like to be able to easily receive these messages while I am out of the office.” Nextel Online and the co-branded MSN portal will help busy people stay in touch with all of the latest information that is important to them.
For example, a sales person who is attending an out-of-town meeting and needs the latest news will be able to simply access the Nextel Online Portal using a mobile phone, pager, personal digital assistant (PDA), PC or other Windows CE operating system-based device, and the Portal site will optimize the content for that device. If it is a mobile phone with a four-line display panel, the graphics and deep content on MSNBC will be omitted in favor of brief headlines giving key information. If the sales rep is using a PDA with more screen space, he will receive a richer display. Additionally, the sales rep will be able to check and immediately respond to email and voice mail messages all from one device, and ensure that no major changes have been added to his schedule.
In addition to these services, Nextel Online customers can do business with Nextel by visiting the portal. Customers can use the portal to view their bills electronically, a new service for Nextel Online customers. Nextel customers can also order additional products and services, receive product support or send and receive messages from any of the 3 million other Nextel customers using Nextel Online Messaging. Finally, Nextel will complement this service with applications developed for specific market segments. These Web-based applications will be developed by third parties for users of the Nextel Business Networks.
Nextel is the first wireless provider to benefit from a separately announced Microsoft plan to create a new version of the MSN portal for wireless users. When Microsoft updates the existing MSN portal later this year, it will include a brand new way for wireless users to benefit from the broad range of services available on MSN including e-mail and address books from the MSN Hotmail Web-based email service; news, sports and weather from MSNBC; stock updates from the MSN MoneyCentral personal finance online service; and other Web-based content such as door-to-door directions, which will provide helpful information for both work and personal use.
This agreement with Nextel is another step in Microsoft’s overall strategy of working with network operators around the world as they develop and deploy exciting new services for customers.
“While the recent AT & T announcement was about enabling broadband services to millions of homes around America, this agreement with Nextel will provide wireless users with a wide range of services regardless of location or device,” Usher said. Microsoft’s goal is to provide service providers like Nextel with the combined benefits of Microsoft platforms and the MSN portal to enable these powerful new services to be delivered to a wide range of consumers and businesses.