REDMOND, Wash., and NEWBURY, U.K. — June 29, 2005 — MSN and Vodafone today announced plans to launch a first-of-its-kind seamless instant messaging (IM) service between PCs and mobile phones. Customers will be able to see the “presence” of their contacts and exchange instant messages between MSN® Messenger on a PC and Vodafone Messenger on mobile phones and vice versa. By offering customers a seamless PC-to-mobile messaging option with instant messaging, MSN and Vodafone will expand communication choices, delivering an enhanced messaging offering for MSN and Vodafone customers who want to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
The service will be based on the familiar mobile commercial model of “Calling Party Pays.” As they do today, Vodafone customers will prepay or pay for the service through their monthly bill, while MSN Messenger customers will be able to pay through packages available in connection with MSN Messenger.
The service will bring together customers of MSN Messenger, the world’s largest instant messaging service with more than 165 million customers worldwide, and Vodafone, which has almost 155 million customers around the world, as messaging continues to grow in popularity on PCs and mobile phones. Building on and complementing the messaging success of SMS, instant messaging between PCs and mobile phones enables new service benefits to customers such as immediacy, the ability to tell whether a contact is available to receive a message (presence) and the ability to see the text of whole conversations. By adding the service functionality of IM and by connecting MSN and Vodafone customers, both companies expect more frequent interaction between PC and mobile customers, resulting in more traffic.
“MSN and Vodafone are working to enhance messaging between mobile phones and PCs, ultimately delivering a richer experience to customers,” said Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the MSN Communication Services and Member Platform group at Microsoft Corp. “By enabling our customers to see each other’s presence on both PC and mobile devices, we are expanding our customers’ ability to make smart communication choices and connect instantly via IM to the people they care about most.”
“We have brought together two of the world’s largest messaging communities with a first of its kind for both industries — a seamless PC-to-mobile instant messaging service. Vodafone customers will now be able to use IM and its additional service benefits to stay in touch with mobile and PC friends and family,” said Peter Bamford, chief marketing officer for Vodafone. “IM is a growing part of the increasingly important mobile messaging market. By bringing our collective customers together, we’ll deliver more options for staying in touch when messaging. Our agreement will grow IM and SMS, meaning additional revenue for Vodafone.”
MSN and Vodafone plan to launch the enhanced messaging service in several European countries before the end of the year.
Vodafone is the world’s largest mobile community with 154.8 million proportionate customers, equity interests in 27 countries and Partner Networks in a further 14 countries. For further information about Vodafone, please visit the Vodafone Group Web site: www.vodafone.com.
MSN attracts more than 400 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 41 markets and 20 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. 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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