Microsoft and BT to Offer Mobile Services in 40 Countries

Just a few months after its deal with Qualcomm to deliver wireless online access throughout the nation, Microsoft today announced a similar agreement with British Telecom to reach the rest of the world.

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. Networking, software and telecommunications companies are merging, colliding and agreeing to get this framework up and running.

The two latest 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 will be able to access a wide range of Microsoft Internet and corporate applications including email, calendar information, personalized Web content and online information services. Microsoft reports 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.

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 micro-browser 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 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. -- Brian Ploskina, Assistant Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.