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ALLIANCE: Microsoft and AT&T Wireless to unwire U.S. Corporations
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 31.07.02 - 16:38:00 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 5715x
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Companies to provide access to Microsoft Exchange, MapPoint .NET and other business applications via Windows Powered Pocket PCs, Smartphones and Laptops on AT&T Wireless Next-Generation Network

REDMOND, Wash. - July 31, 2002: Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Wireless today announced the formation of a strategic alliance that will dramatically simplify the way companies provide integrated wireless data services to their employees. The companies said that this new, comprehensive alliance was created to keep North American companies, and the mobile professionals who work in them, connected to valuable corporate information while on the go.
AT&T Wireless and Microsoft have developed and will distribute end-to-end solutions for Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PCs, Smartphones and laptops. These solutions are designed to provide seamless, wireless access to e-mail, information and applications behind corporate firewalls.
In addition, AT&T Wireless plans to be the first wireless carrier to offer new enterprise-grade Microsoft .NET location-based services for mobile users on both laptops and Pocket PCs, using MapPoint .NET mapping and location services and the .NET Compact Framework. As part of the agreement, Microsoft and AT&T Wireless will collaborate on solution development, joint sales and account planning, and marketing activities.
The two companies said they have been working together for several months, and they are in the late stages of product development. Customer trials are currently under way, and the companies plan to launch their first set of services and devices powered by Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition software commercially in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Today’s workers often do business far from the office, which is why they need access to information any time, any place and on any device," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Not only will mobile workers and their companies benefit from this alliance, but developers will quickly discover that smart devices, high-speed wireless networks and .NET technologies are powerful building blocks for future innovation. Working with AT&T Wireless, I’m confident that we will create the best wireless data solutions for today’s corporations."

"Today’s announcement is further proof that wireless communication is rapidly becoming the lifeblood of our working lives," said John Zeglis, chairman and CEO of AT&T Wireless. "Together, AT&T Wireless and Microsoft can build on our core competencies to enhance the productivity of today’s mobile work force and better serve our corporate customers. Business customers want continuous connectivity in a secure and manageable environment. By teaming with the world leader in business software solutions, AT&T Wireless will provide a simple, ‘out-of-the-box’ mobile experience that can be easily installed, managed and maintained by corporate IT organizations."

Smart Devices
Central to the agreement between Microsoft and AT&T Wireless is a commitment to deliver Windows Powered devices. As part of the agreement, AT&T Wireless plans to introduce a voice-enabled PDA, powered by Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition software, later this year. Pocket PC Phone Edition devices are equipped with integrated GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)/GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) voice and data calling capabilities, along with the features users expect from a technology-leading PDA including a bright color screen, stylish form factor, contacts, calendar, inbox, Web browser and digital media support. In addition, AT&T Wireless plans to offer phones running Microsoft Windows Powered Smartphone 2002 software. Smartphone 2002 supports wireless phones, enabling customers to communicate via voice and text, and gain access to their essential business and personal information.

Simplifying Wireless Access to Business Information
To simplify the deployment of the new devices for corporate information technology managers, the two companies have developed a unique activation and centralized provisioning process. The new equipment will come preloaded, which eliminates the need for IT personnel to manually install applications on each device. This expedites deployment times and lessens the burden on today’s ever-busy corporate IT departments. To simplify access from any wireless-ready laptop to Microsoft Exchange and the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client over corporate virtual private networks (VPNs), the companies have developed a custom "one-button-synch" software wizard that will provide easy access over the AT&T Wireless high-speed data network.

New MapPoint .NET Location-Based Services
With this agreement, AT&T Wireless becomes the first mobile operator to announce plans to deliver corporate location-based services for mobile professionals built using the Microsoft MapPoint .NET platforms. These newly developed services will complement AT&T Wireless’ recently introduced location capabilities, and will include location-enabled instant messaging for business work groups, locating contacts and personal concierge services. This integration will unlock a new generation of services that combine locating colleagues with capabilities such as obtaining maps and driving directions, conducting proximity searches, and finding destinations and points of interest near one’s own or a colleague’s location. This solution is completely integrated with the instant messenger and Outlook clients on Pocket PCs and notebooks.

Experience, Focus and Global Reach
As the country’s largest wireless business provider serving some 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies, AT&T Wireless’ range of complete, end-to-end solutions is unparalleled in the industry. Together with Microsoft’s broad presence in enterprise applications, the two companies are poised to deliver world-class solutions to their mutual customers. A significant advantage of the alliance according to both companies is the fact that AT&T Wireless’ next-generation network is based on GSM/GPRS technology. GSM/GPRS is the world’s dominant wireless technology, offering unparalleled global roaming over any other wireless technology. "North American business isn’t confined to the shores of this continent," said Andre Dahan, president of AT&T Wireless Mobile Multimedia Services. "Today’s companies need a service provider who can keep their mobile professionals connected whether in Chicago or London, and we believe that AT&T Wireless and Microsoft offer the most compelling choice for today’s corporations." AT&T Wireless GSM/GPRS service is now available in dozens of markets across the United States, including Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego and Seattle. Excluding its recently acquired TeleCorp PCS markets, the AT&T Wireless GSM/GPRS network is deployed across nearly 60 percent of the company’s served population and will be available nationally by the end of the year.

The companies also said that the benefits of this alliance could be extended to AT&T Wireless affiliates, including Rogers AT&T Wireless in Canada. Additional details about the agreement were not disclosed. Information regarding the availability and pricing of solutions will be announced at a later date.

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