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Microsoft and Verizon Wireless Form Groundbreaking Alliance
Posted: 24-May-2002 [Source: Verizon press release]

[Nationwide mobile service featuring popular MSN services to launch May 24th. The Verizon with MSN service enables consumers to easily access popular MSN services from any Web-enabled Verizon Wireless digital phone.]

Bedminter, NJ and Redmond, Wash. -- Verizon Wireless and Microsoft Corp. today announced a groundbreaking strategic alliance to deliver co-developed and jointly marketed wireless data services featuring MSN services and content, Windows Powered devices, and enterprise solutions. As a result of the agreement, the MSN network and Verizon Wireless will deliver the most compelling wireless data services to consumers in the United States through a new joint service offering, while also collaborating on future next-generation offerings. Together, Verizon Wireless and Microsoft will also develop, co-brand and offer technology and services! to consumers and enterprise customers across a range of devices.

The joint VZW with MSN service will launch May 24, 2002 via a multimillion-dollar joint marketing and branding program, and will be available for Verizon Wireless customers who have a digital Web-enabled wireless device as well as future digital Verizon Wireless customers.

"Today's groundbreaking agreement between Verizon Wireless and Microsoft ushers in the next generation of wireless data services and devices for consumers and enterprise customers," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. "With the launch of the joint VZW with MSN service, the companies are combining Internet communication services and content services from MSN, the world's most popular portal destination, with No. 1 carrier Verizon Wireless' expertise to deliver highly relevant mobile services to consumers."

"The combination of our expertise and experience in developing superior wireless services with Microsoft's proven MSN services makes for a compelling combination that wireless customers can take advantage of beginning Friday," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "We are confident that the Verizon Wireless and Microsoft joint offers will be a catalyst for wireless data services growth. We're live on Friday. Customers who sign up for the VZW with MSN service will enjoy a robust mobile experience that truly meets their needs."

Verizon Wireless is the broadest and most reliable wireless network service provider in the nation and MSN is the No. 1 portal destination on the World Wide Web. Together, the companies present a compelling choice for wireless consumers by offering the best mobile products and services. The VZW with MSN service enables consumers to easily access popular MSN services from any Web-enabled Verizon Wireless digital phone, including MSN Messenger Service instant messaging, which will be available for the first time in the United States as a mobile service. By combining other favorite MSN services, such as the MSN Hotmail Web-based e-mail service, Microsoft .NET alerts and MSN information services, with wireless network technology from Verizon Wireless, the new service will enable consumers to stay in touch with the people they care about and get timely access to personalized services and information easier than ever, coast-to-coast. This co-branded service will be the default s! ervice for new digital Verizon Wireless customers who subscribe to the wireless Web service.

Together, MSN and Verizon Wireless have committed to aggressive joint marketing efforts that include a nationwide advertising campaign, unprecedented promotion on the MSN network of services, promotions in more than 1,200 Verizon Wireless Communications Stores nationwide and thousands of retail outlets operated by Verizon Wireless and its retail partners, and direct marketing to more than 100 million consumers annually.

This strategic alliance further allows for the two industry leaders to co-develop new mobile applications in the future, such as access to location-based services and other innovative technology that will empower consumers to communicate with friends and family even more effectively.

An important component of the alliance is the shared commitment the two companies have toward the future, including the development and deployment of consumer and enterprise services. Verizon Wireless will offer groundbreaking wireless devices that include Microsoft software and wireless technology, such as Windows Powered Pocket PCs and Smartphones, to Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon Wireless will take advantage of the functionality and scalability of the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server family and its set of Mobility Partners to become the gateway to inventive and useful mobile business productivity applications, such as mobile messaging, for wireless users in the enterprise. By mobilizing the Microsoft business desktop, users will be able to take the functionality of the Outlook(r) messaging and collaboration client on the road.

"The launch of the VZW with MSN service will enable consumers to easily communicate and access personalized information through MSN services they know and love while on the go," said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN. "In the future, MSN and Verizon Wireless will work together to deliver the most innovative and industry-defining mobile services ever available to consumers."

John Stratton, chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless, said, "Today's announcement is a milestone, but just the beginning of an alignment of two of the most powerful brands today with incredible reach into the consumer space. As consumers increasingly rely on their wireless devices to manage their life, the services beginning tomorrow, as well as those products and services available to them in the future through this alliance, make Verizon Wireless and Microsoft the only choice."

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