BARCELONA, Spain, February 11 /PRNewswire/ --

- Company announces key industry partnerships to bring more connected entertainment and information to mobile customers.

Taking companywide steps to place its technologies in the hands of an expanding mobile consumer audience, Microsoft Corp today announced that several cutting-edge mobility companies will adopt and deploy its software and services worldwide.

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The company highlighted its partnership with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB to make Windows Mobile phones, announced extended reach of Windows Live and MSN Direct services around the world, and demonstrated how the increased adoption of Microsoft software is giving consumers more control over digital content. Businesses including Brightstar Corp, Cbeyond, MTS (Mobile TeleSystems OJSC), Omnifone Ltd, Orascom Telecom Holding, TechData, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Wind Greece and Wind Italy unveiled plans today to tap Microsoft for its latest mobile innovations.

Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division President Robbie Bach announced the news today in a keynote address at Mobile World Congress 2008 as he articulated a comprehensive vision for the capabilities that Microsoft and its mobile partner network plan to deliver.

"We believe wherever you go, your phone should bring your world with you," Bach said. "Microsoft will build upon our current offerings to business users by delivering a whole new range of experiences to mobile consumers. And we have the broadest partnerships, the finest people, and the best software and services to get us there."

Today's announcements build on Microsoft's current partnerships with nearly every device maker and mobile operator in the world. With yesterday's addition of Sony Ericsson, Windows Mobile alone runs phones from 50 device makers used by 160 mobile operators. Microsoft software and services including Windows Mobile, Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and Windows Live Spaces, the world's most widely used weblogging service, are also used by device-makers including HTC Corp, LG Electronics, Motorola Inc, Nokia, Palm Inc, Research in Motion Ltd (RIM) and Samsung.

Creating New Experiences for Mobile Consumers

Part of Microsoft's focus to help more people worldwide take advantage of increasingly powerful mobile technology is to enable new entertaining, informative and interactive experiences.

At 3GSM 2007, Microsoft unveiled PlayReady, a new content access technology that enables content owners and service providers to deliver and manage virtually any type of digital content using a wide range of business models. In just one year it has gained significant industry momentum, including a recently announced collaborative effort with Nokia to build support for PlayReady technology into the Nokia S60 and Series 40 mobile device platforms.

Today some of the world's leading mobile carriers and service providers announced plans to deploy PlayReady, including Telefonica Espana, Telecom Italia, Omnifone Ltd, and Weather Investments SpA, which has more than 100 million customers across nine countries through its Orascom Telecom Holding, Wind Italy and Wind Greece mobile operators. Designed for digital entertainment services, devices and applications, with a specific focus on meeting the needs of the mobile industry, PlayReady provides significant improvements in ease of use for consumers looking to access, manage and enjoy content on a variety of devices.

Further adding to new mobile experiences, Microsoft announced its first public technology preview of an application that lets users access MSN Direct content on Windows Mobile phones. The new downloadable application gives Windows Mobile customers instant access to information such as weather and stock updates; top news stories; entertainment, sports and business news; and more directly on their Windows Mobile phone. Information is presented in a glanceable format and is easily accessible directly from a phone's home screen, and content is automatically updated so customers have immediate access to the content that matters most to them.

In addition, Telefonica, one of the world's leading integrated operators, announced today that it has adopted Windows Live Services for all its WAP-based handsets in 12 countries in Latin America, specifically on those where the company operates its cellular services under the brand Telefonica movistar. Telefonica movistar customers throughout Latin America will have access to Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces from their phone, enjoying some of the leading communication and sharing services worldwide.

Leading Partnerships to Create the Right Phones and Services for a Broad Audience

Solidifying Microsoft partnerships with all of the largest handset makers in the world, Microsoft yesterday announced that Sony Ericsson will deliver a Windows Mobile phone, the XPERIA X1, an arc slider phone that blends mobile web communication and multimedia entertainment to meet consumer demand for a premium, converged mobile experience.

Deepening developer partnerships, Microsoft today released several updates to its Windows Live Mobile Developer Program including a new SDK and platform, the Microsoft Mobile Services Protocol, providing developers with additional capabilities to deliver Windows Live for mobile services and utilise the platform to innovate on top of those services.

Microsoft also announced today it is increasing offerings for its mobile operator partners by launching Windows Live @mobile, a global, standardised programme to enable mobile operators to deploy a set of standard Microsoft mobile services such as Windows Live and MSN Mobile to their customers more quickly. By deploying services more quickly, Windows Live @mobile gives Microsoft mobile operator partners additional revenue opportunities.

In addition, Microsoft announced today the expansion of its mobile advertising syndication client portfolio with major French mobile publishers including L'Equipe, and Autonews. Orange, a leading mobile operator in Spain, has also chosen Microsoft as its ad serving partner for mobile display advertising in Spain. Through mobile advertising technology created by Microsoft's Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group and its ScreenTonic SA subsidiary, a leader in mobile advertising in Europe, Microsoft is able to deliver advertising experiences globally that map to the opportunities that are evolving in the mobile handset market. This follows the recent launches of advertising on Microsoft's MSN properties in the US, UK and France.

Bringing Mobile Opportunities to More Businesses and Consumers Worldwide

Global companies joined Microsoft today for announcements that will put Microsoft mobile technology into more hands in Asia, Europe and the US, demonstrating Microsoft's versatile array of offerings that deliver the mobile experiences people want in a range of scenarios.

Announced today, Microsoft has partnered with Brightstar Europe, a joint venture between Tech Data Corp and Brightstar Corp, providers of technology and support for resellers and solution providers serving small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Through this partnership, Brightstar Europe will promote Windows Mobile with training and support, and TechData and Brightstar reseller networks throughout the region will offer Windows Mobile phones. This is the first agreement of its kind between Microsoft and Brightstar Europe, and it will provide SMBs in the European Union with a complete mobility offering, including servers, devices, services and support.

In addition, Microsoft and Russian mobile operator MTS today announced their cooperation to deliver new mobile communications services for MTS customers. Through this agreement, MTS and Microsoft will collaborate and create a road map for delivering innovative services to satisfy rising demand for data products and services for MTS's 85 million subscribers. The first joint offering will make Windows Vista-based notebook PCs, with built-in mobile broadband access, available to customers through a subscription payment model. At prices substantially less than current laptops with embedded 3G technologies, MTS will bring to market a best-in-class proposition featuring an innovative laptop design, a variety of tariff plans suited to a wide array of users, customer service support and equipment fully tested and certified to meet MTS customers' high expectations. The subscription PC programme should be available to MTS consumers in June 2008.

Hosted Microsoft Exchange forms the foundation of a new service from Cbeyond, a US provider of cutting-edge communications for small businesses. Microsoft and Cbeyond announced today a new e-mail service, including support for mobile devices, that is available as part of a communications package specifically targeting SMBs. The Cbeyond package includes hardware and air time for mobile phone service, local and long-distance phone service, T-1 broadband internet access, and now enterprise-class e-mail based on hosted Microsoft Exchange. With hosted Microsoft Exchange from Cbeyond, users can now get all the capabilities offered through an enterprise-class e-mail solution, including appointment scheduling, shared contact information and task management, and over-the-air syncing of all this information, all accessible via Microsoft Office Outlook on the desktop, a web browser or a smartphone.

More information about Microsoft's mobile strategy and efforts to help an expanding mobile audience take advantage of advanced technology is available at

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