Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Wireless announced Thursday a strategic partnership that will deliver Microsoft Network content and communications services to Verizon Wireless customers.
The service, known as VZW with MSN, launches Friday. It will be available to Verizon Wireless customers who have a digital wireless device with a Web browser.
The service replaces Verizons existing wireless Web service. It will give Verizon Wireless customers access to MSNs Web portal as well as MSN Messenger, the first time the instant messaging service has been available to mobile devices, Microsoft officials said.
Other MSN services such as Hotmail, .Net Alerts and MSN information services are also included in the deal.
Pricing for the service ranges from $6.95 to $12.95 a month based on how many alerts the customer subscribes to.
The two companies also announced plans to work together on future strategic endeavors, such as the development of location-based services. Verizon, of Bedminster, N.J., will also sell Pocket PC devices and Windows-powered smart phones to its wireless customers.
While focused on the consumer segment now, the agreement calls for Microsoft and Verizon to eventually develop wireless applications for enterprises, built on Microsofts .Net Enterprise Server technology and accessible via Microsofts Outlook mail and collaboration client.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said no timeframe has been set yet for when the enterprise services will be available.
MSN also has relationships with several other wireless carriers including Nextel Communications, Sprint PCS, Arch Wireless and Motorola in the United States and Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless, Telus, Telefonica, MIGway and T-Mobile elsewhere, though the Microsoft spokeswoman said the new relationship with Verizon was Microsofts deepest and most extensive relationship yet with a wireless carrier.