Microsoft, AT&T Wireless Join Forces

Duo will give Pocket PC, smart phone and laptop users wireless access to e-mail and other corporate apps behind the firewall.

Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Wireless on Wednesday announced an alliance formed to offer wireless products and services to corporate customers.

The two companies have developed software for Pocket PC devices, smart phones and laptops that will provide wireless access to e-mail and other corporate applications behind the firewall. Services based on the software will be available in the fourth quarter, officials said.

AT&T Wireless also intends in the fourth quarter to start selling a device based on Microsofts Pocket PC Phone Edition, and will sell a device based on Microsofts Smartphone 2002 platform in 2003, officials said.

In addition, AT&T Wireless will be selling location-based services based on Microsoft .Net.

Microsoft has formed deals with other carriers in the past several months in an effort to position itself as a wireless company. The company has had little luck selling software directly to handset giants Motorola Inc., Ericsson AB and Nokia Corp. because they have been focused on the competing Symbian operating system.